Mild OCD...but getting worse - should I get help?

I've always thought I had 'mild' OCD i.e. it has never really been debilitating or stopped me doing things. When I was younger I had a thing about touching things in a certain way - if I saw a nice stone, or something round, I'd have to touch it in a way that meant I felt it across my whole palm. I was also very conscious of being equal on both sides - if my brother punched me in the arm, I'd make him punch me in the other arm to make it equal. We laughed about this as it didn't bother me much.

However, as I've got older, I've noticed that my OCD (if that's what it is) is linked to anxiety, and has changed into checking rituals. I have two kids now, and I have a routine when I leave them at night that I have to hear them breathing 5 times before I leave the room. Then I check on the other child, then I have to start again with the first child. I also have to kiss them so many times before I leave them. I've forced myself to limit this, but sometimes I will get out of bed and start all over again if I think I haven't done it right. My partner knows this and doesn't make a big deal of it.

One night a week, my partner plays football and often doesn't get home until after midnight. This is when the OCD gets a lot worse. It can take me a full half hour to get to bed, with listening to the kids, checking under their beds (seriously, under a tiny kid's bed - no adult could fit under there), behind the doors, in our wardrobe. I might do this several times before I finally get into bed. Then I can't sleep as I start to panic a little, and often have to leave the light on and read until I fall asleep.

Weirdly, I never have to check the doors downstairs, and I never, ever bother about the loft bedroom, even though it is easily accessed from the floor that our bedrooms are on.

I have started reading the Break Free from OCD book and I do try to cut down each night, but it's hard. Is it normal that it only affects this particular part of my life? I very rarely notice it during the day or when I'm not in the house.

Thanks

3 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Ocd affects everyone differently. I also check a lot as a result of my anxiety but I found a way of decreasing my checking hat worked for me. I found it easier rather than trying to cut down the amount of things I check (otherwise I pick up new things), to just try and slowly cut down the amount of times I'm checking things. It's a long process but once you find what works for you it should become easier. As for it only occurring at certain times, my OCD usually appears the more stressed I become. So for myself it's normal to only have (noticeable) symptoms of OCD at certain times.

  • Thanks Fran, that sounds like a good strategy. I can definitely do that, as I think that's what's been getting worse - I've been checking more and more times, even though I know it's ludicrous.

  • Hi ellosmith... and thanks Fran...I can totally understand what you're saying..I only ever had mild ocd too,I remember doing the odd thing like having to count and touch things and do things equally..It was thought to be 'a bit quirky' back then and never worried me nor did it consume my time..

    I did however feel anxious growing up but had to cope with that (it was the 70's after all,and you had to tough it out) I am also a sensitive person by nature,but Ive worked in environments that have called me to deal with various situations and I did, it wasnt always easy but was never a problem..

    But as Ive got older and circumstances changed (my son became ill with a health condition..then I did, and life had to change...He also has ocd) I now worry over things like animals being run over (I love them,always have but this worry now disables me when I or anyone else is driving)...I am obsessed with the symetry of my hair,behaving totally irrational about it.I have to have something perfect,weather it's my haircut,stitching on a clothing,magnets in line and evenly placed on my fridge etc.I know it isn't right but it takes over and can leave me feeling dreadful..

    I too know this is to do with anxiety..To start doing the checking gives in to the ocd and it then feeds off that and before you know it, you're doing it more..then it becomes something else and something else..until it is all consuming and more worrying..

    I am learning what my triggers are that bring on my ocd episodes,and from being aware of what makes me anxious,I'm then trying to not let the ocd take over at those times..It isn't easy.But there is a lot we can do to get ok, and you're right to be reading and trying to deal with it now, even when it isn't always a problem for you.

    Best wishes x

You may also like...