Pretty Sure I'm Ocd

This thing that I do is somewhat hard to verbalize or write, so I'll do my best. I'm always comparing myself to other people, no one in particular, just anyone who I think of or who is around me at the time. That being said, when I do or say something I think is stupid, I assume that another person wouldn't do or say that so why would I? Here's the weird part. At the beginning of almost every week, I "start over." I clean my room the night before I'm going to "start over," which consists of wiping down furniture, wiping bottles and tubes, wiping electronics including the phone charger and remote controls, rinsing hair brushes, hair ties, and bobby pins in hot water - basically de-germing everything. I also change the bed sheets and pillow cases (probably the only thing a "normal" person does). So when I'm "starting over," everything is clean and I have a fresh beginning. Then what I'll do, starting the next day, is try not make mistakes or do anything that I think is rediculous. I'll also eat healthy. It's basically me trying to be perfect. Then, when I mess up - i.e. eating junk, making a mistake, saying something and then re-thinking it, not living up to my own standards in general - I have to start over the next week. So i repeat the cleaning and straightening, then start again. But the thing about the cleaning is that I say after that time, I'm not going to clean everything anymore. It's just that one last time. 

This is so weird to actually write this down. I'm not sure what you all will make of it, but do you have any suggestions on how to stop this rediculous cycle? I know it's crazy and irrational, and I tell myself that all the time, but it seriously controls me. My boyfriend, whom I live with, is aware of the fact that I clean a lot, but he doesn't really know the extent of it. And my friends just always thought I was a "perfectionist." I mean this extends to basically everything in my physical environment having to be perfectly in order and in it's place. Apparently I need to have my mental environment perfect too, as you can see in my above statements. But really, it's far from it!. I'm hoping to get some feedback and some pointers on how to cope with something crazy like this. I'm pretty sure if I walked into a psychologist's office, I would be diagnosed. However, we all know that therapy is expensive, and I would like to get a hold of this on my own. I have been doing this since I was around 13, and I'm now 22! Yikes!   

TodayIsTomorrow TodayIsTomorrow
18-21, F
8 Responses Mar 7, 2010

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I realise that the person who posted originally on this thread will probably not read this since their first post was almost six years ago. I really hope they eventually conquered this problem and was able to move on with their life. To the person who posted towards the end of last year I really hope you're moving forward to. I'm not going to go into great detail about my own experience since it's pretty much been summed up by others on this site. I've repeatedly "started over" since the date I turned 18, back in 2004. The reason I'm writing is simply that I came across this page on New Year's Eve. Until then I thought there was nobody else who had the same problem. It's a hard thing to google and until recently I'd not really connected it with OCD. It seems stupid really because when I was about eleven I had all the classic OCD symptoms such as counting obsessions and repeatedly checking a tap is switched off, etc. However, I've not really had any of those symptoms for over 15 years and I'm now 29 so I never made what should have been an obvious connection. Finding this page and another site helped me so much, I feel I'm in a far better position to move forward now that I understand a lot more and know that there are others who feel exactly as I do. I thank everyone who's commented, you've all helped. I again "restarted" on New Year's Day and once again it was inevitably a false dawn. However, I'm intending to have another go from tomorrow. I agree, it seems counterintuitive to "start over" once again when that's exactly the cycle I need to get out of, but at the same time I don't see any other way of getting out of the cycle. I completely agree with the comment that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results. All I'll say is on this occasion I'm doing a few things slightly differently. It's too complicated to write down what these are at the moment but I genuinely think I may finally be making some progress. I'm hoping actually writing all this down here will help though. I've never told any of my family or friends so this is the first occasion on which I've really opened up. Even if nobody reads it (which is quite likely) I think it just helps me to have the release of putting all this down in writing.

I'm due to start a new job over the next two weeks and it's going to be a big challenge since it's a huge step up from what I've done before. If I'm honest part of the reason I went for it was because I felt if anything could help me finally get out of this cycle this will, since for me to make the job a success I'm going to have to eliminate the wasted energy that constant restarting causes. I've always felt that I've got so much energy/productivity in me which for years has been limited by me always losing motivation and confidence when I inevitably don't live up to the perfection I aim for. I read a comment on another site which describes brilliantly how after you start over again you feel so much more motivated, creative and energetic. However, once you feel you've screwed up this quickly evaporates (they made a comparison to bipolar and I think there are definite similarities). For me the key is trying to accept this low point, ride it out and try to once more reach the level of excitement and optimism I feel when I start over. The problem for me is I just go back to the beginning again as soon as I start feeling down. However, I have noticed that over the last few months I am sticking it out for a lot longer than I used to. Therefore, I feel I'm getting there and I know like never before that I'm close to finally getting out of the cycle. Part of this is I am accepting my mistakes a lot more than I used to and recognising that perfection is impossible. However, it's obviously far easier to say and write that than putting it into action.

So much love and the very best of luck to anyone reading this who's having similar struggles, all I can say is you're not alone and I just hope reading other people's experiences will help you in the way they've helped me.

I felt like I was reading about myself! I started "living for the next day" when I was 13 and am now 22. The last couple months I've been trying to accept that I might actually have some OCD and have been searching online for someone with symptoms just like mine but I could only find people who suffered from excessive hand washing or counting ect.. I thought that maybe I was just really messed up because I couldn't find anyone else who did the same thing I did and now that I know it actually is kind of common I feel like a huge weight has been lifted!
I have been obsessed with trying to be someone else since I can remember, maybe as young as 4 or 5. Not because I wanted a different house or a different family it was because I guess I just wanted to have a different personality. I felt and still feel like I don't have my own personality and am constantly trying to find traits in other people that I can become. By the time I was 13 I was making very detailed to do lists and thought that if I did everything on the list that I would become a different person when I woke up the next morning. And would fail, obviously, so I would write another. And another. Now I'm 22 and have a 2 year old son. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life like not graduating high school, doing drugs and not being a very good person. I've always wanted to be a good person but I would mess up and then just say to myself that I will start tomorrow. But I can't start over unless I have everything completed on my to do list. The last two years my to do list would have stuff like clean out the fridge, vacuum under the couch, wash pillows and bedding, factory reset my cell phone and clean it, wrip out all the pages in used notebooks, even delete my email address and make a new one and so on and so on. I have to start completely over. And it's so exhausting! It really sucks having to stay up until 4am so I can wash pillows (that weren't even dirty) or
walk through my house checking everything little thing. And every night when I go to sleep I think about how different tomorrow and the rest of my life will be. How perfect I will be. I have been unable to keep a job, get a job, quit smoking, lose weight, accomplish any useful goals, make any friends or just live life. I have major anxiety about life going too fast and all I want to do is to be able to live in the moment! I am so terrified that my entire life will go by and I will regret never enjoying anything or doing anything good with my life. Or not paying attention to the small things with my son growing up because I've been too busy preparing for the next day! My health is getting worse and if I don't make any changes soon I'm worried something will happen. It's time to live in the moment whether it's perfect or not and not even think about tomorrow! But it's a lot easier said than done and it really sucks.
I know this post was years ago and I'm probably not even in the right place to post this but it did really help to find someone with the same thing going on.

add on: i've also been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder. ocd fits in between all of the crevices of each of those disorders. i'm in therapy right now and it's really hard to deal with the thought of not doing my rituals; i have yet to overcome any of them, but i'll be able to one day. if you find the right person that you can be completely honest with and eventually feel comfortable crying, even breaking down, in front of, then you're off to a fantastic start. good luck.

Hi there! I rarely log onto this site anymore...once every few months at this point. Good to hear from someone who gets it! What you said in your post below sounds a lot like what I do. I get so upset with myself and go over every little thing I do or say and think about how I could have re-done things. The same goes for eating healthy. I'm one of those binge-eating types who can consume an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting. I usually can go the whole day (during work and school) eating healthy, but it's the evening that gets me. I am always trying to make pacts with myself that I'm going to "start over" by eating healthy, being perfect, being punctual, being a great person to everyone in my life, etc. When I feel that I've screwed up in any of those areas, I have to begin again. My eating is always worse when I'm feeling bad about "screwing up" other things too. Luckily, I'm not overweight but I've been trying to lose 15 pounds for the last...6 or 7 years! I go between 1 week and 1 month of eating healthy and maybe exercising, then it all goes downhill as my "imperfections" leak out.

I think what interferes with my life the most is my preoccupation with cleanliness. When I "start over", everything I own has to be cleaned and sanitized. As mentioned in my original story, I rinse a lot of my belongings in hot water. These include credit/store cards, product bottles, and and makeup. I also have to vacuum, polish, and have everything in it's place. Then I tell myself that will be the last time I perform that type of ritual because I'm going to be "perfect me" from here on out who isn't crazy.

Like any other person who struggles with these types of issues, I know my imperfect childhood and most likely my family history of depression probably have contributed to my situation. I think I've tried to convince myself that I'm "normal" by starting over and trying to get past all this, but it just never works out. I wrote this original post a year and a half ago and I'm still exactly where I was at that time.

I'm glad you found my post and I'm glad you posted. I guess we let each other know that we aren't alone. I know a lot of people struggle with abnormal behavior, but your description seems to resemble my tendencies more than others have. I really appreciate your comments. I know that I should talk to someone, and I think I've reached the point where I'm going to try to find myself a therapist! Good luck to you!

i've had ocd since i was twelve. i "start over" every single day, sometimes ten times a day. if i say something i think was stupid, do something that i wish i hadn't (even if it's something normal like tripping over something), or feel like i'm not perfect, i "start over" and convince myself that i'm going to be perfect and the person that i want to truly be from that start over forward. i also decide that if i haven't eaten completely healthy one day that i'm going to eat healthy the next day and "start over" in that sense. i also have a monologue of things that i'm stressed out about or have guilt about that i go over every time i start over to get that "right" feeling. the feeling of my anxiety being gone and that everything is going to be fine. it's so ****** up that i thought i was the only one who does this. i'm really glad that i found your post because it makes me realize that i'm normal. normal in the sense of someone with ocd. peace and love and don't give up.

Thanks for the feedback! I wrote this over a year ago and still have not done anything about my symptoms. I am a Psychology major at my school and am currently taking an abnormal behavior class. I'm not sure that my thoughts/behavior fit neatly into the OCD category. I actually feel like I have very mild forms of various disorders (OCD, depression, anxiety), but I do not fit all the criteria that would lead to a diagnosis of any. However, I am almost certain that I'm suffering from ADD at this point. I have had symptoms for years but have never thought much of them; they just seemed to be a part of me. At some point down the road, I would like to seek therapy. Thanks again!

hey, thanks a lot mlloyd! i've decided that i'm just going to skip my rituals altogether. they are rediculous, and i have been doing this way too long. they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. i just have to face the fact that if i don't break this weird cycle, then i'm going to be doing it probably the rest of my life. and if and when i get to a point where i have children one day, i'm not going to have all this extra time to do this weekly ritual. i can deal with having to put things in their place and being really neat and organized. but i can't waste any more time overanalyzing myself and giving myself "new beginnings." it's obviously not working out too well lol. so i'm going to just give it a go and find something to occupy my time tomorrow so that i'm not going to "start over." there have been weeks when i didn't do it, but more have been spent doing it than not. the weather is getting nicer, and there's a lot of stuff i need to be focusing on. so i just can't be bothered with myself!you have a good point there, but if i start doing everything else and just leave out that one thing, i'll end up doing the one thing. i think if i just divert my attention entirely to something else, i will have more success. but what you said does make complete sense, and i understood it completely. i just need to not be so hard on myself and understand it's only me thinking what i think about me. other people could care less. i have checking issues too, but they don't involve checking to see if things are turned off and doors are locked. i've done that before, but it's always been just a double check and really nothing more. but what i do is check things that i'm copying. like if i'm copying down a long number or sentence i'll check over and over and over to make sure i wrote it down correctly. and then i'll still doubt myself. i've read that there are people who actually think they hit someone with their car and will drive through the "accident" scene repeatedly. it's funny how ocd can take on so many forms. i feel like mine doesn't really fall into a "category." from what i've read, there are these 5 or 6 classes, but mine seems to be on its own.well, i made this comment really long. if you read this, thanks again for the advice and good luck in life!

I guess my suggestion, if you wanted to try self therapy would be the old "face your fears" type of therapy. I think they call it cognitive? In your case, I would start with just a small part of your cleaning ritual.. just a tiny aspect of it and try to "skip" that part. It will seem unbearable, but if you can try to force it out of your mind, make something else you do already "enough". You may not be able to completely skip it the first time you try... just see how it works. On the other end.. the end where you are messing up? Decide on one thing you aren't going to count as a mess up that week. Give yourself an "ok" for the week. Try something you "Know" will happen. And see if you can "not count" it. I don't know if i'm making sense at all. I feel like you will know what I'm saying even if no one else does. I do understand. I have never been diagnosed formally either, but I am a "checker". I have driven back home from the office to "check" to see if the coffee pot is really turned off when I checked it 10 times before I left.

First off, i want to thank you for sharing! I know its not easy to talk about your "ticks" and how they make you feel. Your not alone in the least honey and i think the best advice i can give you from a fellow OCD person...is to accept who you are! YOU WILL NEVER BE PERFECT! no one is...life is not meant to be lived thru perfectionion.. i believe its about accepting imperfections and once u start to just accept your ocd ticks..you will feel alot better about u! <br />
OCD is a "disease" as most professionals would tell you but its not something that you need to beat yourself up for! Honestly...what i have learned from OCD is that most ticks stem from something deeper even if you cant conciously make a connection as to how tragedy A led you to tick over something. Life is too short to dwell on the small things and if the worst thing you have going on are your ticks...i think your doing pretty well! Just try to stay strong and if you are having a bad tick day to where its almost crippling please know that i am here 100% to help u in any way and if you dont mind, i would like it if i could speak to you as well...from one odd ball to another lol...xoxo Dee

I would love to talk to you about my ocd issue. You just seem like you truly get it.