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Thread: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  1. #1
    Cymraes
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    Default OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and find it hard to know when simply being very strict about my veganism spills over into obsessive behaviour. For instance, I won't kiss my boyfriend if he's been eating meat (until he brushes his teeth, or something along those lines to "decontaminate", as it were) and to me, that's quite normal. I also won't hold his hands (until he's washed them) if he's handled anything that contains meat (e.g. a sandwich), which, again, might sound a bit extreme, but is kind of understandable perhaps...

    But then it goes much, much further. For example, I am so fearful of contamination from animal products that I find it difficult to touch anything (door-handles, taps etc.) in a kitchen, or sometimes even a whole house, where people cook and eat meat. Eating at the same time, or in the same environment, as meat-eaters is a minefield as I'm scared to touch things (menus, plates, salt & pepper mills, etc.) they might have touched after having come into contact with animal fat (it's the grease that gets to me as it's so easily transfered from one surface to another). If I do, I have to wash. And wash.

    It gets ridiculous sometimes, and I know that no-one can possibly be expected to live their life this way and that my veganism has been hijacked by my OCD, but I just don't know what's "normal". I don't really know many vegans - none I could observe to see how they deal with the animal contamination thing. The list of things I avoid touching, and that send me washing if I do come into contact with them (or anything else that might have had contact with them), is endless - I'm sure you can imagine how the "chain of contact" (and the resultant urge to wash) grows as you get more and more obsessive.

    I know it may sound crazy, but there is a logic, albeit extreme, to the whole thing. I'm sure I can't be the only one here to experience this. I could really do with some help if it's out there because, whilst it's one thing to make yourself miserable in this way, it becomes altogether more destructive when (inevitably) you start placing unreasonable demands on those around you.

  2. #2
    clair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    hello there,

    i can understand that there might be a cross over between your OCD and being vegan. OCD likes to latch on to things - normally like security or health issues doesnt it?

    i suffered from ocd for a bout 4 years some while ago now. there seems to be three issues here
    1 you are vegan
    2 you suffer from OCD
    3 you have your own personal preferances concerning how you are touched ie not my meaty hands etc.

    your prefernaces could be a little extreme without being ocd. you will know.

    i reackon try to think about the reason you are behaving in a certain way. for example, why don't you want to touch door handles?

    since touching door handles is unlikely to contribute to the welfare and treatment of animals (if this be your reason for being vegan) i reackon its unlikey that its the vegan thing and more likely here to be the ocd thing here.

    there are a lot of very good reasons to be vegan.

    ocd interests me a lot and i certainly understand the hold it can have but what are the reasons we need to be held in the hands of ocd? i know there are reasons but for me it was important to question the validity of these reasons. whether we really wanted to ruled by them or not. like the way we question to be vegan or not and we might decide that yes, there are good reasons and it is worth being adopting veganism as our way of being.

    clair

  3. #3
    frugivorous aubergine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Cymraes - I'm very similar tou you I think. I get very obsessive about cleanliness, because I do feel that the outside world is contaminated. I live in an omni household where they think it's acceptible to handle raw chicken, and then take a break to empty the dishwasher without washing their hands first. Why shouldn't I want to wash that plate before using it? It's the same with cutlery and so on, and when I go out to eat I always make sure I've washed before eating with my hands.

    I've had OCDs for years and am much better now, but I don't consider food hygiene to come under that umbrella. As far as I'm concerned the world is dirty, and after having severe food poisining for nine months I think it's my right to feel that way. Modern food is dirtier than it's ever been because of factory production. Have you read fast food nation by the way? Shocking stuff. I now don't get a dodgy stomach, but used to all the time even after I went Vegan (although that helped with a lot of it).

    I hope you get your OCD sorted. I think sometimes it helps to group certain behavioral aspects into genuine issues and irrational issues though. You are perfectly free to disagree with my take on things.

  4. #4
    Cymraes
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Thank you so much Clair and Vegandrummersam for your kind, helpful replies.

    I know I have a lot of work to do to recognise where and why the OCD is taking over and to fight it. I'm not great with middle ground (as you might have guessed!) but I suppose it's a question of accepting (and acting on) the fact that that no-one can be, or is expected to be, perfect. Sadly, we live in a non-vegan world and physical contact with animal products in one way or another is inevitable, it's just hard to shake the idea that by not obsessively avoiding or eliminating any trace of this contact I am being lazy and a "bad vegan". I also know this is ludicrous - I would never dream of applying these unforgiving, unachievable standards to anyone else's life, so I guess it's all tied in with boring old "self-esteem issues". How very dull...

    But I'm hoping things will get better soon - I think I've nosedived a bit recently because I've just come off antidepressants after 14 years, and haven't been on the herbal alternatives long enough for them to have kicked in yet... Fingers crossed!

    Thanks again x

  5. #5
    John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I know what you are talking about. I'm always disgusted when I'm at a bar and I touch something like a menu that is slimey with grease. I was also quite steamed when someone (I don't know who) put greasy chicken finger stains on the back of my favorite jacket. I've heard of people demanding that their romantic companions wash out their mouths before kissing but I've never had the nerve to ask a girl to go brush her teeth (although I would like to).

    But really, aside from the risk of getting a disease, there is no harm in touching dead animal parts. Good luck with your condition.

  6. #6
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    i dont think i suffer from ocd but i definately have little 'things' that are acceptable or unnacceptable to me - but they are not connected to veganism, unless it is a food/kitchen/contamination thing.

    when i am out and go up or down a stairwell in a multistorey carpark, my daughter laughs when i wont touch the door handle to open it. ugh ugh ugh. i either try and catch it open if someone else has just gone through or i pull my sleeve down to cover my hand and use it like a glove to open the door. someone could just have urinated on the stairs (we all know it happens) and then opened that door!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
    PygmyGoat
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I'm definitely a bit obsessive but I don't mind! . I won't leave the house in the morning unless I've had a shower. My curtains have to be drawn symetrically, and I go mad if anyone else uses my pillows .
    I wash my hands a LOT, especially when handling any food, and I'm always straightening my eye glasses because they look wonky to me! .

    I think if you're not careful Veganism can make you feel a bit OCD-ish, though conversely, maybe it helps somewhat to be a little obsessive when you're a Vegan!. I'm not much help, am I? . Just try not to dwell on your obsessions otherwise you will become obsessed with worrying about your habits.

  8. #8
    Kiran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Hi,

    Dealing with partners is a difficult thing. You will need to discuss this with your partner and he must not be offended. Rather than taking action directly, its better for you discuss this with your boyfriend. I'm sure talking will do the trick and he will know what you expect out of him. If he truly loves you, he will acknowledge and respect your sensible demands. He may not become a vegan, but he will change his habits to suit you, when he is around you.

    I also worry a lot about cross contamination in restaurants, and I think this worry is genuine. I don't mind eating at places that cook meat, but I need an assurance that my food is cooked separate. My office colleagues are very cooperative and they know that they must not use the same tea-spoon which was used to stir their drinks. They know I am fussy and they respect my life-style.

    I think I am similar to you but may not be of your magnitude. I don't necessarily say its a bad thing. I have a standard set of must-do tasks to maintain my surroundings and to strictly follow my veganism. My small home is completely vegan and I won't permit anything non-vegan in. A friend of mine stayed with me for a few days and she is vegetarian. I allowed her Yogurt and milk. But I was always aware of the utensils being used to cook and I do tend to be fussy. She has moved out now and my place is 100% vegan.

    I think many vegans are fussy. There is nothing wrong with that.
    Life is like a boomerang: What goes around comes around - "Karma"rocks!

  9. #9
    perfect RedWellies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Quote cedarblue View Post
    when i am out and go up or down a stairwell in a multistorey carpark, i wont touch the door handle to open it. ugh ugh ugh.
    I laughed so much at that...because I'm exactly the same!! Why do people pee in multistory car parks???

    As for OCD...I think we all have our little ways which would be strange to other people (I won't walk on drain covers...you never know if one day it might break!). It's when these things take over your life that they can cause you trouble. I watched an amazing program on TV about a group of OCD sufferers and the help they received to combat their problems. Low self esteem was a common complaint.

    Did anyone see As Good as it Gets with Jack Nicholson? Great film!

    Don't put so much pressure on yourself, Cymraes. Not wanting to kiss a meaty mouth is perfectly acceptable. I hope you find that middle ground. Good luck!
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
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  10. #10
    Kiran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Quote cedarblue View Post
    iwhen i am out and go up or down a stairwell in a multistorey carpark, my daughter laughs when i wont touch the door handle to open it. ugh ugh ugh.
    Heh?? What about money?? You never know what your 20 note has been through. Someone might have rolled it to clean their ears, or handled it after being to the toilet and not washed their hands.

    Hang on......... is that a booger???? ********** reaches for the wallet *********
    Life is like a boomerang: What goes around comes around - "Karma"rocks!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Quote Kiran View Post
    Heh?? What about money?? You never know what your £ 20 note has been through. Someone might have rolled it to clean their ears, or handled it after being to the toilet and not washed their hands.
    Actually that's one of my OCD things...I don't like touching cash. Ah, the beauty (and cleanliness) of credit cards and check cards

    And I'm quite OCD about door handles and door knobs, too, cedarblue and RedWellies.

    There's a TV show in the US called "Monk". It's about a detective with OCD. I LOOOOOVE it! It makes me laugh so hard, 'cause it reminds me of myself so much! (though thankfully, I'm not quite that extreme)
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  12. #12
    Kiran's Avatar
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    Quote DancingWillow View Post
    Actually that's one of my OCD things...I don't like touching cash.
    From Find articles.com
    How cruddy is our cash? At random, two $20 bills, one $1 bill, and a quarter were plucked from circulation in New York and checked for germs by a microbiology lab.

    Samples were taken from each note and coin by rubbing with a large, moistened cotton swab. Each sample was then stroked onto a small plastic plate containing jellylike agar enriched with blood and other nutrients. The plates were incubated at body temperature for 48 hours. They all grew grayish specks or circles, signaling small colonies of bacteria.

    Five types of bacteria were identified: spherical coagulase-negative staphylococci and micrococci; the more rodlike diphtheroids; propionibacteria (a group that includes Propionibacterium acnes, the cause of acne in oily areas); and various species of bacilli. Small bills that get traded a lot are invariably the dirtiest. Our tired-looking single produced the most microbes--all five of the varieties identified. The quarter yielded the least: only two. "Anything that's very hard and dry isn't terribly hospitable to bacteria," according to Joanne Bartkus, a microbiologist with the 3M Company. "And many metals have antibacterial activity," she adds.
    I also have the cash-machine phobia. After entering the pin number, I usually like to wipe my hand with a tissue. Those buttons contain nasty things on them. Yuk!!
    Life is like a boomerang: What goes around comes around - "Karma"rocks!

  13. #13
    lavender's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    ooh I never considered the cash machine buttons before... thats another to add to my list

    I hate touching door handles and also pull my coat over my hand. Hand rails on stairs - a funny one was in a castle and the stairs were spiral , steep and had no hand rail only this big old rope threaded through, that rope was almost black with grubby sweaty hands , I nearly broke my neck avoiding holding onto it! Public loo hand dryers - ewwwwwww - I have to hit the button with my elbow, sheesh actually when I think about it I have loads.

    'As good as it gets' is an awesome film redwellies.

    I was getting into a major panic a month or so back Cymraes because my Omni motherinlaw was coming to stay and look after my vegan kids, I was getting really anxious about her bringing meat products into my house and putting them in the fridge/on plates/in pans, I was seriously stressing about the whole thing. In the end I explained to her, and she admitted she was really stressing about feeding the children and what was okay and what wasnt etc, whether I would mind Milk in the fridge etc etc. we worked it out in the end, but I can really see where you are coming from, I actually dont feel you are being excessive. Im careful when I go to supermarkets about contamination, like the onimous looking wet patch on the conveyer belt that could possible be drippings from flesh. I have to change aisles. I hope you feel better about things. I think that an awful lot of us have these perfectly rational fears about things and like you say, its recognising when for us personally things are getting out of control. Good luck.

  14. #14
    mango
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I don't like to touch animal products or anything that has touched them. I call it sensitivity. I have a thing about 'clean dirt' and 'dirty dirt'. Clean dirt is stuff like forest soil, lichen, moss, the stuff you get all over you in the woods. I'm happy to touch it, eat it, and have it in open cuts. Also included is vegan compost and soil from veganic allotments (well I wouldn't eat the compost but I do eat the soil!). Dirty dirt is anything to do with animal products or chemicals, and dirt in the city which probably contains chemicals, dog shit, rotten animal products, unhealthy people's piss, etc.

    Do you know orthodox Jews have the idea of a 'fence round the law', which is very detailed laws about all aspects of behaviour to make sure there is no chance whatever of breaking the big laws.

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    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    rats, i have some more things to think about with dirt on now...cash..cash machines.

    i dont like touching escalator or stair handrails either!!

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    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Hi Cymraes, As I have mentioned on this forum before, I suffer from OCD so I know exactly how you feel. My son also suffers from it since the age of 5yrs, which leads me to believe it must be genetic. It is not something we can help or prevent but we can control it instead of it controlling us.
    Have you always sufferred from OCD or is it something that has just started since being vegan?
    I suspect you were sufferring from OCD before you were vegan. Me, being vegan hasn't influenced my OCD.It's just that the illness concentrates on fear, and anything you fear takes on a new meaning. Please, don't be afraid, the two are not connected in the slightest.
    Why did you stop your anti-depressants? My son is on them and has been for around 10 years. Were they not helping you?
    Try to concentrate on beating the OCD, I have improved over the years and hope my son will too, but don't feel it has anything to do with being vegan. The OCD has just latched onto the fact that you are vegan, it has given you something else to obsess about. Believe me I do know what you are going through, I wish I could help in a more practical way other than my words on the forum, but I really wish you all the best and hope better things are ahead for you.

  17. #17
    Cymraes
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    How fantastic! Not only are people discussing a subject I've brought up, but I'm being offered so much support and goodwill... I really am overwhelmed, moved, and grateful, particularly as it's a subject that causes me a lot of anguish and that I find incredibly difficult to discuss. Thank you, everyone.

    Sandra - what a lovely message...thank you! In answer to your question, I've had OCD all my life, mainly centred around contamination issues and washing -I suppose becoming vegan 5 years ago offered perfect fuel for its fire, so to speak...As if I wasn't obsessing enough already! I hate it so, so much, and wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy - it has taken over and ruined my life several times over the years. Anyway, as I mentioned, I very recently came off antidepressants and, from feeling so much more relaxed and in control than ever before, I have just been smacked in the face with a frightening reminder of the grip of OCD. I came off the tablets because, after spending the past 14 years - I'm 30, so all of my adult life - on them, I wanted to know who I was without them. I've just assumed that my brain chemistry is flawed and I've needed them in order, essentially, to stay alive, and I'm not ruling out the possibility that this is the case, but I do want to know if there is another way. I've been seeing a wonderful counsellor for a few months and recently reached a point where, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I had put a lot of the past to bed and was ready to start living my life at last. I think antidepressants can dull your senses a bit - I guess it's their job, really! - and I'm pretty certain they've dulled my memory too, so I guess I just want to see if I can live life without that dullness... Also, as a vegan, I feel terrible taking pharmaceutical, animal tested, probably animal product-filled drugs - it's a difficult issue that tears me apart, as I also take medication for an underactive thyroid - a condition that needs life-long medication - but that's another issue for another thread! Now I'm just praying that the St John's Wort kicks in, and soon!
    I wish you and your son all the very best and all the strength in the world to fight this condition and let it know who's boss!

    Mango - Yes! I know exactly what you mean about "clean dirt" and "dirty dirt".

    Aaaarrgh! Can't even read the banknote thingy! I kind of got over that one a
    while ago and I'm not going back!! So, fingers in ears, la la la la la....

    Sorry - another essay...

  18. #18
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Hi Cymraes, it was lovely to hear from you again. I know just what you mean about wanting to live without antidepressants! My son has cut down his to 1 a day, and we hope in the near future to stop them and see how he is without them.
    They really do alter your mind and personality. You sound very positive and I really think you can beat it eventually.
    You have good days and bad days, and hopefully you will start to have more good than bad ones. I feel it helps to talk with others about it, but if I was to start here to tell you all my troubles we would be here all day!
    Once again all the very best, and hope to hear from you more on the forum.

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    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    cymraes, i hope you dont think i was making light of you in any way. my little issues are just that, i dont think they are ocd...good luck to you and any others with the real thing...

  20. #20
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Cedarblue, sometimes it's better to have a sense of humour, I think it helps! Infact me and my son always try to have a laugh at ourselves, it's what keeps us going!
    Like if I stand for too long in the kitchen at night checking that I have turned the cooker off my son will say, 'Oh come on, what's the worse that can happen? The house will just burn down!' I know it isn't a subject to joke about but it helps us cope.

  21. #21
    Jannan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I'm pretty sure I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, too. It's somewhat difficult to deal with. And it doesn't my veganism any easier.

  22. #22
    Cymraes
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    Hello!
    Cedarblue - No offence taken whatsoever!! As Sandra said, you really have to laugh at these things! I mean, for god's sake, what on earth are we DOING???!!! Perspective, please!!! I think that's the most frustrating thing of all - knowing how absurd it all is in the grand scheme of things, but not being able to help it... Aaaaargh!
    I'm with you on the handrail thing, by the way, but do my best to challenge the eeeewww factor when I can, or it all gets out of hand!

    Thank you again lovely Sandra! Wishing you and your son the very best of luck as he weans himself off the tablets. Just remember that if it doesn't work, it's not a failure in any shape or form - some of us are just built a little differently, with bodies that need a little help to make the substances that stop us feeling down, that's all.

    Good lord, listen to me all positive and upbeat...anyone would think I was on pills...!

  23. #23
    Cymraes
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    Hiya Jannan,
    You're right - it makes everything ten times more difficult when you're constantly obsessing about where your food's been, who might have touched it, what might have touched it, what might have touched your plate, your cutlery, blah blah blah.....

    Listen to this for ridiculous... I've had a traumatic day and a half since I discovered that the cheese my housemate had in the fridge (no meat allowed in the house, but I'm meeting him halfway with dairy) had no "Suitable for Vegetarians" mark on it and therefore might well contain rennet (extract of calf's stomach - delightful). So, I've been fighting the overwhelming urge to bleach the whole kitchen, because I know it would be an outrageous overreaction that, as well as causing me distress (both because it's mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, and because I know it's insane), would just open a whole new can of worms, and strengthen the OCD - feed it and it grows. Plus I would be destroying the planet (the bleach is, however, from the Co-op and BUAV approved ).

    Anyway, bless him, he's now binned the cheese after seeing my distress, and I've kind of settled with wiping some surfaces (disposable wipes - so awful, I know, but when I'm in that state I just want rid) that he may have touched after he'd handled the cheese, although I'm still anxious about it having contaminated my kitchen... But that's CRAZY! I can't possibly live in the real world like this...It's not like I was going to eat the stuff, or lick the potentially contaminated fridge handle, for god's sake... It's so FRUSTRATING!!!
    So, I'm working on my thought processes...

  24. #24
    Cymraes
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    Seriously, though....

    CBT/ Exposure Therapy really works - try to find out if you have access to this treatment. It's scary but effective, and can change your life remarkably quickly. Basically, you are exposed to the things that terrify you, and you monitor your anxiety levels, on a scale of 1-100. The initial exposure usually sends the panic levels up towards 100, but if you stay in the situation and don't resort to carrying out the compulsive part of the illness, within a few minutes the anxiety ALWAYS comes down - your body can only maintain it for a relatively short period of time. It works for people with phobias too (same kind of thing really) - I've seen a couple of documentaries about it and it is quite amazing.

    I've had this treatment in the past, and clearly need to practice the techniques again now, although I do wonder whether, since the OCD is now also connected with vegan issues, it won't be such a straightforward process. Hmmm... More thinking to be done...

    Anyway, hope that helps a bit x

  25. #25
    PygmyGoat
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    I can understand the Cheese thing. I even have a seperate fridge in my kitchen so that my partner can store any non-Vegan items away from my stuff .

    Also, I am overboard on hand-washing. Recently I was at a friends' house. We were petting her Cats, and then she offered me some cake. She cut it and started eating some and it was as much as I could do not scream at her. Ugh - please wash your hands before handling food!!! .

  26. #26
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    My OCD doesn't seem to extend to my cats, it's just aswell as I have 11 of them so I would be spending all day washing my hands! Odd as this sounds I actually feel more anxious about strangers being in the house, you know if they use cups etc I give them an extra wash, is that awful of me? I always worry about where they've been!
    I sound really neurotic now don't I, [I'm sorry too for always going on about having 11 cats. I'm sure you are all saying 'OH SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR CATS FOR GOODNESS SAKE!'

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I have OCD tendencies and I'm emetophobic, and tbh I think veganism helps a lot with the latter (although I went vegan for AR reasons and didn't think about this at the time)since I'm less worried about eating contaminated food now!

    I hate getting dirty and carry cruelty free wipes around with me for this reason. The biggest difficulty veganism has with my ocd is finding cruelty free cleaning products readily available, so I deal with this by stocking up so I don't run out!

    I get the OCD thing from my mum, an omni, and for this reason I've never gave that much thought to cooking meat etc since she's always been so obsessive about not letting raw meat contaminate anything. Nobody is allowed to cook meat in my house as I don't want raw stuff there. When my boyf moved in I told him he was allowed ready cooked meat kept in a seperate section of the fridge from everything else, that I could make a salad tray a mortuary, but he decided instead to go veggie

    I go overboard with handwashing so my hands are dry and cracked, especially when I'm cleaning the house- and I don't like other people doing it for me since I fear they cut corners- I hate watching people clean up since they do a un-thorough job, don't clean cleaning utensils properly after them(I use disposable cloths rather than j-cloths for this reasons) and re-contaminate clean things with dirty things. I feel the need to supervise and re-do other people's work, so it's better I just do all the cleaning myself!
    It is a monstrous thing to do, to slay a unicorn...you have slain something pure and defenceless and you will have but a half life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.

  28. #28

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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    I have OCD and at one point, may major obsession was a purity thing with regard to veganism. For example, I moved into a new appartment and CRIED becauce I felt like there were "blood germs" in my oven, no matter how many cleaners I used or how much I scrubbed. Also, I got freaked out if restarants used the same pizza cutter for my cheeseless pizza as the regular cheesey pizzas. Eventually, I moved away from those (and other vegan related obsessions). I also realized that if a pizza cutter (or whatever) does touch my food after it touched a cheesey pizza, it doesn't matter: no animals were harmed in the cutting of my pizza! Now I use the same pans and dishes as my omni family and don't give it a second thought (usually) (they're clean of course.). BUT, it would bother me to pick things ut of my food, like my grandmother has asked me to do- I find that gross. AND, I do wash my hands a bit too long/too many times after washing a pan that has just cooked meet (my sister sometimes leaves her pans in the sink, and I think I can wash them more thoroughly than she would). That last thing is OCDish, but it doesn't bother me very much any more.

  29. #29
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Well done, veggiegirl3! It just goes to show that OCD can be overcome, I think the secret is to stop fearing it, even make light of it and then it loses it's power.

  30. #30
    Cymraes
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Absolutely, Sandra! The only way to fight OCD is to confront it - keep fighting the urge to wash/check/whatever if you know it's an unreasonable "OCD urge" which, in your heart of hearts, you almost always know. The less you give, the less it will take.

    Actually, I started taking a taurine supplement yesterday, as I read that it helps with lots of anxiety related stuff, including obsessions. Apparently taurine is one of those things that, unless we're careful, we can be lacking in as vegans.

    It was really heartening to read how you've overcome your veganism-related OCD, Veggiegirl3 - you've given me hope!! After all, veganism should be a source of joy, not of misery, which is what OCD can turn it into.
    Well done, girl!

    P.S. You talk about your lovely cats as much as you like, Sandra! xx

  31. #31
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    Thank you Cymraes, and I think I'll get taurine supplements, I need all the help I can get with my anxieties!

  32. #32
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    Default Ocd

    I've had obsessive compulsive disorder for as long as I can remember. Over the past couple years it has gotten worse and I attribute that to graduating from college and entering the working world therfore taking on alot more responsibility. I have a date book that I write down things I need to do on a daily basis. This daily list totally controls my day and I obsess about it many many times thorough out the day. At times I want to toss the book out the window while driving home one day, but then anxiety takes over and I'm afraid I'll forget to do something I have written down. I think it would be good for me to forget to do something once in awhile, but I just can't bring myself to not make a list everyday. I've almost gotten the courage up to toss the book in the dumpster, but I do need to write some stuff down that I do on a monthy basis such as water changes on our fish tank or I know I would forget to do it...but I can't just add a couple important things like that...it leads to making out daily lists. It has affected my marriage in that my wife gets annoyed that when I get home from work I have to get stuff done on the list rather than just relax for a minute. I guess that means I'm a very anxious person. I need to get a grip on this before it destroys the things that are good in my life. I've tried counseling and drugs, but nothing seems to work and I don't want to take drugs. I've recently made a lot of drastic changes in my life. I was a huge car nut and valued material things, but now I try to live a much simplier life. We have also adopted a vegan diet. I am feeling better about myself now than I have ever have before and I want to concur this OCD problem too. Any advice?
    Last edited by flutterby; Nov 1st, 2006 at 06:03 PM. Reason: this was the 1st post in a similar thread

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    Soul Rebel I'm sorry that this is affecting your life so much. I have no experience with OCD but these are some thoughts off the top of my head. First I think you need to be proud of what you've achieved - you've graduated from college, you've got a job, you say you've made a lot of drastic changes and you've adopted a vegan diet Changes are hard on anyone and it does take a bit of adjusting. So I think you have a lot to be proud of.
    The next thing I think you need to do is prioritise. Could you divide the things you need to do into lists - things that absolutely need to be done straight away, things that could wait a little while, and others that could wait till the weekend say. If you can get your wife to help that would be great, and be honest wiht yourself! Often I have found myself thinking that my boyfriend has certain expectations of me in terms of housework that just don't exist. Talk about what needs to be done, and maybe you'll see that it doesn't matter one bit if the floor doesn't get swept or if you get behind on the laundry.
    And maybe you could make a list of pleasurable things, and schedule these in with the chores. After all, it's important to relax and dedicate some time to your wife and yourself. For example you could say "ok when I come home I'm going to sit down with my wife for fifteen minutes and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine."
    I really hope things get better, let us know how you get on

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Veganism and OCD

    My only phobia relating to cash-machines is to do with the outdoors ones, and it's not so much about the machines. I have had a few bad experiences with ppl coming up joining the queue smoking or already in the queue smoking so I cannot join the queue. If I am already in the queue, it's a toss up between coughing and being ill, or removing myself from the queue (I usually do the second and mutter to myself, angry that I am too much of a wimp to stand up for myself!). One time I plucked up the courage to ask someone not to smoke in the queue behind me since I was there first, it was right in my face and making me ill, I actually said that I am very severely allergic to it and I just got a mouthful of abuse from this ignorant smoking b!tch! I get so mad about how other ppl do not back me up and I was having a seriously bad attack of coughing and just had to go quickly and not use that machine. I went into the bank to complain and they gave me a drink of water, I was in quite a bad way with it, and they said they would now look into putting up notices asking ppl not to smoke in the queue, they had not been aware how much of a problem it could be for some people, they were really quite sympathetic which I don't get very often when I have got really sick due to a reaction to cig smoke. Either ppl do not believe me, think I am making it up or exaggerating how bad it is or they think I should be better at avoiding it! If someone did that to someone else in public I would speak up to back up the innocent party who was only asking for a bit of basic consideration. Most ppl are such wimps and wusses though, I am usually but try not to be because I have the right not be made ill in a cashpoint queue as I see it.
    Fortunately there is one cash machine in an indoor shopping centre I am not fearful of using, and I still occasionally use the outside ones if there is no-one else about. I am also afraid of someone coming up and mugging me as I get the money out and am always looking around nervously!!
    So I also hate cash-machines even though for different reasons from most people.


    Quote Kiran View Post
    From Find articles.com


    I also have the cash-machine phobia. After entering the pin number, I usually like to wipe my hand with a tissue. Those buttons contain nasty things on them. Yuk!!

  35. #35
    seanymph seanymph's Avatar
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    [quote=Cymraes;232047]I suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and find it hard to know when simply being very strict about my veganism spills over into obsessive behaviour. For instance, I won't kiss my boyfriend if he's been eating meat (until he brushes his teeth, or something along those lines to "decontaminate", as it were) and to me, that's quite normal. I also won't hold his hands (until he's washed them) if he's handled anything that contains meat (e.g. a sandwich), which, again, might sound a bit extreme, but is kind of understandable perhaps...

    Im so sorry Cymraes, that must be a big barrier in your life. So you have a problem with hygiene and cleanliness? If you find the answer to this disorder i would like to know. You seem to go round in circles dont you? You dont feel like the same person anymore....when i became Vegan i was obessed with the contamination issue. Then hygiene came into it. I would have 5 baths a day and bleach the bathroom all the time. It got the point of utter obession, it was beyond ridicolus. I worked with animals and couldnt go to work in fear of them contaminating me with germs. I love animals so seems so pathetic.

    Where do you think your OCD stems from? do you think its form veganism? as a vegan i guess you feel really guilty to be anywhere near animal products, but it cant be avoided somtimes, like when you go out and stuff, so i guess to compensate for the gulit you might develope this intense OCD.

    Been a vegan is so hard when omnivorous lifestyles are all around us so i guess your bound to feel under pressure, especially if you care about the ethics of veganism so much.

    I hope the OCD gets better for you... because underneath it you are person it doesnt rule you.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Wow, someone else who is like me! I have OCD and I have a major meat phobia, Carnophobia it's called. I used to get really stressed with my dad (when I lived at home) about him and whether he'd washed his hands or not. And he'd have cans of tuna, and when he opened them the juice would go everywhere. ARGH! Just the thought of it gets me all anxious. Fish is the worst for me, but any type of meat juice, or meat freaks me out.

    There's a vegan restaurant near me and it's so nice to relax and not worry about contamination. Ahhhh

  37. #37
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I've been pretty obsessive compulsive for most of my short life, but when I turned vegan two weeks ago it all spinned out of control. I identify with you, although you're a bit more extreme.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    My therapist just recently told me that I have OCD. Not the compulsions but just the obsessive thoughts. I have been having a hard time lately and my anxiety/OCD was getting out of control. I had violent recurring thoughts of hurting myself or other but no desire to perform them and no real reason for their cause. I was terrified that I was going to act on them until my diagnosis. I also had shameful sexual obsessions when I was younger and blamed myself.
    I'd like to do a public service announcement about this because I had no idea you could have just the thoughts. I thought OCD was just about the compulsions.
    it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble

  39. #39
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Quote sacrilegend View Post
    I've been pretty obsessive compulsive for most of my short life, but when I turned vegan two weeks ago it all spinned out of control. I identify with you, although you're a bit more extreme.
    When I first vegan, I couldn't sleep for a month! My eye was twitching non stop and I was an anxious mess. So as a result, I'm a little more relaxed than some vegans (but I still eat only vegan) but it balances out for me. Good luck.
    Peace, love, and happiness.

  40. #40

    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I'm very much OCD-afflicted. Mainly numbers related obsessions, particularly related to the order of plans fitting the weekday and weekend structure. The clocks and calendars we count time away by drive us all nuts to some extent of course.

    As regards veganism I had all the "contamination" issues also. As someone mentioned before you have to always challenge each compulsion and what is really the problem with animal products in that sense?

    We have made ethical choice not to support animal exploitation but the fact of trace amounts getting on hands or foods is inconsequential to that and surely won't do us physical harm in all likelihood. In fact it almost dengegrates the animal's parts to being somehow unclean and "yucky".

  41. #41

    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I also have OCD, and like many of you have had it most of my life. It is an anxiety disorder, and I've found that working on the causes of my anxiety has helped (rather than just trying to force myself to quit obsessional behaviour, because that doesn't treat the actual root of it).

    I have my own flat so I'm lucky that I can be 100% sure that there is no contamination likely to happen. I freaked out when I moved in though, as was mentioned above, by the fact that the people in here before me were most likely omnis and the oven must be full of dead animal and the surfaces too (the flat was filthy when i moved in, which didn't help...). My cleaning thing comes and goes though. I'm generally quite a messy person, but it only bothers me to an OCD point when I'm really anxious and stressed....and then the messiness exacerbates it ten-fold.

    I really empathize with the comments about medication. After my last hospital admission (5 months of being forced to take it), I came off my medication out of protest - it was more a protest against having to be dulled down and shut up than anything else. I was on a huge dose of valium each day and I got so angry because I couldn't see that it was supposed to help me, it just seemed like I was being given it to give people round me an easier life. But looking back, it really did help with my anxiety...

    I'm back on my medication now. I still hate it, and I hate the fact that it contains animal products and probably is tested on animals. I have made absolutely sure though, that I am prescribed only drugs that can be obtained in forms that DO NOT contain gelatine. My anti-depressant and anti-psychotic both contain lactose, but my anti-manic doesn't. It pains me to take them, but I've come to accept that without my medication my life is hell, a roller-coaster of mood swings, obsessional thoughts, crippling anxiety, thoughts of self-harm etc etc. As the vegan society said to my boyfriend about his concerns about the lactose in medication: it's better to be a living vegan than a dead one as a result of not taking your medication...and that's how I have come to terms with it.

    Turning vegan has helped me enormously though. Like many of you, it has increased my obsessions regarding contamination and so on - even in my local vegetarian and vegan restaurant I freak out about the plates and cutlery, in case they've had dairy on them and haven't been washed properly. But it has also made me a much calmer person and less likely to get hyped up. I think it's important to put things into perspective. Not only regarding OCD in it's own right, but also regarding why it is we get obsessional about food contamination - it's because we are passionate about our cause!! And that's a great thing!!

    Keep fighting the thoughts, but don't be afraid to stand your ground just because there's someone telling you you're going overboard. If it feels right in your heart and true to your beliefs, then you have every right to enforce it.

    (I hope I haven't made myself sound like a total nutcase....I am in recovery, at long last )

  42. #42

    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I don't know about now, but as a kid I am sure that I would've qualified for OCD (such as counting my steps, not stepping on any cracks on the sidewalk if I could help it because I felt something bad would happen, and needing to close all the cupboards and drawers and doors in the house). Also checking, such as I lock the door, then check 5 or 6 times (which, as you may imagine, makes shopping an absolute NIGHTMARE). Also routines and rituals, but I attribute that more to autism than OCD.

  43. #43
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I think most children do the not-stepping-on-cracks things and so on at times, Quantum Mechanic, so that wouldn't necessarily be diagnosed as OCD unless it was causing problems for the child.

    The lock-checking thing I'm not sure about - again most people do it a bit, but if you have to do it a lot of times and it's a nightmare for you then you might want to do something about it? I know people who have found cognitive therapy (or cognitive-behavioural therapy in the UK) helpful for that. I don't think you would have to change the non-problematic aspects of your autism IYSWIM.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I have OCD, but I guess as my thyroid problems have been getting better, it has lessened

  45. #45
    cobweb
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    i sometimes wonder if i'm a bit obsessive, i'm always checking things over and over, and i get really confused if i don't do certain things each day in the same order, such as showering when i first get up.
    i also sometimes feel like getting rid of everything so i don't have to 'worry' about it.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I have a form of OCD... It's not called OCD, but its in the same family of diagnoses. I am basically a perfectionist to the extreme (in laymans terms).
    I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Alcott

  47. #47

    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Quote harpy View Post
    I think most children do the not-stepping-on-cracks things and so on at times, Quantum Mechanic, so that wouldn't necessarily be diagnosed as OCD unless it was causing problems for the child.

    The lock-checking thing I'm not sure about - again most people do it a bit, but if you have to do it a lot of times and it's a nightmare for you then you might want to do something about it? I know people who have found cognitive therapy (or cognitive-behavioural therapy in the UK) helpful for that. I don't think you would have to change the non-problematic aspects of your autism IYSWIM.
    Well, also I would have to eat a sandwich in exactly 20 bites in a particular order and pattern and if I didn't it would be a horrible day, I had to count every step, if I accidentally stomped one foot I would have to stomp the other to make it "even", tidying everything up in a room as soon as I enter it so that everything is as symmetric and "even" as possible, and currently when I check a lock I have to check about 5 times, sometimes from when I've already left the building and I have to go all the way back.

    Labels I have to check around 10 times, even if it's labelled vegan and it's already purchased (which means that I've already checked it thoroughly). I also check homework assignments constantly, so that there's a huge delay between seeing what the assignment is and actually getting started.

    I also try not to touch door handles with my hands and some other quirks like that, but otherwise don't fear germs or anything. The main difference between then and now is that, as a kid I would count every single step, never step on a crack or it would be an awful day, or straighten up every single chair and other item every room I enter, whereas now I do these things mostly just when I'm more anxious. Unfortunately the tidying up habit does not lead to me being more organized, just gives me a heck of a lot more stress about my disorganization!

    EDIT: I forgot to add, about routines, that's more like I need to have my clothes, when getting dressed or getting ready for a shower, in a specific order and get very upset if it's broken. But there's actually good reasons for this, because asides from it being comforting, I have executive dysfunction and so things like getting dressed or showering would be a lot more difficult to plan and execute than for the vast majority of people, and so having things in the exact same order every time helps immensely to make it so that I can do the task quicker, less stress, and also to more quickly recognize the task for what it is. If someone hands me a pile of clothes in no particular order, there's going to be a delay, and I will take longer to know what I am supposed to do with them. But if it's in the right order, then that helps me.
    Last edited by Quantum Mechanic; Jan 14th, 2009 at 02:59 AM. Reason: forgot to add about routines

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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    i agree with harpy and think alot of children do have it as i've talked to friends about what we used to do as kids, i used to flush the loo and had to run down the stairs and make sure i got to the bottom before the flush ended, and when crossing a road i had to get onto the pavement before a car passed even on the other side, now i still have minor obsessions like the volume in the car and on t.v. always have to be on an even number and i like even amounts of clothes, i.e two stripey jumpers, two black jumpers, two bright t shirts, two plain t shirts, 4 pairs of jeans etc, crikey it's good to get this off my chest, my friends think i'm barmy, it all started when my sister died 9 years ago, but i don't want to talk to my gp about it as it's not ruining my life or anything.

  49. #49
    [LMNOP] ellaminnowpea's Avatar
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    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    QM, those behaviors do seem like OCD... or something like OCPD. But I can also see how they could be related to asperger's/autistic spectrum, as you've said.

    Have you read up on OCPD? It has more to do with routines/ perfectionism than it does with rituals and cleanliness. Like people with OCPD are obsessed with doing eveyrthing perfectly to the point that it interferes with the actual task completion (like you are with homework). Or they are very rigid with their morals/ values/ expectations from themselves (or sometimes others). Though, I think it could be hard to say this is the case for you b/c the orderliness is actually helping you, it seems like a way for you to cope and function better. Lol... who knows...

    Pie, why not talk to the doctor? There are millions of people with OCD and related illnesses... it's not a weakness in character! And many people find relief just by noticing and adjusting their behaviors. I mean, you could learn to cope better without giving into compulsions or using rituals...even if it isn't ruining your life.
    I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Alcott

  50. #50

    Default Re: OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Quote ellaminnowpea View Post
    QM, those behaviors do seem like OCD... or something like OCPD. But I can also see how they could be related to asperger's/autistic spectrum, as you've said.

    Have you read up on OCPD? It has more to do with routines/ perfectionism than it does with rituals and cleanliness. Like people with OCPD are obsessed with doing eveyrthing perfectly to the point that it interferes with the actual task completion (like you are with homework). Or they are very rigid with their morals/ values/ expectations from themselves (or sometimes others). Though, I think it could be hard to say this is the case for you b/c the orderliness is actually helping you, it seems like a way for you to cope and function better. Lol... who knows...

    Pie, why not talk to the doctor? There are millions of people with OCD and related illnesses... it's not a weakness in character! And many people find relief just by noticing and adjusting their behaviors. I mean, you could learn to cope better without giving into compulsions or using rituals...even if it isn't ruining your life.
    Well, sometimes beneficial, sometimes not.

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