My Secret Demons and Dragons

by Sherry Riter in Health

The demons and fire-breathingdragons are evil, overwhelming and sometimes it feels impossible to defeat them alone.

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

How well do you know yourself? Do you know your limitations? Do you think you are armed and invincible?

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

I am OCD.

No, it isn’t an acronym for “One Creative Daughter” or “One Cool Darling.” OCD stands for an anxiety disorder called Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder which is characterized by repetitive behaviors performed to help reduce worry, apprehension, and the fear that causes anxiety. In an unexplainable way, participating in the compulsion causes the sufferer to believe that they are preventing the event from occurring.

These actions or habits may appear paranoid or even psychotic. Since the OCD sufferer knows they have this condition and that it is irrational, that knowledge also adds to the anxiety and increases the negative behaviors. In many ways, it is a vicious cycle which causes self-recrimination, self-criticism and/or self-loathing. This disorder can be very alienating.

Some people exhibit this condition by doing actions so obsessively that it causes harm to themselves such as washing their hands until they bleed or brushing their hair until it falls out. Remember my “habit” of picking my lip? Yeah, well, that is probably a bit compulsive and obsessive too. There are also the obsessions such as opening and shutting a door a certain number of times before entering the room or being unable to go to bed with a dirty fork in the sink. These actions are extremes that seem to provide control and comfort for those inflicted with this condition.

Often OCD sufferers are able to channel their obsessive behavior into accomplishing a mind-boggling amount of things such as having a spotlessly clean house, being an over-achiever in their career, or they develop and expand multiple talents.

The only really “obviously weird” obsession that I have involves keeping the door locked. It goes something like this…

  • I check the front door lock to ensure it is latched.
  • I walk a little away and then turn around and look at the lock.
  • I make a statement to myself – “The door is locked.”
  • I turn back around and head for the bedroom all the while telling myself to keep walking because the door is locked.
  • Right before going into the bedroom, my brain is flooded with the thought that I didn’t lock the door. Someone is going to break in! We are all going to die and it will be all my fault because I didn’t lock the door!
  • I go back to the front door and recheck the lock which is still locked.
  • Now I’m frustrated and tired.
  • I finally make it into the bedroom and lay down in the bed.
  • If it has been a really stressful day, before my head hits the pillow, the thought of a burglar bursting through the doors enters my head. I’m immediately filled with fear and feel that if I do not get up immediately, it will really happen.
  • I leap from the bed and quickly go to the door. Of course, I find the door locked.
  • Eventually, the nightmare lock scenario ends after this repetitive “checking of the lock” and my brain shuts up and lets me sleep.

That is the only openly apparent and “ridiculous” anxiety that exhibits itself in an OCD behavior for me, however, I have other compulsions and obsessions. When I enjoy doing something like cooking, playing video games, listening to a song, reading, or blogging, to name a few, I do it over and over and over and over again. I have to always be aware that I do not take anything too much to the extreme and “give in” to the behavior.

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

I’m sure you’ve heard that you CAN get too much of a good thing. Well, it is true. Sunday I listened to the same song all day long and my family was ready to stuff me in the closet. My only defense is that I like the song, however, that is an OCD behavior!!!

There is one major drawback to this condition which is that I personally do not know my limits. Because of that fact, I am very wary of the things I “start” or “try.”

For instance, I have never abused drugs or drank alcohol. I fear that if I “snorted coke” or “got tipsy/drunk” for instance, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Unlike the door obsession, a cocaine or alcohol obsession would eventually kill me.

It simply isn’t worth the risk to start something that I am unsure I would have the ability to stop.

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

Knowing this “secret” about myself and my limitations is one of the best weapons against the OCD demons and dragons. I made a decision long ago that I would never abuse drugs or alcohol and that I wasn’t going to tempt my weaknesses by even trying them. That decision and the process of getting to that decision is and has been the most powerful weapon in staving off those substances.

The bottom line is that I do not trust myself with participating in behaviors that could harm me or ruin my life permanently, so I avoid them. That really has been the simplest solution and my greatest weapon.

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

I also surround myself with people who respect my choices.

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

We all have weaknesses and this just happens to be mine. I understand it and have learned to accept it in my life. Knowing that the demons and dragons are lurking around the corner waiting to pounce, has given me the willpower to remain determined, courageous and strong.

I think of this knowledge as power. I know who the enemy is and how to fight it.

Do you know the dragons that wish to breathe fire into your life? How do you defend yourself and remain strong against your demons?

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Demons and Dragons

Helpful Links

International OCD Foundation
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Brochures you can download
OCD Organizations and Support Groups

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Aud Author, Audrey December 1, 2010 at 5:42 am

OMG, please tell me those aren't your toys in the pictures. If so, WHAT are you doing with them dear sister of mine? LMAO!

Reply

2 Anonymous December 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

HELLO SHERRY, YOUR MOM IS 66 AND SHE HAS NEVER TASTED ALCHOL IN ANY FORM, OR SMOKED ANY THING. I TOO WAS A FRAID TO EVER TRY, I SAW MY FRIENDS ACT LIKE IDOITS AND GET SICK, I NEVER WANTED THAT. I NEVER WANTED TO HURT MY PHYSICAL BODY, I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN IT WAS A PRICELESS GIFT AND HAVE TAKEN CARE OF IT. WHEN MY TIME COMES IT WILL BE THE WILL OF THE LORD, AND I AM SURE DEEP IN MY GENES THERE IS A DISEASE THAT WILL COME FORTH AND TAKE MY LIFE. IT WILL NEVER BE BECAUSE I DID SOMETHING TO CAUSE MYSELF TO HAVE SOME TERRIBLE DISEASE BY MY OWN HAND. NOR DO I SIT AND LET MY MIND VEG, I READ AND STUDY SO I MAY REMAIN SHARP. I LOVE YOU AND AM THANKFUL FOR YOU

LOVE MOM

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3 Kathy Morelli December 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Hi Redhead! I admire your honesty in this. We all have our demons. You have managed to recognize your limitations and are proactively leading a fulfilling life. The thing about going to a therapist, is that one needs to eventually take total responsibility and take action, managing what God has given us.
You are managing a difficult situaion, making the best of it.
I admire you for that. 1 in 5 of us has a mental health problem to manage. You are not alone.

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4 The Redhead Riter December 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm

The Aud Author, Audrey

Yes, these are mine! All mine!

Actually, years ago I needed one of the figures for a project and I didn't throw away the rest of the pieces. I knew they would come in handy some day!

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5 The Redhead Riter December 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Kathy Morelli,

Thanks for your comment. I definitely believe that you have to be in control of your own choices. It drives me crazy to hear people blame their choices on a therapist. Ick!

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6 Gail December 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I have a mild form…I count, in my head, handfuls of laundry, dishes as I wash. Always thought it was because I was taught to count every thing while I was young.

My main problem is having no answer when someone asked a question. Alex loves to play with me on this! If I cannot answer a question, I cannot rest until I have found the answer.

I use to be worse, about housework and every thing in its place before I could sleep. Some one once told me, Don't you know, no one cares but you. As tough as that was to hear, it has helped.

It has really had no adverse affect on me. I excelled in school, the work place, kept life in order and am a little obsessive when I have a project but I think those are good things.

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7 John and Allie Fields December 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with your readers. I would love to know more about how OCD affected you during your childhood.

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8 katlupe December 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

You are so honest with your readers here! I don't have this but there are people in my life that do, and I keep thinking that is where the "perfection factor" comes in. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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9 Holly December 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I LOVE your action figure illustrations!! 😀

We have a bit of OCD going on in our genetic code. I, too will not touch harmful substances, knowing that it could have a horrible effect on my life. My dad was an alcoholic and was gone at the young age of 58. Not sure how many of his life choices can be attributed to this, but too many, I'm sure.

Mine is manic induced and I only WISH I could aim it to be as a neat freak…

Thanks for sharing! YOU are AWESOME!! (((HUGS)))

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10 Teresha@Marlie and Me December 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Hi. My name is Teresha and I have OCD too. I think you already knew that.
I love this post (not just because I can relate) but it's educational for people you know someone struggling with OCD.
Your comment about it being alienating is so spot on. Everyone around us just think we are overly competitive, over-achieving or trying to be perfect. They don't realize how exhausting it is to be so consumed with having structure and order.
I am a lot better than used to be, but I don't consider myself cured. It's good to know I'm not alone in my struggles. ? you!

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11 Danielle May 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I have OCD too! And I share the checking locks compulsion. And windows. I love fresh air, but hesitate to open windows because it means compulsively locking and unlocking and locking and checking. UGH!

The thing about OCD is, when you aren't really suffering because of it, it's kinda funny!

Here's my OCD blog post:

http://yeahisaiditblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/flashback-friday-and-speaking-of.html

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