What is OCD? Not knowing what you know.

-OCD is blowing out a candle, seeing the smoke rise and dissipate, but being unable to pull your eyes away from the wick, because even though you know you blew it out, you feel uncertain that the now-unlit wick in your line of vision is actually out and you don’t want the house to burn down. You don’t know what you know.

-OCD is having a horrible, disturbing thought that you didn’t want, but instead of it appearing and disappearing without notice which happens with most people, your brain latches onto it, hyperfocuses on it, and fills you with intense anxiety. And even though you know you don’t want the things being portrayed in your mind, you worry that maybe you do, even though you really do know that you don’t. You don’t know what you know.

-OCD is buying new socks, even though you have drawers and drawers full of them, because you can’t shake the worry that the “old” ones you bought a few weeks ago (and the multiple pairs you’ve bought over the last few months) might get worn out too quickly and you don’t want to not have socks when you need them. Even though you know you don’t need them, somehow you’re uncertain, and you don’t know what you know.

-OCD is being unable to touch certain things because they “seem” contaminated and you’re full of anxiety that by touching them you’ll spread infection or dirtiness to yourself or to others. You know most people touch those things everyday without using their elbows or plastic gloves and without washing their hands, and the world population has not been decimated by disease. You know there is slim chance that you or anyone else will get horribly sick or die if you touch that door handle. But you’re somehow still uncertain. You don’t know what you know.

What is OCD? OCD is a disease where your brain malfunctions at certain moments or in specific situations and becomes unable to know what it knows. People say “I’m so OCD” a lot, when that isn’t what they actually mean because they don’t have the condition. It isn’t a personality quirk. It isn’t a drive to be particular about organization or cleaning. It is something a lot more painful, anxiety-provoking, and debilitating than that. It is your brain preventing you from achieving enough certainty to know what you know.





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