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Through Their Eyes...

Kyleigh Leist

Outreach Coordinator, WhiteFlag


As I tap my computer mouse writing this...

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When it comes to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, everyone thinks they have a little bit of it, right? Wrong. Through my experience with talking to individuals in the WhiteFlag community and other mental illness communities, I have learned of many behaviors that consume individuals with OCD. These are their experiences and their stories through my writing.

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OCD is so much more than a color coordinated closet. It is so much more than a “neat and tidy” house or car. It is not just cleaning. It is not the strive for perfection. It is not a personality trait. Just because you have to have a book straight that is sitting on your desk does not mean you have OCD. It is not cute to have OCD. It is not a fad to have OCD. This disease consumes every moment of every day for people that suffer from this detrimental disorder.

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OCD is feeling the absolute need to touch the left side of my arm in the exact same spot that someone accidentally touched my right arm. It is when someone kisses my cheek, I absolutely have to touch the other side of my cheek. It is spinning around in circles a certain amount of time before I can go to bed because if I don’t, I will not be able to sleep. It is completing a ritual before I start the day or make it to work because if I don’t, I will not be able to focus on anything but that missed ritual. Not doing the ritual could result in the total meltdown and evenness of my entire day. The compulsions people with OCD do every day are a relief to them. It is normal behavior to them. It is a part of them. It completes them.

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OCD is constantly counting. It is counting the number of steps I have to take to reach the bathroom, and then making sure I take that exact amount of steps on the way back. OCD is also constantly counting how many taps I have to tap on the counter while I am brushing my teeth.

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OCD has made me obsessed with numbers. Numbers are my savior, my best friend, my gateway, my scapegoat.

OCD is counting my chews. One bite…

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The next bite, on the other side…

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OCD has made a simple task like washing my hands a task that can never be completed with ease. For someone like me with OCD, it’s a detrimental routine.. The same amount of pumps of soap, the same part of the faucet must be turned on, the washing of hands must be even, and the number of seconds spent washing must also be even. Still have soap on your hands? Start the do-over. The routine must be completed all over again- from the start. OCD can result in raw hands because of the amount of times one must wash their hands in order to complete the exact ritual they’ve been completing for years now.

OCD is folding an item of clothing hundreds of times because there is a small wrinkle in the sleeve- different from the time before. It is not being able to complete a task until it is to perfection- regardless of how many times you have to do it over or how many hours it takes to complete it.

OCD compulsiveness is not just checking the lock on the door again and again before leaving to run errands. It's more like checking the lock 4 times by turning the doorknob the same way to ensure that the door is locked. Then, getting in my car only to go back in the house to check the door again.

OCD is constantly feeling like if I do not do the task exactly how it needs to be done, something bad will happen to someone I love or to myself. Then, feeling the fear all over again because I’m not sure if I fixed it correctly.

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OCD can affect relationships with people. Obsession can become the main factor. OCD is constant thoughts. Becoming ‘clingy.’ Constantly calling or texting.

Now, here I go rereading this and proofreading it 24 times. And then 24 times more.

OCD individuals, WhiteFlag is where you can talk to others battling their routines and reliefs each and every day. You are not alone.


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