Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is one of many types of anxiety disorders. It is characterized by upsetting thoughts that cause anxiety. These thoughts are otherwise known as obsessions. The affected person performs compulsions, which are certain acts or behaviors that are aimed at easing the anxiety. These behaviors can prevent you from getting things done. OCD can be mild, or it can be crippling. Fortunately for me, my OCD is moderate, and I am able to manage it and stay on track by following three basic rules. Be aware of obsessions, get organized, and stay focused.
Be aware of your particular obsessions. These are thoughts or activities that trigger compulsive behavior. Keep a journal of your behaviors in response to these thoughts. Decide whether these behaviors require modification. For example, I always push the lock button on the car key twice whenever I lock my car. This is not necessary, but it doesn’t cause any negative effects on my life. On the other hand, I realized that refolding the towels that my husband had folded was causing a negative effect by costing me valuable time that I could be spending on other things. I modified that behavior. I stopped refolding the towels, and no major crisis ensued.
Get, and stay, organized. Clean up the clutter around your house, and keep it clean. Have a yard sale or use an auction site like eBay to get rid of things you no longer use, and make a little pocket change at the same time. You can also donate items you no longer want, helping others in exchange for a tax deduction. Keep your bills and important documents organized and up to date. You can use an old fashioned filing system for this, or one of the many products on the market designed to organize and manage important documents. Keep a calendar and work by a schedule. Block out time in your calendar for everyday tasks, and do them during that time.
Stay focused on what you are doing. Concentrate on doing one thing at a time. It is easy to get sidetracked if you have a lot to do. If you don’t stay on track, you will end up doing a lot of nothing. As soon as you realize that you have strayed from your original task, you should try to get back on track as soon as possible. For example, if I’m writing an article, I may go into the kitchen to get a drink. In the kitchen, I see that things need to be put away, so I start putting things away. As soon as I realize that I have gotten sidetracked, I get my drink and get back to the computer to finish my article. As you complete each task, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and it will get easier to stay focused if you practice at it.
OCD is an anxiety disorder that affects many people. I am one of those people, and you may be one too. I have learned to manage my OCD so that I can do the things I need to do and still get all that I can out of life. I believe that this is something that can be achieved by others with OCD as well. Learn to recognize your obsessions, and modify your behavior if necessary. Get and stay organized. Stay focused. If you can do these three things, you will be well on your way to managing your OCD.