“Torture: knowing something makes no sense, but doing it anyways.”
~ Corey Ann Haydu

MANY PSYCHOSES FEATURE the inability to discern reality from fantasy, but with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sufferers generally know their compulsions are not logical, but they are unable to stop, often without a great deal of specialist help.

It can seem totally nonsensical to anyone who the world might consider 'normal', but the truth is fear does not discriminate. Beside, we are all fearful of some things, and many people are able to conceive their phobias. Add to this the issues of our dreams and nightmares, where our unconscious fears awaken when we are in deep sleep.

There is only one productive and hope-filled approach in dealing with someone else's OCD – it's about compassion, empathy, and patience.

Compassion for the ailing – a mental issue gestating into the emotions where fears rage and safety is never the output felt. It's not hard to feel compassion when we see the pain someone else is in and mutate into it, as if it were our own. Thinking of one of our children being afflicted, compassion has become us, but for someone who is an onlooker it might not be so easy. Frankly, what people connected to the OCD world need is understanding. That drives compression and empathy.

Compassion is the ability to actually feel into the situation of focus and feel in truth.

Empathy is driven out of compassion. It is the preparedness to get up out of our seat and serve the person afflicted with OCD or their family carer, or simply treat them as normal people. It's being nice because they deserve it. Empathy is always action oriented.

Patience is a quality that the carer needs and it's crucial also for the sufferer. It's not an easy thing to acquire and developing patience requires patience.

Sometimes recovery is tantalizingly insane and there are frequent departures into despair. There are many times when we will feel we are getting worse than now. Still, in all of it, it's patience that we find is blessed. At times like this patience always feels completely unreasonable.


Those who suffer from OCD and their carers and loved ones need compassion and empathy. Compassion is feeling for them; empathy is taking caring steps. Patience on the road to recovery is paramount, especially during despairs moments.

Patience can seem illogical and unreasonable, but patience is faith. Patience is never the wrong approach.

Remember, fear does not discriminate. We are to respect people's dignity by respecting them in what they fear.

© 2014 SJ Wickham.