I am not a trained professional in Psychology or Mental health. My intention to share my story is merely to raise awareness among people and the stigma attached to it. Please consult a professional if you go through depression, anxiety, or any mental illness.
It seems to me, that OCD as compared to the other mental illnesses, has already been popularized by the media among the newer generations as a result of which its frequently used in quirky punchlines which only discloses the top layer of the OCD symptoms. Surprisingly, this appears to be more sophisticated to many, but this is certainly not the truth about this invisible monster.
OCD is much more murkier & seriously debilitating condition, which cannot be just so easily boiled down to some quirky & socially acceptable trend. It is a massively complex and torturous form of the disorder, which has multiple faces & forms which in itself makes it difficult for the sufferers to detect it early. And that is why I call it a color-changing Chameleon or a psychological predator. Because it easily changes & moulds it’s pattern so smartly as per the appropriate vulnerable emotional or stressful state we are in.
Thankfully OCD has been roughly classified into a few types & subtypes, though officially there has been no standard classification of this illness. And yes, today I am going to explain to you in brief about this complex illness through my personal experience, research & understanding of its types in the easiest way possible.
So what exactly is OCD?
Scientifically speaking OCD is a common chronic Mental disorder in which a person has uncontrollable recurring thoughts ( Obsessions) & Behaviors ( Compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over & over again.
So basically obsessions & compulsions are two main components of OCD.
So what are Obsessions?
Obsessions are those intrusive unwelcoming thoughts that invade your mind without any warning. We all go through such chain of thoughts once in a while, but the thoughts which wouldn’t go despite you have stopped thinking about it & plays in your mind like a pre-recorded forbidden thoughts ,are when it comes under OCD.
Firstly these obsessions infest your mind to a level that it triggers profound anxiety. Like it’s preparing your mind for a drill of some unfortunate event occurring in the future. As a result of which we try to find solace in a self made coping mechanism of Compulsions or Behaviors as a way to cope up with the stress that obsessions create in our mind.
What are Compulsions?
So compulsions become those repetitive activities a person may do to reduce the anxiety & hence becomes their behavior eventually, which they feel compelled to do repeatedly. Compulsions are a time-consuming mess that comes in the way of your daily activities.
Despite being aware that these rituals don’t make any sense, you feel bound to do it as you don’t want to face the brunt of anxiety & fear it triggers.
Obsessions & compulsions are governed by two main characteristics of OCD called doubt & guilt.
These characteristics grill that person to a level, that they have no option but to find temporary solace in compulsions. And this endless cycle keeps repeating throughout your life like a spin wheel, & gets stuck again at the most vulnerable phase of your life.
Now the classification of OCD is as complex as the disease itself. I feel appropriate to call them as different OCD forms or cluster of symptoms. These are again governed by obsessions & compulsions as common manifestation of same conditions in different forms of fear .Following are the types or forms of OCD.
3. Intrusive thoughts
4. Symmetry or order
1. Checking :
So checking is a form of fear , which is manifested through the fearful thoughts filled with doubt & guilt like if you don’t switch off that particular appliance or gas stove it would lead to major accident causing harm to others. So such kind of blackmailing of thoughts ,transforms the fear into checking compulsions like checking if the door knob is closed, or the gas is turned off etc
Contamination is a fear created by your intrusive thoughts like for e.g that certain food is contaminated since it was kept outside. Or any house chemical if kept near food ,you feel what if a drop of it felt into the food. It could cause food poisoning to others so such blackmailing intrusive thoughts transforms into contamination compulsion of keeping things away from your vision
Or throwing away food that is not even contaminated.
3. Intrusive thoughts :
Now you must have noticed intrusive thoughts are common in most of the OCD types. But having just intrusive thoughts with disturbing mental images & impulses or urge to act upon them is again a serious form of fear which triggers anxiety. Intrusive thoughts doesn’t necessarily transforms in compulsions. It would rather make you avoid certain situation or even make you look so absent minded to others while you dealing with it internally.
4. Symmetry & Order :
So this compulsion becomes a way of life when your obsession or your negative intrusive thoughts have already grilled you so many times by creating a fear in your mind that if you don’t arrange certain things in particular order ,something bad would happen or you may attract bad luck & hence the person follow the compulsion to avoid the brunt of bad luck it can cause.
5. Hoarding :
Hoarding is a compulsion created by your feared mind, attacked by intrusive thoughts creating doubt and false logics like what if you don’t get such kind of products in future or what if you run short of it in future etc In this process you keep collecting even the useless things ,in spite of being aware of the fact that its of no use for you anymore. You get habitual to preserve them & turn your house into a cluttered mess everywhere.
And wait, I am not done here , there is another officially undeclared form of OCD as the medical team don’t Categorize it to be a different form of OCD. It’s called Pure OCD. Pure OCD is rarely known form or subtype of OCD which is not easily diagnosed because of hidden compulsions & painfully torturous & frightening range of intrusive thoughts it includes which embarrasses the victim & make them feel like a psychopath & hence this chapter remains zipped in their lives forever in most of the cases.
If you went through the types of OCD you must have noticed intrusive thoughts are a part of all symptoms , may be it differs in the intensity in most of the types. So not complicating things further I would say it’s just another subtype to this OCD type or you can call it as extended aggravated version of intrusive thoughts where the intensity of the intrusive thoughts is so high , with abnormally insane thoughts & mental images with impulses or urge to act upon them. For instance, thoughts & feelings including sexually inappropriate thoughts , thoughts of harming yourself or your loved ones , thoughts of molesting a child , sexual orientation doubts of being by sexual etc and these are not just repetitive thoughts they are accompanied with impulse & urge to make you lose complete faith in yourself. Making you think what have you done to deserve such feelings & thoughts in your mind as if they are provoking you to almost be on the verge of losing control over your mind & the next thing you know that you are being admitted in a mental hospital .Its like all psychopathic thoughts bundled in one to design a most torturous form of OCD. That’s how this hellish predator operates in this rarely known form or subtype of OCD.
And what more to say ,when you know you fit in this form of OCD. It’s painfully humiliating to accept , but thats the fact & reality I am living with. Thankfully I haven’t been through all the range of torturous thoughts this form has. But among all the types of OCD, during my unknown reality years, I have always had major symptoms of this type called Pure OCD. A more murkier OCD layered inside OCD.
But as I said earlier, as much as these intrusive thoughts have tortured and humiliated me inside out , they are equally responsible to force me dig my inner truth. That you are not your mental illness, it’s not your identity ,it’s just a defect inside your brain chemistry which can be easily sorted out by approaching a doctor with combination of meds & therapies. And God knows, if you keep staying positive & hopeful it will disappear on it’s own in your later life.
” Bcoz you are the master of your mind,not your mental illness “
– Gauri bellad 💟