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3 Signs You May Have OCD

ocd signs & symptoms Aug 04, 2023

OCD is a commonly misunderstood disorder.  You'll often hear someone say "I'm so OCD" when they prefer things a certain way or like things to be tidy, but OCD is more than just being clean. It's important to know so that you can get proper treatment, as OCD usually gets worse as it goes untreated, and feeling better is the goal!  Here are 3 signs that you might really have OCD.


#1 - You Obsess & Ruminate

Rumination means to think about the same topic over and over, often for weeks, months or even years in those with untreated OCD.  We all overthink sometimes, it's the brain's way of trying to solve problems, but like anything, too much of this can be detrimental to your mental & physical health. 

Typically, you're ruminating about something that has already happened in the past and cannot be changed, something that may happen in the future, but hasn't really happened, or overanalyzing a current thought or problem, which sends you down rabbit holes, trying to figure something out that isn't within your control.  

Rumination & obsessions take you out of your current life, stopping you from experiencing the present moment, being present with those you care about, and generally being happy in the here and now.  It can lead to things like derealization, depersonalization, depression, and more.  There are very few things you need to spend more than a few moments thinking about.


#2 - You Avoid Discomfort

Avoidance is a common coping mechanism, but it isn't an effective one.  When you avoid something that causes discomfort, like doing something new or starting that business you dreamed of, you're only teaching yourself (and your brain) that you can't do it or handle a particular situation. You then decrease your confidence in yourself, and your life doesn't flourish, you don't accomplish or grow.

When this pertains to something that causes anxiety, like most OCD subsets do, at least before being treated, you're training your brain anxiety response to become even stronger, and your brain becomes even more hypervigilant of things that may be or go wrong.  

Not taking risks may feel better in the short term, but in the long term you become more anxious and used to your comfort zone versus learning to face discomfort, which eventually eliminates the discomfort all together.


#3 - You Regularly Seek Reassurance from Others

We all need reassurance from time to time - to hear our partner tell you "I love you," or to get advice on a major life-changing decision, but someone with OCD will not be able to move on with this amount of reassurance.  They may feel better, but then shortly after the intrusive thoughts and doubts will start all over again. 

  • What if something bad happens?
  • What if I'm making the wrong decision?
  • What if I did/said x, y, z instead?

They will then seek more reassurance, either from friends or family, searching the internet or social media for answers, constantly checking their own feelings, or even talking to strangers to get advice.  If they get the reassurance they want, they feel relief, but the pattern soon starts all over again.

If you can relate to these 3 signs, you may feel relief that you now know what's been causing you so much struggle in your life, or you may be feeling more anxiety.  Either way, I want you to know that I've personally been there, and I don't struggle with this anymore.

OCD is very treatable, and every single person I've worked with (who sticks with the program and uses the tools) has gotten better.  You don't have to suffer with anxiety, annoyance or bother, racing thoughts, doubts, and compulsions and fears that rule your life!

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