Living with someone with OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting anxiety disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.
While living with OCD is extremely challenging and difficult, living with a person suffering from OCD can be even more difficult. You might be subject to adopting a new lifestyle to make it simpler for the person with OCD, and your own life might become of secondary importance.
However, when you are living with someone with OCD, there are a few things you must consider:
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When you live with someone with any kind of illness, it becomes your unsaid responsibility to educate yourself about the illness. Especially when the person you are living with has OCD, you must be extra aware about the signs and symptoms, the boundaries and ways you can help them. It makes it easier for the person with OCD if you are educated on the topic as they don’t have to keep doing that themselves. Also, always be open to learn new things about the same. Mental illnesses are vast and diverse in terms of their cause and effect. So, be open and flexible to learn, always!
Be Empathetic and Set Limits
When someone is dealing with a mental illness like OCD, it can be difficult to understand, even for themselves, about what is happening. It may seem unnatural and abnormal. However, being empathetic and compassionate towards their situations can help them calm their nerves. Try to understand OCD from their perspective and what they are going through. At the same time, you must also set limits. While it can be logical for you to talk or discuss about the condition most of the time, they might not feel comfortable. Give them their space.
Related Article: Living with OCD during the COVID-19 crisis
Create a supportive environment
Everyone gets better at their own rate. For anyone with OCD, comparing themselves with other people with the illness is very normal and natural. So they need people in their close circle to tell them that they are getting better, and they will get better. When you encourage them and support them with their treatment, they will not feel alone and/or overwhelmed. Create a supportive and safe environment from them at home, wherein they can freely express themselves.
Don’t Forget to Prioritize Your Own Well-being
When you are living with someone with OCD and helping them get better, it becomes very convenient for you to forget about your own well-being. It is very important to consciously keep yourself your first priority. The person with OCD might not be able to think about you and be empathetic towards you like you are to them. Don’t feel bad about that. But don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Indulge in Self-Care Activities
This one is for both you and your friend with OCD. Indulge in self-care activities. Do things for yourself and encourage them to do so too. Things like travelling, taking a facial, regular health check-ups, spending time with your family are some of the self-care activities that you can consider.