How I Handle OCD

My OCD in The Past

I’ve had OCD since I was a little kid. I used to obsess over the smallest of things; a comment from a friend or a reprimand from a parent.

I also have a tendencies to over organize and arrange items in a certain way.

As an example:

When I go shopping, I have to separate everything by dairy, frozen etc. Now I am sure people do this, in fact working at a grocery store, I saw people who liked everything separately, so no big deal there.

Except I don’t allow any of my food overlap, so no stacking on top, and all of the labels have to face forward. Also every Item has to be straight no crooked angles. I get some weird looks, but it’s just something I do.

Another example is that when I get anxiety I go into super cleaning mode, like taking everything out of the cabinets and vacuuming them, scrubbing them, rewashing clean dishes, reorganized the pantry.

In the past I have spent hours, days or weeks obsessing over things to the point where I would be neglectful to my own responsibilities and my own health.

Working with my therapist and with practice I have changed how I try and manage my OCD.

Handling my OCD

One of the things that helped me really get a handle on my OCD was coming to the realization that one of the reasons I was obsessing so much was that I felt powerless. Because of my childhood abuse, I needed someway to control my life and this was how my mind did it.

I have now accepted that I can’t control everything in my life and that while I can control some things, obsessing over them strips my control over myself.

Now while those things help, I still find myself obsessing, but I now do one thing that keeps me from o rely obsessing.

Lists, Lists, Lists

Now while writing lists for everything would be counterproductive. It would just be another way to try and control my life. So I only make a few lists.

I have a daily list, that has all of my responsibilities on it plus simple things like make breakfast, take meds, take a shower etc.

It might sound like overboard but between the OCD and the ADHD, I have forgotten to do all those things in the past.

This list has actually helped me stay focused and kept my day on track.

The other list I use, is my project list. I give myself one cleaning project a day so that I don’t obsess over 16 different cleaning tasks.

Though to be honest, over the last few months I’ve had so much pain that cleaning has been the last thing on my mind.

So that’s how I do it. I am still working on my mental and physical health, and I take it one day at a time.

As always have a great day.


4 thoughts on “How I Handle OCD

  1. brokenman757 says:

    Brother, I feel your pain. I too had suffered from OCD…I’d have the same routine of getting off work then vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, essentially every chore I had. Then I got married. My wife was dumbfounded by my obsessions over things being cleaned in a specific way, the order in which I completed each task (even after working 2100-0700 hrs). I was so into my routine. I was single for so long I my own house and I had this cozy warm comfort of knowing that when I came home from work that everything would be exactly as I left it. I had 2 other relationships in which a girlfriend eventually moved in and it threw me for a loop at the mess (or what I obsessed was a mess) that I’d come home to. Those relationships never worked out. I started therapy and my therapist said try introducing an animal to my home. I got a German Shepherd that was 3 months old and reminded me of the German Shepherd I had as a very young child. Shed shed so much in my house and make a mess that I’d get off work and religiously clean. But then, I started to realize that these obsessions were just that, obsessions. I started to teach myself that vacuuming could wait a day and I’d just shower and eat then sleep instead of keeping myself up for hours cleaning. Then I met my wife. She moved in after about 5 months of dating….oh my God…what a change for me. Compared to me she was a slob. Hair on the bathroom floor, dishes in the sink instead of dishwasher, dirty counters, etc.. it took me a long time to finally let the exposure of these things I would obsess over to finally just go to the wayside. Now looking back, I realize that it was just me trying to keep a form of control in my life. I was working 60+ hours a week in law enforcement, I was struggling with addiction (opioid pain meds due to a crash where a drunk driver hit me on a traffic stop, Xanax due to my extreme anxiety, alcohol to try and forget about the horrible things I’ve seen in my line of work such as having a 3 week old die in my arms, trying so hard to save an elderly woman (who died) that was shot for what turned out to be a “thrill kill” and all the other hate I experience in a 10 hour shift 4 days a week). I felt so out of control of my own life but very in control at work…I needed to have that control in my home life….my OCD was a form of self therapy. Not a great one but it gave me a semblance of control in my personal life. Little did I know that it wasn’t a healthy way of dealing with my issues….


    • One Regular Dad says:

      It’s crazy how easy it is to notice the obsessions years after the fact, when during we are oblivious to how much they run our lives.

      Thanks for sharing that part of your story, that’s never easy, and I struggled with pain killers, Xanax and alcohol myself, among other things so I know how much that can drag you down even further.

      Kudos for you making out on to the other side of all that, it’s a win, and so have definitely learned that on the path of recovery, you need to remember your wins.

      Liked by 1 person

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