Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which manifests in having unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts mixed with fixed repetitive behaviors you feel compelled to perform. To see if you have OCD you must observe yourself and be honest about it. You can take a quick test which requires you to answer just a couple of questions.
There are 5 most common OCD recognized categories so all you need to do is see if you find yourself in one. I’ll take the test myself, as an example.
Washers – people who are afraid, and I mean terrified, of contamination. It’s normal to wash your hands before eating or after touching dirty stuff. But if you rush to the bathroom every time after touching a “foreign” object this may be a sign of OCD. Rituals when washing are also a strong indication: if you have to wash your hands a certain number of times or until they are raw with scrubbing and if you don’t, the anxiety increases and you feel “dirty”. I wash my hands normally until they’re visibly clean, no going overboard. In the same category are people who clean the house obsessively, spending hours each day scrubbing floors and dusting places that don’t need to be dusted. With the risk of being a bit rude, I think this one is generally met in women, we guys have a natural greater tolerance to the level of filth we can live in. Have you ever seen a single guy’s apartment? I’m cleared of this one too, cleaning once a week is OK for me. I don’t freak out if there’s dust on the TV 😀
Checkers – people who repeatedly check things to be extrasure they’re safe. Can’t leave the house until checking the oven, light switches, faucets, the door you just locked, usually more than one time? Can’t go to sleep until you check the same or similar things? It might be OCD. It all boils down to how you feel if you don’t perform the above said actions. If you get irrationally fearful and even go home after being gone 2 hours just to check the oven, you might have a problem. If you’re not sure but are OK with the situation, I think it’s good. I sometimes double check the door after locking it because it’s a reflex action you do everyday, more times a day so you generally don’t keep the memory of it. Hmmm, I also do this before going to bed, just checking that the front door’s locked. The more I think about it I have the habit of checking out strange noises but I don’t feel obliged to know their source. I can sleep without knowing. In this case it’s actually a thin line, I check some things but not a certain number of times and I don’t obsess with them. Does this count? Not sure 🙂
Counters/arrangers – people obsessed with order and symmetry. Can’t get numbers or a number in particular out of your head? You see it everywhere, although it’s you who makes various mathematical operations to reach it? Or counting stairs, the steps you make, how many staples you have left etc? And you can’t stop or refrain from and it consumes a lot of your time? Most probably OCD. Do you move pictures or painting anywhere you go because they “weren’t right”? Do you go all out if someone moves something on your desk and you can’t think of anything else until you return the object to it’s rightful place? Do you feel great discomfort if you don’t act out your “orders”? Most likely OCD. I believe I may be an organizer but a “rookie” if you will. I always leave my things in the same spots and always use the same pockets for various stuff (phone – always left pocket, keys – always right pocket etc.). I have routines when it comes to work, Outlook has to be the first thing on the taskbar, if it’s not the first soft I open, I drag it to the left afterwards 😀 I don’t like to find things different from how I left them but I don’t start immediately rearranging. If I find what I need, I actually don’t care. I mean I notice “the disturbance in the Force” but I’m OK with it. I’ll have to watch myself to remain a rookie 🙂
Hoarders – people who don’t get rid of useless stuff and/or buy stuff they don’t need. This one can really get weird. There are cases where entire houses are filled with useless, worn-out, nonfunctional items just because people think something bad will happen if they throw things away. Also, feeling the urge to buy, to own lots and lots of objects or a certain type of object can be a sign of OCD. Do you have 7 TV’s in your house and you ABSOLUTELY NEED to buy another one but at the same you can’t throw away the oldest one although it doesn’t work anymore? Not cool. I don’t have a problem with throwing junk away, I’ll even break/smash/trash stuff that doesn’t work just for the fun of it 😀 nor do I get an overwhelming “I have to have it” feeling 😀
Triggers – people who get compulsive behaviors when faced with a certain object/person/situation/food/etc. This can be a mild form of OCD, especially if you are aware of it, avoiding your trigger being, evidently, very effective. It’s like when you have a pack of chewing gum and you chew a piece of gum and then another, and then another and so on until you finish the pack. You can’t help yourself. If you don’t have the said pack of gum, you’re good. Just don’t obsess with getting packs of gum 😛 Chewing gum never hurt anyone (as far as I know). I’m OK on this one too, I don’t take 3 steps back if a black cat crosses my way. I’m not into superstitions 😀
OCD usually interferes severely with your life, making it hard for you to fit in and also keep jobs and relationships. Seek professional help if you identify yourself in any of these categories or something similar. The most important aspect is the psychological one. If you just can’t get over having an odd number of bottles in your fridge, think about seeing a doctor.
But don’t freak out. Just as I scored some points as a checker and arranger, people can very well live with most forms of OCD. Your anxiety and discomfort levels should be the referee.