The nightmare of living with OCD

David Adam
David Adam

Great story and overview of OCD.

Those are my strange thoughts. That is my obsessive-compulsive disorder. I obsess about ways that I could catch Aids. I compulsively check to make sure I haven’t caught HIV and I steer my behaviour to make sure I don’t catch it in future. I see HIV everywhere. It lurks on toothbrushes and towels, taps and telephones. I wipe cups and bottles…

That is how the mind usually handles thoughts. It shares conscious concentration between tasks, while the subconscious changes the content of each window, or draws our attention among them. Obsession is a large window that cannot be made to shrink, move or close. Even when other tasks come to the front of the mind, the obsession window is there in the background. It acts as a constant drag on the battery and degrades the performance of other tasks. You can’t turn the machine off and on. Whenever you are awake, the window is there. And when you do manage to turn your attention elsewhere, you are aware of doing so. Soon enough, the obsession will reclaim the focus.

Red ink splashes