OCD Hidden in Plain Sight

When I think of OCD, my mind quickly goes to television characters like Monk, or Emma from Glee both of whom are consumed with germs, keeping things organized and in order. While this is one representation of OCD it is by far not the only one. In fact there are at least 8 subtypes of OCD. It’s not until you recognize that the fear is only half of the equation -the obsession part. The other side is the compulsion -that seemingly undoes the fear by thinking or doing something to counter it or to protect you.

When I meet a client who comes in knowing that anxiety is something they need to work on, and they learn and apply coping skills to their anxiety yet still suffer it makes me wonder if OCD might be at work.

Reassurance seeking

Whether “rationalizing” why a fear won’t happen, or needing others to tell you you’re okay are hallmarks of OCD. Overthinking, seeking perfection, redoing, over preparing, overanalyzing, repeating, magical thinking, being utterly critical of oneself or others, ruminating are all other ways OCD presents itself.

In his book Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, author Jonathan Grayson, PhD. does a beautiful job of illuminating the ways OCD can manifest. He writes a great guide on how to tackle OCD so it no longer ruins your life.

If I could summarize the book into one sentence it would be the following:

“Are you willing to learn to live with uncertainty?”

OCD want certainty, facts, data, proof. It despises any sense of risk, chance, spontaneity.

And the biggest thing is that OCD has a sneaky way of making you believe every single thought your brain generates.


Believing your thoughts is OCD’s achilles heel. Once you learn how to work with your thoughts and fears as if they don’t have to be believed, you are well on your way to conquering your fears and reducing their impact on your life. Mindfulness is one of my favorite tools for putting OCD in it’s place.

Are you ready to kick OCD to the curb? I am here to help.