Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and mental disorders in general tend to get a bad rap in our society.
And for some reason, we also tend to have a negative stigma associated with going to therapy and working on our brains, which is just so weird since therapy is one of the most essential tools we have in life.
I'm currently 33 years old, and I was formally diagnosed with OCD when I was 18 years old. That means I have at least 15 years or so of learning and trying to figure this thing out.
I've acquired a fair amount of knowledge while dealing with my OCD, and I'm constantly finding out new things all the time.
But instead of outlining a brief understanding of OCD, I want to highlight five positive attributes I've experienced with OCD:
1. You'll have tons of creativity.
There are many studies out there that link OCD to creativity. The OCD brain in general is super active, and it never stops creating scenarios in which something might go wrong, etc.
But, there's good news here. Aimed toward the right task, one can create an unreal amount of ideas at a rapid rate.
For instance, instead of worrying if a seat on a public bench is dirty and all the “bad” things that will happen if you sit on it, that energy can be redirected into a creative task, such as ways to solve a problem or perhaps creating something from nothing like painting on a canvas.
There is never a shortage of ideas or ways to do things, and this can really come in handy when it's time to brainstorm for a new project.
2. You'll have a phenomenal attention to detail.
People with OCD tend to have a pretty damn fine eye when it comes to attention to detail because the OCD brain is overactive, and they can just “feel” if something is off or not.
Let's say you're working on a design project and are putting different shapes into rows on a board.
The OCD person is going to have the shapes spaced almost exactly the same space apart from each other. It's going to look neat and clean and be easy to follow because the OCD brain won't allow for something to just be “good enough.”
The person with OCD will feel almost this crazy crawling sensation in his or her body, and he or she will have to fix a square if it looks even just the slightest bit off.
If you transfer it over to writing, the OCD person is most likely going to have very few spelling errors and punctuation mistakes.
A person with OCD is likely to be punctual because he or she wants to be “right on time.”
If a person with OCD is asked to set the table for a dinner event, that thing is going to look clean and perfect. The forks will be aligned nicely, the flowers and candles will look perfect and the table cloth with have no wrinkles in it.
You get the idea.
3. Harnessed correctly, a person with OCD will just dominate things.
Some of the greatest athletes in the world have OCD or have said they have traces of it in the way they approach things, and it's been a driving force that has helped them become so proficient in their craft.
For instance, Ray Allen (one of the greatest 3-point shooters in the history of the NBA) admitted to having OCD.
The famous soccer player, David Beckham, has also made references to OCD when talking about his life.
But once a person learns how his or her OCD works and finds ways to redirect it into tasks he or she wants to complete, there is no stopping the person.
A person with OCD will just continue to keep going until something is perfect. He or she will fixate on a goal and just ruthlessly go at it until it's done because it has to be done right.
4. It will make you more sympathetic to others and what's going on in their lives.
After having learned that OCD is something that happens to you that isn't your choice, you'll understand there are things other people are affected by — anorexia, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drugs, etc. — that are out of their control.
You'll realize other people are going through things, and you'll totally get it.
Instead of judging others, you'll understand what they're dealing with is not always something they can control.
It can help you break down everything that sets you apart from other people.
5. You'll learn anything is possible.
Quite possibly the best thing I personally learned from having OCD is that the human brain can mold into whatever you want it to be.
Once I learned that OCD treatment is basically learning to rewire the way your brain operates, I had this thought: “OK, so if I can rewire my brain, that must mean I can change myself to be whoever I want it to be.”
I used to be a much more negative person, but once I realized this fact, I started meditating and reading a bunch of self-help and positive energy books.
You realize you can do anything and that it's possible to align your brain with whatever you want. And that — in my book — is about as cool as it gets.