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The Myths And Realities Of OCD Sufferers

The Myths And Realities Of OCD Sufferers

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a serious mental illness that is often misunderstood by mental health professionals and the general public. Misconceptions are often due to misrepresentation in the mainstream media, including those in TV shows and movies. In the US alone, 1 in 100 adults are believed to be affected.

It is generally believed that the symptoms of OCD include excessive hand washing and double-checking the house multiple times before you head out, but this illness is a lot more complicated than that. There are two components of OCD: the behavior and the compulsive behaviors. Here are some myths about this illness that are simply not true.

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Myth 1: Having behaviors like washing your hands repeatedly means you have OCD

Diagnosing someone with OCD is a complex process. It does not necessarily included checking to see if they are germaphobes or if they make sure the oven is turned off repeatedly before leaving home. Those with OCD become debilitated from the disease. Their lives at home, work, and school become increasingly hard to manage. They are plagued constantly with anxiety-ridden thoughts and obsessions and feel that it is necessary to perform certain tasks in a certain way in order to prevent something terrible from happening.

Myth 2: Everyone with OCD practices compulsive hand washing

In popular culture, it may seem like hand washing is the definitive symptom of OCD, but there are in fact many other symptoms that can manifest as well. Wearing a mask everywhere due to fear of contamination or a constant fear that they will hurt someone are two other possible symptoms of OCD. Preoccupations with certain numbers or patterns is one more symptom that can show up in someone suffering from this illness. Not every individual with OCD will be alike in their symptoms, and it is important not to generalize them as one large group.

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Myth 3: Individuals with OCD do not know that they are acting irrationally

It is a common misconception that those suffering from OCD are not aware of their irregular behaviors. In fact, it is completely the opposite. They are well-aware of their condition and this misconception only creates more anxiety for them because they don’t know how to stop their behaviors or thought processes. There is a feeling of being crazy because they feel that they are trapped. Discussing these thoughts with their therapist, along with the right combination of medications, is the right step towards recovery.

Myth 4: OCD is a result of a dysfunctional childhood

There is a widespread belief that individuals who develop OCD got it from having a difficult childhood, but this is simply not true. Events that happened when you were a child have little correlation with developing this illness later on in life. The only way family does play a role in OCD is through a possible link in genetics.

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Myth 5: OCD cannot be treated

There is a misguided belief that once a person is diagnosed with OCD, they are incurable. The first step to treatment is exposure and response prevention therapy—a type of therapy that helps you to face your fears. After this intitial step, the right combination of behavioral therapy and medication can help with a full recovery.

Myth 6: OCD happens only in adults

It is estimated that 1 in 200 children have OCD and that the youngest age a child can develop the illness is 4 years old. This statistic is around the same number for children with diabetes, which is considered an increasingly more common and problematic childhood illness. In an average-sized elementary school, 4 to 5 children will have OCD. In a high school that has a medium-to-large student body, you are likely to find 20 students with this debilitating illness.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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