Strange as it may seem, one day I decided to experience on my body and brain the symptoms of one of my patients who had been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This would have given me the opportunity to get to know him better; he would put me in his shoes as exactly as possible; it would have helped me to be more empathetic with him …
In the lines you will read, I explain what not to do to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder. Maybe I will tear you a few smiles, but I will also be able to give you some important clues to avoid falling into the clutches of this pathology.
Anyway… what is the definition of an obsessive-compulsive subject? An obsessive-compulsive personality responds to a global pattern of concerns about order, perfection and mental and interpersonal control, at the cost of flexibility, openness and efficiency.
Goals to be achieved in order to be obsessive-compulsive
In order to become an obsessive-compulsive subject, I had to look for information on what I needed to change about my personality, until then a little anxious, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once I got to work, first of all, I analyzed the characteristics that, on the whole, lead to define an obsessive person. So, I researched psychology books and what I found is the following. If I wanted to be a good obsessive, I had to achieve the following:
- Worry about details, rules, lists, etc, in a disproportionate way.
- Being so perfectionist that it interferes with the execution of my tasks.
- Dedicating excessive devotion to work. Exclude interpersonal relationships and leisure activities.
- Be extremely conscientious, scrupulous and inflexible.
- Being unable to throw away used or unimportant items.
- Do not delegate tasks or work to others without submitting them to my way of doing things.
- Adopt a greedy style with myself and others.
- Be stiff and stubborn.
Sowing the seeds to become obsessive-compulsive
The first thing I did was convince myself that I was perfect and superior to everyone. This would have led me to an unhappy and painful life, but the moral advantage of being superior to others would have been a sufficient reward. It helps a lot to be the model little son, the one who never fails and everyone loves. I got used, right from the start, to know what needs to be done to achieve perfection.
I also had to pay attention to the decisions I was making. I have always had to weigh the factors and the consequences, never make the wrong decision. The only problem was having to think too much before making a decision, which would lead me to decide on rare occasions. But it is precisely starting from this that the obsessive consolidates his habits.
Routine, blame and cleanliness
The routine had to settle in all areas of my life. I found that I couldn’t live without. To acquire dexterity, I made the most varied collections, whether they were of stamps, coins, objects or simply sheets with scribbles. I always had some tasks to accomplish and little chance of losing control. Perfection was close at hand. Great!
Guilt is a feeling that I manage in a masterly way. It has become so important to me that I do everything possible to avoid it. If I made a mistake, I mulled it over to make sure I was right. Who would not feel guilty in front of his righteousness, his devotion, his rigor, his competence, in short, his perfection?
My job was my heaven, but my home had turned into my hell. An impeccably tidy and clean home is less likely to become chaos (something an obsessive-compulsive would never want). The material things I acquired were clean and perfect. Kept all I could, I didn’t throw anything away. In the future, anything could be useful to me.
My symptoms of obsessive-compulsive neurosis
My friends have made me drunk and commit more than one “sin” (I leave it to the reader’s imagination). I also had an affair with a woman who wasn’t my partner. She got pregnant at the first carelessness and my destiny began there. I worried so much about the details that I ran out of time for everything and started having memory problems and making big mistakes in my activities. I knew I couldn’t improvise if I wanted to become a perfect obsessive.
So, I was left with no other alternative but to start checking everything I had done in detail. Doubt pushed me to verify and to increase control. I asked people if I was doing well and was inducing them to adopt soothing behaviors. I frequently re-counted the keys, checked the closed doors, and pressed the switch three times to make sure it was unplugged.
Impurity, absurdity and care
I started thinking that I was on the verge of becoming impure, but the impurity was also washing away and I started doing just that. Rituals upon rituals of verification, of cleaning, of order… since I was impure, I had no other remedy other than washing myself several times. I began to fear a series of impure thoughts and I didn’t give up. I exorcised them with a ritual (washing myself to fight impure ideas) or I passed on to another thought which, in turn, must have been more absurd than the previous one. This gave me other doubts and, therefore, I felt obliged to pass on to another thought again and so in succession.