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Understanding the workings of OCD.

Do you ever have a passing thought that is contrary to your moral code? How do you react to these thoughts? The average person, has the thought, looks at it for a moment and then moves on to the next. The average person is not stuck on a thought worrying what it means. On the other side of the spectrum lies OCD. Someone with OCD will have the same type of thought as everyone else, but the difference is OCD sufferers will experience a fight or flight response. Adrenaline courses through their body. Their minds starts going faster. The risk seems greater. In an OCD mind, a person does not feel something for nothing. If they are having a high anxiety response, it must mean something. If I were sitting minding my own business and all of a sudden, my foot felt like it was burning in a fire, my reaction would not be to dismiss it. I would be looking at my shoe, ripping it off to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, for someone with OCD, one finds there is no fire. This is confusing.  Why would I feel something so real when it is not. The relief felt for checking is also confusing. If checking for a fire in my shoe gives relief from anxiety, then how could there not be some truth to what happened. Then they start feeling as though their foot is burning again. The anxiety rush is through the roof. They look down at their shoe. They pull it off and examine where the burning pain is. All logic goes out the room. Relief is the only focus. They get relief by seeing there is no fire. The cycle then repeats. The amount of pain experienced is so awful that to repeatedly check and verify that there is no fire is only a small price to pay to avoid the anxiety. Uncertainty is their kryptonite. The moment they create certainty that there is probably a fire in their shoe relief is there. Someone with OCD could feel this anxiety for minutes, hours, days and even longer. Spending most of their days performing mental or physical compulsions to create certainty. Interestingly enough, very often the compulsions or rituals connect to their value system. As I understand OCD, it seems like a parasite. It goes to the core of who the person is, sees what they value the most and exploits it.  With this understanding, can you imagine fear connecting to your values? When OCD hits, it is not only anxiety, it connects to what you love and care about most in this life. This only intensifies the experience. OCD sufferers are literally terrorized. A large percentage of society does not understand what OCD really is. An average person may say, "I am so OCD".  When I hear this, I want to immediately fire back... Really? So, you just had terror and fear flood your body and you need to get relief from this overwhelming moment?  Most people cannot relate. These individuals are probably dealing with perfectionism or even anal retentiveness, but not OCD. 


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