Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a psychological disorder that may bring about unwanted thoughts and fears, that are usually unrealistic. It may compel a person say or do things out of the ordinary, for fear of either germs, contamination or of something bad happening. People with OCD may have obsessive thoughts in their mind which drives them to perform compulsive behaviors, such as repeatedly checking to make sure the stove is off or if the door is locked.
Do you ever check the stove before you go out? Some people may check the stove and then walk out of the house once they see it is not on. However, a person with OCD may feel compelled to check the stove over and over again to make sure that the stove is off. They may feel that they have to check to see if the stove is turned off every time they are about to leave the house.
You may have to repeatedly make sure that some or all of the appliances in your house are unplugged before leaving the house. You may also feel that you have to repeatedly check to make sure that the door is locked. You may even think about the stove, even though you checked a number of times to make sure it was turned off, when you are on the road and outside of your house.
I know about this form of OCD because I have it and have been diagnosed with it. I can say that it does cause a lot of unnecessary stress and a lot fearful thoughts. It may also be very time consuming, having to repeatedly check appliances and locked doors over and over again before leaving the home. If you have to do any of these rituals before leaving your home, then you may have OCD. If you have already been diagnosed with OCD, then you may be already working on ways to treat it.
I spoke to a mental health professional and his suggestion for this type of behavior was to make a checklist of everything that I had to check before leaving the house. You may want to try this as well. So, on a piece of paper, write down a list of things that you check. For example, if you check to make sure that your lamp is unplugged before the home, you would write lamp plug on the paper. If you also check the stove and front door, you would write stove and door on your checklist.
After writing down the things to be checked, you would go over to each of the things on your checklist before leaving your home. Look at the stove, if it is off, then you would place a check mark next to the word stove. Check the lock on your door to make sure it is locked and then place a check mark next to the word door on your checklist.
While you are away from the home, you can look at your checklist and see that each of these items are checked off and it may give you some reassurance. This suggestion might help with the stress of OCD, it may not cure it completely. Of course, you are still performing the ritual before leaving the home, but the checklist may provide you with more peace of mind as well as helping to reduce the number of times you check something before leaving your home.
I have been to the point where I would completely stop checking before going out because of fear of being late for work or appointments. Even though it would be on my mind, I would stop checking everything I used to check repeatedly. I would tell myself that the stove is off and things are unplugged and then I would try to distract myself with other things. I felt that it was more important for me to be at work on time than to stress over something that has a very little chance of happening.
It may not be easy to control thoughts of OCD, but it is also not easy doing the behaviors that OCD compels me to do. Checking things repeatedly over and over and living in fear of something bad happening before leaving the house is a form of OCD that I do not want to live with for the rest of my life. If you feel compelled to repeatedly check things before leaving your home, it may be causing you or the people living with you a lot of stress, especially if it makes you late for outings, work or appointments. If you have not done so, you may want to speak to a mental health professional to find a treatment plan that might help you.