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    Thread: Tell me about Obsesive Compulsive Disorder

    1. #1
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      Tell me about Obsesive Compulsive Disorder

      So I have a few quirks and habits. A couple actually. I used to dismiss them as just that, odd quirks and habits but then my Psych teacher briefly touched on OCD last year and it got me wondering. How are you to know the difference between a habit and a compulsion?

      For a few years now, I've cycled through a couple bad habits and I never thought much of them but looking back, they seem seem a little too odd. When I was a kid, I used to clear my throat a lot even when I didn't need to. Admittedly, that doesn't sound like much but I did a lot. I also used to do this thing that was kind of like humming but instead of breathing out, I inhaled (not sure how to explain). My Dad would always get on my case about it and I eventually broke that habit... by substituting it with a habit of keeping things even.

      When I'm on the computer, I don't like having the mouse stay on one side of the screen for too long (unless it rests on a flat line) and if I click the right side too many times, I have to balance it out by clicking on the left side. And then there's also the mouse wheel; I have to click it even I don't need to scroll down much. Hell, even if I don't need to scroll down at all. I do the same thing with clicking too if I let my hand sit idly on the mouse for too long.

      When I'm watching tv, I have a habit of constantly flipping the channels up one then down one or doing the same with the volume. Not like channel surfing or anything, I do this once I've found something to watch. I have to keep the remote out of my hands or I keep doing it every so often.

      When I walk over a mat and accidentally move it out of place (even if only by a centimeter millimeter) I can't walk away and ignore it. It'll bug me to no end until I go back to fix it and make it just right.

      I wash my hands a lot too but that might be because of this class I took in high school where Chef was always making us constantly run back to the sinks multiple times throughout the class.

      There are other examples but I've broken those habits (usually by substituting them with others) and my need to humor these habits kind of varies in intensity from time to time. It's not that I worry about something bad happening if I don't do these little "rituals," but they do bug me and kind of eat away at me if I don't. As a result, it can be slightly frustrating from time to time if I try to ignore them since that can make me want to do them even more.

      I realize that sort of paints a bad picture of the situation but it isn't exactly as bad as it sounds. These things don't really cut into my time and it's not impossible for me to ignore them (some days I don't even feel the need) but I'd rather not have to do them ever. Does anyone have any tips on breaking habits or know the difference between OCD and harmless quirks?

      For those of you who take the time to read that wall of text and reply, I'll consider sending you a pic of myself in all my naked glory as way of saying thanks. Or I'll click "like" on your comment. Whichever you prefer.
      Last edited by GavinGill; 03-26-2011 at 04:47 AM.

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      I have many OCD things, but my main was is, I have to feel equal, like, if someone highfives my left had, I have to highfive my right hand. If someone pokes my right arm, I have to poke my left arm, etc etc. Also, things have to be completely erased on white boards/chalk boards, like little smudges.
      And a main pet peeve is when people rub the carpet or any surfaces DX I hate it!
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    3. #3
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      It is OCD is an anxiety disorder. They key thing is if you are feeling anxiety related to the habit. If you do something and you can stop yourself, and it doesn't bother you but then you keep doing it again without thinking about it, it is just a habit. If you do something and you stop yourself but it eats away at you until you do it, then that is leaning towards OCD.

      I have experienced stuff like that, and I kind of think of myself as having very mild case of OCD. Though honestly, in most cases OCD probably wouldn't be diagnosed if it wasn't causing any major issues in your life. I personally think everyone has it to a some degree, but if it is a small thing you just ignore it and go on with life.

      If you can ignore them, the best thing is to just ignore them. If you can distract yourself, and ignore it, it will go away and it shouldn't bother you any longer. However you don't want to stress yourself out over it. If it is something small, some times it is just best to do it and then continue on as if nothing happened. Dwelling on it, or forcing it to the point were you actually get very stressed out is a bad thing though.
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      Quote Originally Posted by erible View Post
      I have to feel equal, like, if someone highfives my left had, I have to highfive my right hand. If someone pokes my right arm, I have to poke my left arm, etc etc.
      Oh God, isn't that the worst? >_<

      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      If you can ignore them, the best thing is to just ignore them. If you can distract yourself, and ignore it, it will go away and it shouldn't bother you any longer. However you don't want to stress yourself out over it. If it is something small, some times it is just best to do it and then continue on as if nothing happened. Dwelling on it, or forcing it to the point were you actually get very stressed out is a bad thing though.
      I'll keep that in mind, thanks.
      -----
      I'm assuming erible's satisfied with the "like" but what about you Alric, shall I break out the camera?
      Last edited by GavinGill; 03-26-2011 at 02:27 AM.

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      Moo nsi dem oons ide kookyinc's Avatar
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      OCD generally results in a feeling of anxiety if the action is not performed. Often a person with OCD will understand that the compulsion is irrational, but will only feel comfortable when it is performed. A habit includes less anxiety, and is more of a pattern performed for some reason or another (for example, the man with OCD will have to wash his hands 5 times an hour to feel clean, or else he panics. The man with a habit will wash his hands every time he can, but he won't panic if he doesn't get a chance to do so 5 times an hour).

      EDIT: It sounds like you may have mild OCD. I suggest reading up on B.F. Skinner and his psychological theories and set up a reward system when you ignore your compulsion.
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      I don't usually think, therefore I mostly am not.
      Quote Originally Posted by abicus View Post
      You can not convince the one with faith who needs not look for fact that the facts "prove them wrong".
      Likewise, you cant teach some one who looks for facts to have faith in the absence of facts.

    6. #6
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      This is something I've wondered about, as I've had both OCD and 'ticks' (Turrettes Syndrome is, I think, just a really bad case of those 'ticks'/'quirks'). There is definitely a difference between OCD and ticks.

      ticks/turrettes:
      Not that personal experience matters, but I'll briefly explain mine. When I was little, 7-12 years old or so, I had both OCD and ticks very badly. Sometimes, I'd get what you describe, symmetry being a common one. If I felt like there was more stuff cluttered in one side of my vision, I'd have to turn in such a way that I felt like a lot of stuff was cluttered on the other side too, for the same amount of time. I had a squinting problem, and an exhaling/inhaling problem too. A bad one was the urge to bend my arms or legs. Another common one was the need for even numbers. If I looked out the window and saw cars driving by, I'd need to see an even number of cars drive by before I can stop looking. This feeling is what 'ticks' are. It's impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it. The feeling of needing to do whatever can almost be compared to an itch, or to that nails-on-chalkboard feeling, but isn't like either of those. Trying to explain it is to explain that nails-on-chalkboard feeling to someone who has never experienced it.

      OCD:
      I also used to get a much more consciously controlled feeling. This seemed to result from anxiety, while the other seemed more physically caused by some brain malfunction. An example of OCD is this. I'm lying in my bed when I think, I need to touch the ceiling on the other side of the room or my dog is going to die. I'm really tired so I don't feel like doing it, but the worry that somehow, my dog really will die, is so intense I need to do it. Usually I imagined it was God or some force of the universe that would really make it happen if I didn't do the required action.

      Neither:
      There are also 'obsessive' habits that develop which I don't think fit into either category, and these are so consciously controlled I don't think they deserve a name of their own, because they're more a choice than a condition. For example, I wash my hands a lot. That is just because the thought of my hands being dirty genuinely bothers me. Another is my choice to skip every top stair and every second-to-last bottom stair, which I did for a couple years and have now stopped doing. That was a choice. I didn't feel like I needed to do it, I just chose to start doing it, I'm not sure why. Maybe I just wanted to have some interesting unique quirk.

      I'm one of those people for whom both issues mostly disappeared with age, luckily. I still get them both occasionally. It tends to happen when I think about it, or when I'm overly anxious. Right now, because I've been talking about it, I've been getting a 'tick' concerning the blinking cursor, needing to see it blink an even number of times and then look away. When I was talking about the need to bend my arms, I started getting the feeling again which I've rarely gotten in years. I'll still get OCD sometimes when I start worrying a lot about something.

      If you're in the age range of 18-24 and not overweight and don't have a hairy chest I'd welcome a picture of you with your shirt off. That goes for any other males who fit that description. If not, I'll settle with a 'like'.
      (I'll just say it even though it ruins it, just in case someone takes it seriously: I'm joking.)
      Last edited by Dianeva; 03-26-2011 at 03:32 AM.
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    7. #7
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      lol Dianeva

      What will happen, GavinGill, if you ignore your urges? You say it bugs and eats away at you if you ignore the compulsions. What does that involve?
      Therapists say exposure therapy is best. Keep doing what you're doing. Ignore them. Eventually, they're supposed to go away. Don't replace it with something else though as you'll just have to break another habit down the line.

      My compulsions include:
      I carry around alcohol soaked baby wipes at ALL times. I wear a large hikers fanny pack at all times which I keep the container and everything else in. I go to sleep holding a wipe. My hands feel yucky. It's not that I think they're dirty. I guess I just don't like the feel of my natural oils or something. I go through about 3 packets of wipes a week (about 252 wipes).
      If I don't have a wipe at all times, I'm irritable and panicky about finding a sink. I don't need soap- just water will do.
      The compulsion doesn't interfere with the quality of my life, so no one cares about it- especially me. But take away my wipes and I'll likely rip your head off. It's been carrying them around for YEARS.

      Another is closed doors. If something is supposed to be closed (door, cabinet etc), it needs to be closed. I got so sick of fighting with my kids about it that most of the kitchen cabinets are doorless. My kids have no doors to their bedrooms (they have a curtain instead). We've not had doors for over 6 years, so it's no longer a problem But now that all of us are older, it's not such a big deal and I'm looking to have the doors replaced.
      Sometimes, compulsions do get better with age.

      OCD will often include intrusive thoughts and behaviors (like clearing your throat). Just try to push them out as soon as they surface. Tell your brain to shut up and do something else.

      If any of your habits are hurting the quality of your life, I'd suggest seeing someone about them. Otherwise, just accept it as who you are. Change what you want, ignore the rest.
      People tend to pick on me about my wipes, or they did until they came to realize how useful they are to have around- if you can get over the alcohol smell.
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    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by kookyinc View Post
      I suggest reading up on B.F. Skinner and his psychological theories and set up a reward system when you ignore your compulsion.
      Thanks, I'll try a reward system if need be and read up on Skinner when I get the chance.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      If you're in the age range of 18-24 and not overweight and don't have a hairy chest I'd welcome a picture of you with your shirt off.
      A deal's a deal; you're getting more than tha---

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I'm joking.
      *clicks like*

      Quote Originally Posted by Zhaylin View Post
      What will happen, GavinGill, if you ignore your urges? You say it bugs and eats away at you if you ignore the compulsions. What does that involve?
      Kind of like what Dianeva described when she mentioned ticks. I don't really know how to put it into words... sort of a mixture of frustration and the slightest hint of helplessness? That doesn't sound right but it's the best way I can put it. I'll give exposure therapy a shot and ignore them for as long as I can but, like Alric suggested, give in if it'll help me avoid getting stressed out.

      lol @ having to remove the doors. That must have bugged your kids for a while.
      -----
      Good to know this isn't too uncommon. =P

    9. #9
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      You pretty much just described all the obsessions I've had lol
      Yes you most likely have OCD. One of the things I've noticed, even before it was recognised by psychologists, is when I give up one obsession, it just turns in to a different one.
      As you said, substituting one for another.

      Contrary to popular depictions or beliefs, not everyone with OCD thinks something bad will happen if they don't complete the rituals. I know I don't. Although at one point when I was very young I did, but it was when this fucking idiot friend said "step on a crack, break your mother's back". So I had to walk around avoiding gaps in the pavement. Not that that started it, I had it way before that, since I was born probably.

      But most of the time I just feel the need to do it. And if I don't I feel a bit anxious and yeah helpless, in a way. Not exactly but that's as close a word as I can think of to describe it.

      My best advice at the moment is to keep your obsessions which don't impact on your day to day life. Hand washing is not a very good one. At one point I probably washed my hands hundreds of times a day and it is shit. Your hands get all cracked up and pretty much make them petri dishes for bacteria. So you wash them more in light of this fact. Your knuckles bleed all the time and they hurt coz the skins always breaking open. Really not good. I've got myself down to probably 50 or so hand washes a day which is alright.

      Anyway, things like turning the volume up and down, I do that too, it isn't that bad because it doesn't take any time really. Although I usually leave it once I've got it at an even number, or digits which add up to an even number but which don't contain 5, or 1 and 4 together.

      So keep the ones which are easy to do, and substitute the annoying ones for other easy ones.
      You could even substitute them for useful obsessions. Become obsessed with something you like doing.
      For example sometimes when improvising on piano, whatever you would call the compulsive thing in my brain, sort of makes me feel like I have to hit certain notes and a certain sound/melody etc. and it usually sounds pretty damn good. IMO it works to my advantage because it sounds.... right. And somehow I know what will make it sound right because, my brain sees no other option I guess so it makes something out of necessity I suppose haha.

      Anyway, I sort of rambled a bit about my own things, but I hope you get something out of this anyway.
      Peace!

    10. #10
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      Thanks. I'll PM you the pic as soon as I find my camera, tommo.

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      Quote Originally Posted by GavinGill View Post
      Thanks. I'll PM you the pic as soon as I find my camera, tommo.
      I'm holding you to that.

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      Quote Originally Posted by tommo View Post
      I'm holding you to that.
      Send it to me when you get it. I missed my chance before.

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      Sorry, I don't help Like sluts.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by GavinGill View Post
      Oh God, isn't that the worst? >_<
      yes and all my friends know it bothers me, so they always like punch my arm and I have to run around asking for someone to punch my left arm so I am balanced out, but nobody will do it because they like seeing my frantic....I act like it doesn't bother me when they torment me but it really does :/
      From my rotting body,
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    15. #15
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      @ tommo: You have my word, good sir.
      @ Allesa: Like you said, you missed your chance. Ha.
      @ erible: You could always try punching them back and when they try to get you again, just turn to the other side.

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