This morning as I walked around the house, I was thinking that even though I have my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) somewhat under control, it’s not gone. It may never be gone.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD is a common psychiatric disorder, affecting approximately 2.2 million American adults each year. That’s a pretty fair amount of people suffering through this.
But in regards to this morning, I checked the back door to make sure it was locked three times. I put my hand on electrical sockets (the outside) to make sure they were cold (why?). I put my hand on the burner and oven to make sure it was cold and would not start a fire. I double-checked my wife’s straightening iron four times to make sure it was cold and turned off for the same reason. Then, as I was leaving my house and had locked the front door, I pedaled off on my bike only to swing back around and check the front door again to be sure it was locked.
And that’s my schedule most days.
Sometimes I can limit the number of times I check things, sometimes I can’t. The funny thing is, I really only do this in my own home and with my car (I’ll check my car doors a few times to be sure they’re locked). So obviously part of my problem is a worry about my possessions being locked away or safe from damage.
Easy enough, right?
Well, I don’t care that much about my stuff anymore, so being obsessed over it doesn’t make much sense. That’s what bugs me, the fact that I don’t have an easy answer. I think it’s directly related to the stress of responsibility. If I’m responsible for locking something up, I would feel terrible if I didn’t prevent a robbery, or if I didn’t make absolutely sure that a fire was prevented.
I’ve never had either situation directly affect me, so I am not only being obsessive, I’m allowing myself to be consumed by events that I have no control over. Perhaps that’s what my fear is based on: lack of control.
I’m still trying to work on my OCD. Techniques that help are, for example, telling myself that a door is locked while my hand is on the door knob. I can feel that the lock is working, and by telling myself that it is locked I can move on and not check it again.
I’m afraid it’s something I will likely live with for the rest of my life. I don’t know why it’s a part of me. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I guess the only way to control my OCD is to not give it power in the first place. And that’s very hard for me to do.