For those of you who don’t know, OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The DSM 5 defines OCD as, “the presence of obsessions, compulsions or both.”
It can be debilitating and take up most of one’s time throughout the day. The DSM 5 has plenty more under the definition, I have a link to the page at the end of my post.
Anyone can have OCD. It is not unique to a person with a brain injury. I am writing about it because I have OCD. Just like everything in my life, there is no sure way to know if it is a result of the injury or something else.
The most challenging thing I have found about OCD is trying to get people to understand what I am doing. Some compulsions are difficult to hide, which means that people will see them and ask about it.
My most visible compulsion is picking the scabs on my arms. I usually have big red spots on my arms from where I picked and the scares from the older places.
It is not a pretty sight, and people become curious about it. I have had people ask me what happened, and I just say I am allergic to mosquito bites. Someone asked if I had chicken pox.
I won’t lie, it is not fun. It is humiliating and painful to stop. I promise you that is not the only compulsion, but it is the most visible.
No matter what obstacles your brain injury gives you, you are not alone. We all struggle with something, visible or not. If anyone needs to talk to someone who gets it, let me know.
Even with a brain injury, you are not stuck with the life after it. There are ways to improve it. I went to therapy, and it decreased the intensity of my picking. There are ways to get help, and it is worth it.