OCD is very common in many people with autism including yours truly. Actually when I think about it, I find it amazing just how much OCD impacts my life. From my perspective, an OCD behavior is something that needs to be done and if it isn't done, it stops someone from moving on. A prominent example of an OCD behavior in autism is stimming such as hand flapping. For me, I know that if I don't stim my hands when I need to, I will get stuck, as in I can't move on or do anything with my life.
It is not just stimming behaviors that make me get stuck. Often times, there are many small thing throughout the day that need to be taken care of, or I won't be able to do anything else. For example, if I need to eat but can't eat for whatever reason, then I might end up not doing what is scheduled next in my day and not because I'm hungry but because it bugs me that I can't do what I need to do. Here is another example, perhaps I need to brush my teeth but my brother is using the restroom. Instead of doing something else for the next 15 minutes, I will just freeze up and feel anxious.
Which leads me to my next point, OCD behaviors tend to cause anxiety when the tendency can't be fed. In other words, if someone with autism needs to do something but they can't, they will feel a lot of anxiety. At least, that is what I have found for me.
To combat OCD, I have found having structure to my day helps a lot. It would be nice if I had someone to help plan my day, but I have to do that on my own which kind of makes it harder to keep a schedule. By planning out my day, I am able to have more control over my life because having a plan stops some of the OCD tendencies from disrupting my life. When my plan for the day isn't as clear cut, I might get caught up in feeding an OCD tendency or get caught up feeling anxious because I can't feed the OCD tendency.
OCD dominates my life in many ways. So much so, that I am not aware of its presence in my life. Now that I'm really thinking about, this is a major area I really need to work on. Yes, OCD can be good but other times, it can be very disruptive.
My OCD used to be much more extreme when I was into Star Wars. When I was an avid Star Wars collector, I had to constantly reinforce the addiction either by admiring my collection, going on the Internet and Star Wars website and forums, or going to the store to buy stuff. But, Star Wars was always on my mind. Always! It dominated my life, and I needed to feed that. So, in a way, I think addictions and OCD are very much alike, perhaps they are the same thing.
Anyway, this is just a brief overview of my experiences with OCD. I hope you have found it helpful. I thank you for reading today's entry and wish everyone a most awesome day of awesomeness!