Living With OCD—How I Control My Disorder

Updated on June 5, 2019
Silver Q profile image

OCD came to my life when I was 8 years old, and for a while, it controlled my every breath.

Yes, I have OCD. No, being a neat freak does not mean you have this condition. And most importantly, it's not contagious.

Now that we've gotten the important stuff clarified, let's get to the point of this article: how to live with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This condition is a strong disorder with the potential to destroy lives. The good news? It's controllable. The even better news? It's controllable even without the expensive meds that are so commonly prescribed today.

My Rehab

My story begins as a small child. OCD came to my life when I was 8 years old, and for a while it controlled my every breath. It dictated what I could eat, how I could eat it, and how at ease I should feel with myself. It also dictated the smaller stuff in my life, such as how many times I should close a door to feel tranquility, and how many times (and how hard) I should wash my hands to feel as if I had defeated death. Silly? Absolutely. Serious? Even more.

But let's get to the point. With the help of my ever-loving mother, I learned to "shoo" away the burning, anxious thoughts that frequently came to my mind courtesy of OCD.

How to Control OCD

What my mother taught me has stuck with me like melted gum. She taught me that while I am not 100% responsible for my thoughts, I am 100% responsible for my actions. What this means is that no matter how crazy and uncontrollable things get inside your head, you don't have to act on your thoughts. This made me feel powerful and gave me a sense of control. She compared thoughts to friends. If you like a friend (thought) you can do what it is asking of you. If you don't like a friend, you can say, "I don't want to play with you right now," and ask it to go away. I knew I didn't like my OCD "friends." I hated them for making me do silly stuff I didn't want to do. But an OCD thought is not easy to shoo away. They're very stubborn, and they'll persist until you make it very clear to them that you will not give in.

Let me give you an example. One day, while watching television, a car wreck scene suddenly popped in the movie I was watching. Right away, OCD told me: "Go wash your hands, or else this will happen to a person you love." To a person with normal brain activity, these two things are completely unrelated, but a person with OCD knows how absurdly real these things can feel. I remembered what my mother told me: there is always more than one choice. I could either listen to my OCD, or I could decide to not be "friends" with this ridiculous thought. I decided on the latter. However, the thought persisted, and persisted, and persisted. What to do now?

Have an Escape Activity

My wise mother promised that if I had a bad thought I wanted to make disappear I could choose to do any of my favorite activities. She had me write a list of my favorite things to do. I was to carry this list with me at all times and take it out whenever the bad thoughts refused to leave. The purpose of this list was to engage myself in an activity that would distract my mind from what was going on inside. When it came to this, my mother became rather indulgent. She allowed me to do whatever would help me rid my head of those silly thoughts. I think this was partly because she was also suffering when she saw me engage in these very abnormal behaviors.

Although having a list is helpful, my advice is that you have a specific activity as an escape route. My favorite escape activity as a child was running and yelling (at the same time). This helped me release some of the burning sensation and anxiety I felt in my chest while experiencing OCD thoughts. Of course, there have to be different specific activities for different times. Why? Because I could not run and yell while I was in class or anywhere else that required complete and utter silence. So while I was in school, my escape activity was rapidly flicking my fingers, and concentrating on the movement and how it felt on my hands. The more anxious I was feeling, the faster and stronger the flicking became.

Visualize It

Sometimes, I gently hit the side of my head to symbolically push the bad thought out. I imagine the thought yelling and screaming, holding on to whatever it grabs while coming out of one of my ears. Then I picture it on the ground, begging for mercy, and asking to return to my head, since it is the only environment where it can live. And then I smash it with my foot. I kill it mercilessly with my entire weight, and then I twist my foot. I quite enjoy imagining bad thoughts suffering an inevitable and painful demise.

Imagine yourself also killing these bad thoughts. Make it funny—make it feel real.

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore

The most important aspect of controlling OCD is ignoring it. Treat it as an annoying friend. Ignore its calls, emails, and voicemails. Whenever it tells you to do something crazy, tell OCD how you feel about it and how ill you think of it. Write it a nasty letter and insult it as much as you want. But always make it clear to it that you will not give in to its ridiculous requests.

OCD has largely left my life now. But it still makes a comeback every now and then. It shows up with its ridiculous, whiny voice, and tests me with a small, but preposterous request. And just like an annoying friend, if I give in to that small request, it will start asking bigger, more preposterous things. My advice? Don't listen to its request, regardless of how minute and small it seems. Sometimes, OCD asks me to check if I locked my door, or if I unplugged my iron, even though I know I did. I kick the thought out, and smile while telling OCD "I am bigger and better than you. You can't live without my help. So die, idiot, die!!!"

The Fight With OCD

Learning to control OCD is not easy. It is probably one of the hardest things I have done, and in fact, I'm still working on it. It is a constant fight. And yes, sometimes you may fall and give in to it. But don't give up. The fight is completely worth it, and life is a lot more livable after this terrible enemy leaves your head. Continue, and know that you are not alone. There are many of us suffering with this terrible monster. Never give up fighting. Never give up hope.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Hayden Quinn 

      4 years ago

      Late to the party but brilliant hub! Your mum sounds like a hero. The illustrations are great too. I'm glad you found ways to deal with it.

    • Hendrika profile image


      5 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thank you for this. I suppose I do not really "qualify" for OCD as it is only ridiculous thoughts that keep repeating in my mind. Still I think implementing your ideas will even help for that as well.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi Remy:

      Thank you for reading! I wouldn't know if you have OCD or not. I hope you don't have it because it is just absolutely terrible. OCD manifest itself, not only in thoughts, but actions as well. OCD is way more than just annoying thoughts. It's anxiety ready to burst out of your chest if you don't act on the rituals and repetitive actions you have set for yourself. Once again thank you for reading!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think I've had OCD for a few years now but I've always been able to control it "if it is in fact OCD " my thought are usually having to have everything straight and the feel of certain things annoy me and random things drive me crazy . cleaning for me isn't that bad most of the time but sometime the urge to clean just comes over me and I can't stop . I think I also have sexual OCD . basically in a but shell the things that go on inside my head make me feel crazy at certain points like thoughts I can't can't control on the inside but have full control of on the outside

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi jimmytrix:

      Yes, OCD is a real pain everywhere! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice hub, OCD is such pain in the butt to live with.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      7 years ago

      Hi Jennifer B!

      I'm so glad you found this useful. Don't give up! I know it's a horrible, horrible thing to go through, but never give up the fight. You will win the fight if you continue with it!

    • Jennifer Bart profile image

      Jennifer Bart 

      7 years ago from Texas

      THANK YOU!!! I love this!!! You have so much courage to share your struggle with us!!! I am so inspired by this!!! I too have ocd!!! I understand the struggle and how it effects daily life!!!! I am currently on medication and in therapy. I have to say I can't wait to try your tips as my ocd is still bad! I am so glad I came across this. I admire your strength!!! So many times in my life I felt like giving up the fight against ocd. It is so refreshing to know that I am not alone in my struggle and once again thank you!!!!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      7 years ago

      Hi Meggan!

      That's the beauty of the internet! We can now diagnose ourselves better than any doctor ever could! lol

      Thanks for reading!

    • Meggan Tropos profile image

      Meggan Tropos 

      7 years ago from United States

      Love the cartoons! My son has an obsessive need to take online surveys - so far he has determined he does not have cancer, ADHD, etc but he does have OCD (according to the site). Lol! Thanks for shedding some light on what can be a stressful situation!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      7 years ago

      Thank you gsidley for your comment! You're right, ignoring those intrusive thoughts is essential in fighting OCD. And even though ignoring is tremendously difficult to do, the benefits outweigh the pain!

    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 

      7 years ago from Lancashire, England

      A really interesting hub.

      Your mother gave very sensible advice. Intrusive thoughts are commonplace in the general population, but the key is the meanings you attach to them. Believe that you have to act on them, and the risk of full-blown OCD is high; ignore them, and the anxiety will not stay high for long.

      Voted up.

    • profile image

      rum rum 

      7 years ago

      good tips dear... im also suffering its reallie difficult to fight.. mostly i get trapped to those thoughts....

    • JessMcCray profile image


      8 years ago from NYC

      Great tips. My father has a bad case of OCD and while I do have it's nothing like what you or my father has experienced. I applaud your efforts, OCD can be debilitating and you have worked so hard for it not to be that way for you and you can definitely help others

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      8 years ago


      Thank you very much for your kind word! My mother's advice and methods were amazingly helpful in controlling my OCD. I am super thankful to her!

      Thank you again for reading!

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      8 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Hat's off and a bow to your mother for such exemplary and wise measures...

      these measures sound so complex but yet are so effective!

      Great hub! Great info


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)