• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

OCD and Checking Behaviour -- Looking for Advice

H

HigsbyWhitterthrottle

New member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Canada
Hello everyone,

I heard about this Forum recently and decided to share my own story in hopes of getting feedback.

For as long as I can remember, I've exhibited OCD-related behaviours and tendencies but I've never been professionally diagnosed. My OCD is best characterized by a compulsive need to check for "errors" in my own work (or even in others' work) out of a fear that the work I'm producing is not "perfect". There's a lot to unpack in that statement, including i) a deep anxiety over "failure" and disappointing others, including collaborators, ii) an idea that even minor errors or trivial concerns could constitute very real catastrophic mistakes, and iii) the acceptance of perfectionism as an attainable standard and the rejection of a much healthier and realistic mindset based on growth. For additional context, I'm an academic -- and in hyper critical and hierarchical environments, such tendencies only become reinforced. The one positive is that -- in spite of my fear-based attitude, disproportionate response over trivial matters, and obsessive behaviours of checking -- I can still in certain frames of mind remain self-aware.

A few years ago I spoke with a psychologist about this. She said something that stuck with me: OCD-related behaviours are malleable and can differ in their manifestation even whilst an underlying need (e.g., for order, certainty, perfection) remains constant. I realized since I was a small child I had key everyday rituals I didn't even associate with my current OCD-related behaviours, which included arranging the furniture in an exactly precise way (and not being able to leave for school until I was satisfied), and ensuring my closet was perfectly organized to the last detail. Ensuring the furniture was correctly organized and looking at it from different angles until I was satisfied very much constitutes a form of "checking" that resonates with what I currently practice -- although now it's in a work context.

Over the years, I have attended classes and workshops on perfectionism and anxiety and read a considerable volume of research on the matter -- as an academic I couldn't help but do that. One coping strategy which I've used with mixed emotion is documenting what I've checked and when and what my response is. This occasionally prevents me from re-checking because I know I've resolved something. But I've felt this fuels my need to document every neurotic thought that enters my mind. Other strategies, such as allowing these ideas to enter and "float" out of your mind, I find much more difficult. I know I have to practice these things in order for me eventually get better and more resistant to these toxic thoughts. But, it's hard because sometimes I have a hard time when I'm in this mindset distinguishing what a "real" problem is and what a "trivial" one is -- owing heavily to my well-practiced ability to catastrophize!

I'd like to know if there is anyone who has had similar experiences around repeated checking, perfectionism, and catastrophic thoughts, and how you are currently managing. Or, generally, if you have tips for me in how to reduce these tendencies.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
 
D

Deleted member 92692

Former member
Hello everyone,

I heard about this Forum recently and decided to share my own story in hopes of getting feedback.

For as long as I can remember, I've exhibited OCD-related behaviours and tendencies but I've never been professionally diagnosed. My OCD is best characterized by a compulsive need to check for "errors" in my own work (or even in others' work) out of a fear that the work I'm producing is not "perfect". There's a lot to unpack in that statement, including i) a deep anxiety over "failure" and disappointing others, including collaborators, ii) an idea that even minor errors or trivial concerns could constitute very real catastrophic mistakes, and iii) the acceptance of perfectionism as an attainable standard and the rejection of a much healthier and realistic mindset based on growth. For additional context, I'm an academic -- and in hyper critical and hierarchical environments, such tendencies only become reinforced. The one positive is that -- in spite of my fear-based attitude, disproportionate response over trivial matters, and obsessive behaviours of checking -- I can still in certain frames of mind remain self-aware.

A few years ago I spoke with a psychologist about this. She said something that stuck with me: OCD-related behaviours are malleable and can differ in their manifestation even whilst an underlying need (e.g., for order, certainty, perfection) remains constant. I realized since I was a small child I had key everyday rituals I didn't even associate with my current OCD-related behaviours, which included arranging the furniture in an exactly precise way (and not being able to leave for school until I was satisfied), and ensuring my closet was perfectly organized to the last detail. Ensuring the furniture was correctly organized and looking at it from different angles until I was satisfied very much constitutes a form of "checking" that resonates with what I currently practice -- although now it's in a work context.

Over the years, I have attended classes and workshops on perfectionism and anxiety and read a considerable volume of research on the matter -- as an academic I couldn't help but do that. One coping strategy which I've used with mixed emotion is documenting what I've checked and when and what my response is. This occasionally prevents me from re-checking because I know I've resolved something. But I've felt this fuels my need to document every neurotic thought that enters my mind. Other strategies, such as allowing these ideas to enter and "float" out of your mind, I find much more difficult. I know I have to practice these things in order for me eventually get better and more resistant to these toxic thoughts. But, it's hard because sometimes I have a hard time when I'm in this mindset distinguishing what a "real" problem is and what a "trivial" one is -- owing heavily to my well-practiced ability to catastrophize!

I'd like to know if there is anyone who has had similar experiences around repeated checking, perfectionism, and catastrophic thoughts, and how you are currently managing. Or, generally, if you have tips for me in how to reduce these tendencies.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Perfectionism is admirable but seems like you go beyond. My step daughter had to have everthing in the house a certain way. Couldnt move the chairs or even the curtains had to be a cetrain way. She would know if she left the room then came back in and and one of the kids had moved anything. We all learned to work around her. 10 years later she has not changed. Im not sure you can ever loose that. But working around it is fine
 
3

3howards

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
22
Location
P.a
H,

Research ocpd as well....

I’ve ran into people who think they have ocd.... but I think you have to have obtrusive disturbing repetitive thoughts, counting a lot in numbers, and fears of being contaminated by germs or just taint of gross things like urine in the men’s room and you know what on a hotel bed( but to an irrational point, I have to reclean my hotel room before I can relax), but these things become impossible to cope with and effect your life... checking in ocd world is checking if you left the oven on 10 times and your late for work.. again....

My wife and stepfather both have( stepfather had r.i.p) ocpd .... rigid, and orderly .... must be on time... every thing must be done or organised the right way, and are frustrated that others are not doing it the right way....everything must be neat and orderly ....

My ocd and add and my wife’s ocpd clash constantly....

You may just have ocd....compulsive rituals like contamination fears, counting and checking usually come after intrusive obsessive thoughts and grow, and get worse and worse.... orderly and being symmetrical comes with ocd, but doesn’t mean u have ocd....

Strangely both people with ocd and ocpd are in danger later in years of becoming hoarders.... don’t ask me why it goes From one extreme to another .... but this is true....

Just do your research man...

And I wish you the best.... I had the orderly and symmetrical thing as a pre teen.... when I moved in with my stepfather who was also a military man too, I think he shocked me out of it.... never was as orderly and obsessed with it after I lived with uncle frank....

I hope u find your uncle frank... meh.... or not.... so your neat.....

I hope you find your answers my friend....

Threehowards
 
Top