Obsessive compulsive disorder co-occurs with bipolar disorder in ten percent of the cases. Having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is exhausting. Obsessions and their resulting compulsions don’t always make sense. For example, I believe that if I put my earrings on in the wrong order – right before left – I will be in a car accident. Many of my compulsions revolve around this idea - that if I do not do them exactly so I will be in a car accident.
I have never been in a car accident.
I have no idea where this fear and obsession came from, but it rules my life. I cannot get out of bed unless the minutes of the hour are a multiple of five – like 8:15 or 8:20. If I get out of bed at 8:32 I will be in a car accident. I have to put my socks on right then left, then shoes on left then right. If my mind is elsewhere and I do it in the wrong order, even if I redo it, I believe I will be in a car accident. As you can imagine, all this causes me great anxiety and often stops me from driving.
My OCD revolves around germs, numbers, and order. I am much better today thanks to Prozac. There was a time where my OCD ruled my life. So I am not that happy that I have started hand washing again. It’s only been a couple of times so far. It starts with a simple washing when I am anxious and I think, “Man, this feels pretty good, maybe I will just wash my hands five times instead of once.” Then I get to the fifth time and I think, “Well, if it makes me less anxious why not do it five more times.” So I do. And so it goes until I am up to the 25th time and then it’s all, “Shit. Shit. I can’t stop!” And I feel even more anxiety then I did when I began. And stopping only makes it worse because then comes the guilt, the “What the hell is wrong with me that I just stood there and washed my hands 30 times?!” (Even writing this is making me anxious and I want to wash my hands).
That’s how OCD works. You experience anxiety and you believe that by doing something, that anxiety will lessen. And sometimes it does – for a bit – but you can’t do that something forever so your anxiety builds or starts again once you quit the compulsion. Like I said, it is an exhausting way to live.
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Last reviewed: 25 Sep 2013