I’m writing this after the surge of Covid 19 and while things are settling, countries around the world are going through a second wave at this time
So for us in Singapore, it is even more crucial we keep doing what we have been doing
Maintaining social distance, occasionally working from home, washing hands etc
Which brings us to the title – Breaking Down OCD
Because of all this Covid 19 going around, people are becoming more obsessed with cleanliness and handwashing
So when is too much… too much?
And looking at some of my recent cases of OCD, I thought, perhaps it might make for a good read
But first, what is OCD?
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Now we need to break this into each of the words to understand what it really means
Obsessive – by itself it means an obsession, perhaps having persistent thoughts that occur over and over, as it one is stuck
For example, Beth Harmon, a character in The Queen’s Gambit was deeply obsessed with the game of chess, constantly thinking about it, dreaming about it, and having conversations about it, but she didn’t have OCD
Remember we are breaking it down to it’s littlest components first
Compulsive – by itself indicates a behaviour or set of behaviours that is spurred by urges, and it’s almost to the point of or have become irresistible
So a compulsive liar just cannot resist lying for whatever reason, doesn’t mean the person is obsessed with lying
In a way, addictions and compulsions, both need or feel the urge to do something, the difference is that addiction is a way of escape or to feel good, while compulsions generally do not have a “feel good” effect
Disorder – essentially when something is disruptive or affecting to the point of where it is hard to function in at least one aspect of life
In fact, in my opinion, it really has to be an disorder in your life before you can say you have an OCD
Tony Stark or Ironman was obsessed with himself and technology and new advancements, and usually when he gets a new idea, he is compelled to work on that idea now, to the point where sometimes he neglects his sleep, health, relationships
So Tony Stark will have had some diagnosis of OCD in Marvel (although of course, if you follow the Marvel movies, you will notice there are times he falls very hard into OCD, signs of depression and trauma, and sometimes he does not have such signs – essentially when he recognizes that he is in love with Pepper and will make an effort to get away from work to spend time with her)
On the other hand, Beth Harmon, while obsessed with chess in The Queen’s Gambit, could still function to a certain extent (if we don’t look at the drug addiction)
Some people like designers might have some form of obsession or compulsion or both to ensure the design is perfect, but whether it affects other aspects of life like relationship, social or whatever, it’s a case by case and you got to ask them about it
Doctors, dentists and nurses may also be particular about cleanliness or perfection as they are working in health related sectors and a lot of stuff can happen, and whether it escalates to a disorder or not, really depends on how they manage themselves too, like when is too much hand washing too much for example
So there you have it, you now know a very simple way to identify OCD
But McKing, why do you need to share so much (and so dry somemore I almost fell asleep), isn’t OCD just cleaning, counting and checking?
I just realized it’s 3Cs lol
And my friend, yea it isn’t just that
Many years ago, I had a client with OCD where his OCD was to see a doctor 7 times a day
He was obsessed about checking his health 7 times, compelled to see the doctor now, and it affected his work and relationships
That is a type of OCD too
One of my clients had an OCD where countless emails were sent to the teacher just to check if she has received the homework
This is also a type of OCD
The interesting thing was, I asked both parents of the student, “Which one of you like to lock and unlock and lock and unlock and lock and unlock the door before you leave?”
The father laughed and pointed at the mother, while the mother defended herself that she just wanted to make sure the house is safe!
I said yes, and that repeated behaviour was learnt by your child, so in order to feel safe, countless emails were sent to the teacher to check on the homework whether she had received it or not
In fact, I got several other unique types of OCDs but you know what, I’m not going to go too in depth with them right now
So far this is more to let you be aware that literally anything can be a type of OCD if it fits the obsessive, compulsive, and disorder description that I highlighted above
Anyway, since I was talking about Covid 19 and cleaning and handwashing, the main topic for today is the OCD of cleanliness
This seems pretty straightforward isn’t it?
OCD with cleanliness involves handwashing, bathing, cleaning the house or rooms etc
That’s what we all know of in a way
Here’s something bizarre though
Not all of their OCD of cleanliness is actually about germs and bacteria
So someone that you might know of can have the usual OCD and it is truly rooted in being clean from germs and bacteria
Howie Mandel, a judge on America’s Got Talent, is well known for being a germaphobe, and he avoids touching people or shaking hands when possible
He also has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that not only involves cleaning, but checking to make sure he did stuff too
Although to be fair, I don’t know his background so for now, I will say this is the standard type of OCD for cleanliness
So what’s the other type?
Where the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder does not necessarily stem from cleaning oneself from germs and bacteria?
Don’t jump to conclusions that all the people you know with such OCD has this unique source variation!!
And keep an open mind as you read the rest of the article ok? 🙂
This other source variation is…
To cleanse oneself of “sin”, whatever that “sin” may be
Huh??? Dude what?
Yea I know, it sounds weird right?
Keep an open mind and hear me out and then think about it
In the beginning I didn’t realize this myself to be honest
It was only through working with my clients over the past few years
Hey, my clients teach me many things about humanity and the unconscious mind too
Which is cool
So anyway, the standard source is usually where the parents display some cleaning traits and the child learn it and grew into OCD from there
I mentioned one such case above with the locking and unlocking of doors, children learn from their parents, period
Another standard source could be a trauma involving dirt, germs, and stuff
I can share mine for this
Briefly, in the army, we were all in the bunk and it was rest time so I was in my bed looking at my phone
Beside me, my “buddy” was in his underwear, and he reached inside, scratched his groin/ crotch, and took his hand out, sniffed his hand and rubbed his face
Then he asked me this question, “Hey McKing why my groin fungi never go away ah? So long already”
I had a WTF moment in my head and I thought to myself, ‘Cause you keeping the spores in your nose!’ but I didn’t say anything at all
That was a trauma that got me fearful of physical contact from the other guys
Heck I didn’t want someone’s fungal infection or sh*t growing on me!
This made me very protective of my bed for example, I disallowed and frown if anyone were to attempt to sit on my bed
And this kept me safe too!
One time, a guy had foot rot, a type of fungal infection on the feet, and he actively climbed into other guys’ beds for whatever reason, and those guys also went to climb into other guys’ beds too…
And you guessed it, the entire platoon, except for me, had foot rot
Anyway, yea, so standard sources usually involves these 2 types haha
Along the way while working with my clients that have OCD, I discovered this unique source variation
I put it aside in the beginning, thinking it was an outlier, just too unique to be part of anything
But the more I saw, the more I realize
It wasn’t an outlier
This unique source variation of cleansing oneself of “sin”
What this essentially means is that the person may have done a “sin”, whatever that “sin” is to them, and in order to cleanse oneself of that “sin”, one may develop cleaning habits or traits in an attempt to cleanse oneself
However, that doesn’t actually cleanse the “sin”, hence the “sin” grows and the cleaning habits or traits grow as well, to the point where it can be considered obsessive, compulsive and a disorder
This is bizarre I know, and admittedly, I won’t say I got a huge data collection to prove this yet, but I’m noticing the signs
Here’s an example of a “sin”
Under the religions of Catholism, Christianity, and Islam, it is unlawful or haram to masturbate or watch porn
And a couple of my clients with OCD of cleanliness has agreed that they are embarrassed they did either or both and came to see me to resolve their OCD, which in turn to cleanse themselves of this “sin” too
Many people will agree it’s a “sin” to take another person’s life, although when it comes to the topic of abortion, people have different schools of thoughts whether you want to follow science or a religion
And I also had a couple of clients who felt that they aborted before and hence it’s a “sin” and they need to suffer, and they had OCD of cleanliness too
Cheating on your partner, can also be considered as a type of “sin”, whether it’s physical cheating, emotional cheating, or what other variations are there these days
Similarly, I also had a client who emotionally cheated on the spouse and this grew into OCD of cleanliness
Now I need to clarify once again
These “sins” are created by themselves, in a way, you nor I will have no perception of whether it’s a “sin” or not, it is up to them whether they consider something a “sin” or not
Next, doesn’t mean all the people in the world who masturbate will consider it a “sin” and hence develop OCD of cleanliness
Same with the rest haha
Finally, it also doesn’t mean everyone with OCD of cleanliness will have such “sins” before
Right now, for me anyway, having this understanding allows me to better help my clients, to ask better questions, and get a more detailed client history
As for yourself, thank you for reading this far and perhaps, you can be a bit more understanding if you realize your friend, family or loved one have OCD
Oh yea, one final thing before we end for today
These people may not know they are attempting to cleanse themselves of the “sin”
It is all a result of the unconscious mind and its programming
And how do we resolve this unique source variation?
Interestingly enough, forgiveness is the efficient approach here
I’ll just end with this for now, all the approaches to help someone with OCD (whichever type they have, and whichever source variation they have) can be many articles in itself
But maybe you can find it somewhere in my website already 😉
What are your thoughts?
Drop me any questions or comment below 🙂