12 things that will help you overcome OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the most terrifying mental illnesses and it can make your life a living hell. Fortunately, there are a lot of useful techniques that can help you ease your symptoms. In this article, I will share 12 things that helped me a lot – and I really hope that you’ll also find them useful.

1. Do not rely on your intuition!

Trusting your intuition is not always the best idea.
It is very tempting to invent your own methods for treating your OCD.

As you could have seen on my blog (and you’ll keep seeing it in the future), I prefer alternative methods for treating OCD or any other disorder, but the issue is that OCD is a liar. It tells you irreal and irrational things and it forces you to act on your compulsions.
So, relying on your intuition and inventing your own tricks could actually make your OCD worse. Why? Simply, because you may end up having additional obsessions and compulsions – next to your existing ones.

2. OCD is chronic

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is just like diabetes or asthma: you can keep it under control, but there’s no cure for it.
It is a pretty sad thing to read, I know and first time I learnt it, it’d actually give me a panic attack: it’s scary to imagine that you’ll spend your whole life with this monster. But it’s better to acknowledge this fact.

The good news is that there are a lot of success stories, and a great number of people who can keep their OCD under control.

3. Doubt & Guilt – recognize them!

One of the characteristics of OCD is the constant circle of doubt and guilt.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the typical “what if” questions, and the“one never knows” logic:
– What if I go crazy?
– Have I locked the door?
– What if I did something terrible and I do not even remember?


The little OCD monster constantly sits on your shoulder and plants seeds of doubt in your mind. By acknowledging these feelings, you’ll be able to keep them under control.

4, Do not seek reassurance!

I’ll be honest with you: this is the most difficult one for me. I’m personally addicted to seeking reassurance and this is something that I’ll need to work on a lot more in the future, but I’m on a good way to recover from it.
So what do I mean by seeking reassurance?
When you keep asking your friends whether you’re a good person, just to make sure you’re not dangerous to anyone. Or when you keep checking Google to make sure that you couldn’t have caught the disease you’re so scared of.
Sounds familiar? If yes, the best thing you can do is stop doing this!

5. Do not try to prevent your thoughts!

The best way to prevent your obsessive thoughts is trying not to prevent them. Sounds pretty paradoxical, doesn’t it? But it actually works.
While you’re trying to prevent your thoughts you actually think about them even more, so it’s a vicious cycle. Most of the people have intrusive thoughts and these are perfectly natural – even if they’re not too pleasant to have. Let’s accept that they’re there and you’ll feel much better!

6. Agree with your thoughts

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
The last thing you’d want to do is to agree with your thoughts: they can be way too scary. But then, it’s kind of a reverse psychology: if you agree with them, you’ll think about them less.
And spending less time on them will give you more time to relax and this will significantly reduce your anxiety.

7. Do not rely on others: they won’t always be there!

Your loved ones can help you a lot. And that’s something that you’ll need, but on the other hand, make sure that you’re able to feel good even if they’re not around.
I’m a very social person and at the beginning of my OCD journey, I made a terrible mistake: I became addicted to seeking reassurance and support from my friends and family. During my worst OCD period, I did not use to be able to spend time alone, I’d always need someone to be there to tell me that things were going to be alright.

8. Recovery takes time

If you’ve been reading about OCD or about any other mental disorder, I’m pretty sure that you have seen this statement enough times.
So I do not want to spend a long time on discussing it. All I want to say is: yes, it’s true, it takes time to recover, so do not stress. Stress can make your symptoms even worse.

9. Be proud of yourself!

Having OCD is definitely not fun and it’s very hard to talk about it. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
There are a lot of people out there who will understand you and who’ll be able to help. Talking about it is a huge relief and I am sure that you’ll find a few people with OCD in your environment – they may not talk about it, but believe me, you are not alone!

10. Educate yourself!

Knowing your enemy will help you fight against it. Learning more about OCD will help you handle it better.
I was diagnosed with OCD ten years ago and at the time of my diagnosis, I did not use to know anything about it. And I can tell you it was much more difficult for me to handle it than it is nowadays. One of the reasons behind this is that over the years, I learnt a lot about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I have adopted a lot of techniques that help me fight against it.

If you want to learn more about OCD, please check:
Frequently Asked Questions about OCD
My blog feed

11. Eat Healthy Food!

I’m sure this is not a new piece of information for most of you, but it’s still important to mention. Sugary foods, caffeine, alcohol and processed products can make your OCD and your anxiety worse.

I have found an amazing article about what foods you should avoid if you suffer from OCD: https://www.livestrong.com/article/467972-foods-not-to-eat-if-you-have-ocd-or-panic-attacks/

At the moment, I’m about to make a few changes to my diet and it’ll probably take some time to feel the positive effects of them. So I’ll keep you posted! πŸ™‚

12. Get enough sleep!

Being tired can definitely worsen your anxiety. So another thing that helps is getting a good night sleep.
I know it may sometimes be difficult as OCD gave me a lot of sleepless nights, but at least try to sleep as much as you can! πŸ™‚

+ 1 more thing

There is one more thing that I love more than sharing my own stories and ideas: reading yours.

I’m pretty sure that many of my readers have useful ideas that can help others overcome OCD. So, please share your thoughts, techniques, tricks and ideas in the comment section – or just drop me an e-mail.

Mark Wester

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 of the 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 the 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?

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.

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

Magical Thinking OCD

Is life more beautiful with a little bit of magic? Well, for some people it certainly isn’t. Especially for those who have OCD.

I’m pretty sure many of my readers have already heard about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a terrifying mental illness that millions are suffering from. Now, in the media, OCD is often portrayed as a kind of cleaning addiction (if you have seen Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners on TLC, I guess you know what I’m talking about – do not get me wrong, I do not say the TV show is not good, but it can easily mislead people who do not know what OCD is about.)
Note: click here if you want to see a list of frequently asked questions about OCD

Today, I’ll write about another symptom (or we could even say a “sub-type”) of OCD, which is magical thinking.

What do we mean by magical thinking?

Magical thinking doesn’t mean that you believe you have a kind of magical superpower. It’s a kind of “mindset” that makes you think that performing certain activities will help you avoid a disaster, will save your loved ones from any possible harm or will make you luckier.

Now while reading this, you may think: is this not a kind of superstition? And that is a very good question. To a certain extent magical thinking looks pretty superstitious, but it’s much more than being afraid of black cats or feeling unlucky on Friday the 13th.

People who’re suffering from magical thinking OCD are just unable to stop acting on their compulsions and they can be extremely distressed by their own thoughts – and being the slave of your own compulsions also means that you spend a great deal of your time on them.

What are the main symptoms of magical thinking OCD?

Well, first of all: believing that if you do not do things in a certain way, something terrible will happen. To be honest it’s very difficult to explain this feeling because your rational self knows that it’s absolutely crazy, but then you’re just unable the stop your racing thoughts. A few examples that I was experiencing:

– if you do not skip every other step while walking up the stairs, one of your loved ones will get sick.

– if you do not touch certain objects multiple times (until it feels right, depends on the sufferer’s preference), you’ll get fired from your job. And obviously, if you miss the ritual, you’ll be terrified for the whole day.

– if you check 15 times that the door is locked, your home will be protected – if not, again: something horrible will happen

– being extremely superstitious: now there are a lot of people who’re superstitious, but people with OCD take it to a whole new level: spending significant part of their day trying to avoid any situation that they feel could bring them bad luck.

– if you watch certain movies, something bad will happen (Obviously, I wouldn’t like to share the list of movies I’m avoiding, because those poor movies are not the ones to blame for the distress that they’re causing to me.)

Now, a lot of people may have thoughts that are similar to the ones I listed above, but it does not always mean that they have OCD. OCD starts when you are obsessed with these thoughts and it’s difficult for you to stop acting on the compulsions the little Compulsive Monster is suggesting to you.

And obviously, the list of thoughts magical thinking OCD can give you is much much longer.

So please do not hesitate to share your personal story in the comment section (or in an e-mail if you prefer that). There’s one thing I love more than sharing my stories: reading yours.

Also, I’m sharing a couple of useful links with you in case you’d like to read more about this type of OCD:
http://beyondocd.org/expert-perspectives/articles/very-superstitious
https://www.gatewayocd.com/magical-thinking-ocd-symptoms-and-treatment/




OCD: a vicious cycle of doubt and guilt

Two of the key characteristics of OCD are doubt and guilt. But what does it feel like to suffer from them? That’s what I’m going to write about today and I’ll share one of my personal stories with you.

First of all, let’s take a look at doubt: this is something I have already mentioned in a few of my previous posts. People who’re suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are living in doubt: and this is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard to get rid of OCD and to move on.

Doubt: what does it actually feel like?

If you have OCD, I’m pretty sure you have already experienced this terrible feeling. To me personally, doubt usually means the “what if” type of questions. The majority of people wouldn’t be scared by a sudden intrusive thought: such as throwing themselves under the train or jumping off the cliff, because they’d KNOW for sure that they do not want to do it.

Now one of the scary things about OCD is that you NEVER KNOW. If a random thought comes into your mind, you’ll not let it go – that’d be way too simple. No, you’ll start analyzing it – and that is when the feeling of doubt and guilt comes into the picture. So let’s say that you have just had a scary thought – throwing yourself under the train for example. What happens next?

You tell yourself that it’s just crazy and you do not want to do that. Why would you?

This is the point where the OCD monster (yes, I usually imagine OCD as an ugly little monster sitting on your shoulder and whispering random stuff into your ears) joins you:
How do you know you do not want to do it? What if you actually want to do it?

Answering Mr. OCD’s questions are usually very difficult, but let’s try:
– Because I do not want to die.

But the OCD monster will never give up, so it carries on:
You said that word yourself, did not you? What if that means that you want to die – you just do not know about it.

And carrying on with this inner conversation is very distressing – and the more you do it, the worse you feel.

So what are the best things you could do?

1. Label your thoughts:

Recognize when you have an intrusive thought and tell yourself that this is just OCD and that it’s not real and not rational at all.
Doing this requires a lot of practice. I wouldn’t have been able to do this a few years back – and even nowadays, it can be very difficult, but I promise you one thing: it’s worth the effort. This will help you a lot.

3. Do not try to stop your thoughts:

This will have the exact opposite effect than the one you’d want to have: if you try to get rid of your thoughts and to force yourself not to think about them, you’ll actually think about them more.

3. Be angry at your OCD monster:

Anger and fear are not compatible feelings: so it’s unlikely that you’d feel the 2 of them at the exact same time. So by being angry at your little OCD monster will help you overcoming your fear.

Guilt: What does it actually feel like?

Now let’s speak about the feeling of guilt.

It’s very much related to the feeling of doubt. You just start blaming yourself for the things that you’re thinking about and for the feelings that you have. And you start thinking that these are actually a part of you and they define who you are. So, the fact that you’re having these thoughts and feelings means that you’re a horrible person.

As you can already imagine, this feeling of guilt is also responsible for giving you even more doubts (and also the other way around – your doubts will make you feel more guilt). So the two of them are pretty much completing each other. What a beautiful relationship, isn’t it?

For me, the feeling of guilt is one of the major obstacles when it comes to overcoming OCD and for a very simply reason:
I feel guilty for wasting so many years of my life on my obsessions and compulsions and I’m afraid that If I do not have them anymore, my life will become worse.

Okay, let’s stop here: reading this, you’ll think that I’m totally insane (which is partially true, but not becaue of my OCD). But I’ll explain you why I feel like this:

Magical thinking

To explain what it is, I’ll just literary copy and paste the definition from a book: unreasonable and irrational thought patterns that are characterized by connecting actions and events that have no relation whatsoever.



Over the years, I have managed to overcome most of my fears and I’ve become relatively good at handling OCD, but there’s a final fear that I have to face and that’s OCD itself. And it’s the feeling of guilt that makes it so difficult. I just feel that I wasted so much time on worrying about things that did not actually matter that I think I’m not worth of being happy anymore. I feel that I’m a sinner and my biggest sin has been destroying my own life with my disturbing thoughts. I’m living a pretty decent life nowadays (except for the OCD part of course), but I’m just scared: what if I manage to overcome OCD and things will get worse?

Note: check out this article for learning more about the magical thinking OCD

Now this is what we could even call a Stockholm syndrome. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a kidnapper who wants to make you feel guilty for living him.

If you want to read more about what living with OCD feels like, please check out:
What it is like to live with OCD? – A day in my life
OCD: afraid of blinding yourself (a few more details about the feeling of doubt)
6 types of OCD

There’s one thing that I like more than sharing my own personal stories: reading yours. So, please do not hesitate to share your own story in the comment section! πŸ™‚

Mark Wester









What is it like to live with OCD? – A day in my life.

I wake up in the morning and the first thought coming into my mind is:
what if I did something terrible while I was sleeping and I’m not even aware of it? The list of things that I could have done during my sleep is absolutely endless: I could have harmed someone, I could have stolen something, who knows?

And obviously, this intrusive thought wouldn’t just let me alone: no way, I need to check if everything is okay at home and sometimes (not everyday) I need to check the news: because then, who knows, I may have been sleepwalking and I may have done something insane that I’d not be proud of.

Now this would be totally justified if I were a sleepwalker, but I am not. I am suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – and one of the main characteristics of OCD is doubt. You know that you do not want to do certain things and to be honest you also know that you’ll never do any of those things that your intrusive thoughts are suggesting to you, but you always doubt yourself and you keep asking yourself: what if….?

Then it carries on: having your morning coffee is not always simply. First of all: you shouldn’t even be having your morning coffee because caffeine can actually make your OCD symptoms worse, but then everyone has their own guilty pleasures. Mine is coffee.

So having your morning coffee wouldn’t be scary on it’s own, but then one thing you always need to check is whether you actually turned the coffee machine off – what if you haven’t done so and your home will catch fire? And what if someone gets hurt because of that? Let’s not even think about that.

Yet, every morning I need to check a couple of times if I have really turned it off. You never know, do you?

Next thing I usually do is putting my contact lenses in. While putting them in, the first question that usually comes into my mind: what if I accidentally blind myself – or even worse, what if I do that intentionally?
I have already overcome that fear so that’s okay. But then the story is still not over.

What if I did not put my lenses in the right way?

I have anisometropia, meaning that one of my eyes is stronger than the other ones. So obviously, I need to check a couple of times (until it feels right) whether I have managed to put my lenses in properly.

Leaving home: the most difficult part. And a pretty well-known obsession – I do not think that this will surprise any of you: I need to check a couple of times if the door is locked.

This compulsion started a few years back and at that time, it used to be enough for me to check it like 3-4 times, but over the years, it’s been getting worse and worse, so nowadays I need to check if the door is locked at least 10 times – and sometimes that also includes walking away from the door and going back to check it once more. This is very embarrassing and I guess my neighbors think that I’m totally loco.

Then, I usually take the tube to go to work. Sometimes I need to go back home to check once more if my door is properly locked, but fortunately that’s not too common. Let’s say it happens only once per week.

Now the tube is one more obstacle: my Pure O is torturing me and makes me think: what if I threw myself under a tube train? Do not get me wrong, I do not want to do that. But the “Pure O monster” would never be okay with me telling him that I do not want to do it…cause it’ll keep asking me questions …that usually start with “what if”?

So, I usually prefer staying as far from the platform edge as possible – you never know, right?

Finally, I arrive to my workplace and thanks for God, usually nothing particular happens when I’m in there. One of the techniques that I use for keeping my OCD under control is keeping myself as busy as possible. We could say I’m a workoholic – I may actually be one – but this is another topic.

Even though life at work is pretty much like a safe zone for me, the intrusive thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone: so I obviously need to check at least 3 times if the e-mails I’ve written are okay, I need to check sometimes whether my contact lenses are still in. A weird compulsion that I usually have during the flu season is that I keep checking if I have fever – not if checking it would make any difference if I actually had fever, but then it’s just something I have to do. At least a positive thing is that we do not have flu season all over the year.

Then obviously, sometimes I’m afraid of fainting because that’d be an embarrassing to do in front of your co-workers – this could actually give me a minor panic attack but I’m trying to control it.

Now a typical day usually ends at the bar at the corner. I’m a very social person and I have a lot of friends – that helps me a lot, cause my other way of handling OCD is that I just simply try to ignore it completely and try to get away from it as far as possible. So keeping yourself busy can actually help. Obviously, one needs to face ones fears but OCD shouldn’t take over your life – so my suggestion to everyone who’s suffering from OCD is to go out as many times as they can. πŸ™‚

So, what happens at the bar?

It really depends on the day. Sometimes my OCD leaves me alone – sometimes it’s taking over me.

One thing that I absolutely dislike is when people tell me their secrets. I’m very good at keeping them, but on the other hand, the little Pure O monster often starts whispering random stuff into my ears:
– what if you tell someone about their secrets – and then it carries on – I know you think you do not want to tell it to anyone, but what if you actually want to tell their secrets to others or…what if it just accidentally happens?
I usually let this thought go away pretty quickly, but that doesn’t always help cause the next one is waiting in the queue: what if someone else who knows about their secrets tells other people and then your friend will think that it was you?

Now that is a much scarier one: it’s something you just can not control.

Usually, this intrusive thought wouldn’t force me to do any compulsive thing, but then another little monster is waiting for me at the toilet (alright, I knooow, this sounded kind of creepy, but you see what I mean: GERMS). So, after using the bar’s bathroom, I must (yes, must is the best word to describe the feeling) wash my hands a couple of times – there’s no specific number for this, it’s just…until it feels right. Depends on the day.

Getting home is usually pretty safe. There’s one more thing that I do not know if it’s linked to OCD or not (probably need to ask a therapist – I’ll let you know once I got the answer), but I just need to have a phone call with someone before I enter my home – If I do not do that, I have the feeling that something terrible might happen. So, I usually smoke a couple of cigarettes and talk on the phone before entering my home. This could take an hour – or two.

During the day, I like keeping myself busy, but then the scariest part of the day is when I get home and go to sleep. As you may have noticed (based on my previous posts), I’m single so I’m not sharing my bed with anyone – which means that Pure O’s most active period is the one when I’m trying to fall asleep.

So a storm of all kind of thoughts is on the way:
I usually ask myself whether I’m good enough at what I’m doing – my job is pretty important to me so I constantly worry about losing it and this makes me check all positive feedback that I received in the past – just to make sure I was good enough. So I need to check the feedback a few times, until it just feels right.

Another intrusive thought is my extreme worry about not being able to buy a flat on my own (that’s extremely important in our culture, not sure if it’s the same in yours – please feel free to share in the comment section). So this can force me to look at flats for sale – for hours and hours. Do not get me wrong, I do not actually have the money to buy one, it’s more like a magical thought: if I check it enough times, I may end up having money to purchase a house or flat. Completely illogical, I know, but well, OCD is not famous for being the most logical thing on earth.

Finally, a very last one that often keeps me awake at night: the feeling of guilt. What If I’m not grateful enough for everything I have (at the end of the day, my life is pretty good) and I feel that I’m a bad person and feel very guilty for having wasted so much money on myself (yes, next to all of this, I am also a big spender – a shopaholic, you might say – just to make things even worse.)

The last thing that I do everyday, before falling asleep is:
checking if the alarm is set. Not only once, but at least 3 times – and on 2 different phones.

I’ve always been a night owl and it’s very difficult for me to get up early in the morning. So then you can never know, if you are unable to get up in the morning, you’ll not be able to get to work on time so they’ll fire you and then you’ll not have money so ….you’ll even become homeless and…I think those who are suffering from OCD can carry on completing the rest of this.

So: this is the story of my life. Every day is different, but the one I have described above is a pretty average one. I obviously didn’t want to share all of the details because what if I won’t be able to publish any more posts after that? I wouldn’t want that because I love sharing my stories with people. And I hope you like reading them.

Please share your personal stories in the comment section because there’s one thing I love doing more than sharing my stories: reading yours! πŸ™‚

Mark Wester

Pure O: Living in Endless Fear

Have you ever heard your friends saying that “they were so OCD” ? Or watched any reality shows where they present OCD as a kind of cleaning obsession or as the fear of germs?

The answer is probably yes.

But the reality is that OCD is much more complex than that – it’s just like the boggart in the Harry Potter series, it can have a lot of different faces and every single person who’s suffering from OCD will experience it in their own way. Some of us need to repeatedly check if we’ve locked the door, some of us must clean our homes multiple times a day – but there’re people out there who’re being tortured by a much less known form of OCD, called Pure O.

What is Pure O?

Purely obsessional OCD – or simply, Pure O – means that you’re haunted by intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts, but these are usually not accompanied by any compulsions.

Now, this was a definition from a psychology book that I was reading and there are a lot of articles on the internet that speak about Pure O from a scientific point of view, so in this post I’ll write more about my feelings and what Pure O means to me: a total terror.

I’ve been suffering from it ever since I was a small child, but then it got out of control when I was at junior high.

What does Pure O feels like?

Most of the people have intrusive thoughts: but those who do not suffer from OCD may not even notice them. And Pure O usually starts with one of these crazy thoughts, such as:

– what if I’m sexually attracted to my relatives?
– what if I’ll harm one of my loved ones?
– what if I push someone off the roof?
– what if I push someone onto the tube tracks?
– what if I am a bad person?
– what if I confess a crime that I did not commit?
– what if I put my cat into the microwave?
– what if I jump off the roof?

And after the first intrusive thoughts, it’ll get worse and worse, so you may even be able to explain yourself that you’re not a bad person and that you do not want to act on your thoughts – but OCD is like a monster and this monster is doing amazingly well at giving the benefit of doubt to its victims, so it’ll just carry on with:

– what if I actually want to do the things that came into my mind?

If you do not know that you’re suffering from Pure O, this question will be extremely difficult to answer: you’ll doubt yourself and you’ll never be sure whether you actually want to commit all the horrible crimes your intrusive thoughts have been suggesting to you. While those who know that they have Pure O may be slight luckier: it’s not me, it’s just Pure O, I’m not a bad person and of course I do not want to do any of that crazy stuff. But then the final attack:

– what if…I do not even have OCD, what if I just believe that I have it, but the truth is that I’m a horrible person?

So as you can see, Pure O is able to provide you with an endless list of “what if” questions. Creativity is a very good thing, but when it comes to this terrifying disorder, it’s actually a huge advantage if a person is not too creative – because the more creative you are, the more opportunities you have to invent more and more “what if” questions (with the help of our Pure O monster).

At this point, you may ask yourself: how can one get rid of Pure O?

I’ll be honest with you: at the moment, I will not be able to give you a complete answer to this question, because I’m working on it myself, however I can give you a list of ideas that actually helped me:

1. Seek professional help

Okay, this may sound clichΓ©e and I know you could probably find this one on every single OCD related website, but I do think this is extremely important.

Why?

The answer is simple: Pure O is characterized by doubt. I used to think that I was totally crazy and dangerous and I was scared to talk about my feelings because I thought I’d end up in a psychiatric hospital and I’d spend the rest of my life there. But then I went to a therapist and that’s where I learnt that intrusive thoughts are actually pretty common and a lot of people have them – obviously, it didn’t stop me from having major panic attacks every time an intrusive thought came into my mind, but then it’d been a huge help. (I shouldn’t even mention the useful techniques that I’ve learnt during my therapy – that’ll be a topic for a future article πŸ™‚ )

2. Tell your family and friends

I know this is a difficult one, because a Pure O sufferer would normally ask themselves a question: what if they think that I’m totally insane?

And that’s a valid point, I used to think the same. But then, believe me: my loved ones reacted to it much better than I’d have ever expected. Earlier, I’ve mentioned that a lot of people have intrusive thoughts (according to studies, and psychologists), so I’m pretty sure that there’s someone among your friends who’ll understand the way you feel. Of course it’s important to find the right person with whom you can share your experiences, because let’s be honest: there are the kind of people who’d make the whole thing worse by their comments, but according to my experience, it’s really worth taking the risk.

3. Stop avoiding!

Yes, I know it’s difficult to face your fears, but the sooner the better. Hiding kitchen knives and scissors (in order to avoid any potentially dangerous situation, such as harming someone that you do not want to) may seem to be a good idea, but it’s not a long term solution.

4. Do some research!

Reading more about OCD will make you understand it more – “know your yourself, know yourself and you shall win a hundred battles without loss”.

I’ve read hundreds of articles about OCD (if we think about it more, OCD may actually be my obsession……:) ). And it did help me a lot. My blog is pretty new and I’ll be posting on a regular basis so in the upcoming weeks, I’ll share with you the best articles and books that I’ve found about Pure O.

I hope this article will help some of my readers – and please do not hesitate to share your experiences in the comment section!

Further Reading

Mark Wester

6 Types of OCD

Today I’ll write about the 6 different types of OCD that I identified (and experienced) in the last couple of years. As you may have read in my previous posts, I’m not a psychologist, so I was relying my own experience – and if you think there are any other items that I could add to my list, feel free to share it in the comment section.

So, let’s see the different types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I’ve come across so far:

Fear of contamination:

It’s totally normal to worry about your health, but some people take this to a whole new level. Have you ever been scared to death that you might contract HIV from touching a handrail or that unwashed fruits and vegetables might kill you or your loved ones?

I guess contamination OCD may be one of the most well-known types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – I do not think that any statistics exist for such a question, but when I tell people I have OCD, they’ll usually think that I’m obsessed with cleaning and afraid of germs. While it’s partially true, unfortunately, these are not the only symptoms that I have.

What does contamination OCD look like?

– constant hand washing (yes, I wash my hands at least 60 times a day)
– fear of germs
– fear of bodily fluids
– avoiding public toilets/ public transport
– obsessive compulsive cleaning
– being afraid of touching door handles (I know that an average person would think that they could easily explain why it’s safe, but for me it’s like: germs are everywhere and they can survive for long enough to destroy you)

Fear of harming others (or sometimes yourself)

As for my experience, this is the least well-known type of OCD – and in my opinion, the reason behind this, is that it’s extremely difficult to tell others about it.

If you’ve ever been afraid of accidentally (or intentionally) harming one of your loved ones, pushing someone off a building or gouging out your own eyeballs, it’s likely that you have some experience with this type of OCD.

There’s an endless list of intrusive thoughts that this type of OCD can give you – and many of them start by “what if I ….

– Hit a pedestrian while driving
Jump off a cliff
– Push someone of
– Put my cat in the microwave oven
– Hurting a loved one
– Fear of doing something illegal
Intentionally harming yourself

And these terrifying thoughts can make you avoid any situation that you think is dangerous (such as being around small children or the elderly).

Unacceptable thoughts

Everyone has a personal moral code: while most of the people are not constantly distressed by their morality, beliefs and sins.

Have you ever experienced intrusive thoughts that totally violated your morals and values? Such as:

– sexually molesting others
– inappropriate thoughts about religious figures -such as “what if you’re sexually attracted to them?”
-eating food that’s not allowed in your religion

And the disturbing thoughts are followed by different rituals, such as compulsive praying (or in my case, crossing myself several times a day.)

Checking OCD

This is another form of OCD that’s pretty well-known to the public. We have all seen annoying comedy movies that made fun of people checking a thousand times if their door’d been locked or if they had not forgotten to turn the stove off. While this may sound funny, but I can tell you that the feelings that come together with the compulsive checking behaviors are not funny at all, such as:

– Extreme fear of losing your personal items (and yes, that’d make you check your pockets at least a hundred times a day)
– Fear of having written an inappropriate text or e-mail (so why not checking it exactly 3 times before you hit send?)
– Or my personal obsession: checking if the door is locked numerous times, every morning, does not always solve the problem as I’d continue to have scary thoughts during the day – until the very moment I arrive home.

Order and symmetry

Did it ever happen to you that you decided to spend some time at a local store to organize the shelves? (And you were not even working at that shop!)

Yes, that may sound hilarious, but it’s pretty far from being funny. Especially to those people who waste hours every single day on their obsessions.

This type of OCD has also appeared in numerous works of literature – with the most famous sufferer being Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

You must use your little grey cells, mon ami (but not for overthinking! )

Common symptoms include:

– Anxiety over asymmetry (that can make you organize your shelves multiple times a day)
– Wanting to write the exact number of words on each line on the page, to make it look symmetrical (as you may have noticed, I do not have this obsession, I’ve just heard about it from others)
– Being concerned that something terrible will happen if your objects at home are not arranged in perfect order.
– Fear of odd numbers

Fear of losing control

According to many, this type of OCD may fall under the same category as the “harming others one” – but then, I’m not a scientist so I’ve listed the different types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder according to my own feelings.

And well, I find this one very disturbing: for those who do not suffer from OCD, it may be impossible to imagine that there are people out there who are scared to death that:

– they might start to shouting during a theater performance
– or they might expose their genitals during a business meeting

And just like in other types of OCD, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the creative invention of incredible and distressing intrusive thoughts.
So yes, these are the 6 types of OCD that I came across in the last decade – if you think the list is incomplete, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

And I really hope that sharing my personal stories helped some of you – I do believe that every OCD victim have to know that they’re not alone and there are a lot of people out there who’re going through the same terror.

Want to read more about OCD?

P.S: Today, I found an amazing video on YouTube that perfectly illustrates all different types of OCD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD-xPiwtyHA

Mark Wester

OCD – afraid of blinding yourself

For most of the people who do not suffer from it, OCD means a kind of cleaning obsession – we often see people in TV shows who are obsessed about cleaning their homes, so that’s what OCD means right?.

Yes, there’re a lot of people who’re afraid of germs and contamination, but then Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has “much more to offer”: the fear of blinding yourself or the fear of jumping off a cliff (click on the link to see one of my previous articles about the call of the void).

Today, I’d like to share with you one of the scariest obsessions I’ve ever had: the fear of blinding myself.

Yes! You’ve read that right: I used to be afraid of gouging my eyeballs out. You may ask yourself how this fear is even possible – yet, I’m pretty sure that there are a few OCD victims out there who’ll totally understand it.

So how did this whole thing start?

This terrible obsession started when I was a teenager(high school freshman). I got my first pair of contact lenses and I’d just put them in – accidentally hurting one of my eyes. And that was it. An intrusive thought came to my mind: what if next time, I won’t hurt myself by accident but I’ll do it intentionally?

And this is perfectly enough for a person with OCD. Because after having an intrusive thought, you’ll also start having certain rituals to prevent it – such as asking your family members to tie your arms before you go to sleep, so you’d not be able to gouge out your eyeballs.

Furthermore, I also started to avoid wearing contact lenses – as putting them in seemed to be an extremely dangerous situation to me.

So, I used to be afraid of blinding myself, but I’m proud to say that I’d managed to overcome my fear. I’d be a hypocrite if I said that I’d been able to do that on my own – it’d been far more complicated than that.

How did I manage to overcome my fears?

I got used to them – ooph, yeah, I know that doesn’t sound really nice and one wouldn’t want to live with one’s intrusive thoughts for years and years but as the time goes by, it’ll get better and better. The first time when you experience the extreme fear of gouging out your eyeballs (or any other similar fear), you’ll probably be in severe distress, but then the second time will be much easier – and after a couple of panic attacks, you’ll be able to handle it much better.

I started facing my fears: asking your family and friends to tie your hands so that you’d not be able to hurt yourself is obviously not the best solution, because you should be independent and you shouldn’t rely on other people to help you manage your OCD – so the best thing you can do is to actually put yourself into a situation that you think is “dangerous” – it’ll be extremely scary at the first time, but then, as for my experience it does help a lot. πŸ™‚

Sometimes, I wonder if my OCD will ever be cured – and my honest answer to this question is that I simply do not know. But one thing that I know is that every person who’s suffering from OCD is able to take back control and to live a happy life, even if they continue having intrusive thoughts. πŸ™‚

I really hope that you’ll find my story helpful – I’m not a psychologist and obviously, I’ll never be able to tell you how to cure yourself from OCD, but I really think that it’s important to know that you’re not alone. There’re millions of people who’re suffering from this terrible illness and who understand your feelings, fears and pain.

Further Reading

Please do not hesitate to share your personal stories in the comment section! πŸ™‚

The Call of the Void

Have you ever been walking across a bridge when suddenly, for absolutely no reason, you felt the urge to jump?

Yes, this sounds absolutely insane but it’s a feeling that a lot of people have – even if they’d never admit that. It’s so common that the French even have an expression to describe this feeling: l’appel du vide (“the call of the void“).

But then, what happens if you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and you feel the call of the void?

A total disaster.


So, as I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who is suffering from OCD and experienced the call of the void, I’d like to share my personal story – and I really hope I can give you a couple of useful tricks to overcoming this terrible fear.

I had my first call of the void experience a couple of years ago, when I was walking across a bridge. I’d have a sudden thought – literary out of nowhere – what If I just jumped and threw myself into the river?

To people who do not have OCD, this sudden urge wouldn’t cause severe distress, but to me, this was the beginning of a new obsession. I used to ask myself: what if I actually want to die? What if one day, I lose control for a couple of seconds and jump? The typical what if questions familiar to every OCD-victim.

And obviously, the story had still not been over: I’d start avoiding any situation that could trigger my fear. So, during those dark days, I’d never ever cross a bridge or I’d never smoke a cigarette on the balcony – and in the most extreme period, I never actually dared to open the window cause I’d been terribly afraid of jumping out of it.

This happened years ago, and I can say that nowadays, I’m doing just fine. It was a very long and difficult journey and I’d not have been able to do it alone. I was lucky to have very supportive friends and family.

How did I overcome my fear?

I faced my fears (okay, I know this sounds clichΓ©e but it actually works!). So I started to walk across bridges, spent time on the balcony, went to sky bars and the final step that I took was: moving to a flat on the 8th floor.

I told my family and friends about my fear: it may be extremely difficult to tell others about your feelings (especially if these feelings are weird), but it’s really worth it. Furthermore, talking about your feelings will make you realize that you’re not alone. I’m pretty sure that most of us have at least one friend who’s (or was) suffering from the call of the void.

I was reading about it: one can find a lot of great articles on the internet about OCD and about the call of the void – and the more you know about it, the better you can fight it.

Want to read more about OCD?:
6 types of OCD
Pure O: Living in Endless Fear
OCD: Living a lie
12 things that will help you overcome OCD
OCD: a vicious cycle of doubt and guilt
Demons are real: Stop Negative Self Talk!

I accepted it. Let’s be honest: I’ve been living with OCD for most of my life and I’m getting better and better at handling it, but it’s a very long process – I hope to believe that it’s possible to cure it completely, but even then one will always have crazy thoughts and urges, so we need to accept them.

– I made fun of it. Okay, I’m pretty sure a lot of experts would disagree with this method, but then I’m not a psychologist or a researcher just a guy who’s pretty experienced when it comes to OCD and this actually works for me. In the middle of a panic attack, it’s not really possible to make fun of your fears but during “calmer periods” it’s something you can do. Because if you think about it: at the end of the day, it’s pretty weird that someone is afraid of jumping off a cliff when they do not actually want to do it, right?

So, with the combination of these techniques, I could finally overcome my fear. Sometimes I still feel the call of the void, but it won’t scare me anymore!

I really hope my story will help some people out there and I’m also looking forward to hearing about your call of the void stories in the comment section! πŸ™‚


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Overcoming OCD

Welcome to my blog! πŸ™‚ I’m really glad you to have you here.

So, a couple of words about myself: I’m a 27 years old guy from Central Europe – from a place where OCD is not really well understood by the people and where it’s a taboo to speak about this topic.

The reason why I’ve started this blog is because I’d love to help others by sharing my OCD experiences – as I’ve been suffering from it for the past 15 years. And also for helping myself as I do think that it’s time to come out and to be proud of having OCD!

The world nowadays is becoming more and more open-minded and there’re a lot of minorities who come out of the dark and who tell others about their values, culture and experiences, but people with OCD are pretty much hiding: most of the people think that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder means a kind of cleaning obsession.

OCD makes us suffer and it can be a torture, but let’s be proud of ourselves, of our personalities and our mistakes because these are the things that make us the person who we are! πŸ™‚

Mark Wester