Unfortunately due to my OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I have unwanted and intrusive thoughts that are negative. It’s awful. I am ok when occupied during the day or night but when I lay down to sleep is when the thoughts turn extremely negative. I will think about a family member in distress; in all different types of environments and situations (most just ridiculous and with no way of even happening) but at the time feel real. It’s no way to live. How do I deal with these unwanted thoughts that at times are so scary that they actually make me jump?
I pray. I pray to the dear Lord, our Holy Father. I offer them up to God. It works. I just have to catch myself before I let the thoughts get out of control and I usually do.
I don’t know why my mind works the way it does or why I’m plagued by these constant upsetting thoughts but it’s frustrating. I guess that’s one of the reasons they call it OCD. Below I have highlighted by BOLDING some of the symptoms I struggle with.
What Are the Symptoms of OCD?
The symptoms of OCD, which are the obsessions and compulsions, may vary. Common obsessions include:
- Fear of dirt or contamination by germs
- Fear of causing harm to another
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of being embarrassed or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner
- Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
- Need for order, symmetry, or exactness
- Excessive doubt and the need for constant reassurance
Common compulsions include:
- Repeatedly bathing, showering, or washing hands
- Refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs
- Repeatedly checking things, such as locks or stoves
- Constant counting, mentally or aloud, while performing routine tasks
- Constantly arranging things in a certain way
- Eating foods in a specific order
- Being stuck on words, images or thoughts, usually disturbing, that won’t go away and can interfere with sleep
- Repeating specific words, phrases, or prayers
- Needing to perform tasks a certain number of times
- Collecting or hoarding items with no apparent value
What Causes OCD?
Although the exact cause of OCD is not fully understood, studies have shown that a combination of biological and environmental factors may be involved.
Biological Factors: The brain is a very complex structure. It contains billions of nerve cells — called neurons — that must communicate and work together for the body to function normally. Neurons communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters that stimulate the flow of information from one nerve cell to the next. At one time, it was thought that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin was responsible for the development of OCD. Now, however, scientists think that OCD arises from problems in the pathways of the brain that link areas dealing with judgment and planning with another area that filters messages involving body movements.
In addition, there is evidence that OCD symptoms can sometimes get passed on from parents to children. This means the biological vulnerability to develop OCD may sometimes be inherited.
Studies also have found a link between a certain type of infection caused by the Streptococcus bacteria and OCD. This infection, if recurrent and untreated, may lead to the development of OCD and other disorders in children.
Environmental Factors: There are environmental stressors that can trigger OCD in people with a tendency toward developing the condition. Certain environmental factors may also cause a worsening of symptoms. These factors include:
- Changes in living situation
- Death of a loved one
- Work- or school-related changes or problems
- Relationship concerns
Can OCD Be Prevented?
OCD cannot be prevented. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the time a person spends suffering from the condition.
Thankfully I have been on medication and have been working on cognitive behavioral therapy, which has greatly helped.