The other day Tina wrote something in her blog and it got me thinking. She shared that it was pretty difficult to become aware of all the OCD rituals that one does on a daily basis. OCD is a sneaky illness. It can be very subtle. It can morph over time. Rituals can span the range from being performed in your mind only (rumination or replaying events), it can be a distinct physical action, or it can manifest itself though avoidance.
I thought it might be a useful exercise to list a couple of obsessions (the thoughts that worry me) and their accompanying compulsions (the actions or non-actions I perform to relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessions).
*Re-play event over and over in my mind to see if I did actually hit anyone or anything (this is a mental compulsion)
*Drive back to the scene to check for dead bodies on the road, or ask someone else to check for me
*Check rearview mirror repeatedly to make sure everyone behind me is ok
*Look at other cars around me to see if they are reacting to any type of car accident
*Check my car for damage when I get home
*Discuss issue with my husband when I get home to get reassurance from him that all is ok
*Check online news when I get home to see if there are any reported hit and run accidents
*Avoid driving (I've done this several times - just ask my parents who have had to drag me around in their car!)
I think a bathroom is dirty and I will get dirty if I use it and: I might get sick, or I might make someone else sick, or I will be a gross person
*Replay event over and over in my mind asking myself, "Did I actually touch the toilet with my body, or did my arm hit the stall wall when I was in there?"
*Wash my hands repeatedly afterwards
*Sit on a towel or something else in my car on the way home so I don't get my car contaminated too
*Repeatedly ask others around me if they think I am dirty
*Change and wash clothes when I get home
*Throw out some clothes when I get home
*Take a shower when I get home
*Avoid using public bathrooms (or believe it or not, I've even avoided using my own bathrooms at home sometimes until I had no choice but to use them and then I would take another shower)
I think I've offended someone with something I said and now I believe they are angry with me
*Reconstruct the conversation over and over in my mind to check for anything offensive I might have said or any type of negative reaction the other person might have had
*I will ask others who were there if they thought I had said anything offensive, or I might reconstruct the conversation for someone who wasn't there
*Contact the person I think I've offended on some false pretense ("Oh I was just calling to say hi or ask you a question about that thing . . .") to see if they respond negatively to me
*Contact the offended person and apologize unnecessarily
*Avoid social interactions because I worry about everything that comes out of my mouth
OK - I think you get the picture! Are you able to discover any tricky compulsions that you weren't even aware of? I suspect that if I sat here longer and really thought about it, I could come up with even more.