I’ve never considered OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as being a bad thing, because my OCD means I’ve got stuff done, and I’ve been a little more detailed! However, it can be exhausting for people to live with people like ‘me’! Sadly most people only focus on the negatives. In reality, there are many advantages to living life with OCD. When you understand what those advantages are, you can start viewing your symptoms in a different way. Let me take you there, read on…..
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD: Attention Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder: ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder: ADD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviours (compulsions).
In my case, this can be useful when I want to sort out a room. I’m delayed from carrying out other tasks unless I’ve got an orderly area in place first. For some people, these obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
Washing hands obsessively, that’s not me, however, this one is the more obvious and well-known behaviour pattern. This pattern or behaviour can be quite mild, however, when it gets out of hand, it can be unbearable for people to live with the OCD person, with a carry-on effect of the OCD person not coping with their respective house mates or family members.
You may try to ignore or stop your obsessions, but that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease your stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behaviour — the vicious cycle of OCD in the extreme.
If you have OCD, you may be ashamed and embarrassed about the condition, but treatment can be effective. I’m not talking about medical treatment as your first option, because there are wonderful alternatives. Here are seven things you can do to manage and harness your OCD tendencies and turn it around to positive:
- Start the day with a green drink - keeps the blood clean and the chemistry stable.
- Deep breathe to create a calmer demeanour. The Box Breathing technique is perfect here. 4 breaths in. Hold for 4 counts, and Exhale for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts, and repeat as if going around a box!
- Hydrate with pure water - up to a litre before 9 am. Hydration is crucial for keeping your chemistry balanced.
- Exercise, move, dance, do yoga, and channel excess energy into an organized movement session - ‘yes’ you probably will have to clean your yoga area first, but that’s okay, all part of the movement!
- Write out the plan for the day - this may have been done the night before, and be open to alteration.
- Diffuse specific wood aromas, like Frankincense, Sandalwood, and Copaiba with Lavender or Petitgrain throughout the afternoon or morning - apply topically as well.
- Don’t go hungry, eat small, warming meals that are nutritionally on point. Avoid blood sugar dips.
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems. It can certainly explain why some people who identify with this mental health disorder have challenges around comprehension, for them, repartition is the mother of skill. ADHD can be an advantage if you learn how to harness energy. An example of harnessing energy…..
Over-learning something can be the catalyst for change and effective management of the condition. Overlearning any subject helps to bring a sense of control back to the person. This is what I had to do when I studied anatomy and physiology, although I’m very interested in the human body and the physical conditions we are up against, I still found it difficult to remember body parts until I made maps of the nervous system, diagrams of the human cell, and over learned every facet of identifying which part was which, I became confident and competent in my studies of anatomy. The OCD helped with this as well!
Exercising is a must for OCD, and ADHD people because movement counteracts negative chemistry, and turns it into a positive flow that dictates one’s ability to overcome. When exercising you are creating natural endorphins, the hormones of happiness, and you are improving your mental outlook. Combined with fresh air, and/or when indoors controlled scent, i.e. essential oils you have a winning formula to move through almost any issues.
Though it’s called adult ADHD, symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as clear as ADHD symptoms in children. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness, and difficulty paying attention may continue.
Traditional Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counselling (psychotherapy), and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD. Natural treatments can be incorporated right from the start. Everything I have mentioned for OCD can be incorporated for ADHD.
My dedication to movement, exercise, being outside more often than not, and avoiding stimulants like coffee and tea or anything with caffeine is certainly a positive step towards managing the symptoms. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy coffee or tea, it’s important to balance those joys out with natural ‘chemistry-altering’ habits. Positive nutritional contributors like a ‘Green drink first thing‘ every morning, Lemon Essential Oil in water as a blood cleanser, and fresh fruits, and vegetables, although more on the vegetable and greens than fruits. The fruit sugar can be an aggravator. Using essential fatty acids, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Vitamin E, C, and B, particularly the B complex which is why I love my B sachets ATP. See the link.
CAN AN OCD DIAGNOSIS BE POSITIVE?
OCD stems from anxiety. Some common OCD fears are contamination, disorder, and disorganization. To calm those anxieties, OCD sufferers perform certain compulsions that make them feel safer, as I pointed out the washing of hands. Someone who is anxious about germs in public places might wash their hands for five minutes until they feel adequately clean.
To the onlooker, this can be perceived as a mental illness, bordering on psychotic, but herein lies the issue, many brilliant people have been locked up in Mental Institutions because of their ‘different way of handling things’, their perceived ‘weirdness’ has become their undoing, instead of being treated kindly and with patience, good nutrition and sunshine they have been put away in institutions.
Everyone experiences OCD differently. Some people deal with mild OCD, where their symptoms come and go randomly. Others deal with serious OCD, which is present on a daily basis and prohibits them from doing normal things, like holding a job and casually running errands. In fact, over 50% of adults who are diagnosed with OCD have a severe impairment.
Based on that data, you would assume that having OCD is a negative thing. But while OCD can be incredibly debilitating, it’s not all bad. Living with OCD can give you various advantages in certain areas of your life. Recognizing those advantages can change your mindset about having OCD and help you see the positive side effects.
THE ADVANTAGES OF LIFE WITH OCD
I’m not saying that having OCD is the best thing ever! There are continual challenges, however, most people only focus on the negatives. In reality, there are many advantages to living life with OCD. When you understand what those advantages are, you can start viewing your symptoms in a different way. Some of the little-known advantages of having OCD are:
- You’re extra cautious
A lot of people living with OCD have fears and anxieties around accidents or injuries. They purposely avoid risky situations because their OCD symptoms will flare up. Someone who has OCD probably wouldn’t accept an invitation to go skydiving or rock climbing. As a result, OCD sufferers tend to be more careful and may be less prone to getting hurt. For me I’m a little more gun-ho, so I do tend to do risky things, meaning this part of OCD is not so much my strength.
Because people with OCD are more cautious than others, they also put more thought into the activities and situations they engage in. Rather than rushing into new situations, they take the time to think it through and recognize the potential risks. OCD sufferers may not live “at the moment,” but being careful about certain situations is always a safer option.
- You’re attentive
People who have OCD are usually very attentive and have great attention to detail. This trait can be useful in a number of different situations—in school, at work, while doing creative hobbies, and so on. In fact, most people go through life on autopilot, and attention to detail often falls by the wayside. This is something that OCD sufferers can use to their advantage.
On top of being attentive, people who have OCD usually want everything to be perfect, and consider themselves to be a perfectionist. That means you’re great at meeting deadlines, completing tasks with your best work, and managing your time well. As a student or employee, those are skills you need to have in order to get ahead.
- You’re empathetic
People who have OCD understand the difficulty of living with anxiety or other mental health disorders. They know what it’s like to feel out of control, or unable to contain racing thoughts. Most importantly, people with OCD know that living with a mental health condition is not a choice. It’s something that is completely out of your control, but you have to make the most of it. This is the case for me, every day.
Because of that, people who suffer from OCD are naturally more empathetic towards others. If a friend or family member struggles with their mental health, they’ll feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings. You can relate to people on a deeper level and provide a sense of comfort to people who are suffering. *
- You’re creative
Some studies have suggested that people with OCD are more creative than others. Because OCD sufferers have great attention to detail, they can spend hours coming up with new ideas, brainstorming things, and working on projects. In fact, art and music therapy are often used as an outlet for people with OCD.
Creativity is a great skill to have, but it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy making art or music to put your creativity to good use. Being creative could help you find a more enjoyable way to study for a test, or solve a problem. For OCD sufferers, having a creative mind allows them to think about things in a new or different way, which gives them a unique perspective.
*Authors note: When there is no empathy, then that is because the overwhelm has become so great and the body chemistry is dictating the obsessiveness over sympathy.
At the end of the day, if you are OCD, or ADHD or a mixture of both, and you are feeling like no one understands you, by all means, reach out to me or a natural health practitioner who you trust, and develop some strategies to cope more and thrive!