…Has intrusive thoughts. They might be concerned that they will:
- Harm themselves or someone they love.
- Catch an illness, or inadvertently spread an illness to someone else.
- Accidentally get pregnant, or impregnate someone.
- Make a mistake which will result in people getting hurt.
Intrusive thoughts are at the heart of OCD. Whether it’s being afraid you’re going to kill your father/mother/cousin/nephew or being afraid that your hands are dirty/something is off-center, though one fear is more socially acceptable, the same cause remains — an intrusive, unwanted thought.
This is, perhaps, the least understood part of OCD. People liken OCD to perfectionism and neatness and while that can be part of it, the problem, the whole reason there’s a disorder, is because people get thoughts they do not want, which disturb them, which they will do anything to get rid of.
What’s so bad about this misunderstanding? It causes people who have more horrible fears, such as those of harm or violent images, to be stigmatized — others believe that people with these fears will really DO these things, and that’s exactly the WORST thing to tell/suggest to a person with OCD. It feeds that vicious cycle of doubt even more. The person with OCD is already afraid of doing these things, and others have just added to the guilt.
If you’re worried you might kill someone, you’re probably not going to kill someone. Most people who kill someone just do it. They don’t obsess for a long time over whether they might, and the fact that they might, doesn’t fill them with fear. If you don’t want to do it, you probably won’t do it… and if you wanted to do it, you would probably know.