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I'll Clean Your House for Free (OCD Talking)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. (National Institute for Mental Health). There are many ways and levels OCD can take form. Some have it so bad that it disables them from living their every day life. For me it is the one thing that will and can cause stress in my life. I am a pretty easy going person...until I am placed in a situation that I want order and cleanliness.

For example, when I was a child I would neatly clean and place all my toys and figurines in order. I couldn't go to be unless they were exactly how I wanted them. If I had a feeling that something was out of place, I would get out of bed several times to make sure it was correct. When I was in junior high I had a major breakdown because I knew all the closets in the house were unorganized. I realized then that this wasn't normal behavior. It is a constant obsession with order and cleaning, but at my age, I have figured out how to manage my OCD before it elevates my anxiety levels. I have also used it to my advantage in my professional life and I can truly can help a person organize their life quickly. (I have a "Beautiful Mind" when it come to organizing)

So, how do I function now that I am a mother of a 19 m/o boy and live with a man who keeps every recipe and likes to keep 10 pairs of shoes scattered around the house? Well, I have created a compromise for my brain. Meaning there are certain rooms I "allow" to be messy and the rest is in order and organized. By placing a label on a room or closet, I gain control. It also allows me to save the energy and focus on other important things. Once we moved into our current home I decided to keep the design contemporary and minimalistic. This creates a space that my son can roam freely in without breaking or disturbing my adult decor. I can then be stress free in my home. I still make sure my multi-use living space is picked up. For me, that helps me sleep better.

Things that I do to help me control my anxiety for OCD:

  • Make my bed everyday (minus the fancy pillows).

  • Clear off my bathroom vanity every morning before leaving for work.

  • Set our backpacks and keys in one place every day.

  • Purchased containers for the kitchen and my child's room that will make it easy to keep organized.

  • Out of site, out of mind. If I know that something will be in disarray for a long period of time like our backyard from the pool remodel, I try to focus on other areas of our home.

  • I keep my OCD for cleaning in check by doing little things that are right in front of me. If I am at a friends house for dinner and feel that the kitchen island could be cleaned and organized for the food than I focus on that.

  • If I have a few minutes to get things in place like laundry, dishes, shoes, office desk etc. I knock it out in a short amount of time so that it doesn't consume my whole day. I then can relax and enjoy my time with my family. I am actually very impressed with how fast I do clean. If only it were a sport.

For me I need my home to be organized in order to be creative, productive and present. The everyday task like laundry and dishes seem small but for me if they are not done in the time frame I see fit, I will shut down, my anxiety levels will increase and I become a completely different person (just ask my family). The biggest thing one can do for your family is to communicate what triggers it or how they can help. As a Life Coach I am not trained to treat OCD, but I do recommend those who are struggling with OCD to seek therapy to help manage their anxiety and pain.

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