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OCD at the Workplace: 5 year Recap

Having OCD I’ve always felt the need to just be a ‘normal’ part of society. I never wanted people to notice that I am different. Looking back, I really don’t know why I wasn’t honest about having it. It would’ve saved me a lot of stress and time trying to hide my cleaning rituals from people like my co-workers.

I was set on finding a job and not make anyone notice my OCD.

It all started almost exactly five years ago when I started my first ‘real’ job at an advertising agency. The first couple of weeks were particularly hard, as I had multiple problems with my work environment. I didn’t like sharing office chairs, keyboards and  the old faucets in the building. Everyday I had 99 confrontations (but a bitch ain’t one).

I had a real problem being on time for work.

When I started at the firm, it took me ages to get ready in the morning. I had to plan in two hours until I felt ready to leave the house due to a complicated morning ritual. I ended up having to have to talk to my boss multiple times and I know I was on the edge of losing my job.

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Somewhere along the road, I started not giving a fuck anymore.

My coworkers somewhat know that I have OCD now. At least, they know that I will sometimes disinfect my keyboard because of that. They have a false view of OCD as I think they believe I need everything to be 100% clean all the time, but I don’t care. I never told them any different because I don’t feel the need to explain (my) OCD to everybody. If they wanna believe that my apartment is super-clean all the time, they better not come over for a surprise visit.

Things changed and I got healthier.

I still have OCD but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. I wouldn’t consider myself healed but I’d say that I’ve walked a major part of that road. I don’t know exactly how it happened but somewhere between switching psychiatrist, switching medications and getting diagnosed with diabetes, I finally found a way around most of my compulsions. For the last years, I often had to confront my fears by letting things fall down on the floor and picking them back up. ‘Everything’s OK, nothing is dirty’, is what I used to say to myself. This is the first time I actually believe it.

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Fortunately, I got over my ‘ordering’-OCD quite a while ago.

I am ready for new adventures.

I don’t know where my life is exactly headed right now, but for the first time in 8 years I feel as if I could do anything. I have found a way to live my life peacefully alongside the troll in my head. I don’t know if he’s ever going to fully go away but that’s not important. He doesn’t hinder me the way he used to. He’s not constantly telling me all the things I cannot do anymore. Or better yet: I stopped listening to him. When I think about all the positive change I’ve made over the last months, I can honestly say that I am proud of myself. And that feels awesome.



Title photo by Aida Felic

Suggested further reading:
Meet the Troll in my Head
Being terrified of HIV
When is the right time to tell him how fucked up you are?
The Ying and Yang of Happiness

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.


  • 19. October 2018

    Thank you for this very informative and enlightening post. It was very insightful as it was your perspective and not a lecture on what to expect when dealing with a person with OCD. I admire your honesty! Naked hugs!

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