I have written quite a few articles about my experience with OCD. I’ve had it since I was 10 and over the years have been up and down and all over the place, but because of this have been able to discover ways to cope and deal with the disorder.
In my experience, it’s not something that you can get over quickly like a cold or the flu. It’s been all over the place for me, and there’s been weeks where it’s very low key and other weeks where I can’t leave the house without checking things multiple times. It can be difficult, and if you’re struggling with ways to deal with it, there are a couple.
The first one I found very useful was recommended to me by a friend, who incidentally had no experience with OCD and thought it would just be helpful, and that is to take pictures of the things you feel the need to check before you leave the house. For example, when I leave the house in the morning, I take a picture of my hair straighteners plug to show that they’re definitely not in the outlet. If I get uncomfortable or itchy throughout the day, I can simply look at the picture and be reminded that I have definitely done it.
Secondly, lists are very helpful! One of my OCD things (for lack of a better term) is that I can’t sleep without checking my alarms have been set multiple times and that my phone is definitely charging, etc. But, if I write a checklist of these things and tick the items off when I’ve done it, I know for certain everything is dealt with and I can get some sleep. It’s easy to glance at and check, rather than going through the whole process of actually double (and triple, and more) checking everything.
Another way is to get someone else to watch you when you do things compulsively. This sounds strange straight off the bat, but if you turn around to go and double check something, they can remind you that you’ve already done it. This is helpful if the two previous methods aren’t working for you and you find another person more reliable than your own photo or checklist.
Lastly, keep yourself distracted. This probably seems like the useless piece of advice that someone will tell you with no prior experience of OCD, but I find on my bad days that watching TV, listening to music or writing can help my thought track stay in it’s own lane and not verge onto the itch in the back of my mind.
These are just a few things that worked for me personally, and I cannot guarantee that they will help everyone given that no person’s OCD is the same as the next. But at the same time, I hope you do find these somewhat helpful!
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