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Is this 'normal' for OCD?


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I have been diagnosed with OCD, which mostly manifests itself in a MAJOR fear of germs and illness. As a child, I started out with more typical OCD symptoms like tapping things a certain number of times, flicking light switches on and off, checking that the door was locked, etc. Then it morphed into the germ thing. The reason I think I am weird is that I am a horrible house keeper. Really horrible. I have no organizational skills, and let clutter pile up (not to the point of hoarding, just messy.) There could be dirty dishes in my sink, and mud tracked in from outside, and it will slightly annoy me, but no anxiety about it.

What I obsess about is gross stuff like bodily fluids and such. If there is an illness in my house, I am a mess. If I think I am coming down with something, I am a mess. Being out in public freaks me out. I have to have antibacterial wipes with me, and use them on my hands when I touch anything out in public. I hold my breath and move away quickly if I am in a store, and someone near me coughs or sneezes. The doctor's office gives me panic attacks. Is this normal for OCD? I also have intrusive thoughts about people I love being hurt if I don't do something a certain way, but I can usually fight the urge to do a compulsion in relation to those things, though the thoughts really bother me.

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"Normal" is a word we try to avoid around here. :) Typical is a better word. What you are experiencing is typical of someone that has OCD. You don't so much worry about your mess, as you worry about the mess and germs from others.

Are you in therapy? Therapy can help a lot. Also, meds might help. Luvox has been especially helpful in my household for OCD symptoms.

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I am in therapy, and it has helped some. I was on zoloft for quite a while, and then took myself off, and when I tried to go back on the last time, it didn't agree with me. I'm between psychs, but hoping to find a good med or combo. I'm on hydroxyzine now, which helps the anxiety some. Good to know that my OCD is typical. I kind of worry because it doesn't make sense to a lot of people how I can be a slob, and OCD at the same time.

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I experience the same thing- how my room can be in total disaray [though I actually know where most of my stuff is] but I have ocd? I wear jeans with rips and paint stains and wipe my hands on them and I have ocd? WHAAA???

It's because a lot of people are simply ignorant of what ocd is and how it can ACTUALLY be, as opposed to Hollywood OCD.

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I see. Yeah, most people seem to think that my house/car/person is going to be perfectly ordered and whatnot because that's what they think OCD is. I almost wish I was one of those orderly OCD people sometimes, but then again, I'm sure a lot of them are in as much hell as me, only over other things.

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Research a type of therapy called Exposure Response Prevention therapy. That, combined with meds, has helped me tremendously with OCD.

For instance, the next time you go to the grocery store, don't wipe the handle of the cart with your disinfectant wipes. Tell yourself you're just not going to do it this one time. It will expose you to your fear, then you resist what your OCD tells you to do (wipe it down/wash your hands), and then the OCD becomes that much less powerful. It hurts though. If you don't feel anxiety when you're doing it, then you're not doing it right.

troop

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Research a type of therapy called Exposure Response Prevention therapy. That, combined with meds, has helped me tremendously with OCD.

For instance, the next time you go to the grocery store, don't wipe the handle of the cart with your disinfectant wipes. Tell yourself you're just not going to do it this one time. It will expose you to your fear, then you resist what your OCD tells you to do (wipe it down/wash your hands), and then the OCD becomes that much less powerful. It hurts though. If you don't feel anxiety when you're doing it, then you're not doing it right.

troop

That sounds really scary! My therapist actually believes in hand sanitizer and wiping carts, just not to excess. I don't think she would want me to not wipe the cart. I think it's the other 50 million times I sanitize that I would be encouraged to eliminate.

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