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Oh My God, I Sooo Have OCD…

Oh My God, I Sooo Have OCD…

mam

 

OCD is Not Just Washing Your Hands A LOT…

 

I’ll admit I’m guilty of it – I talk about my penchant for origami toilet paper points as being “Sooo OCD”. I don’t like closed doors, or trash in bathroom trash cans, and if I’m left alone for too long I count the ceiling tiles or slats on the blinds or I read and reread subway posters or book jackets fanatically. I sweep the porch at odd hours, bringing order to the chaos in my life. Once I was having a rather important conversation with my lawyer and I was so distracted by the wall of crooked, framed photos in his office, I got up and adjusted one. It set off a domino effect, where one after the other, thirty photos fell off the wall. He just looked at me and said, “Marilyn you can stay. As long as you don’t touch anything.”

 

I might be overly fastidious about a few things, or even compulsive in my personal preferences, but I am not “OCD”, and I should know better. My best friend Kim Vincenty has spent the last 11 years studying everything she can get her hands on about OCD and its treatment and interventions, because her son Jack has OCD. Kim has started a support group for families who are touched by OCD and over the many long walks and talks we have had over the years, her challenges and frustrations have come to the fore. If you’d like to talk to Kim about OCD, leave her a message on her Facebook page.

 

What is OCD, Really?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not just washing your hands twenty times. OCD is a disorder of the brain and behaviors. It causes severe anxiety and involves both obsessions and compulsions. It often steals the majority of a sufferer’s day as they become trapped by obsessive thoughts and rituals performed to alleviate anxiety (making sure the lights are off, counting steps to the door, showering for hours, tapping sequences, praying…). The more the compulsion is indulged, the more pronounced the rituals become.

 

In other words, if I had to check 50 times to make sure my TP points were straight, and woke in the night worrying that everyone should have toilet paper points –  and what if they didn’t? And if I went to friends’ houses and had to look in their bathrooms before I could relax. And if I was someplace with unruly toilet paper, and  I started imagining something bad was going to happen because of it – then I would have a disorder.

 

TP

Okay – I don’t NEED to have this, but I really, really really like it…

 

OCD and Addiction

 

Treatment for OCD is very specific yet misunderstood or underutilized. Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and medication is the first line of treatment . Sadly too many people that suffer from OCD fail to get proper treatment, or refuse to seek treatment, staying captive by the intrusive thoughts that characterize OCD. Think about it – what would you do if you had to throw away your IPHONE and your favorite leather jacket because it was “contaminated” or if you couldn’t leave the house without counting backwards from 500 aloud?
Isolating, lying, hiding the embarrassing behavior – sounds like a few alcoholics I know…

 

I’ve done a bit of research myself, and The Journal of Anxiety Disorders estimates that over 25 percent of those who seek treatment for OCD also meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. Individuals who experience OCD symptoms for the first time in childhood or adolescence are more likely to develop a drug or alcohol problem, often as a way to cope with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Kim says, “Often the easiest band-aid for OCD, a wound that is difficult to heal, is self medication. This is why there is such a high degree of comorbid disorder, OCD and addiction.”

 

Kim is on the board of the OCD Foundation of Jacksonville (IOCDF), and they are having a conference next Friday, October 16th, called OCD and Anxiety Disorders : What Professionals, Educators and Parents Need to Know . To learn more about the conference or to sign up for this important event, up please click the link.

 

From now on, I’m going to think before I bandy about the now popular, and oft misused term “OCD”. And I’m going to shut up and let Kim have the final word:

 

She says, “Basically I have been my son’s encourager, advocate, and helpmate. I have been his therapy buddy, his pain in the ass, his trailblazer. And I’ve been happy to do it . He’s my hero, and I will fight for him until I draw my last breath because he’s an amazing son and an amazing young man. I love him with all my heart and that’s what drives me. My passion is helping other families find the correct treatment for OCD, providing tools to reduce the stress that obsessions and compulsions create, and educating the public at large about OCD and related spectrum disorders.”
Amen sister…

 

Today I’m not drinking because I am not self-medicating (and I don’t have OCD…)

How come you’re not drinking?

Comments (8)

  1. Eva
    Oct 9, 2015

    Interestingly, I have the same thing about crooked pictures, misaligned doormats and order in the house. Get a headache and “bad mood disorder”, if there is a mess in the house. I completely understand and would do exactly the same thing at the lawyer’s office. Have done that at friend’s houses. I also tend to align neatly the doormats of other people’s houses . . . there must be a name for this??

    I have heard that one explanation for this is the craving for order when you have chaos in your life. Makes sense to me. I agree, this is not an OCD. Sometimes I refer to it as “borderline OCD”, but will refrain from doing so going forward.

    I love the toilet paper rose, now that is a thought . . .

    Eva

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Oct 10, 2015

      Love the TP rose. Sounds like you have the same brand of fastidiousness as me…
      XXXOOO
      M

  2. Kim
    Oct 9, 2015

    Dearest and most devoted friend , I cannot thank you enough

  3. Tamara
    Oct 9, 2015

    Amazing post. Education is the key – learning, sharing, and compassion. This sounds like an great conference and if there is another one next year count me in. I admire anyone who devotes their life to greater causes…..especially when it something they are profoundly touched by.

    And I do agree that there is a comorbidity between addiction and ADD/anxiety/OCD/ learning disabilities. That is why we need to be educated about addiction as well as each of these global issues.

    Kim is one bright woman and extremely wise. I am convinced that many have been helped by her wealth of knowledge on OCD. Keep it up Kim-….until science has a greater understanding and better answers. Prayers, faith, and hard work are the components to great success.

    But Jack is a hero. He is an amazing young man!

    This young man has a bright bright future because of his strength and his heart to face life head on. We are all impressed with Jack and love him dearly.

    Hope many attend the conference; looks like you haves some great speakers according to their bios. Thanks to all the sponsors too! Wish my timing was a bit better and could have attended this year.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Oct 10, 2015

      Here’s to devoting oneself to a higher cause… Thank you Tamara for putting it all so well.
      XXXOOO
      M

  4. Annie Oper
    Oct 9, 2015

    Wow, this is scary, because I think my (just turned) 4 year old grandson may be on this path. So many examples, but he gets very upset if all his trucks and cars aren’t in order by color and size. The grandkid’s table was blue with four different color chairs and he wouldn’t sit at it until his aunt brought out a blue chair to sit in. He was very disturbed with his cousin for trying to give him one of her Easter eggs because it wasn’t his, it was hers. And… in a restaurant he had to empty all the jellies out of the quad tray and organize them by color with all the writing in the correct direction before putting them back. Should I be worried? Should he be at a therapist already? These are just a few examples.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Oct 10, 2015

      Seriously Annie – You should talk to my friend Kim for advice as to how to approach this – leave her a message on Facebook – Kim Vincenty. Or I’ll send you her email link if you like. She reads the comments, and I’ll let her know you are reaching out.
      XXXOOO
      M

  5. Anonymous
    Nov 1, 2015

    It is better to have an AssHole
    which smells like a Rose than
    relapse due to lack of ToiletPaper.

    Marc

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