What OCD Feels Like: Being Absolutely Uncertain
Mike’s thoughts were driving him “crazy.”
One thought would lead him into another and another. His anxiety would shoot to the roof and he couldn’t stand it. He felt these thoughts would never stop tormenting him. He appeared distracted and aloof to those around him. He was too busy thinking. His brain was constantly on rewind and reviewing his thoughts and actions. Did I say this? Did she say that? What if I said this? What if this happened?
What if? What if… were constant questions in his mind. Sometimes he felt as if his brain were going to explode because it was racing a thousand miles per hour. He was sure about one thing: he needed 100 percent assurance regarding his thoughts and doubts. He spent countless hours looking for evidence to erase his doubts. It was never enough. He could never arrive at a feeling of peace.
Mike often became upset with people who didn’t understand the pain that OCD causes. When someone said “I am so OCD,” he would get irritated. He felt that people who really had OCD wouldn’t joke about it. Having OCD is not a joking matter, he lamented — but only to himself. Many people suffering from mental obsessions are embarrassed by them and may wait for years before disclosing their troubling thoughts to close friends and family. Mike was among them.
He often wondered why his OCD suffering was not the contamination or checking type. He thought those would be easier to control and manage than the obsessions he experienced. The kind of OCD Mike had didn’t fit the kind of OCD the media often describes. He wondered how he could be helped if it were all in his head. He felt hopeless.
Characteristics of People with OCD
Research indicates that OCD sufferers often exhibit high creativity and imagination and above-average intelligence. For those experiencing primarily mental obsessions, it is difficult to dismiss a random weird thought as non-sufferers do.
Individuals with mental obsessions will try to pick apart their thoughts in order to figure them out and resist them. They will also try to figure out their thoughts don’t match their self-image. They can spend hours scrutinizing the answers. It doesn’t matter how long they search through their mind for reassurance or how long it takes them to find the answer on the Internet. The answers will not satisfy the uncertainty they experience.
Treatment for OCD
Is there any hope of real help for them? Of course. However, OCD treatment is difficult, and that is one of the main reasons some stay away from treatment. Making obsessions better by performing compulsions is a temporary relief. Unfortunately, compulsions only reinforce OCD symptoms.