Ritual, or OCD?

When I was little, I noticed that my father checked and double checked the knobs on our stove to make sure they were off. One of my sisters to this date check and double check to make sure she locked my door properly when she leaves. I come from a family that loves to clean. I love to keep my apartment smelling fresh (having two sons makes it necessary) and I buy and use products constantly for that reason.

My oldest sister would come by and if she notices something on my carpet, she would either sweep or vacuum it. Most of the time it’s nothing there but she does it anyway. There is nothing wrong with our behaviors as I believe they are simple rituals. My concern, however, is to not let our rituals become an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. Germaphobes, or the medical term mysophobia, are people who are afraid of catching germs. They fit in the category of OCD and more than likely carry a stash of hand sanitizer with them. They don’t like to shake hands and some go as far as using a sanitizing wipe to turn the knob when opening a door.

OCD in my opinion is an addiction. I think about the film Mommie Dearest starring Faye Dunaway, playing the role of actress Joan Crawford. According to this film, Crawford in her childhood had a bad experience where she lived in unsanitary conditions. The movie portrayed that her mom allowed her to live in squalor and paid more attention to having a man than keeping a clean household. This situation made Crawford a neat freak and she passed along her obsession to her daughter Christina and her maids.To this date, I can’t stand to see dishes piled up in the sink, or see something soaking in a pan. I remember getting whuppings (slang term for getting hit) from my mom when it was my week to wash dishes and I fell asleep, leaving them in the sink.

The difference between a ritual and OCD is that a ritual is something that you do on a daily basis to make things run smoothly. OCD on the the other hand, is a binding and controlling experience. There is no enjoyment in the process but rather a subconscious feeling of not being perfect if things are not done just right.

People with OCD are usually suggested to see a therapist because they need to get to the root of the problem. They need to know that it’s okay to relax when doing any form of task. They need to know that missing that tiny spot is not the end of the world. People with OCD suffer from anxiety and that really needs to be addressed. They don’t necessarily need a “chill” pill but it won’t hurt.

I personally believe that OCD may be a generational thing or stems from a bad experience with something. As I’ve stated, a person suffering from OCD should see a therapist or else the problem will continue to consume them.

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