Even though you may know that you may be doing compulsions, and that you need to stop them, the bigger task is identifying them. The more obvious ones are easy to identify but OCD is a sneaky disorder that enters your life in the most innocent activities and before you know it, there is some kind of compulsion that you start doing. Most times, some activities are so common place that when you want to list down your compulsions, you may not even consciously think of those activities because ‘that is the way I have always done them’. When you do become aware of how your OCD works, you may begin to understand why they need to be classified as compulsions despite being something that you have always done a particular way – simply because doing those activities any other way may be uncomfortable enough for you to want to do them all over again in the pattern you have established in your mind.
Following are three questions that you can ask yourself to be able to identify your compulsions:
What activities that you didn’t need to do before have you started doing because of your OCD?
These are activities that would cause you anxiety if you did not do them. For example, if you did not confess to your family about having harm thoughts, it may cause you anxiety. Hence, confession will fall under this category.
What activities that you could do earlier have become difficult to do because of your OCD?
These are activities that would cause you anxiety if you did do them. For example, you may have been able to watch movies with violence in them but because of your Harm OCD, you may be avoiding them now. Hence, avoidance of violent movies will fall under this category.
What activities need to follow a specific pattern, which would cause anxiety if not followed?
These may not even be related to your Harm OCD but may just cause anxiety if they are not followed in a particular manner. For example, if you are used to brushing your teeth in a particular pattern and breaking the pattern and brushing your teeth in a different way feels like you haven’t brushed them well, that may be a compulsion as well.
When you are identifying your compulsions, apart from all the compulsions listed above and the ones from the Y-BOCS list, identify if there are more that you can identify on the basis of these three questions and also note them down in Worksheet 3.14.