Written by Bridget Moore, Orygen Youth Advisory Council member.
“Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often gets misunderstood because of how the media portrays it. OCD isn't just obsessively washing your hands or being a perfectionist.
It can be feeling as if the world is going to end if you don't open the door a certain way, or cross the street a certain way. Or it can be repeating steps or activities until it feels ‘right’.
There have been times I've been stuck in doorways unable to go in because something in the room had changed; in and out, in and out until I could no longer do it and walked away from the room.
Numbers – repeating numbers in my head over and over again or repeating numbers as I do a compulsion/ritual.
OCD is being unable to go to bed without saying good night and having my mum say good night back so I can sleep in peace.
It's being scared to hug family and friends because of contamination fears. It's scared that whatever I just touched is going to seep through my clothes and skin.
It's having violent images and thoughts in your mind and being scared you're going to act on them or someone will think you're a dangerous/bad person if they know what you’re thinking; so you do compulsions/rituals to get rid of them and put you back into a 'safe zone'.
OCD is the pure anger, frustration and rage when someone moves an item in your room, doesn't shut the wardrobe or doors properly.
It's not being able to open or touch a door handle, toilet seat or tap without a glove or some sort of protection.
It's standing at the sink counting the amount of times you wash your hands, with a certain amount of soap, counting and tapping surfaces and clicking pens till it feels right.”
For more information about OCD and how to seek help, please see our OCD fact sheet.