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