Mental Health

Having OCD is like living with two brains

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions involve intrusive thoughts and images, or even urges that cause huge distress. Compulsions are the behaviours used to try and decrease stress and get rid of these obsessions.

Rather than give you an in-depth guide to living with OCD, we thought it would be useful to raise awareness of OCD through the lens of those who live with OCD on a daily basis.

Here are some of the responses we received from questions given to members of HealthUnlocked’s OCD community:

OCD manifests itself in different forms from person to person. Can you describe what this looks like and feels like for you?

“It is like living with two brains. One is logical, and the other is not and they are constantly arguing.”

“Having OCD dictates what I do and when, makes me do things over and over until it feels ‘right’, makes me retrace my steps in the street, which is extremely embarrassing, makes me take ten minutes just to get out of the front door!”

Is every day the same for you, or do you have some days where symptoms are stronger than other days?

We found that members of our community felt better on some days than others, and also shared some ways in which they make themselves feel better.

“Some days are better than others. If I am having a particularly difficult obsession it may take a week or more to overcome. Doing my therapy regularly and taking medicine makes for a better outcome”.

“It’s a condition that fluctuates enormously.  I have good spells where I function almost normally, I can go out easily, where I can do things and get things done.  Then again I have difficult spells where I can barely make myself a cup of tea. It can vary from day to day, week to week, or hour to hour.  If I do too much at once it likes to go on the attack, though keeping busy as possible without overdoing it is helpful.”

Have you received any helpful advice & treatment?

What was particularly uplifting was the amount of positive advice that was shared on how best to manage OCD:

“I’ve had lots!  One technique I learned is to think of panicky feelings as being like a wave that gathers and swells, then breaks, or like clouds overhead that eventually move on and disperse.  It’s difficult to think straight when you’re in a panic”.

“Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy or ERP. Also, medication helps my brain to produce more serotonin”.

Has joining a community on HealthUnlocked helped with the management of OCD?

“Absolutely. I feel so much less alone in my fight and I’m able to help and connect with others who are struggling with OCD. The support I get from my peers has been amazing”.

“I think it has.  It has informed me of some of the different manifestations of OCD that I didn’t know about. It’s a real shape-shifter and takes many forms!  It’s also good to know that I’m normally abnormal, and that other people understand what it’s like to have this internal bully”.

What advice would you give to somebody newly diagnosed with OCD?

One member of our OCD community shared an inspiring piece of advice to managing OCD.

“I would advise anyone newly diagnosed with OCD to read lots of books, join a support group and OCD online community such as HealthUnlocked because they are not alone, their thoughts do not make them less of a person and most importantly I would tell them to fight”.

OCD Awareness & Community
There are millions of people living with OCD in the world including about 1 in every 40 adults in the U.S and approximately 1.2% of the population in the UK. There are many misconceptions of OCD, including being obsessed with cleanliness or just wanting to be organised.

The truth is, there is a lot more to OCD than meets the eye, meaning it is important to raise awareness of what it’s really like to live with OCD.

At HealthUnlocked, we encourage and empower those who have a story to share to raise awareness of what it is like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as well as additional health conditions.

Do you know someone affected by OCD? Invite them to join the OCD Support Community on HealthUnlocked for tips, advice and support from people who understand.


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