OCD: Living a lie

Nobody likes liars. And if you could choose, you’d never live with one. But some people have no choice, they are forced to share their lives with a liar called OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the most terrifying mental illnesses and at the same time it’s one of the best liars the world has ever seen.

Why do I say that?

Because OCD can make your life a living hell by telling you lies that are absolutely irrational and making you believe that those are actually true. Now, if your partner or one of your friends is a liar, it’s obviously a very annoying thing but at least you can get rid of them or you can try to change them. However, when it comes to OCD, it’s much more difficult: it’s a liar that you’re forced to be together with for all your life, 27/4. It’s a part of you, you can not just tell it to stop.

What are the lies that OCD tells you?

It’s extremely difficult to give you a full list of all the lies that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has ever told people, but I’ll share a few very disturbing examples with you.

1. Doing your rituals will save you from a disaster

Most people with OCD (if not everyone) are way too familiar with this one. The little OCD monster sits on your shoulder and keeps telling you to do certain things so that you could stop a disaster from happening to yourself or to your loved ones (let’s say if you do not touch a certain object 5 times in a row, one of your family members will die). In most of the cases, you recognize that OCD lies to you, and the things it tells you to do are absolutely irrational, but you just can not stop doing them, and this is where the feeling of doubt comes into the picture:

– What if these lies are actually true?
– How do you know they are not true?


So, the safest option that you have is to act on your compulsions and to obey the OCD monster.

Want to read more about rituals? Check:
Magical Thinking OCD

2. The world is a dangerous place

If you’re suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it’s very likely that you feel that the world is a place full of dangers. And I do not say that our planet Earth is the safest place, but then it’s not as scary as a person with OCD would imagine it.

Unfortunately, this lie has been torturing me for years: I know that it’s completely irrational and I absolutely understand that I shouldn’t be afraid of everything, but at the end, OCD is always takes over me.

An example that I can give you is my extreme fear of contracting HIV: it’s extremely unlikely to catch it from touching a door knob, but I can assure you that OCD is able to explain to you how this would be possible:
– what if someone touched the door knob a few minutes ago and there’s some blood on it while you have a small scar on your hand and then the virus enters your bloodstream? You can never know, can you?

Further reading:
Obsessed With Your Own Body – The Dark Reality Of Body-Focused OCD
In Search Of Salvation – Compulsive Googling

3. You are dangerous

Well, there are many OCD sufferers who’re dangerously beautiful, but despite that, I’m pretty sure that they’re absolutely not dangerous to society.

Many of you may have already heard about harm OCD: a sub-type of OCD that makes you think that you’d easily be able to harm yourself or one of your loved ones.

Now let me tell you one thing: you are not dangerous. People with OCD would probably be the last ones on earth to hurt others. The reason why you can not get rid of your harm obsession is exactly because you’re extremely scared of it. And that actually means that you do not want to act on your intrusive thoughts.

A couple of years ago, I was going to a therapist who helped me a lot. A question she asked me was:

– If you could choose, would you prefer not to have your intrusive thoughts? (I was afraid of harming someone I love)

I obviously said:
– Of course, I want to get rid of them, that’s why I came here.

And then she said:
– Yes, and that means you’re not a bad person. If it you wanted to act on your intrusive thoughts, you’d actually enjoy having them and you wouldn’t have come here.


Further reading:
Am I A Monster? – The Story Of My Harm OCD

4. You do not even have OCD

I think that this is the worst lie OCD could possibly tell you.

And this is the one that is the most difficult to get rid of: you can tell yourself that you should stop doing all your rituals, because they do not make sense. You may even be able to convince yourself that you’re not at all dangerous and that thinking that you’d attack a random person in the street is absolutely ridiculous, but then there’s always a final lie OCD tells you:
What if I do not even have OCD? What if my therapist was lying me? What if I’m insane?

This sounds scary, doesn’t it? And I do not say you can easily stop having this thought, but one thing that helped me a lot was learning more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and about the lies it could possibly tell me.

Further Reading

Want to read more about OCD and the lies it can tell you?

I really hope this article will help some of you: knowing your enemy will give you better chances to fight against it.

And do not forget, there’s one more thing I love more than sharing my own stories: reading yours! So please share your personal OCD story in a comment section or just drop me an e-mail.

Mark Wester

48 thoughts on “OCD: Living a lie

  1. I always feel a bit uncomfortable when reading how other people describe OCD, with fearing some disaster, because for me the anxiety is just a feeling of discomfort. The fear is that I just won’t be able to relax or concentrate on and enjoy what I’m doing. Maybe that makes it more like ‘just right’ OCD.

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    1. Ah yes. For me, it is usually the fear of a potential disaster, however I do not think that the “just right type” of OCD is any easier, it is just different- unfortunately, all OCD types make life pretty difficult. Hope you’re doing good.

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks man. Yes, I am getting back into meditation. What I’ve found best is practising turning my attention to other things, and non-reactivity. I’m confident I can pretty much cure it through these two methods, I was getting there in the past with it, about a year ago. I focus on all of my sensory input, rather than what’s going on in my ‘mind’. For me it’s a process of moving from my mind and into my body and the world.

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      2. Meditation is a great idea, me too I am thinking about getting into it. And I am glad to hear that you are on your way to recovery, that’s very inspiring.
        Also, if there is any particular meditation technique you’d recommend, please share it with me 🙂
        Blessings

        Mark

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Definitely do 🙂 i can really really recommend the Calm app, it’s about £30 a year. It’s got loads of educational meditations, music, bedtime stories and stuff.

        Thank you. Yes indeed, meditation can be tricky with OCD, especially starting. But I see it as the perfect ERP exercise – the challenge of doing nothing except focus on one thing. Just remember that’s all that’s required for meditation – focus on one thing – sound, sensation, sight, all work. Your mind will want to do other things, but each time you just gently bring yourself back. I found that over time my mind became quieter, to the point i could actually have a completely silent mind. It was like an out-of-body experience, honestly. I’m determined to experience that again! I got out of meditation because of traumatic events, but i’m just getting back into it. Good luck!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you very much 🙂 I will check this out.
        And thank you for sharing your experience.
        Yes, meditation is very difficult indeed – i am sure it requires a lot of practice but I will surely give it a try because after reading your comment I checked a couple of articles about it 🙂
        Also bought a book on it: let’s see what ideas it will give me: i will share them on my blog.
        Sorry to hear about your traumatic events, hope everything is alright with you.
        Blessings
        Mark

        Liked by 1 person

      5. No problem at all, i’m glad to be able to make use of some of those not-fun experiences. Yes, it does take discipline to incorporate it into a daily schedule. It’s so tempting to do something else instead. Just got to start small. Literally as short as 1 min meditation, then 2, 5, 10 … Good luck with it! I’d be very interested to read your experiences & thoughts.

        Thank you, I no longer feel traumatised by them. Just the occasional nightmare. Things have been improving very rapidly for me the last few weeks, I’m currently very happy!

        Same to you.

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  2. I have a friend who is full-scale OCD with panic that becomes quite profound. Thank you for this blog, it helps me understand, relate, and continue to care. The misconceptions and stereotypes control the narrative, your voice and verve are touchstones for understanding the real mechanism behind it all.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, I really hope your friend will get better soon – OCD is like a real curse 😦
      And thank you for reading my blog, I am very glad that people find it helpful. Yes, unfortunately there are a lot of stereotypes about people with OCD and misconceptions are much more dangerous than people would imagine. For example, It took a couple of years for me to be diagnosed with OCD as I did not use to know anything about it and I used to think (just like many other people out there) that it is a cleaning obsession. Something I did not have – but instead I had a lot of disturbing thoughts. So I thought I was going crazy. Now, if I knew more about OCD at that time it would have been so much easier.

      Blessings

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Mark, Sorry for the delayed reply to your kind response. Conventional wisdom is replete with stereotypes that keep misinformation and disinformation trusted “truths.” The falsehoods take over and fossilize in the mind, particularly when those falsehoods get repeated from one generation to the next. Panic attacks and agoraphobia are my personal “disorders” that label me as odd. That old TV show “Monk” must represent all manner of stereotypical canards that keeps the misinformation spreading to large audiences. I would imagine that OCD takes on very many forms that are specific to the individual, yet people feel that they have to pigeonhole everything and slap a label on it. Glad that you have not only become more informed about what OCD really is but that you maintain a blog to dispel all those nagging myths about it. 🙂

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  3. Your last example makes me wonder where OCD ends and psychosis begins. For a few weeks a couple of years ago I went through a phase where unconnected events felt like they were related and there was a “them” behind them all. My therapist said “no, not schizophrenia, OCD”. I’m not sure what an OCD sufferer is supposed to do when the treatment looks like a conspiracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. That is a very good point and that is one of the scariest things about OCD. The lying psychologist example comes from one of my friends, so it was not me who was going through it but it scared me a lot when she told me.
      One thing that works with me is: being angry at my thoughts. Anger and fear are just 2 incompatible feelings so I guess that is why this helps. I do not say this is the best possible solution, but at least it works in a few situations.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice to meet you, Mark. I’m sorry you’re living through this and I wish you all the best with your condition. Hopefully we can at least be fun neighbors here on WP! I’m recovering from a brain disorder, so if there’s any hope at the end of the tunnel, I might be able to speak to it, even though it’s a different condition. Sorry this is kind of cold-calling you, but I thought I should say something.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to be more open with my condition, but I guess I’ll tell you… it’s one of the schizotypal conditions. Thank you! Yes, I’m doing so much better than I used to. We’ve found some great options for self-medication and lifestyle changes that seem to be working.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad to hear you found it useful and feel free to reblog!

      And I am sorry to hear that your daughter is suffering from OCD – I have been living with it for over a decade and it can make one’s life pretty difficult but the good news is there is definitely a way out and I really hope that she will soon overcome it.

      Blessings

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She’s lucky to have you ❤ It is very important to have someone supporting you. Me too I've been very luck because my family's always been very supportive.
        And I'm extremely glad that you found my posts useful – it means a lot to me 🙂 And I'll keep writing!

        Liked by 1 person

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