I want you guys to read a story. Now, first thing you should know is that this story isn’t one of mine, rather it’s written by one of the more talented fiction writers on this site. I’ve chosen this story because it perfectly illustrates the subject matter of this article. Before you go you should be sure to bookmark this page so that you can return here after the story and continue reading this. Have you done that? Good, now off you go and read the story. I’ll see you soon.
Ah good, you’re back. Good story isn’t it? I have trouble making it all the way through as the story is all about one of my worst fears – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The story may seem a little over the top but for many people around the world it’s an accurate description of thoughts that go through their heads and the ordeal they go through for something as simple as going to the toilet, or even passing a sink. Can you see now why this scares me so much? The idea of having control taken away, the knowledge that these thoughts are only in your head and can’t affect you, the inability to do anything to stop them despite this knowledge, being bound to routines through pure terror of what may happen if you break the cycle. I really don’t know how the people who suffer from OCD cope with this on a daily basis. Just reading that story is enough of an ordeal for me (that’s actually a compliment to the author, not an insult) and I can’t imagine living with it. Now for a lot of people this may seem like an over the top reaction. We’ve all seen the jokes on television and “know” that it’s just silly people who do things over and over, right? Yeah? Now imagine being one of them. Imagine that you’re one of the people who is doing these things over and over. Imagine the most vile, disgusting and painful things happening to you or your loved ones and know for sure that these things will happen if you don’t keep repeating this action until you’ve fulfilled some obscure method that means you’ve done it right. And, most of all, imagine the absolute horror of knowing that this is all in your head yet not being able to break it anyway. It terrifies me as it does many people and that’s one of the reasons why so many make light of it.
Understanding an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is very difficult for most people as it’s actually a mixture of two separate problems in one disorder. As mentioned earlier most people associate OCD with someone who flicks the light on and off a set number of times or washes their hands repeatedly, thinking that the sufferer will soon move on after they’ve completed their ritual. The problem with that comparison is this: that would be a habit (akin to biting one’s fingernails) not a compulsion, and if you’re imagining dealing with a habit then you haven’t a clue what these people go through. Clinically speaking, a compulsion is something you feel you have to do while a habit is something you have learned to do. Taking an umbrella with you when it’s raining is a habit while taking one every single day is usually the sign of a compulsion. Compulsive disorders are quite common and chances are you have a minor one yourself. Maybe you never step on the cracks, maybe you straighten items on a table or are always tidying up. If it’s to excess then you probably have a minor compulsive disorder. If you feel uneasy or even agitated when something isn’t a certain way then it’s for sure. Of course there are many types of compulsive disorders and yours may not be as simple as taking an umbrella with you wherever you go.
I can recall a case not to long ago where a mid-twenties girl who worked as a school teacher would sleep with random strangers every single night. She wasn’t a clinical nymphomaniac and she could live a relatively normal life but she had to do this every single night, sometimes more often as she was unable to say no to anyone who propositioned her or she’d become more and more upset and unable to go on with the more mundane aspects of her life. That should illustrate that there are two potential ways to measure a compulsive disorder – by the severity of the action that one is compelled to carry out and also by how easily the sufferer can carry on with their regular lives without carrying out their routine. That particular case didn’t have a happy ending as I’m sure you can imagine. The girl was so disgusted at her actions, and treated so badly by others who became aware of her compulsion that she eventually decided to put herself out of her misery. A truly sad story. Had she had the help she needed one can only imagine that it would have ended differently.
So we can now see just how intrusive a compulsive disorder is, but what’s the difference between a compulsive disorder and an obsessive compulsive disorder? That’d rather obviously be the obsession, which again can be split into two distinct parts – obsession over the routine and obsessive, intrusive thoughts. Obviously obsession over the routine that the compulsion sufferer has increases how hard it is for them to deal with their lives if they don’t fulfill that routine’s conditions. Not only is their mind rebelling against them and telling them that they have to do something with no rational reason, but the thought wont pass at all. With a regular compulsive disorder there’s usually something that sets off the first waves of the compulsion and that may not happen all that often. However with a sufferer of OCD those “rules” no longer count and the person’s mind may simply obsess over the actual ritual without provocation. I’m sure you can agree that that’s a rather cruel twist of fate, but this disorder has yet another worse trick up it’s sleeve to run the sufferer through the wringer – obsessive thoughts, consistently telling the sufferer that bad things will happen if they don’t follow through on their compulsions. Despite all of this, most sufferers of a compulsive disorder fight those compulsions, wishing only for a normal life free of these thoughts.
Which brings us to the subject of thirty-six year old Ana Catarina Bezerra Silvares, a divorced mother of three who works for an accounting firm in Brazil. As you’ve probably guessed from the subject matter of this article, Ana suffers from a compulsive disorder. The difference between Ana and a vast majority of those who suffer from compulsive disorders is that Ana has let it define her to the point that she’s willing to take her workplace to court in an effort to get them to allow her to indulge her compulsions. I know what you’re thinking – it’s out of order for her workplace to stop her washing her hands or opening doors multiple times anyway. The thing is, Ana’s compulsive disorder is Compulsion Orgasmic, a condition that makes her constantly seek out and try to get orgasms. The legal proceedings she started against the company she works for have won her the right to masturbate for fifteen minutes for every two hours she is at work (can’t she wait until her lunch break like the rest of us do?) as well as the right to use the company computers to look up “stimulating material” to aid in her fap breaks. Can you imagine having an interview with that company (not you Dennis) and finding someone wanking away at their desk? You’d wonder what the hell you were being hired for.
Now, the thing that is remarkable about Ana’s case (apart from the fact that it opens the door for more disturbing compulsions to be played out in the workplace) is the sheer volume – the woman has had episodes where she has had to masturbate up to eighty times in a single day. “There was a day when I had to masturbate forty-seven times”, she admitted in an interview, “I began to suspect this wasn’t normal and sought medical help.” That’s when she first sought help for her condition, having presumably ignored the months this had built up over until she started to chaff. Ana is on sedatives now to keep her down to a regular eighteen masturbations per day, yet she hasn’t really had to work as hard as sufferers of other compulsive disorders. Where they work every hour to control their compulsions, Ana goes to court and fights to be able to give in to her own. Where their condition is something that upsets them and they have to endure, Ana is happy (orgasmically so) with hers and makes it something others have to endure.
Most damning of all is the fact that the news coverage of this case alone will cause a slow backlash against all compulsive disorder sufferers, as innocents who are trying to deal with their problems get caught under the same umbrella statements as this selfish woman. Be aware that, while she is not alone in letting her condition define her, she is one of the few not the majority, so please don’t judge everyone by her.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I simply can’t be up in the morning without my coffee.