My life with OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is something not many people talk about and it is also often misunderstood. Sufferers know exactly that what they are doing is not part of the norm and is perceived as weird and unusual or even strange but their Obsession tells them to perform a ritual or routine which eases their anxiety. OCD sufferers are have also developed a talent of avoiding the triggering stimulus.

Different Types of OCD:

Health OCD: With this type, people are constantly worried about catching illnesses and panic about the slightest symptoms such as a common cold. It is also common for sufferers to research symptoms and then panic when google tells them it could be cancerous.

Relationship OCD: This particular one can interfere the most with a relationship and their partner’s life. Sufferers panic about sexually transmitted diseases or falling pregnant even if protection has been used.

Symmetry and ordering OCD: The environment needs to be exactly the way the sufferer has left it and decorated it. If a single item has moved slightly, they will know about it and could potentially show and angry behaviour.

Number OCD: number ocd is all about number and how many times a certain behaviour is performed. Let’s take hand washing as an example. If the sufferer likes the number four or perceived that number as a lucky one they will wash and soap their hands four times in a row in order to feel clean.

Hoarding: Hoarding is actually part of OCD. This usually includes storing things that people think they might need but really don’t and their environment gets filled with unnecessary things.

Contamination OCD: I suffer from this particular type of OCD, which is also the most common. If I perceive something as unclean or dirty and it has either been in contact or near another object, it would either get thrown away or excessively cleaned.

There are many more types but the ones listed above are definitely the most common ones and most challenging to deal with. They don’t just affect the person’s life but also others around them.

When did my OCD start?

I was officially diagnosed with this anxiety disorder in 2015 and it has affected many parts of my life. The first time I started to notice symptoms was when I was 10 years old. Instead of spending time with my friends or concentrate on my school work, I would stay at home and clean.

What triggered my OCD?

The main trigger was definitely my mom’s partner when we moved to Germany. He had never cleaned his cluttered flat before we moved in and he only used to take a shower once a week. It sounds and is really disgusting. I still remember the smell lingering in the air along with the heap of clutter and dirt everywhere laying around. It gives me goosebumps and makes me feel absolutely cringe thinking about it.

How did I get away from my trigger?

After getting away from my disappointing home life, I moved in with my partner into a flat in Austria. The flat was clean, organised and homely. This was the perfect environment for me to finally lay back and relax and take a long break from my obsessions and compulsions. My family did live around the corner though, giving me the urge to clean the flat every single day, including dusting, hoovering and polishing the floors.

Living in an environment like this which was easy to maintain and keep my OCD at bay gave me a huge boost to my quality of life. I was able to enjoy life again and experience days out without worrying about what I am coming home to. I was not even 18 when I moved out but it was worth it and changed my life.

How does the anxiety disorder affect my Relationship?

It is very hard being in a relationship and coping with OCD. It takes a strain on both, myself and my partner but we cope with it and always find a solution to whatever is bothering both of us.

My partner suffers from symmetry and ordering OCD. This does make it quite challenging but at the same time, he understands what I am going through and what it means to suffer from the disorder and vice versa. This creates a certain balance in our relationship which allows us to support each other and provide help whenever needed.

How do I cope with the disorder while living on a building site?

When I was 16 years old, I moved to England to where my partner had his main life set up. He owns his own house but decided to renovate it and perform heavy demolishen work from day one. This means that we are both living on a building site where everything is constantly either dusty, dirty or spread all over the house. Nothing is ever fully clean.

This way of living is very challenging for me and for my partner but I have a method of coping with whatever the work on the house throws at me.

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