Is it OCD or am I getting old(er)?

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The aim of this post is not to make light of a disorder but to analyze the character traits which develop in people who , as they are getting older, get fixated in their ways.

I often wonder that I might be getting to that stage the people may think that I have OCD!

As I am getting older, I am getting rigid in my habits. I like things to be arranged in the way I like. I do my daily chores in my preferred order. If I fail to reach my steps goal for the day or the hourly steps goal I will be stressed out. If I forget to do any of my routine tasks, I am all in a flap!

So, I ask myself, is this OCD or a sign of getting old?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.

( source: International OCD foundation)

So, according to this explanation, I don’t fall into this category.

But don’t we all have our own obsessions and compulsions? We may not be taking them to the degree where it would become a mental or medical issue, but I have seen that in most people who are getting older, they have something or the other , about which they obsess.

Some people are fixated about schedules, home decor and/or cleanliness, personal appearances, or personal hygiene. Others have constant worries about their family or kids. Some are afraid of meeting with an accident, themselves or their loved ones. Some have an obsession with home security, checking that they have locked up before going to bed or when leaving home. Making sure that it’s all secure, several times ( I often double and triple check the locks before leaving home!).

As I am aging, I find that I am taking things a little out of their context. Giving more importance to relatively unimportant things and tasks. Getting worked up about failing to meet a goal or forgetting to fetch/ buy/ complete, some thing should not attain such high priority so as to disturb our state on mind.

How to deal with these “Little ” compulsions?

1. Think how it will mater in a week’s time, a month or a year!

Thinking long-term can make our anxiety about a small issue fade into insignificance or at least reduce it to a Lilliputian stature.

2. Divert your mind.

Think of something else. Something pleasant, which you are looking forward to. It will help to put your mind on a different track.

3. Give yourself a code word or safe word.

When you find that you’re doing something repeatedly then give yourself a pre-arranged code word . If you are washing your hand repeatedly thinking that they are not clean, think Clean or Safe. If you do this a few times, your mind will accept that now your hands/ home/ any other thing that needs to be washed, is now clean and safe. This code word will then be associated in your mind with the signal that the task is done.

4. Music, meditation and movies.

These are great tools to divert the mind and for overall relaxation. Deep breathing also helps relax the mind and allay anxiety to a great extent.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please give your feedback through comments. Let me know how you like my post.

Also check out my post : DO YOU TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY





30 thoughts on “Is it OCD or am I getting old(er)?

  1. So interesting!
    I know a few who have had a diagnosis of OCD and have needed a lot of support.
    But I think for many of us we can become more set in our ways for various reasons. There is so much that is beyond our control, some I think like to have a fixed schedule and the ability to stay on top of things. For others it’s just a matter of common sense, efficiency, practicality, especially if you are the type of person who has had to juggle numerous tasks for an extended period of time…you find the “best” most orderly way to manage everything and then try to stick to that routine.
    I think the challenge comes when you then can’t cope with changes or unexpected events or someone else’s way of doing things.
    I think it’s a fascinating subject.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Appreciation for sharing this…………these kinda issue needed to discussed publicly……………spreading awareness about these issues are very helpful……… highly appreciated……..and a very nice and informative blog………….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a useful post!
    It is the need of the hour when people are becoming so sensitive to mental health issues.
    One often wonders if a personality quirk or strong preference is perhaps a mental disorder.
    You have highlighted the fact that objective criteria exist for these.
    The tips you have suggested are also very useful.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I’ve always had OCD, so not sure I would know the difference lol. I never really thought about getting older being anything like OCD, but I guess I have heard stuff about people becoming “set in their ways”, but to be honest, I’ve always been “set in my ways” lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always been a bit OCD and it made me a GREAT worker. I’m actually LESS so as a retiree. Once I got it into my head that I didn’t have to do everything immediately like I used to … that I didn’t have to fit in everything non-work related on lunch hour or more typically, never … I really relaxed. My last OCD remnant is this blog. I’ve worked so hard to get it to this point, that I seem unable to NOT do it.

    But on the other hand, give me an idea or a question and I can’t rest until I find the answer, even if I have to real a dozen books and scout everything on Google. I can’t NOT answer a question or leave an answer dangling. Even on little things that I know don’t matter to anyone but me.

    I think there’s a trace of OCD-ness in most researchers. Certainly, in my line of work (technical documentation), you couldn’t do it without a kind of hyper-focused intensity on details. I remember once having a boss point out that it was ONLY software. I remember thinking “Yes, but what about deadlines?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right, we all have traces of OCD in us. Some more than others. I also have what you described, about finding the answer! Even it’s a name or a movie or song. Unless I find the answer I can’t relax. Thanks for your feedback.


  6. We do obsess about certain things in life and in some areas of life that single mindedness is necessary but when it starts interfering with our day to day living then surely, something must be done . Good post and doable tips.

    Liked by 1 person

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