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The OCD In Me

Posted Mar 18 2009 3:03pm
It is there. It is always there. For the most part, it remains dormant and undetected. Only recently have I felt the familiar tug.

It was during college that I realized that I was mildly OCD. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder in which a person has unreasonable fears that lead to repetitive behaviors. I read that over three million Americans between the ages of 18 and 54 have had OCD at one time. Most people who have OCD know they have it, are ashamed by it and want it to go away. It can be severe and so time-consuming that it becomes disabling. Thankfully, that was not the case with me. My OCD was managed and not obvious.

My earliest memory of OCD is with my father. I was seven or eight years old. I recall sitting in the back seat of our green station wagon watching my father lock up his place of employment. He would lock the door and then take a few steps away. He would always go back and check the door to make sure it was locked. He would tug once...pause...two...three...four...pause...five. It was only after the final tug that he would walk to the car.

Is it genetic or a learned behavior?

I am sure many people hear the term OCD and think hand washing or excessive orderliness. OCD manifests itself in many ways. The focus of my OCD is electrical appliances that have the potential to cause fire. Years ago, I decided to combat the OCD using Behavioral Therapy. As a psychology major in college, the topic of our senior seminar was Behavioral Therapy. I used a few techniques I learned in class to reduce my anxiety. It worked. A few years later, after my daughter was born, I no longer had the time or energy to worry. As far as I was concerned, my OCD was defeated.

Until last week.

For the first time in years I found myself checking an electrical appliance. I am referring to something more that a quick double check. I was in my car and started to drive out of the parking lot. I had to stop and go back in the house. I needed to be sure. The appliance was off. I sat back in my car and realized what I had just done. I do not want to go down that path again. I hope that writing about OCD will help combat it.

This is a hard post to write and share. I have placed my anxiety on the Internet for anyone to read.
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