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Emailing and OCD

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Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

Emailing is a simple task made difficult with OCD. Intrusive thoughts, checking and reading things over can increase the workload and delay progress… not to mention the mental fatigue and anxiety.

The following article is anonymous. Our aim is to help people understand how normal certain thoughts are, and to know that professional help can improve daily life.

I send 15-30 emails on a work day. Not much, but having OCD adds to the workload.

I have a constant fear that I am going to send something highly inappropriate to someone.

I proof-read my emails at least five to ten times to look for anything that may have me fired or cancelled.

So far this hasn’t happened. But the worry persists.

Typing is fine, it's the reading over

I’m actually chilled when typing.

I like to get it out the way, getting as many words onto the screen whilst I have that wave of motivation. This is my go-to technique with blogging too.

Type fast, edit later.

I find those squiggly red lines and correct the errors. I give the email a good read through.

And I read through again.

And again…

My anxiety kicks in as my cursor looms over the ‘send’ button. I’m convinced I’m going to find some really offensive words in there that I don’t want people to see, even though I would never add anything intentionally.

Email-related OCD compulsions can be associated with checking and reading.

Themes tend to overlap, and are often treated in the same way. 

Treatment can aid recovery and help better understand these processes.

I'm worried intrusive thoughts will spill into my writings

My intrusive thoughts fuel emailing-OCD. Thoughts that manifest due to OCD and affect me daily. 

I also worry about accidentally copying and pasting things into an email. Especially if I am emailing from my phone. Things like a private message I sent to a loved or some private information I don’t want to get out

Autocorrect makes this a realistic nightmare

I rarely email from my phone for this reason. But this has also made me refrain from doing too much research on OCD on my phone either. I much prefer it from a laptop.

I don’t want my phone auto-correcting to phrases such as ‘intrusive’, ‘obsessive’, ‘therapy’, ‘fear’ etc… how would that look in an email if these kept making accidental appearances? Or worse, if the specific details of my intrusive thoughts occasionally slip into sentences? Not good.

I don’t mind so much if this happens with friends, but not in a professional environment.

The frustrating thing is knowing this is an actual possibility, and this makes me check so much more.

But also checking more increases the chance of going back and making a mistake.

The more I check the more I doubt myself

It seems with every check my focus gets hazy. My memory fades to nothing.

I stare at each letter of the word, so intensely that I have forgotten what the beginning of the sentence even says.

Did I even check?

I remember being told in therapy that this is the case with OCD in general. The more we check the more we doubt ourselves. And I doubt myself daily.

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DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

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Dealing with Disorder was created by a sufferer, struggling to find information to help manage the conditions.