I will narrate a story. I hope two minutes of your dear time won’t be wasted here.
Its a story of OCD (Obssessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD is a disorder wherein the person somehow develops a fear over certain thing, and has too much overthinking over it, so much so that to evade their thoughts they do repeated actions known as compulsions to run away from their fear no matter how uncanny the action is.
So the person repeats that action till the person thinks the fear is gone. Its such perplexing thing and actually it increases the person’s fear internally not decrease it. The person feels relief after the action is done but after some time the thought runs up again like a never ending marathon and a fear that seems perpetual too.
Types of OCD:
OCD is not just about washing or fear of contanimation. OCD is of Four Types.
1. Contanimation OCD
Wherein people have fear of being contanimated and so spend hours washing and bathing, with fear that there is dirt or bacteria. Now think. People who have this OCD have such a difficult time during corona. Infact the TOI had once posted the article that during this pandemic the people who have contamination OCD are seeing its worse case now.
Its very important to note for all types of OCD is that the content of the thought and the compulsion will definitely be different. Its like we know that there’s fear, compulsion but all face different thoughts. So its just a generalised view the story ahead is specific.
2. Perfection OCD
Wherein the person has excessive urge to arrange things the exact way, example-the colour box with colours arranged as per the color wheel, or the books arranged from short to small, or a pen not even unstraight by a degree. Sounds okay to you? Think of constantly arranging with a fear that if you dont do this, someone will die or something will happen.
3. Doubt and Harm OCD
Wherein people have doubts of an action done. Is the door locked, the window panes closed, stove? Lights? And they check and recheck it to release themselves from that fear. They have already done it and they know it but the damn, ‘Is the stove off, maybe, a blast can happen’ and that last sentence is enough to shoot the person to get up and check. This too has fears that if the rechecking isn’t done, something bad will happen.
4. Forbidden Thoughts OCD
Wherein people have uncontrollable violent sexual or the religious thoughts and these two are kind of the types to it. So bad thought and a repeated action is the pattern but the thought content and what compulsion ain’t same.
I will tell you the real story of a, fictious person. The story is cacophony of thoughts and endless anxiety. Let’s choose a sweet name Rochelle, okay? So Rochelle has the religious OCD. She is afraid of Karma, that if she has a direspecting religious thought that says bad or terible about the religion, and if she doesn’t do something to evade that thought or pray, there will be problems in her future.
Pretty afraid you see. And that one ruining manupilating, disrespectful thought is enough to start a compulsion. So what are Rochelle’s compulsions?
Its simple. If Rochelle is doing an action lets say, walking and she has such a thought, she will go back a little and step forward again to you know make that step ‘pure from the bad thought’. Its like gluing a vase when its not even broken.
Now you see the pattern- whatever action Rochelle is doing, a bad thought comes up and Rochelle redo the action again. Umm with some loop holes. So no matter Rochelle is walking, talking, picking a pencil, eating, pulling a chair to sit, pushing a chair to stand, unlocking the phone or the almirah, opening the door, taking off a lid, texting, every single damn thing, if a bad thought that disrespects in any way comes in her mind, she will redo that action.
So if such thought comes when rochelle is pulling a chair, Rochelle willpush the chair at its initial position and pull it and the loop hole is that while pulling the chair rochelle will have to see that a bad thought doesn’t come and if a bad thought turns up then Rochelle will push the chair again to the initial step and pull it the second time and same if bad thought again comes, then it will be done the third, fourth, fifth, sixth time till danger is clear i.e. till the thought seems to vanish.
Its like asking a steel glass to be crsytal clear.
And that is a tiny story. I end here. The story of rochelle. But I give you words to think because rochelle spends in total, summing up her compulsions in bits here and there and not altogether, five hours in ocd.
So I leave you simply to think about rochelle’s frustration as the action is repeated the fifth time or the third time, when she is scolded for not stopping it all, when she realises its perilous, that guilt and that fear and fear of karma of result of direspecting thoughts, those unsaid tears and the reason why rochelle scratched her neck so hard because of the rage and all, that it bleeds and she has to think answer to the family that explains the scar, about her indelible doubts, about whether she is false or true, about whether this OCD is taking away what she had.
I hope next time a person says, ‘I have OCD’, you wont say, ‘Do you wash too often?’
(By the way, just because I have written about this particular type of ocd doesn’t mean the other types are okay. No they are more straining than this. Rochelle is a fictious character, though the story is true. And also other disorders apart from ocd are extremely tiring. Its a world of unknown minds but dont leave them in the unknown-ness.)