There I was, 11 years old, stuck in a cycle of compulsion; in the door, back out of the door, repeat. If not done just right to medicate my obsession the ritual continued; in the door, back out of the door, repeat.
Many don’t understand OCD (Obsession Compulsion Disorder). It’s often brought up in a humorous tone.
“I have to keep my desk clean, I think I have OCD.”
Something of this nature is what many people might attribute to OCD tendencies, but it’s not an accurate depiction. OCD is an anxiety disorder that usually develops during adolescence. Little is known about the disorder and it’s estimated 1 percent of the population suffers from it.
I suppose I was a part of the fortunate 1 percent who was dealt this mental card. The way the illness operates is it runs your mind in a loop over a certain anxiety, which becomes an obsession. At age 11, my obsession hovered around two things, family and faith.
I would often obsess over the fear of harm coming to my family members. My morning thoughts were plagued with the idea of ill-fate befalling up my parents or sisters. Unlike normal anxiety, an obsession is a loop your brain is stuck in, similar to a broken record, it’s very difficult to move on from it.
This is where the compulsion came in. Compulsions act as a vent for your brain, they let out pressure the obsession is causing. The cruel nature of OCD is that although compulsions were a temporary relief of the obsession, they strengthen the disorder.
My compulsions came in various many forms, the first one I remember having is to flip a light switch on and off multiple times. I would often spend minutes turning my bedroom light on and off. However, this was not my only compulsion, I would back in and out of doorways, count to ten a repetitive amount of times, blink obsessively, and even pray the same thing over and over again.
The question you might ask is why did I do this?
It’s hard to explain. Try to think of something that makes you anxious, your teenager starting to drive, or a family member going into surgery. Okay, now you’re anxious (I apologize for this analogy). Someone with OCD has anxiety in them almost constantly, they can’t help it. The brain does not let the anxiety go, it runs it on repeat. This leads the person to act upon the anxiety, they’ll think,
“If I don’t do XYZ, something bad will happen.”
The weird thing is we know this is all “silly”. Someone with OCD is not under the delusion something will actually happen. However, the “what if” is king in our minds. It’s like an itch that must be scratched, and if you scratch it, it only gets worse.
This is why it’s called Obsession Compulsion Disorder. The person has an obsession and a compulsion is done to alleviate the obsession, as a vent to a kettle.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Will Vining