For a person with OCD, certain things must be performed in a very specific way; sometimes this means at a specific time of day, every day, or under specific circumstances. It may even require a specific series of actions to be repeated exactly a certain number of times. As you might expect, this can significantly interfere with one’s life. Unfortunately, the alternative is almost impossible. When people do not cave to their urges, they instead are overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and stress, which may quite literally render them paralyzed, unable to proceed with even day to day events their lives.
As mentioned earlier, there is a belief that the stress brought on by episodes of OCD will abate if certain conditions are met. Generally, it may have something to do with thoughts or feelings of safety and security, like locking and unlocking a door, shutting windows, or making sure the stove is off. While these are certainly good habits to have, OCD is relentless in that it causes the victim to constantly check these things far more often than actually necessary. In fact, performing such rituals don’t provide peace of mind, but they instead end up ‘validating’ the victim’s fears.
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One of the ways OCD can make life hard not just for the victims, but those in their lives, is the way it destroys confidence. A person with OCD may have incredible difficulty putting faith in others, particularly when it comes to matters directly pertaining to the victim. Regardless of what they are told, they may continue to wonder ‘what if’… and imagine the most horrible scenarios, regardless of how remote or unlikely, or how many times evidence to the contrary is presented. As with the fear and anxiety itself, the doubt is at an extreme, pretty much inconsolable level.