Sensorimotor 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.

Have you ever been hyper-aware of your heartbeat? Or thought about breathing and now have to do it manually? Maybe you think about the feeling of swallowing and cannot escape it despite trying your hardest.

Sensorimotor OCD involves being obsessed or hyperaware of our bodily functions. It is an obsession with bodily functions and sensations, often causing anxiety. Some common sensorimotor obsessions involve the sensation of breathing, swallowing, heartbeat and blinking.

Sometimes, we discover things we just can't forget

Have you ever noticed your nose is in plain view, literally all the time?

Like, hang on, has this always been in my field of view?!

Five hours later, you’re in a work meeting and cannot stop noticing your nose is there…

This can be an example of sensorimotor OCD. Being hyperaware of our body and bodily functions with great difficulty forgetting them again.

You may have always had this, or it could be something that just occurred one day.

There are different kinds of Sensorimotor OCD

Like so much of OCD, the list can be endless. But it seems many of us share the same obsessions.

Some common sensorimotor obsessions are:

    • heartbeat or pulse
    • swallowing
    • the tongue not feeling comfortable in the mouth
    • skin itching, tingling or general sensations
    • eye contact, or floaters in the eye
    • breathing and feeling we have to breathe manually
    • blinking

What makes this harder to ignore is that these are functions our bodies are constantly carrying out. The heart continues to beat. We have to blink and inhale/exhale every few seconds.

We are constantly seeking out sights and sounds that fuel this theme of OCD.

It is easy to feel like you are going insane.

It's possibe to get relief from sensorimotor obsessions

It seems impossible, especially when these things are occurring constantly, every single day. But it is possible.

Whether it is therapy or through medication, such obsessions do not have to rule our lives.

And whether it is about learning to live with certain experiences, or being able to put them to the back of our mind, taking back control is incredibly relieving.

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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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