The Suffering

I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive. I’m an obsessive-compulsive.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychiatric disorder; more specifically, it is an anxiety disorder. It is manifested in a variety of forms, but is most commonly characterized by a subject’s obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or rituals) which attempt to neutralize the obsessions.

So where’s the fun in that? But how many times have you heard people say “I’m an OC” or “I’m really OC about… (Add any movie-popularized display of OCD here).” These people jump at any opportunity to brag and display their obsessive-compulsive personality. They might be obsessed and compulsive, but this in no way is a disorder. To make sure things are at absolute right angles to each other, that’s just a good sense of neatness. Intense hand-washing, that’s just cleanliness. Repetition and other ritualistic behaviors such as counting your steps or double or triple-checking that your appliances are turned off are just boredom and a sense of safety for the latter.

Although these are all symptoms of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), publicly basking in these activities or even being caught doing one of them does not swing with a clinically-diagnosed sufferer. And that’s exactly what it is – a suffering. An obsessive-compulsive is very much aware of his abnormality; and, like any normal human being, they can function surprisingly “normal” in the real world. The Obsession is what bewilders the mind. Most often than not, these obsessions are irrational and insignificant. For example, obsessing over neatness and cleanliness; a sufferer will most likely have a set of rules or standards that even the cleanest of places can not comply with. The sufferer is aware that his or her demands are outrageous; but, can not stop obsessing about it. To stop obsessing therefore, he must act in ways that are abnormal and time consuming – The Compulsion.

The compulsion really is just a way of escaping the obsession – which is really strong and persistent, that although it is just a product of the mind, it sometimes presents itself as a physical feeling; for example, literally feeling dirt for someone obsessive about cleanliness. It’s pretty much a balancing act of neutralizing a strong obsession with an outrageous compulsion. And this goes on and on everyday, consuming at least an hour’s total daily to a sufferer. It’s a battle. It’s chaos within oneself.

A sufferer never ceases to attempt to win the battle over his unworldly obsessions. But more often than not, attempting to win a battle over one’s mind is time-consuming and depressing as well, that the sufferer submittingly chooses the compulsion side. In his mind, it’s a case of let’s get it over and done with.

The suffering; imagine a smoker fully aware of his unhealthy behavior – he obsesses about smoking and satisfies his obsession by lighting a cigarette. The same is true with an obsessive-compulsive; only, the smoker feels pleasure in smoking, while the sufferer in his compulsion does not.

This condition affects the sufferer’s personal life, his daily duties, his ability to make decisions and think straight; especially when the compulsion itself is also within the mind -for example, counting by pairs, grouping items imaginatively or canceling out bad thoughts with good thoughts.

Still, the sufferer wishes to be treated as a normal person, and because of this he tends to hide his erratic behavior to the public. Not being able to do his compulsion in public literally drains the sufferer. One might hide away from view or sometimes load up in compulsion to satisfy his obsession longer. For example – the need to make the body feel equal, in a long and packed car trip, one’s right arm might be directly in front of the air conditioning vent. Normally, to make things “feel” equal, the sufferer will turn his body over to cool his left arm. Since the car is packed, he cannot simply ask whoever’s beside him to move so he can turn his body. He’s also ashamed of this as well. In the next stopover, the sufferer might take a cold drink from the cooler and literally freeze his left arm with it, so when they drive again, the air vent cooling the right arm is just “equalizing” the already very cold left arm.

If you experience some minor symptoms, do not will yourself yet as someone with OCD. Get clinical opinion. Sometimes people come off gallivanting their obsessive-compulsiveness as way to be seen differently. But, unless it is the real disorder, the only thing an obsessive-compulsive ever wants is to stop seeing him as different.

I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive. I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive.

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