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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...anyone?

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Old 10-08-2004, 01:51 PM   #1
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Default Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...anyone?

Hi,
The reason I put this topic in this thread...is because most people who suffer from OCD also suffer from some other sort of anxiety disorder such as anxiety attacks, depression, etc.
I live a successful life on the outside...but OCD is ****. Is there anyone around that suffers from this disorder? How has it affected your fitness and weight loss goals?
I'd love to hear from anyone willing to talk about it.

Aphil
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Old 10-08-2004, 02:02 PM   #2
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I have OCD also, but I'm recovering with anorexia. One of the major factors that I deal with on a daily basis is time. I have a "tick" with time, such as eating at a certain time each day, every day. It doesn't matter if I am hungry or not, I will at 730pm every night. If I'm hungry before, then I just deal with it. I feel totally off balance if I would ever deviate from this stupid pattern. It's very hard to break and I'm trying still to do that. Luckily I'm on prozac and it's helping. Anything numerical is what "bothers" me, hence the anorexia. It's really rough when your around others, but when i'm alone, it's ok. More of a comfort zone I guess. It did get really bad when I was at my weakest point, I would drink my diet soda at a certain time and only a certain amount. There would be times when I would wake up and my entire body would be scaly, b/c I was so dehydrated. But I'm back, fighting it everyday and just dealing with it
God Bless
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Old 10-09-2004, 08:34 AM   #3
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Aphil, I do not have OCD but I do have anxiety (mildly) and seasonal depression along with ADHD.

I do know there are some folks who post daily who will post in here, it just seems to be slow lately so hang in there. I'll do a roll call

Vanessa, glad to know you are doing better. Hugs to you.
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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Thanks Vanessa and Leenie-

I have had OCD since I was a child...although I had no idea what it was...or that anything was wrong with me until after I had my first child. The symptoms got worse during my pregnancy and after becoming a mother...and then again after getting pregnant and having my son.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with OCD...I'll explain a little. It is not something wrong with your brain...you are not crazy. It is an anxiety disorder. OCD is more common in people with higher intelligence as well. People who have OCD tend to have other anxiety disorders-panic or anxiety attacks, depression, etc. because the same chemical imbalance that causes OCD causes the other problems. I go through periods of depression, and suffer from anxiety attacks due to the stress of living with OCD along with the stress of everyday life.

Sit back and think about when you hear a song on the radio-and it could most likely be a song that you don't even like-and then you hear it in your head all day long. You find yourself hearing it, and you end up humming it or whistling it to yourself the rest of the day...and you really don't want to! This is akin to the symptoms of OCD-in the way I can explain it best.

People with OCD have anxiety and thoughts that are irrational-called "Obsessions". This can be fears of contamination or germs...fear of harming someone...fear of forgetting something...fear of making mistakes or doign something wrong...fear of losing something valuable or important...and so on.

Some OCD sufferers have thoughts that are purely obsessional, and there is no relief.

For some of these thoughts-people develop "compulsions" or activities or rituals that ease that anxiety for a while.

For instance-for someone who has obsessive thoughts of germs and contamination-their compulsion might be to wear gloves when they touch doorknobs or public toilets-or to wash their hands so many times per day.

Someone who has obsessions about forgetting something may have checking compulsions-checking over and over to be sure the door is locked, the coffee pot is off, and so on.

There are many, many kinds of obsessions...and many compulsive activities that can result from them. Most OCD sufferers have multiple obsessions and compulsions.

Some OCD sufferers may have Obsessions and they don't know why-meaning it has nothing to do with contamination, harm, order, etc. (I believe it is because of the level of anxiety we are prone to at all times-that when we calm down a bit that our brain has to "keep it up". ) For instance-a lot of OCD people have a "thing" with numbers or a counting ritual-or a touching habit or something they do-just like someone biting their nails or twisting their hair. Sort of an OCD "fidgeting" only it is in our head, and not just an outward habit.

This is the first time on 3FC that I have really admitted and talked about my disorder. I have made so many friends here...it feels a little "freeing" to be able to do so.

I suffer from multiple Obsessions and Compulsions. Some of them I have had my entire life...others come and go throughout my life-one O/C going on as a child...then stopping and it being replaced by another as I grew into a teen, and changing throughout my life.

I have a sense of humor about it though. I have to. I was glad to see the movie "As Good As It Gets" portraying Jack Nicholson as someone with OCD...and I LOVE the tv series MONK. You gotta be able to laugh it off. As a matter of fact-it is never stated...but from watching it over and over and over again...I believe Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld has OCD.

Personally-the Obsessions and Compulsions that I have are the easiest to hide from everyone...but are the hardest to treat. I am SO not a germaphobe-I could walk into a strange restaurant and pick up a stranger's drink and take a sip if you bet me $20. I just don't care.

Here are some of my personal symptoms:

*Obsession with order and symmetry-and its compulsions*

This causes compulsions of "everything having to be just so...in a certain way or order. It changes throughout my life. When I was a teenager-my cd's were organized in alphabetical order by the artist, and if I had 3-4 by the same artist-they were then in order by the album title. Another example with these compulsions is eating rituals. If I eat M&M's there is an "order". I separate them into piles by color, and then eat them one color at a time-in order by which pile has the most in it...then down to the least.

As an adult...it is all of the little things-like sorting the clothes hangers in the laundry area by color, all hangers facing the same direction...or sorting the yogurt in the fridge by their expiration date. Knick-knacks around the house have to be in a certain place. I line up the bathroom scale on a certain tile in the vinyl floor...and so on. People who don't live with me assume I am just a "neat freak" and have no idea the anxiety and stress I get under.

There is just no rhyme or reason with the compulsive activities that I do. I can have a dirty kitchen with a sink full of dishes...but I will be sorting things in the cabinets-making sure everything is "in its place".

*Obsessional thoughts over people being harmed*

Some of these have no compulsional activities that go with them...like I frequently have thoughts about my husband being in a car or plane accident. If he goes on a business trip and has to fly (which he does near the end of the month) I am a nervous wreck the entire time. I have frequent thoughts of my son dying...most of the time the visions and thoughts are about him drowning. I trust him with my parents, but if he is with my in-laws I cannot relax-and it is almost all I think about.

*Counting rituals*

As a child I would count the steps in my head as I walked up a flight of stairs...or I would space out in the classroom and count ceiling tiles, markings on the floor, or watch the clock and count the minutes as they went by. As an adult I have laid in bed many nights unable to "shut off my brain" to relax and go to sleep...and I end up doing counting rituals in my head-often not falling asleep until 2-3 hours after my husband does. Mostly it is adding up the numbers in the numbers displayed on the alarm clock.

I am also a list maker...I keep track of EVERYTHING. It is good in some things-I am great at keeping my weight loss journal-diligently writing in all my food and exercise and such...but it is excessive. My to-do lists look like college outlines. I am a wiz at the grocery store...often finding ways to save $20-$30 a week with using doubled coupons and things like that.

I am a costume maker/seamstress and a belly dancer-so I always pay great attention to detail when I sew...I always remember the choreography from a number our dance troupe does (I am often pegged "dance captain" of a certain song because I memorize the choreography and all the music cues involved) so for what I do professionally it can be an asset...but at the same time it is a curse. I can't relax and I am getting to the point where I just feel mentally exhausted all of the time. Like my brain is just worn out.

I have never taken medications for my OCD...and this past week has been a turning point. I am an emotional overeater-and I have binge episodes when I am severely stressed-and this is where it has been the past week. I have lost so much weight and accomplished so much-and I feel like I am going to lose control of that...and my sanity if I don't start taking something. This is a big thing for someone who doesn't even like taking a Tylenol.

My mom and stepfather understand...as OCD is often hereditary-and my mother and grandmother both show signs of OCD. My father and stepmother don't though-and I am trying to explain it to them. They think I am overextended...and if I would only not dance so much, or take less sewing jobs that I wouldn't be as stressed. I had to explain to my stepmother yesterday that if I wasn't stressed out over any of that...that it was the constant thoughts, straightening things, and stressing over the things that don't matter that do it. If I worked less I would have more time to fold and refold the bathtowels until they were just right.

I look forward to talking with everyone...and hopefully giving and getting support-and having a laugh or two together. I am all for humor as a means of therapy.

Thank you both for responding...and to anyone else that does as well. It feels good to know there is support out there for our emotional issues as well as our fitness and weight goals.

Aphil
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:10 AM   #5
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Great Post !!!

WOW, some of the things you described sounds like it could be part of my ADHD. I was just recently diagnosed with it, for years I would beat myself up because of the things I did or couldn't do. I had no clue what I had, nor did I think there was something medically wrong.

I agree with you, I feel so comfortable here talking about this. I know that I have made so many wonderful friends who would help me rather than judge me. I've never felt like this anywhere else.

I also like to take the humorous approach, I can't think of any other way I'd like to go thru life. You just gotta laugh.

Hugs to you. I will talk more later but I gotta run to the store and get my barking dog inside the house.

BRAVO !!! well done!!
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:55 PM   #6
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Liz, thanks for sharing with us your personal side. Hugs and kisses to you. I wish I could interpret it but I can't. The only think I can tell you is you are a wonderful woman and I wish you could see yourself as I do.

Leenie
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:31 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for posting...I really appreciate the support-and hearing about everyone's stories...whether they relate to OCD, anxiety, or depression issues.

I agree with Leenie...you are all wonderful.
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Old 10-13-2004, 12:08 PM   #8
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Hi Aphil,

My 20 year old son has Body Dysmorphic Disorder (bdd) which is sometimes called "imagined ugliness". Bdd is an OCD "spectrum" disorder" (it has the same core symptoms, but with the focus of the OCD cognitions and behaviors on an aspect of appearance). Bdd is usually treated by the same therapy and meds that are used to treat OCD.

BDD is an obsessive preoccupation with an imagined physical defect in appearance. The preoccupation causes significant impairment in a bdder's life, just like an OCDer's life is impared by their obsession and compulsions.

The obsessive part are his negative thoughts about his appearance that never stop (I know most of us have negative thoughts about our appearance but they are usually passing thoughts and we can go on with our life, but a bdder has a hard time getting past the thoughts - as you said it is like an awful song playing over and over and over in his head and he cannot tune it out) and the compulsive part for him is that he asks for reassurance constantly. Or the compulsive part can be other things like getting stuck in the mirror for hours or totally avoiding mirrors (which is a little hard to do in our society) or camoflauging the body part that they are obsessed about. Now with the helps of meds and counseling the thoughts are not obsessive or comsuming for him and he has been able to life a normal life.

So I totally understand the turmoil you are talking about.

Also, I can relate to some of the things you are saying. I am a "neat freak". I spend a lot of time cleaning, but I never really feel like my house is clean. I don't freak out about it, I just know that I feel better, more comfortable, when everything is neat and in its place. If I see something that needs to be done, I cannot just sit and let it be, I get up and do it. I wouldn't say that it causes me much if any turmoil, I would just say I am more comfortable when things are as they should be. But I have had others say that I am "ocd" because my house is neat or clean. I wouldn't call it that, I think sometimes we are quick as a society to put a name to things. I call myself neat, other say ocd. But as you said ocd is ****, and my neatness is not like that.

I also like watching the show Monk, but a lot of times I will think - hey I'm like that too but that's not ocd - he just likes pictures hanging straight. LOL

Aphil, have you ever tried meds to help with the ocd?

As you can tell, I would be more than glad to talk with you about any or all of this.

take care,
Cathy
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Old 10-14-2004, 08:59 AM   #9
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Hi Cathy,
Thanks for responding!

Yes-I think that a lot of people are "too quick" to put a name on things as well...and not only with OCD-but with a lot of things. I have seen SOOOO many children who are merely exciteable or a touch hyperactive who are put on meds for ADD or ADHD...when there is simply nothing wrong with their attention span. It is a sad thing. Kids get hyperactive...that is just the way it is...and parents want them to act like little adults instead of children and pump pills into them. Yes...there are some kids with the attention deficit disorder...but 2-3 in every school classroom of 25 kids? I don't think so.

EVERYONE has compulsions of some sort. Some people like things to be neat...others knock on wood when talking about something in particular...some don't touch anything in public restrooms with their hands. These are normal things that people take on. When it becomes OCD is when the level of anxiety involved is severe and the obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals or activities become disruptive or difficult in daily life.

Normal compulsions differ from OCD in a lot of ways. People who have OCD usually have many different obsessions and compulsions. A lot of OCD sufferers have them in different categories as well. If you have OCD-the level of anxiety can get very severe. The key is understanding that the compulsive rituals that people do are a "symptom" of the thoughts constantly running through their head. They are thinking these thoughts and having fears about them-and get anxious-and the activity relieves that anxiety or fear. Here are some of my personal examples of more specific obsessions and compulsions that span my daily life:

Neatness and Symmetry/Order of Things:
Clothes hangers sorted in laundry area by color-same colors together, all hangers must face the same direction-in our closets all unused hangers are removed multiple times daily-they "have" to be in the laundry area if there is nothing on them.
All pictures have to be straight, all knick-knacks have to be in a certain place or position...the bathroom scale has to be placed on a certain area of the floor-lined up on the vinyl flooring in a certain way...
I go in an rearrange my daughter's furniture in her Barbie house when she is done playing with it-so it looks like it is a store display and not "messy"...Everything has its place and I will walk around and move it if it is not-kitchen cannisters...candles...EVERYTHING.
There is an order to many, many things-when my children were infants I organized their baby food jars-fruits on one shelf, veggies on the other-all had to be with the front labels out-like I was stock boy at a grocery store. I stated earlier that I organize yogurt in order in the fridge by expiration date.
Towels and jeans are folded in a certain way-so that the "stack" stays level. I will alternate them so that when they are laying in the drawer the waistband of one pair is on the left-the next is opposite and towards the right...and so on and so forth-because if they are all on one side-then the stack will be "higher" on the side with all the waistbands of the jeans.
The scary thing about OCD is the anxiety that these things being "wrong" gives me. I know rationally that noone cares whether my stack of towels is level ( ) but I can't have it that way. It has to be "right".

Checking Rituals-

I don't check the locks on my doors or anything like that. My symptoms are so easy to hide-most people don't even know I have it. One of my big obsessions with checking involves our bank account. My husband's paycheck is direct deposit-but on Friday mornings I can't just "write out the bills". I have to call the bank every Friday and make sure the deposit was indeed made-because "what if there was a mistake in the deposit-and I write the checks out and they bounce?" I also check multiple times when I am shopping to make sure that I have my money, ATM card, etc. with me. I think about walking up to the register and not having the means to pay for my items and being embarassed. I check my purse before I leave the house-in the parking lot before I go in the store-and once before I walk up to the register. I know rationally that I have had my purse the entire time...and that if it was all there at home then it is still there-but I HAVE to look again.

I am not even going into half of all of the things that I do...

OCD is ****-because you feel like you are a hamster running in a little wheel-because most people with OCD have these obsessions and rituals involving things that are in everyday life-so you constantly have these thoughts and do these activities every day-and you "never get anywhere". I have to pay the bills every week...I go to the store multiple times each week...I live in my house with my husband and 2 children...so everything involving my O/C's keeps going over and over and over and it doesn't stop. It is **** because you spend all this time doing these things only to have to do it again. Most O/C's are involving things in everyday life-whether it is hand washing, germs, neatness, eating or food rituals-or whatever-so for us the anxiety never ends-you just go in circles all the time.

I am dealing right now...and trying to stay on track with my diet and exercise and trying to stay calm. I will get some more test results back tomorrow-and be able to make another appt. and they are going to start me on medication to help ease the anxiety. We will just go from there and take it one day at a time I guess.

Thanks everyone for sharing!

Aphil
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Old 10-17-2004, 07:11 PM   #10
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I've been lurking around 3Fatchicks for years, but this thread has finally gotten me to post.
Aphil, thank you for starting this topic. I have never admitted to anyone about my OCD behavior - not even to a doctor. I have a morbid fear of being labeled "mentally ill." My problems aren't so great that they interfere with everyday life. I am able to hid them quite well. I am germaphobic, which is odd considering I have four dogs and a cat and it doesn't bother me to get doggy or kitty kisses. However, I can't touch a library book without have to wash my hands immediately after putting it down. I also have to wash my hands before I pick up a library book because I don't want to put any of my germs on it. I can, however, touch new books or magazines I have purchased. I also have to wash my hands after I go shopping. I have wet ones in my car. After visiting any store or eating I have to "disinfect" my hands. I can not wash my clothes with anyone elses. My boyfriend and I have been together for 11 years, and I still can not stand to wash our clothes together because of the germ thing. I also have my towels folded a certain way, dark colors on one side of the shelf and light colors on the other. If my boyfriend folds the towels, I have to refold them. All my clothes have to hang in the closet with clothes and hangers facing the same direction. I have to check all the door locks multiply times before I can leave the house and still I fear that I forgot to lock the door. Oh, and about the M&M's - I also have a ritual for eating any colored candy. I divide the colors into piles, then I eat from each pile until all the piles have the same number of candies. Then I eat one candy from each pile until they are all gone. To be honest, I am much better than when I was younger. I don't stress over things like I used to or get the extreme anxiety you speak of. I don't think I need medication because my symptoms are getting better as time passes. Yet, I still feel like I'm just not normal. I also have some depression issues, but that is a whole other story.
I hope things work out with your medication, and you are feeling better soon.
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:36 AM   #11
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Hi Autumn...yes, it does sound like you have some classis symptoms of OCD.

What you have to remember is that it is not a mental illness. It is an anxiety disorder. Your Obsessions tend to run in the germ/contamination and the neatness/symmetry categories.

What you choose to do...as far as going to a doctor or not-is up to you. There are many possibilities that I am exploring. You can seek treatment from a physician and get medications to help alleviate the anxiety symptoms, or you can go to a psychologist or even a counselor who is familiar with OCD (you can ask when you call). Sometimes it just helps to talk with someone freely about it all-like you finally did here-to someone who understands.

There are many OCD message boards and chats online...and support groups in some areas. There are even some great books on it-if you want to understand or learn more-available online as well.

Big hugs are being sent out to you sweetie...you say that it doesn't interfere with everyday life-and I can say that as well if I wanted to-but it really does. I could probably relax and have a lot more fun if I wasn't doing all these little things all of the time. Gosh...some of our symtoms are exactly the same. (colored candy/towels/hangers/etc.) Wow...

I am glad that you finally posted here...3FC is a fabulous place for support. Not only is it wonderful support for your diet and weight loss goals...but great support for "life" in general-because we all have a lot going on besides our weight.



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Old 11-16-2004, 09:56 AM   #12
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Hi APhil and all the Other Wonderful OCD People: I have suffered biploar disorder-depressive type with features of Generalized Anxiety Diosroder and what I called "Overvigilance."...which was a cute way of saying "Mild OCD." When I got depressed, I became overly careful of not making mistakes, perfectionist at getting out the door and showing up at work at 8 on the dot, could not leave the house if there was a single wrinkle in my dress, strand of hair standing out (hard, with naturally frizzy hair!). Anyway, if you guys find my thread on Depression in Remission, read it, because you can substitute OCD as far as hope for remission. I love Aphil's attitude to have a sense of humor, and recognize the OCD for what it is--a neurological disorder/disease, not a personality flaw. Luvox is the drug of choice for OCD; it's also an antidepressant, so check with your shrink or family physician. Therapy and a supportive home environment are as essential. Many people scoff at the thought of psychotropic drugs, but take aspirin, antacids, vitamins, etc. for any and everything. Would you scoff at taking medicine for a bleeding ulcer? Well, we have to break the stigma and embarrassment of psychiatric diseases (no longer called disorders!) and use medications to help ourselves heal.

Remission is possible, whether spontaneously or w/ right combination of therapies. Good luck to all OCD sufferers, from a formerly depressed patient who is dancing in the rain for the past depression-anxiety-ocd-free-TWO YEARS. Thanks for listening.

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Old 11-16-2004, 03:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
I have had OCD since I was a child...
Me Too...I was the only kid in the neighborhood that re-arranged her room every month.

Quote:
This causes compulsions of "everything having to be just so...in a certain way or order. It changes throughout my life. When I was a teenager-my cd's were organized in alphabetical order by the artist, and if I had 3-4 by the same artist-they were then in order by the album title.
I still do this..
Quote:
As an adult...it is all of the little things-like sorting the clothes hangers in the laundry area by color, all hangers facing the same direction...or sorting the yogurt in the fridge by their expiration date. Knick-knacks around the house have to be in a certain place. I line up the bathroom scale on a certain tile in the vinyl floor...and so on. People who don't live with me assume I am just a "neat freak" and have no idea the anxiety and stress I get under.

Yup, me too. I go crazy if a white hanger is not used for a white T-shirt. My poor family... But they deal with it and do it so I don't snap.

Quote:
As a child I would count the steps in my head as I walked up a flight of stairs...or I would space out in the classroom and count ceiling tiles, markings on the floor, or watch the clock and count the minutes as they went by. As an adult I have laid in bed many nights unable to "shut off my brain" to relax and go to sleep...and I end up doing counting rituals in my head-often not falling asleep until 2-3 hours after my husband does.
Me too!!! I have to be dead bone tired before I go to bed or I will just lay there, my brain going and going and going...I wind up waking up hubby several times at night. It's hard when we go away somewhere & stay in a hotel because he goes to sleep earlier than I do & I wind up just laying there for hours, counting, analyzing, etc...it's awful.

Quote:
I am also a list maker...I keep track of EVERYTHING. I am a wiz at the grocery store...often finding ways to save $20-$30 a week with using doubled coupons and things like that.
I feel guilty if I don't take a list to the store. I've had hubby turn around several times so I could come back and get my list. I make a to-do list (like cleaning, errands, etc...) and set a goal for everything on it to get done. If it isn't done by that date, then I'll clean for hours and hours if that's what it takes to get the list "complete".

Quote:
I always pay great attention to detail so for what I do professionally it can be an asset...but at the same time it is a curse. I can't relax and I am getting to the point where I just feel mentally exhausted all of the time. Like my brain is just worn out.

Yea....been there living that. Hubby will tell me, "It DOESN'T have to be 100% perfect!!!!" To me, it does. If it isn't, I can't relax until it is.


Quote:
I have never taken medications for my OCD...and this past week has been a turning point. I am an emotional overeater-and I have binge episodes when I am severely stressed-and this is where it has been the past week. I have lost so much weight and accomplished so much-and I feel like I am going to lose control of that...and my sanity if I don't start taking something.
Me too. Especially with chocolate. And I lost 55 pounds, only to have some of it slowly creep up on me again. I was doing so good, then my knee got really bad and I couldn't play tennis or roller skate anymore, and it just sent me into a sprial. I have to get surgery on my knee, but now I have to wait because of a more immediate surgery, so there goes my tennis/skating ideas for winter.

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My mom and stepfather understand...
Thank goodness someone understands!! My hubby and close friends and family do and it sure helps when I am at their house and I start re-arranging their knick nacks, dusting their shelves, picking off the dead leaves on their plants, etc... Since most of them don't like to clean, they let me. But there also comes a time when I have to chill out and just hang out and play cards with them without worrying about those party dishes in the sink. (although I tend to stay later than everyone else and help clean it all up...)

OCD...it can be a good thing or a bad thing...depending on how you channel it. It is a good thing to have a clean house. It is a bad thing when you spend 8-9 hours a day, 7 days a week doing it. (Yes, I use to do this before I got arthritis.). I try to find the happy medium within myself, but sometimes I think that medium ran away.
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