I am of German origin and currently live in the beautiful country of Canada. I have moved around a lot in my life and since having left Germany at the end of 2004, I have lived in Switzerland (Zurich), England (London) and France (Paris), before moving to Canada. During those years, I have learned English and French and consider myself lucky and 'rich' to have been able to have made so many experiences - good and bad ones.
My partner is a kind Englishman. He doesn't mind cleaning up my long-hair-mess in the bathtub, each time I have made it slippery with conditioner. He loves soccer just as much as I do. And when England play Germany, then we're on opposite sides. But only then!
I studied chemistry but didn't enjoy working in labs, so I changed until I found my liking for writing.
I love nature, sports and socializing with nice people.
What is OCD?
It stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
In these days it is recognized and defined as a real mental illness. During recent years, many organizations (professional and voluntary) have been founded. The IOCDF is probably the biggest and worldwide best known: International OCD Foundation, based in Boston, USA.
A lot of research is being done nowadays. I don't think it is known yet what exactly causes OCD. Observations show a high activity in certain parts of the brain - some sort of activity that doesn't happen in those people's brains who do not have OCD.
Anxiety is linked to causing OCD. Some people additionally believe that a trauma in one's personal life might cause it, or at least trigger it when the person is genetically predisposed. This would mean it covers up a different problem. Low self-esteem and low self-confidence have been linked as playing a role, too.
The best known OCD treatment so far is the so-called CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). It is often combined with some sort of anti-depression medication to try and improve some transmitter activity in the brain. OCD works like a circle between obsession and compulsion: an OCD-sufferer is obsessed about something (caused by intrusive thoughts/ideas that suddenly and randomly occur) which drives their compulsions. The compulsions are perceived as a brief relief but, unfortunately, feed the obsession even further which then keeps driving the compulsions. And so on and on. It's believed that CBT helps to reset the brain to break up this vicious circle. Sadly, it takes a lot out of the person suffering from OCD, so they feel mental pain until they eventually feel a level of success.
OCD symptoms: all actions like controlling/checking, washing, counting, repeating things in an exaggerated manner/routine, up to a crippling extent.
Misunderstanding: If someone is very tidy and likes being neat, it could just be some 'ordinary' kind of fuss but not the actual illness. Saying "I'm a bit OCD sometimes" doesn't mean the same as really suffering from it. It depends on the degree and how debilitating it is, because that's what OCD is: debilitating!
I have seen foundations stating that the WHO (World Health Organization) has ranked it within the Top 10 disabling illnesses.
Who has OCD?
Anybody can have it. At any age.
There are celebrities known to have it, too, such as David Beckham (famous former English soccer player) and Leonardo DiCaprio in a light form. The latter has played a role linked to OCD in The Aviator.
How many people suffer from OCD?
I have found different statistics. Some say 1-2% of the population have it, some say 2-3%. Some say 6.3 million Americans suffer with OCD, which would translate into 1 out of 43. I have also seen even 1 out of 40 people in the United States have it. But then, I have also seen 'only' 12 in 1000. Whichever number is the most accurate, I think it is very safe to say that a lot of people suffer from this mental condition and probably more than there will be admitting to having it.
Books about OCD?
A lot of books exist these days. The majority are self-help guides.
There are also some novels, such as The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, Perfect, Vanished etc. (I'm trying to get mine added to this list. :-) )
The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam (2014) (a Sunday Times Bestseller and reviewed in the New York Times) is of the genre memoir + case histories. He explores the weird thoughts that actually exist in every mind and which drive millions of us to obsession and compulsion.