After what feels like almost a lifetime of trying to hide my symptoms from others, it feels nice not only to admit having OCD and tics but to be open about this with others. That means sharing with people in a way that is meaningful. That being said, I’m still reluctant to tell every single person I meet that I have OCD right away; I have no way of knowing how they will react. In fact, I still wonder how many of those close to me are secretly ashamed of who I am after finding out. Would some people rather me hide my flaws, and pretend they don’t exist, than admit them? But also, some people just don’t take it that seriously — the casual, faux “I’m so OCD” type of people. And I don’t even want to judge or be rude to those — they just misunderstand, after all. So while I don’t necessarily announce to everyone, it’s nice to be comfortable with being open about who I am and why I am that way. I like not feeling like I have to hide anymore. I wish that I could trust everyone to be reasonably understanding. If I knew that, I would tell everyone right away.
Here’s a funny new acronym — Screen for Child Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders, also known as SCARED. I discovered it reading this interesting little article called “OCD in Adulthood Traced to Cues in Childhood.” It discusses the proposed idea that “rituals and sensory hypersensitivities in a child may be early warning signs of adult obsessive-compulsive disorder,” which is interesting to me because I have some odd sensory quirks and sensitivities that might not put me in the realm of diagnosis with anything, but are unusual to say the least. The article discusses primarily two studies which explore the (potential) link between OCD and sensory sensitivity.
“Consistent with the results of the first study, recollected childhood oral and tactile sensitivity was positively correlated with results of the OCI-R (r=0.41, P<0.001) in study two. When they controlled for anxiety, they continued to find that the sensitivity was correlated with obsessive-compulsive symptoms beyond their correlation with anxiety.”
What does this mean? For some, could rituals be a way of coping with sensory overload (or even under-stimulation)? This reminds me of tics, which often have physical or environmental triggers. Tic disorders seem to have a stronger established correlation with sensory processing problems than OCD does, but we also know that tic disorders and OCD are more related than we used to think.
The old rule “If it’s a response to a physical feeling, it’s a tic. If it’s a response to a thought or a fear, it’s a compulsion” is hard to apply in this situation. How could we truly connect OCD and sensory issues, when if there’s any sort of direct connection at all, any response to a physical feeling should rightfully be a tic, and not OCD-related (unless it’s Tourettic OCD)?
I have a tic. I’m pretty sure it’s a tic. And it’s really, really weird.
I have the breathing/gasping tic, which I’ve written about before. I also feel the need to sniffle or snort sometimes that’s different from a typical need to do so (hard to explain, but makes sense if you already know what having tics is like). The need is real, but it’s also different. But now there’s this other thing that’s popped up or I’ve just begun noticing and it’s really, really weird.
I’ll be eating, chewing my food, and about to swallow when all of a sudden I feel like I need to sniffle. There’s nothing in my nose, and my nose is not itchy. This is simply the worst possible time I could need to sniffle, because it involves the danger of choking on my food. For some reason that seems to actually tell my brain: You need to do this right now. So what I have to do is sniffle very, very carefully in order not to choke on my food, and often feel like I need to do it several times.
It’s funny because when people think of Tourette’s they think of people who blurt out the worst possible thing in social situations, such as a curse word. In my case it seems to be more about the worst possible thing in a more inward sort of way.
Of course, I can just avoid doing it — but then I think about it. I have to think about not doing it, and that’s distracting. So then I have a choice — do something distracting, or be distracted by feeling like I need to do it. Which is more distracting?
It’s not like this is greatly interfering with my life — it’s just odd, and mildly interesting. I do hope I don’t choke on my food, though.