Ever since my mom watched the now infamous Hoarders, she has implied that I might be afflicted with the same compulsive behavior to keep absolutely everything. It's true that I have a really difficult time getting rid of anything from old magazines I never read to DVDs I never watched. As a result, I secretly feared that I might have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, but I eventually realized that my simple love of keeping things was an example of a thing that you think are signs of OCD, but aren't.
According to Help Guide, obsessive-compulsive behavior is explained as obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that become so excessive that they begin to interfere with your daily life no matter how hard you try to shake them off. According to Healthline, some of these OCD behaviors are a need to check things over and over, intense anxiety when things are not symmetrical, raw hands from washing too much, and counting for no reason.
How do you know if your weird quirks and habits are totally normal, or actually a sign of OCD? The truth is that it can be a tricky line to walk and, if you suspect that you may have OCD, it is best to talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms. If you relate to one of the red flags below, however, you might not have OCD at all. Here are five signs that make you think you might OCD, but aren't.
1. You Clean Obsessively Before Anyone Comes Over
According to the aforementioned Help Guide article, one category for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder is a washer. This person usually has cleaning or hand-washing compulsions because they suffer from obsessions about contamination, according to Health Guide Info. They may admit to fearing sickness, germs, or infection, but even simple contact with a variety of substances can make them feel dirty and anxious. If you are the type of person to clean obsessively before mom comes over to your new apartment or before inviting the girls over for Friday night mani-pedis, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have OCD. Washers are typically afraid of urine and feces, sweat, blood and semen, broken glass, chemicals, unwell or dirty people, and animals. However, thoroughly cleaning your apartment before inviting anyone over is probably just a symptom of social anxiety, not OCD.
2. You're Constantly Forgetting If You Locked The Car Door
Every other day, I walk inside my house, greet my dog, and then go back outside to double check if I locked the car. I can never remember if I actually pressed the correct button, or if I just imagined the whole thing. Checkers are another category of people with obsessive-compulsive behavior, according to the aforementioned Help Guide article. They are repeatedly checking things such as if the oven is turned off or if the door is locked.
According to Psychology Today, however, someone with OCD tremendously exaggerate the risk of having an unlocked door. They think that the world is a threatening place and, therefore, they must check the front door constantly to make sure it is locked in case someone dangerous tries to enter. If you are not obsessively doing the behavior over and over for hours, then it is unlikely that you are an OCD checker.
3. You're A Total Perfectionist
The doubters and sinners category of those with OCD includes people who think something terrible will if things aren't perfect or done just right, according to the aforementioned Help Guide article. This sounds very similar to perfectionists, who have a driving need to attain unreasonable or unattainable goals, according to Health Central. Perfectionists tie their self-worth to their ability to be perfect, and have a difficult time accepting "second best" in any endeavor. They also tend to give up on tasks that they determine won't be done perfectly, will sacrifice their own well being to make something perfect, and obsess over previous mistakes. Perfectionists tend to cause themselves tremendous stress and anxiety by always insisting that everything is perfect, while people with OCD believe that there are outside repercussions for their imperfection.
4. You Enjoy Counting Your Steps
A fairly recognizable form of obsessive-compulsive behavior is counting and arranging. According to Health, some people with OCD perform tasks based on a numeric patterns or count to themselves as they do everyday tasks. If you enjoy counting your steps as you walk home or on your daily run, then you might think that you have this type of OCD. But if your behavior is not driven by superstitions, then it is probably not OCD. If the behavior isn't bothering you or anyone else, then there's no reason to stop it or seek help.
5. You Keep Pretty Much Everything
Hoarders are the last category of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to Help Guide. Plenty of people keep things that they no longer use for way too long, but that does not mean that you have OCD. If you keep every item of clothing you own, you may just be in need of a closet cleaning. If you are still having trouble letting go, educate yourself on what hoarding means, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, before seeking help.