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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personal Story

May 20, 2008
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) come in various forms but most focus on cleanliness to a degree. This disorder has always fascinated me because for a period of time I feared that I had the disorder.

After learning more about the disorder I found that I had some traits that are similar in nature to those of OCD but I do not suffer from it. In order to be diagnosed with the disorder the obsessions and compulsions must impact on the daily life and functioning of the sufferer.

This article will tell the tale of someone I met a few years ago that actually suffered a great deal with OCD. Before I start this story I want to say that I have changed the name and some of the particulars in order to protect the identity of my friend.

Hannah shared this story with me years after she received the help that she needed and she graciously gave me permission to re-tell her story in the hope that someone will read it and get help long before the situation gets out of control.

Even as a young child Hannah did not like to get dirty. She seemed to be overly concerned about dirt, almost so that she was terrified of the thought of it. By the preteen years Hannah was convinced that she was different from other people.

She know that this dread of dirt and germs was not completely logical but she knew that if she allowed herself to get dirty something dreadful would happen, this would most likely mean something terrible would happen to her mother.

Throughout the years the obsessions with cleanliness would wax and wane but never completely go away. At about 17 years of age Hannah decided that if she got dirty she would get a devastating disease. She began focusing on dirty hands as a culprit.

Hannah was convinced that it is next to impossible to have clean hands. She began washing her hands very frequently in order to combat the dirt and germs that continuously accumulated there. This obsession/compulsion resulted in her hands being red and sore.

Going to the bathroom was a time consuming process as Hannah had to sterilize the toilet before and after use, and then came the extreme hand washing. Taking a shower was also very time consuming because the shower had to be sterilized before and after use.

This meant Hannah had to allow time for the cleaning as well as time to attend to personal hygiene. She was becoming more and more a slave to the disorder. Hannah did not allow people to touch her because she felt their hands were dirty, however, she longed for a human touch.

Safety issues also became a concern for Hannah. She would check countless times to see that all doors and windows were locked. Hannah knew her fears were irrational but she could not dismiss them. She was becoming more and more depressed and lonely.

Eventually Hannah developed a compulsion to recite the alphabet backward in order to fight the obsessive and intrusive thoughts. She found that this would dissipate the anxiety for a short period of time.

Her avoidance behaviors continued and even escalated until it finally was undeniable that there was a real problem. Hannah visited her doctor and was placed on antidepressants. Her doctor recommended a consult with a psychologist.

From there Hannah was referred to a psychiatrist and began therapy sessions. With the help of the medications and the therapy Hannah is now a happy and healthy person.

Her journey through this disorder has been long and it definitely took a toil on her life. Hannah continues to use the recital of the backward alphabet as a coping mechanism when she feels distressed, however most of the symptoms of the disorder have disappeared.

If OCD is controlling you and your life it is time to seek help from a professional.
About the Author
To learn more about anxiety disorders and other topics of interest to women of all ages visit:
Debbie Allen is a writer, internet marketer and personal coach.
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