The rituals and rigid beliefs of people with obsessive compulsive disorders are very powerful. In popular culture we tend to look at things like compulsive handwashing, or the need to eat certain things at certain times of an eating disorder as just extreme thinking.

And we try to reach the person with reason and facts.

I think it is better if we understand that it is us who don't get it, not them. We don't get how very strong these cognitions are, how primal the fear, and how a particular part of an otherwise rational life can be so far removed from the reality we live in.

And if you need an example, consider the boy who thought 9/11 was his fault.

And then revisit why an eating disorder patient "has to" stay below X pounds, or "can't" eat before 10am, or "must" eat from that particular bowl.


  1. Good post. People really don't realize how strong the compulsions are. I have some strange rituals, and people tend to think I'm just choosing to do them to be weird or funny or whatever, when really I hate doing those things but have to anyway.

    I used to only be able to eat during odd minutes in odd hours (like 5:23, but not 5:24 or 6:23). Not only did I feel horribly guilty if I ate what I perceived to be too much, but I felt horrible if I ate at the "wrong" time.

  2. It is time for us to understand. And we need to replace pity and disdain with understanding and practical tools.

    These traits are quite common, and it would be better if we were all talking about it!


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