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OCD isn't just about 'obsessive cleaning'

OCD isn't just about 'obsessive cleaning'

5 Oct 2021

Lily Owens

I am someone who suffers with OCD. I have only just discovered this at the age of 22! I, like
the majority, believed OCD was about being a germaphobe, that experiences a constant
need to clean. This is definitely an aspect of OCD; however, it is not the only form of OCD.

OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder and is defined by OCD UK with the following
statement, ‘OCD is a serious anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent
intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, commonly referred to as obsessions.’

There are several forms of obsessional thoughts and often some of the most distressing are
thoughts of a sexual or violent nature towards loved ones and or children.

In order to manage the thought, OCD sufferers will rely on compulsions to alleviate some of
their anxiety. This can be checking certain objects such as doorknobs or mental checking,
which is when a person tries to check their memory, because they suffer from false memory
OCD. This can become, exhausting, overwhelming, and controlling. Due to the nature of the
intrusive thought, sufferers do not feel able to talk about them with others due to fear of
judgement. For OCD sufferers it can feel hopeless.

Certainly, for me, I felt hopeless, and I truly believed there was no other solution than
suicide in my darkest days. I will say here now to you, whatever the intrusive thought, I
guarantee you, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last, to think it.

The cruel design of obsessive thinking and unwanted, often terrifying thoughts is they are
designed to isolate you and they are often the worst possible thing you could imagine. I felt 
as though I was alone, and no one could understand what I was going through. This is not
true. The thoughts are a symptom of mental illness and they do not have to control your
Just knowing that a thought is just a thought, and you are not the thought itself, changed
my life and the way in which I cope with day to day living.

I struggled for years with the possibility that I was a terrible person and if my loved ones
knew the thoughts I was having, they would think it too.

There is an incredible amount of shame attached to intrusive thoughts and as
uncomfortable and distressing as the thoughts are, just because you thought it, does not
mean it is true. Sometimes thoughts are just thoughts, and the more aware you are of
intrusive thoughts, the little hold it will have over you and your life.

I recently joined an OCD support group run through OCD UK and already after one session, I
feel less alone and hopeful for my future. I am not my thoughts and I have already started
my recovery to understanding more about my illness and how I can manage it. If you take
anything away from this blog, I want you to take this.

No matter how distressing the thought, you are not alone, and you are not defined by it.
If you are seeking help for intrusive thoughts, please do consider joining an OCD support
group from OCD UK, similarly educate yourself on the normality of this type of anxiety by
visiting their website, where you can also look at the different types of therapy available to

Lastly, remember, you’re a survivor and you should be incredibly proud of how far you have
come. Living with this type of mental illness is so lonely and so unbearable at times, but it
doesn’t have to be. There is help available, and people who think just like you and me exist
to. It is much more normal than you know. Get help, you deserve peace!


Further resources:

Introduction to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | OCD-UK (
Accessing OCD Treatment | OCD-UK (
OCD Support Groups – Remotely through Zoom | OCD-UK (