A parent's experience
My daughter’s OCD was really hard to understand. It started with getting ready. She would repeat the same things (putting on make-up, brushing her hair) again and again until she thought they were perfect. Generally they weren’t perfect and she would have to start again, becoming more and more distressed each time. Nothing we said made any difference. People told me it was a teenage thing and she would grow out of it, but the rituals became longer and more involved, and she started getting up at 5am to fit it all in before leaving for school. One day she was having a health check and the doctor asked about her morning routine. He immediately recognised OCD and referred her for support.
OCD is not just about cleaning or hand-washing (although for some people it is). It can affect eating, getting dressed, or leaving the house. It’s different from the routines that other people have because with OCD, if the person can’t perform the routine it causes them intense anxiety. My daughter told me that when she can’t fulfil her OCD routines it makes her feel like she’s going to die.