Living with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) can be an incredibly difficult thing to cope with, and can have an immense impact on your daily life. Having OCD means that you are repeatedly overwhelmed with unwanted and intrusive thoughts that can leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, scared, and ashamed.
At its core, OCD is an anxiety disorder that involves obsessions (thoughts/images) and compulsions (rituals/behaviours). The obsessions often center around a specific fear, such as contamination or contamination by germs, and the compulsions often involve engaging in activities or rituals to try and “undo” the feared thought. For example, someone might repeatedly wash their hands after touching something they believe may be contaminated.
Living with OCD can be incredibly stressful, as the constant intrusive thoughts and feelings of worry can be extremely exhausting. It can leave one feeling powerless, as it’s hard to control these intrusive thoughts and compulsions. It can also be very isolating, as it’s difficult to explain to others why you may be behaving in certain ways. However, there are ways to manage OCD. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is commonly recommended for those living with OCD, and can be incredibly effective in helping to reduce the impact of OCD and alleviate the fear and worries associated with it. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is another form of CBT specifically designed for OCD and involves slowly being exposed to the situations and thoughts that spark the OCD. It is also important to practice self-care and have supportive relationships that can help you get through the tough times. Learning about how to manage anxious thoughts, doing things that bring a sense of joy and relaxation, and building supportive connections can all be incredibly helpful. Living with OCD is no easy feat, but it is possible to move through it with the proper support and treatment. It can be a long journey, but take solace in the fact that help is available and that you can find ways to manage and cope with it.