Have I got OCD?

I am thinking that my obsession is to think of words over again in my head, and my compulsion is to write the word down on paper and feel relief once this is done and if I forget the word in my head before writing it I experience extreme anxiety. Because it is in my mind it is hidden from society and writing on a notepad when in public is more socially acceptable than to physically tic. I think this stemmed from not being able to feel like I can express myself and not it feels like I gone crazy! Sometimes when out with friends I have a list of up to 30 words in my head, on the plus side this thing has improved my memory! I fear forgetting, and sometimes have to excuse myself to go to the toilet, where I don't need to go to the toilet but write these words on my mobile or on paper in private.

For example... if I was verbally explaining what I have written in the previous paragraph spontaneously, I would remember and think over again of the 'trigger' words. Trigger words being the ones that I feel the need to remember and write down. Such as 'relief, extreme, physically, improve'. It seems any 'normal' person would think, why she she have to do THAT????! I think why do I have to do it? It's stupid! But can't help it...

This is mentally and to some extent, physically exhausting for me and I know it is irrational but can't stop doing this behaviour without emotional upset. Here, 'upset' is another trigger word I would have to remember. It don't feel the need to write the special word down when I express myself in writing, like what I am doing now, but do it when speaking when I have no visible recording of the word, so therefore need to remember and have to write it down. I have words on paper and kept and 'hoarded' these scraps of paper in boxes in the spare room. I have had this writing compulsion for at least 10 years or so and have had enough of it. Learned to live with it for some extent but it getting worse and, as you can imagine, word hoarding on my own bits of paper has filled the spare room... and the attic...

I am about to bring a child into this world in 4 months time and feel so bad about this I don't want to bring my child up with it seeing me writing down random words all over the place. I used to feel so ashamed of doing this behaviour but finally learned to accept it and my fiance is very supportive but I feel it is really now time to get help.

Have I got OCD, how do I get a proper diagnosis, who do I see for help?

2 Replies

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  • Dear Zolta,

    Good luck for 4 months time, and the important thing is that what you are going through now is merely a blip.

    Although we are not medically trained, what you are describing does sound like characteristics of OCD. The good news is that OCD can be treated, controlled and for many with the correct treatment OCD can be cured through to recovery.

    The treatment we recommend is a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is available through the NHS. CBT is sometimes used in conjunction with medication, depending on your individual situation and personal choice about taking medication. You can read more about CBT and watch a video on our website here: ocduk.org/cognitive-behavio...

    Do you know much about OCD at the moment?

    There are two good books I would recommend to help you understand OCD better, the first is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Facts by Padmal de Silva and Stanley Rachman.

    ocdshop.com/product_info.ph...

    The other is the essential guide to OCD: ocdshop.com/product_info.ph...

    Both good books to get an understand of OCD.

    OCD is often driven on the person's inability to accept doubt, and needing 100% certainty, in your case your OCD is telling you that you must be certain not to forget the words, so you write them down. When treating OCD we tend not to focus on trying to necessarily getting rid of the doubt or the thoughts, as everyone from time-to-time experiences intrusive thoughts, instead in treatment we focus on changing our emotional response to those thoughts.

    Self-help can be useful, and there are loads of resources on our website, but nothing replaces the level of support that a good therapist can offer. A fantastic new OCD book I would recommend is called Break Free from OCD, and is the best OCD self-help book I have read to date, this is a link to it: ocduk.org/break-free-from-ocd

    The thing with self-help is that it is only helpful if the person gets that understanding of the information, so ideally you need the help of a good CBT therapist through your GP.

    But as I mentioned it is possible to overcome OCD as I hope this video might help offer you hope and encouragement for that:

    I hope this information helps you.

    Kind regards,

    Ashley

  • Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I am thinking as well that going through a blip - and a rather big one! Contributed I am sure by hormones and apprehension about the future. I think it makes sense, I don't like uncertainty and feel that I have certainty when I have not forgotten something and written it down. Had a lot of uncertainty when was a child I think more so than other because moved with my family so many times. Even since moved out of parents, moved 5 times in the last 5 years! Also am obsessing a lot over fears of not having a live baby in September as feel fortunate to be pregnant after having operation last year and diagnosis of endometriosis so it's something I really want, and feels like my one chance of being pregnant. And anxiety can be more exacerbated when pregnant - which is not too good for baby, oh dear...! Which is why I try to do relaxation and yoga - which is great when i can finally switch off but it's difficult to concentrate and focus without running off the yoga mat to write a word haha!

    I know a bit about OCD as did anxiety disorders course as part of my psychology degree I did a few years ago. I think am aware of my behaviours and thoughts as analyse myself a lot, maybe too much at times! But it's logically getting over the anxiety and working though the emotion that I struggle with I hate feeling emotionally uncomfortable, as we all do. It's just easier to write the words than to deal with the emotion of the build up of words then forgetting one and getting in a tizz over one silly word! It gets overwhelming and I tried flooding in the past, by not writing a thought of word for 2 days and it seemed to work for a little while, after feeling rather numb and a lot of apathy in the process! It comes and goes... and at the moment it is back with vengeance!

    Thanks for your advice and recommended books. It's reassuring to see there are so many different obsessions and compulsions out there and that I don't need to feel ashamed of mine. I used to feel rubbish about myself for feelings of uncontrolled anxiety, so in turn, controlled my anxiety through words! Which in itself causes anxiety when I forget them! Aaah, so complicated!

    Take care,

    Zolta

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