Flood anxiety: Compulsively checking taps and faucets

Constantly checking taps (or faucets in certain regions) is a common compulsion for those with OCD and anxiety disorders. The thought of a flood is enough to cause regular checks that can spiral into a never-ending cycle of intrusive thoughts and compulsions.

The following article is anonymous, aiming to help those with OCD and educate those unfamiliar with the condition.

What makes it (tap checking compulsions) so stressful is the number of taps- and rooms- I need to check.

The kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the bath and shower. The ritual is probably more of a cycle around the house and by the time I get to that final tap, it is hard to remember where I even started.

I feel like I am sinking everyday because of my compulsions and worries.

Checking is a common subtype of OCD.

Affecting millions of people around the world, checking can consume hours of a sufferers day. 

It is often associated with (but not limited to) safety and security.

Sundays are a nightmare

I work in a luxury residential building full time. My company looks after the public areas, we organize move ins/outs and provide security.

40 floors, 300 apartments.

On Sundays we are required to check all the vacant apartments waiting to be sold, making sure everything is in perfect working order.

Windows and doors. Lights, locks and taps. We have to let the water flow for a few minutes to prevent legionnaires disease.

For someone like me, this is an OCD nightmare.

What makes the checks more anxiety-inducing is knowing I’m probably the only one to enter the apartment until the following Sunday. I have to be certain everything is off, and my doubts increase tenfold.

Turning every tap on, only to turn them off, room by room… brings on absolute mental exhaustion.

Work-life can be incredibly difficult for someone with OCD, affecting day to day duties.

This article highlights a study that found on average, 46 work-days a year are lost to OCD. 

Tap checking isn't so bad in public areas

If I know someone will be using those taps within 30 minutes or so, I am at ease.

Bathrooms at work, or in a restaurant for example.

In fact my checks aren’t really bad at home if I have visitors… not just to hide my OCD but also because I know the rooms will be used frequently.

The worst case scenario is I leave a tap on, and someone will notice in a few short minutes.

I will still check, but it is more of a ‘normal’ check if that is a thing.

I try to use logic to help me

I know the tap is off. I know it would be damn hard for it to cause a problem even if it was running.

That little hole in the sink? That has my back. It always has done.

When I went to the shop that one time half way through cleaning. When I passed out drunk as a college student right before taking a shower.

The days before tap checking took over, there was never a flood. And there probably won’t be.

But me saying this and my OCD listening, that is a different story.

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Hi, I'm Sam. I write about Tourette and OCD to help myself and others.


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