OCD is a liar. All the time.
It’s incredible how posting something a few times and in a few different ways can turn into your own personal meme. That’s what happened to me recently as I continued to talk to people on an OCD forum about their struggles with the disorder.
What I came up with is this: OCD is a liar. All the time.
It’s true. OCD lies every single time it sends off an intrusive thought into a sufferer’s head. It’s not a matter that it lies sometimes and then the sufferer is left wondering how to differentiate between the truth and a lie. Nope. OCD lies all the time.
This all came about when helping several different people with contamination OCD. They were having the usual devilish time trying to figure out if they should clean something or not, or do more cleaning than they had or even throw out a supposedly contaminated object. It came to me that OCD is a liar and that’s a good way to talk about it to people struggling with the disorder.
When intrusive thoughts strike, the brain’s alarm system sounds, making us stand up and take notice. It’s like a scream in our brains that, “Hey! This is really, really important and you need to do something about it, now!” But every single time OCD pulls that stunt, it’s a lie.
That part of our brain with the alarm system has been around for a very long time and it has a good reason to be there. If a car is heading straight for you, that alarm system is what makes you jump out of the way, even though you were involved in a very important conversation at the time. That part of the brain told our old ancestors to get out of the way of the sabre tooth tiger or risk getting eaten. It’s what makes us rush to help when a toddler is about to touch a hot stove.
But that same, valuable brain system is subverted by OCD and told to fire when intrusive thoughts hit. It screams danger, danger! But there is no danger. It’s all a lie.
OCD tells us that there is a raging forest fire in front of us, when it’s actually the flame of a candle. It tells sufferers their cell phones are contaminated with bodily fluids when they’re really no more contaminated than any other object. It screams that the possibility of a sufferer being a pedophile means drastic action (like ruminating) must be taken right away.
OCD lies. It always lies. Don’t listen to the lies and you’ll be further ahead.