Let’s talk about my compulsions. For years I was addicted to shopping. Even if I didn’t have the money I would shop all the time. I would sneak to the dollar store to buy anything I could buy. Going on lunches sometimes or just after work. I compiled clothes I never wore, jewelry, makeup I never used, random household items. I never thought I had a problem, I just thought that I enjoyed shopping. It was a hobby. Like any other girl. And maybe that’s how it started but it became a drug. Things like shopping release serotonin in our brains exactly like a drug does and therefore we feel a form of high from it. I craved it and bought things just to buy them not because I needed them or even wanted them. Once I recognized it I took steps to work on not doing it but sometimes it can be hard to tell if something is a compulsion.
Did you know one of the symptoms of OCD is stuttering and meaningless repetition of your words? Most people think OCD has the classic television symptoms like washing your hands an excessive amount. While that is true other symptoms aren’t as well known by the general population. Compulsive hoarding is another one. (Reference my previous paragraph on my shopping addiction…)Ritualistic behavior is one I struggle with too. For example if I drive somewhere one time that is the route I must always take. Always. I do not take shortcuts or detours or side streets. If there’s construction for instance, my anxiety is triggered badly. I get racing thoughts, fear, sweaty palms, I hold my breath and clench my jaw. What’s important to know about mental illness is that it is not one size fits all. My compulsions aren’t the same as someone else’s and that goes for any condition. While yes, there are certain blanket symptoms and terms used, not everyone can fit into a box. So if you don’t fit into a box that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid. Don’t ever feel that way. Remember, textbook or not, you’re not alone in this.