So, I have severe diagnosed anxiety which presents OCD symptoms in the form of becoming obsessed with certain scary topics for days on end. These symptoms are more O than C in OCD if that makes sense.

HOWEVER, I am trying to write a short story in which the MC has clinically diagnosed OCD (my mother has it, but everyone is different so she doesn’t have the ticks I would like to convey).

I am looking for a POV that is correct as possible relating specifically to compulsive behaviours like tapping on things, turning switches on and off, these kinds of things. What sort of feelings do you get? Is there a sense of danger or stress if you don’t?

For me, when I get compulsive behaviours, my thought process goes: “but if you don’t do this now you could die and then you will have never done it”. Is it similar at all?

I’m a strong believer in clinical diagnoses over self diagnoses, for representation purposes.

Speaking from a clinical view, most times people don’t know why they have the behaviours or a motivation for e.g. Switching a light on and off 3 times every time when it needs to be done. They just get very anxious if they don’t do it and then just do it compulsively. It just has to be done like that. If there is a specific obsession for e. G. With cleanliness and thus the compulsion to wash hands after touching certain objects, there might be a motivating reason for example being afraid to contract disease x or y.

My advice would be that you decide which obsession and/or compulsions your patient has, and why they have it. You could google the DSM V Criteria for obsessive, compulsive and related disorders. The criteria are quite easy to understand and might help you get the clinical view thereof.

I hope my lengthy answer helps.

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So I’m a bit different in th OCD catagory since I have both obsessions and what’s usually called “Tourettic OCD.” In both cases my compulsions are tapping things, flicking switches, kissing my fingers then tapping things, and snapping after I touch things. Also compulsively checking things like if the doors ar locked and the stove is off etc.

Obsession based tics feel like I can’t get the scary thought out of my head until I do the thing. It’s like a sort of self soothing in a way. Like if I flick the light switch on and off 7 times, my brain will stop telling me my appartment is going to burn down or my cat is going to die or whatever obsession is currently plaguing me. For a while at least.

The tourettic parts are even weirder. The feeling is similar to trying to suppress a Tourette’s tic. Basically my whole body and brain just feel wrong until I do this thing to my satisfaction. Like my skin is uncomfortable.

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Yeah I studied OCD in the DSM when I studied Psych.

Thank you, lengthy responses are good ^^

I see, yeah. Thank you so much!^^

you rang.

hmmmm compulsions. well. i am a hand-washer, which stems from the fear that someone will be allergic to peanuts, i will have residue on my hands, and then they will have an allergic reaction to said residue. sooooo if i touch peanuts or something that had peanuts on it or something that touched something else that had peanuts on it i have to wash my hands or i’m a murderer. it’s kind of the same thing for germs—my dirty hands will infect someone and kill them.

every pothole i hit while driving is obviously a person so i must check in the mirrors to make sure i’m not a murderer.

i must check in front of/behind my car, depending on which direction i am leaving, to make sure there is not a corpse or passed-out person behind it that i can’t see.

i must check return to the airport to check that i have not damaged the plane or left the ignition on after a flight.

starting said airplanes is difficult because i worry someone will run into the propeller as it’s starting and then die, so i must thoroughly look around before starting the plane.

i am compulsively honest, explaining things that do not need to be explained. for example once i ran into a French person in New York, apologized, and then had to explain why i was apologizing because she was extremely confused about that happened.

as for what happens when i don’t do the compulsions—not a lot. it can cause a lot of anxiety at first but the less i do them, the easier it gets, and the better i feel.

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i should add that the longer a person lets compulsions continue the worse they get. like before i went on vacation and couldn’t constantly wipe things down/wash my hands i could barely touch the books i had to put on the shelf at work. when i got back from not doing compulsions going to work as a far cry easier.

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My OCD connects directly to how stressed I am. The more stressed I am, the more compulsions I have, meaning I can generally operate normally until I have a bad day. A lot of my compulsions are things that I can’t stop/don’t think about doing (I count steps a lot, so I’ll be thinking about stuff while simultaneously counting how many steps it takes to get from my car to my front door). Other tics, I do over and over until it finally feels “right”, for example, I take deep breaths, but if I don’t do it in the “correct” way, I’ll keep taking these breaths over and over until one finally feels good. Not doing it doesn’t feel like I’m going to die, but it does bother me immensely and I don’t feel fine until I actually do it

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My son has OCD as well as Bi-polar disorder. His compulsions range from doing a little dance between doorways because he has to tap each tile six times before he can cross and if you interrupt him he has to start over, to smelling everything. He smells everything.His toothbrush, his hair brush, the counter…
When he was little, he ran around with a scented votive candle at my MIL’s house. It had to be on the table by the door and if someone moved it, it had to be found before he could enter the house.
He likes precisely three cubes of ice in his water. We have an icemaker with a release in the door to the fridge. He knows the exact sound needed to get that three cubes.

That’s so interesting, and I’m glad you seem to know how to make it a bit better I guess? I also have a hand-washing thing but, to me, the skin on my hands feels weird, and I do constantly worry about what I’ve touched like, “I touched my cat 5 hours ago and washed my hands several times since then but now I’m eating with my hands what if…”.

Thank you! When my mother was ‘bad’, she used to count how many times she chewed her food and could only swallow it if it was a certain number.

If it’s not too personal* of a question, does he have bipolar i or ii? I studied Psych for a while and I like knowing more about stuff like this.

Thank you for telling me!

i. There are things he just isn’t wired to understand at all. His emotions range from screaming and crying, to busting holes in walls. He’s gotten better, but when he’s low, it’s really bad. It’s hours of listening to him rage until he works it all out in his head. I have to stay calm and listen, answer when he asks a question, and sort through the aggression to figure out what happened and explain it. When he’s happy, is manic. He bounces and laughs when something isn’t funny.It’s a shrill sound that hurts my ears. If he’s quiet, though, I worry. Sounds strange, but there’s a medium in there where I know he’s good. If he’s too quiet or too loud, something’s wrong.

You seem to be very patient with him and I’ve never had kids but it seems very difficult. I’m glad you are able to ‘deal’ with it as a part of him^^ I’m sure he’s a good kid.

He is a good kid. :slight_smile:

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I completely agree. The more you do the compulsions, the worse they get. For myself, I have driving/hit-n-run OCD.

My compulsions are:

  1. Looking in my mirrors for disasters behind me

  2. Walking around my car to look for new marks

  3. Going around the block to see if I did anything wrong

Each time I do these things, I get triggered again and it results in repeating the above behaviours. I think one night I spent upwards of 3 hours driving in circles.

I learned that I’m not any better doing them than not doing them. This gave me the strength to finally move forward in my recovery and say no to OCD. I don’t always succeed, but I’m a lot better than I was.

Although, recently I’ve been triggered by a car accident(not my fault) and it has been a terrible battle to move forward again.

In terms of writing about a character with OCD, I would research the various themes. While we may have multiple themes, we tend to have one that is dominant, and the others are more mild annoyances.

Themes can change over one’s lifetime. I use to have religious OCD, but not so much anymore. I used to be really bad for checking doors and windows, not so much anymore. It tends to cycle based on what’s worrying you the most. What matters most.


I used to have quite bad OCD when I was younger.

There was definitely a sense of danger and stress if I didn’t do the things I thought I had to do. For me, it was touching and kissing various objects mostly, or just repeating any action that I felt I needed to- I’d spend hours doing it, I couldn’t sleep because every time I’d look at an object in my room, I’d have to go down and touch it until it felt right, it’s not like I had to do it an even number of times or anything, it just had to feel right.

This may sound weird, but it felt like the objects were talking to me and saying that they’d make bad things happen if I didn’t touch them- it made me resent them, but I also felt bad because it’s like they were crying when they told me to do things (it’s kind of embarrassing to talk about lol). One of the main objects that a lot of my compulsions would revolve around was my guitar, I think it may have stemmed from the fact that I felt guilty about not practising it enough. And then there were a lot of other items that my compulsions often revolved around.

It was tiring mostly, so tiring.

I went to therapy for it, and it really, really helped, though when I talk about it or think about it I can feel myself getting twitchy. It is genuinely nice to talk about it though.

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