I am sure all of us have heard about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Almost everyone talks about it nowadays. With shows like Full House and Friends where one of the key characters exhibit excessive amounts of obsessive compulsive behavior, it has got people wondering. OCD should not be confused with Obsessive compulsive personality disorder OCPD.
Although both are similar OCD is an anxiety disorder and much more serious than OCPD while OCPD is a personality disorder. Most people exhibiting such condition show extreme importance to cleanliness and engage in acts of cleaning to a greater extent. Another common trait is hoarding where a person tends to collect a whole lot of stuff and finds it hard to let go of stuff.
A lot of times people confuse me with the OCPD disorder. Most people who tend to be perfectionist often get confused with this disorder. However not everyone who pays minute attention to every detail of things or meticulously plans every little event or who just like to stay clean and organized is an OCD.
For instance, keeping your place clean is good for the overall hygiene of everyone in the house. It prevents diseases and various other infections. I had a friend who stayed with roommates and she used to complain about how dirty her roommates kept the kitchen that they ended up having cockroaches all over the kitchen and microwave and dishwasher. You don’t have to be an OCD to prevent this. You just need basic common sense to remain clean.
I also like to collect things but not everything. Things that I feel will be useful for me later. I collect a lot of clothes, shoes, tools, books and at work I save my work emails. But this does not mean I am compulsive. The point here is, it is good to collect things as long as they are useful and when you realize it is no longer needed you should dispose it off immediately. For example every now and then I check my closet to see what all clothes I haven’t worn in the last 2 years and discard them. Similarly I delete my work emails over 2 yrs old. Storing emails consume a lot of disk space and is good to clean up.
Same is my case with making lists and getting into details of every single thing. Making lists just makes it easy for me to accomplish my tasks and planning helps me to avoid surprises. These are good traits; however care should be taken to make room for flexibility in your plans. For example if you have planned to meet your friend over the weekend to play tennis and have Vegan food later in the day but your friend insists on going out shopping and have Chinese food instead, be open to the change in plans. Not agreeing to it will make you an OCD.
Obsession about anything is okay as long as it doesn’t harm others and most importantly yourself. It shouldn’t get to the point where it starts affecting your social life. You shouldn’t make yourself bound by the rules that you made for yourself. That could get dangerous and would lead to long term ailment.
If you think you are obsessive compulsive then analyze if you are overdoing it, asks your friends and family about what they think about your obsession. Seek ways to prevent it and indulge in activities other than cleaning and washing. For people with hoarding disorder start by sharing your stuff. Start a share club where you can give your stuff in exchange for others. This will help you learn to let go of your stuff.
And most importantly, don’t think you have a disorder just because your friends think you have. You might be perfectly normal but due to peer pressure may tend to go towards extreme behavior. The key is to analyze your behavior and don’t overdo anything.