Magical Thinking OCD

Is life more beautiful with a little bit of magic? Well, for some people it certainly isn’t. Especially for those who have OCD.

I’m pretty sure many of my readers have already heard about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a terrifying mental illness that millions are suffering from. Now, in the media, OCD is often portrayed as a kind of cleaning addiction (if you have seen Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners on TLC, I guess you know what I’m talking about – do not get me wrong, I do not say the TV show is not good, but it can easily mislead people who do not know what OCD is about.)
Note: click here if you want to see a list of frequently asked questions about OCD

Today, I’ll write about another symptom (or we could even say a “sub-type”) of OCD, which is magical thinking.

What do we mean by magical thinking?

Magical thinking doesn’t mean that you believe you have a kind of magical superpower. It’s a kind of “mindset” that makes you think that performing certain activities will help you avoid a disaster, will save your loved ones from any possible harm or will make you luckier.

Now while reading this, you may think: is this not a kind of superstition? And that is a very good question. To a certain extent magical thinking looks pretty superstitious, but it’s much more than being afraid of black cats or feeling unlucky on Friday the 13th.

People who’re suffering from magical thinking OCD are just unable to stop acting on their compulsions and they can be extremely distressed by their own thoughts – and being the slave of your own compulsions also means that you spend a great deal of your time on them.

What are the main symptoms of magical thinking OCD?

Well, first of all: believing that if you do not do things in a certain way, something terrible will happen. To be honest it’s very difficult to explain this feeling because your rational self knows that it’s absolutely crazy, but then you’re just unable the stop your racing thoughts. A few examples that I was experiencing:

– if you do not skip every other step while walking up the stairs, one of your loved ones will get sick.

– if you do not touch certain objects multiple times (until it feels right, depends on the sufferer’s preference), you’ll get fired from your job. And obviously, if you miss the ritual, you’ll be terrified for the whole day.

– if you check 15 times that the door is locked, your home will be protected – if not, again: something horrible will happen

– being extremely superstitious: now there are a lot of people who’re superstitious, but people with OCD take it to a whole new level: spending significant part of their day trying to avoid any situation that they feel could bring them bad luck.

– if you watch certain movies, something bad will happen (Obviously, I wouldn’t like to share the list of movies I’m avoiding, because those poor movies are not the ones to blame for the distress that they’re causing to me.)

Now, a lot of people may have thoughts that are similar to the ones I listed above, but it does not always mean that they have OCD. OCD starts when you are obsessed with these thoughts and it’s difficult for you to stop acting on the compulsions the little Compulsive Monster is suggesting to you.

And obviously, the list of thoughts magical thinking OCD can give you is much much longer.

So please do not hesitate to share your personal story in the comment section (or in an e-mail if you prefer that). There’s one thing I love more than sharing my stories: reading yours.

Also, I’m sharing a couple of useful links with you in case you’d like to read more about this type of OCD:

14 thoughts on “Magical Thinking OCD

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