Since I am getting too obsessed about my OCD and maybe I made you wondering twice, I decided to write few words in here. Not a big well written story that was originally planned, rather than as simple as it gets explanations, a history and few thoughts. I really need to express myself and give you the facts about this..
OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There are two major kinds of OCD. The traditional and more popular one and the more unknown and unseen called Pure or Primarily Obsessional OCD.
In the first one, the sufferer encounters an unpleasant thought (obsession) and tries to react to it with an external ritual (compulsion). Excessive keylock checking, washing, cleaning, hoarding are only few of the compulsions out there. I think you have noticed some of these in the movies :P. The patient suffers from unwanted thoughts like "If you don’t clean your house everyday for 12 hours, you will have germs around that will kill you.". These thoughts forces him/her to complete the compulsion more and more (e.g. excessive cleaning), though while this would naturally bring relief and end the cycle, it has the opposite results. The OCD traps you into continuing your compulsions because you fear about the negative results. Your fear is what fuels the OCD which starts the cycle again! I really don't know how it is to live an everyday life with such kinds of rituals that you are forced to complete, cause I never had such ones wasting my life, though the whole philosophy is similar to the Pure-O kind from which I was suffering.
The diferrence in the second one is that there are no external rituals here. The whole cycle of anxiety->reaction goes entirely through inside the sufferer's mind. Though, it is considered that there are still compulsions answering to obsessions here, it's just that these reactions to the unwanted thoughts manifested as thoughts themselves. Some say that the term Pure Obsessional is misplaced for that reasons (And thus Primarily Obessional is prefered). Compulsions play a role here too, though they are not outside for the world to stare. This kind of OCD is not so known, though several people are found to be suffering from it and only recently there was proper research going on in the topic. The reasons are that suffering goes in silence, because it's all inside someone's head and there are no characteristic external rituals for family members/friends to stare, also the thoughts are so shameful that force the victim to keep them secret. I'll be back more into this through my own story.
My first unwanted thoughts had a religious theme. A simple idea that popped up suddenly: "What if I went into a church and accidentaly made disrespectful thoughts towards religion?". That idea was enough for a follow up of unwanted thoughts because I instantly thought it was possible for my thoughts to harm me and had a fear of making these thoughts which brought more of them. I think I was 14-15 years old or younger when the first symptoms appeared if I recall well. And yes, I tried to confess about them to my mother while I was too doubtful about this. The reaction was possitive but expected. Thoughts can be random and it's natural that these might be shameful and unwanted sometimes. I was for one day relieved with this thought, though I had a bad feeling about this, that I'll wake up the next day having to bear the same suffering. And so was it..
My most common unwanted thoughts (which are called spikes in the OCD terminology and that's how I will call them from now on) had later to do with thinking of violent themes, sex orgies, wishing death or disrespecting people I'd see in front of me. It's like a demon tortured my soul by forcing me to make thoughts that were incompatible to my personality. Either by making me thinking about oral sex with male friends, torturing my loved ones or stupid thoughts like "If you step on the cracks in the pavement, a loved one of you will die". I never wanted to have these thoughts, how much about acting on them and that's similar for all OCD sufferers as far as I am aware. Such are the usual bad thoughts most Pure-O sufferers encounter, though each person can has his own spikes that might not bother others OCD sufferers at all except of him/herself, because everyone has a unique personality makeup.
You might say that everyone has such kind of thoughts at times. True because my friends have talked to me about similar thoughts when I talked to them about my OCD. This is the point where I'd like to make a distinction. The diferrence here is that these thoughts never bothered my friends. They passed once or twice through their mind and left unnoticed. These people could go on in life with confidence, caring about other more important and true matters.
These thoughts could get in my mind and make me thinking it harder and trying to excuse about them more and more for the rest of the day. They totally killed my self-esteem and sometimes they made me cry alone. Even when I understood that this was a nasty game of my brain, this fact couldn't wipe them off. It was even more suffering to know that even if I know this is a mechanism in my brain and so it wasn't me who was doing intentionally the thoughts, I still couldn't get rid of them! Or actually if I could stop caring about them? If they could stop making me feel so bad? This went on for years and everyday I woke up I thought I would never get rid of this ugly virus from my mind. It made me sad, sad, sad..
That's the diferrence between an OCD sufferer and everyone who can have such random thoughts too. The sufferer obsesses about these thoughts and this is what gives power to the further cycle. Then he/she is bothered for long periods with these thoughts that continue cycling in mind because of the fear of them, completely destroying self-esteem, making him/her acting weirdly, becoming unwanted to the people and family members around because they are not acting as "normal" as expected. It all goes through a vicious cycle which usually brings more problems in their real/social life. As a chronic disease (That means not a temporary quirk, but something you have to bother with for the rest of your life) it can bring up depression. Some people recently thought I might suffer from bi-polar depression (it has a very common relationship with OCD), even though I had never really noticed this on myself (I don't know how weird it really is to suffer from depression). I don't know if this explains my periods between passion and inactivity concerning OCD and my creative activities, the strong mood swings I sometimes feel to have. I haven't verified that yet.
Some people wonder why didn't I seeked for help if I was troubled so much by such a disorder. They say that if I had this OCD I claim, it would probably be too noticable. Since I looked fairly "normal" to them (regardless some strange but funny quirks ;P) I must not have this thing. Such is the nature of OCD (especially the Pure-O type) that is not easy to distinguish. It's sometimes characterized as the "suffering in silence" anxiety disorder. To explain myself, several reasons kept me away from seeking for help. First of all I wasn't sure whether this cycle happens also to most other people (it does but maybe not so excesively). Secondly, I was too ashamed to uncover my unwanted thoughts. All together, I thought it didn't deserved the try. At hard times I repeated to myself this can't be normal, maybe it's some kind of an unknown disorder nobody knows. And thus this became my big ugly secret.
Two or three years from now, I was so fed up with it that I decided to ignore it. I had other more important things in life to bother with and thus it succumbed into oblivion. The unwanted thoughts bothered me only slightly. I could still feel it deep inside me though. This wicked mechanism, this demon of my mind. Somehow I felt like this was something I had to look upon in the future again.
The revelation came when I accidentally read about "Obsessive-Compulsive" on wikipedia. I've read this pair of words somewhere in a blog and wonder what that means. Out of pure curiosity I ended up surprised and happy to have found so unexpectedly what was it called, the thing that was always bothering me. Before that, I kept ruminating over my life, the universe and everything, walking the wrong path with numerous assumptions about myself, nobody of them feeling so true. I was always in doubt. I thought everything is subjective and I'll never find an answer that feels so good about what I am. I only had this feeling when I discovered the name of my disorder. Everything suddenly started to make a sense when I read more about it!
I already knew about this bothering mechanism in my mind since an early age and lived it's implications, I was just not aware this is a known disorder I could investigate further. What I didn't especially know was that this anxiety mechanism called OCD, didn't only made me suffer with those stupid thoughts, but also killed my self-esteem in real life matters. Negative thoughts like "I am not too social enough" were extremely magnified in my case. I was always in doubt about myself and doubt is a very common characteristic in OCD sufferers. Overanalyzing, thinking it too much and too seriously (obsessively), vicious cycles, endless ruminations, negative feelings are overmagnified in our case. These characteristics affected negatively a big part of my real/social life. Finally, I can now see the whole image clearly! Even my passionate engagement in a creative hobby which occupied my life and became an obsession is properly explained now. It helped my mind focus off real life into something else that could give me a positive boost on my low self-esteem which I was missing in real life. Till I finished another creative work and started the negative cycle again. Everyday I refine the moments of my past with the new data. Everything fits perfectly now in my new explanatory system. The old predictable beliefs of my friends about what's the matter with me are only bothersome, confusing and lead me to the wrong way. I know now..
And thus, I am here, knowing this usefull fact, more sure about myself than ever. The road is still long though. Everyday, I feel how much anxiety and the negative cyclic thinking affects my life. I can see it in realtime now, I got so aware of my own way of thinking that I can truly see it. For me, there is no doubt about having OCD, though the matter is what follows from now on..
To be continued.