Obsessively Crazy Details: A Look Inside The OCD Mind

Just in case!

hp-anxiety-art-137-healthyplaceOkay, so it might have touched the floor, but you're not completely sure. Alright wash your hands..... and wash the edge of the sleeve..... then wash your hands again afterwards, then it should be ok. Yeah, but what if some dust from the floor went on you when the sleeve went near you? Don't you think you ought to change your clothes? And it might have gone near your hair, you really ought to wash that as well - "just in case!"

This is the crazy stuff that goes on in my head, but not just once in a while, not just occasionally, but ALL the time. It's like having two people in your head - one telling you to do this and do that "just in case," putting more and more doubt in your mind, trying to make you wash and wash and then, just when you can't wash anymore and your hands are so sore they're nearly bleeding.... it says NO! You still haven't done it right, or enough, and it makes you wash again.

All the time that one's nagging you, another person is pleading with you to stop, telling you it's okay, you ARE clean, nothing went wrong, you're clean NOT contaminated! Ignore the other one, don't wash anymore - "Yes, but what if?," say's the other person. On and on it goes, and your head is so full of it ALL the time, you get no relief, no rest. Even when you're asleep it invades your mind, edging in on your dreams until it takes THEM over.

Active, thinking, wondering, your mind's on the go ALL the time - worrying. What if this happened? What if you went too near that? What if you touched that contaminated thing? You'd better wash again. You'll have to throw that away!

If you go out to the shops, or for a walk or ANYWHERE, there's that person or that THING again, nagging at you. "You went near that; your arm brushed by it and it's really contaminated. You know what that means - more washing when you get home, and your clothes. Oh, and you'd better wash the car seats and anything else you touched or might have touched, just in case!"

So, you cry, slowly and quietly at first, then more and more, and then you sob and you sob, because it's all you can do. You just can't do this anymore and you want it to stop. It hurts, you hurt, the pain is so bad that in your frustration you pinch and scratch and dig your nails in... into your own arm in an effort to stop the other pain, make your head concentrate on a new kind of pain, a different hurt!

Then, later as you look at your arm, sore and red, you regret doing it, and so you cry and sob some more, all the time wondering what's wrong with you, "why are you doing this to yourself, why won't it stop?" - you must be going crazy, mad. They'll probably have to lock you up eventually and throw away the key!

Everyone else seems to be pretty normal. They're happily doing stuff, and they don't appear to be frightened, scared, or worrying about everything like you.

And so it gets too much. You stop going out. The pain, the worrying, the arguing over what to wash and how many times to do so - it's easier, less painful, to just stay at home, easier than what it means you have to do later if you DO go out. So you just won't anymore. You'll make the best of things at home in your own, "uncontaminated" environment - and yet it isn't is it? Because you went near that wall after going to that place, and you sat in that chair when you got back from there. Oh, and someone's foot went on that so you can't sit there - and so your world gets smaller, your life closes in on you EVEN more, and the clean, "uncontaminated" areas become fewer and harder to find.

And so you stay in one area, one room, in one chair, one place, going nowhere, doing nothing, seeing no-one. But you somehow stay controlled, you do things a certain way, a certain amount of times, "just in case," and that feels okay. As long as nothing changes or disrupts this routine it will be alright. So you convince yourself, and you make the most of what you've got, and yes you still smile, still laugh and have a joke! You have to; it's the only thing that gets you through, but deep down, hidden inside..... you cry and sob and scream silently with the hurt and pain of it all, and you wait for something or someone to rescue you, to give you permission to set yourself free, PERMISSION TO BE FREE!......... JUST TO BE FREE.


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 3). Obsessively Crazy Details: A Look Inside The OCD Mind, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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