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My Hands Had Enough: SAHM with OCD

I’ve discussed my issues with anxiety and mental health before. I’ve also shared my therapy journey and eating disorder struggles. Today, I want to be open about something I don’t mention often. I think that I don’t talk about it often, because of the way it’s gets thrown around or misunderstood.

I have OCD- obsessive compulsive disorder. I don’t talk about it, because I get tired of people saying they have OCD because they are organizational or enjoy cleaning. OCD isn’t just a habit. It can consist of having obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive, behaviors that repeat. Some people can even have both obsessions and compulsions, which can be life altering.

This isn’t some bad habit like nail biting or lip chewing. It goes deeper than that. This disorder can affect your life in a major way, because it’s not just something you can stop or control. If you genuinely believe you have OCD, I’d suggest speaking to a behavioral therapist. It really helped me to understand myself after years of not knowing what was going on with me.

Common Misconceptions

I want to just break down the misconceptions I hear sometimes. I have one friend in particular who likes to clean and is always using OCD as the reason, but she doesn’t have the disorder. She just really enjoys a clean closet. I’m always trying to explain what it really is, but it goes unheard. OCD isn’t about a love of color coordinating closets or a distaste for clutter.

Misconceptions

  • Everyone is a little OCD.
  • OCD means being a germaphobe- There are different categories and types of OCD, but not liking germs doesn’t necessarily mean your have the disorder. Who likes germs anyway?
  • OCD is a disorder about being neat and clean in general.
  • OCD is a choice.

My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

All my life, numbers have felt like they controlled me. I had to do certain things a specific number of times or I would panic. I’d get physically sick and nervous if I didn’t touch something a number of times. I would pace a certain number of times before actually getting to a task. The smallest upset to my routines would cause me to have mood swings, and sometimes I would feel paralyzed. It was just a hodgepodge of mental illness that I was very ashamed of until I saw a therapist. Even very few family members and friends know about it. They just assume I’m difficult or a clean freak, which is why I don’t always open up about it.

I learned that there are many forms of OCD, and I most likely have more than one. A good article to read is this one. It mentions misconceptions as well as types. It also talks about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, which often gets confused with OCD.

For me, I do also have an issue with cleaning and perfectionism. I know something is done right, but I have to keep doing it anyway until I feel relief. My hands suffer the most. I’m always touching, bumping, and scrubbing. As a blind SAHM, my hands are my eyes most of the time, so when I have my typical household duties and I’m also having a difficult day with my compulsions, my hands can end up bleeding.

I do feel the need to clean, and if I don’t wipe something down a certain number of times or go over a spot a certain way, I have to start all over until the pattern is completed. Patterns and this need that I feel aren’t just with cleaning though, so that’s where the confusion with OCD and OCPD (obsessive compulsive personality disorder) can happen.

As a blind person, cleaning is also a safety issue, and I would hate to perpetuate the cleaning OCD stereotype. Parts of my cleaning and routine are associated with my OCD, and other parts deal with my vision. If my house isn’t decluttered, I could get hurt. If someone sets down something that isn’t kid appropriate that I don’t know about and can’t see, my kids could get hurt. So, I clean for multiple reasons.

I’ve actually written this post a few times, and then, I would delete it. It took my son pointing out all the band-aides on my fingers to get the courage to write this. I’m always worried I will aid in the misconception that OCD is just a cleaning disorder. I can promise you that it’s bigger than wanting clean counters and dust nicknacks.

Growing Numbers

Numbers took hold of me with more than just needing to check locks or touch something so many times. Patterns needed to be completed, or I would feel unbalanced and out of control. I became obsessed with my weight in terms of numbers too. I could put numbers to anything, and it would take hold of me.

I missed a lot of classes in college, because I couldn’t leave my apartment without doing certain things a specific way and number of times. It was easy to simply tell everyone I was sick, since it literally made me feel sick and exhausted.

I’ve tried more medication than I could count- for once a number I didn’t keep track of. To be honest, nothing has ever helped me the way CBD oil has. CBD oil is legal here, and I am beyond thankful for that. It makes me feel more at ease. It doesn’t stop the need I feel to do certain things, but it takes away the overwhelming sick feeling. It helps slow me down and let’s me attempt to rationalize with myself. I know it’s not a cure all, but it’s definitely helped with managing the anxiety that comes with it.

Coping

I’ve learned a great deal about myself and my mental health these last few years. Being a mom has taught me a strength I never knew I could have, but that doesn’t mean I can control my OCD. I do my best to stay on top of things, and my husband is an amazing support system. I just learned to accept myself and the way I’m programmed.

Sometimes, I am guilty of laughing about my beat up hands and joke about my cleaning and OCD. It’s easier to hide my struggle and frustration with humor, but I know it’s not always the best way to spread awareness or be honest. So, here I am, admitting another “flaw” in my system.

I love myself, flaws and all. They make me who I am. I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as strong, but at the same time, I would. I believe that I live the best life I could even with my mental illness.

We live to survive and flourish, and I do that whether my I have mental illness or not. Like I said, I’ve tried to post this before and even during the weeks where mental illness awareness is taking place, but I’m running low on band-aides and my fingers are sore. So, I finally wrote this.

I’d love to hear from y’all about any struggles you’ve overcome with mental illness. There’s no judgment here.

-Jenni

19 Comments »

  1. Wow! I was diagnosed as a teenager with ocd so I understand the obsession with numbers and cleaning and the feeling of relief that comes once you’ve completed what you think you have to! I’m not sure how but over the last ten years I’ve slowly began to control my symptoms cuz I don’t have the urges I used to have! I used to have to check the door a certain number of times to make sure it’s locked or shut the tv off on an even number on the clock etc! It rules your life and i can’t imagine being blind and ocd! Girl you are a warrior! I’m loving all your posts this week btw!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I had no idea you were blind! This is such a powerful post. I don’t have OCD, but my anxiety presents itself in ways that can present in OCD. Like, I know I’ve locked my car, but I have to make sure multiple times just because. I know I’ve turned my oven off but I have to check at least 2 more times before I go to bed or leave the house.

    I’m glad CBD has been able to help you in such amazing ways. It’s been a great addition to my anxiety meds.

    XO Steph

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, haha. Yeah, I’m blind. I can see some shapes, colors, and outlines but not a lot of detail. I use special apps and stuff for blogging too.

      Anxiety is definitely awful and can relate to OCD. I’m so happy I’ve found CBD and people that understand. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I never told anyone growing up. If so walked by something and touched it, I had to touch it an even amount of times. As an adult, at work when I stock, things have to be the same height. My money has to be facing same way. I don’t have to have my house perfect but I can’t let it get out of hand. My interpretation of out of hand anyway. I’ve learned to control it to a degree. I’ve had to. I have pain issues and I cannot always get to things the way that I want. I have to let things go. But it’s so hard for me. It will be on my mind until it does get done.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for your honesty! Your courage is admirable.
    There are many misconceptions about OCD, I agree. I have anxiety which causes me to do things repeatedly, like locking my car, checking and double checking – often triple checking, things that I think I haven’t done – but have, can cause me to think things over and over until I’ve rechecked them, or numbers, I need them to be even. If I buy something, it needs to be in even numbers, small things that make a big impact in one’s life.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jenni, you are an amazing woman! I do not have OCD, but I do get frustrated when people “self diagnose” themselves with it. It must beyond frustrating for you!!! I make a point to say I’m a clean freak, not that I have OCD…not the same thing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really appreciate the explanation of OCD. I learned about it in my psych classes, but I’ve never known anyone that has it, so it was hard to connect it to a real-life situation. LIke, what it would look like in someone’s day to day life.

    I’m sure it’s hard enough without people close to you not understanding or not trying to understand. It’s good you’ve found ways to cope.

    Liked by 1 person

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