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Confessions of a Recovering OCD-Maniac: my trouble with the handshake!



In the past, I was diagnosed with a condition commonly known as the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This diagnosis isn’t a mystery to me since I like everything super clean, fresh, and tidy. I don’t care if it’s fancy – could be a house, a car, clothes, or a person – I only care that “it” is clean. I remember quite clearly that my brother used to get upset with me for tidying his room – he thought that this was an invasion of his privacy while I only wanted to help (myself)… You see, I’d have headaches due to the knowledge that there was one more room in the house that wasn’t tidy. So, I’d break in, and fix it up to my taste (yum)!

My sister also suffered as a result of this “madness”! I would tidy our room and lock it up for fear that the bed sheets would be rumpled before bedtime. She’d say all she could to persuade me to let her in but I would refuse. At that point, the tidy state of our room was more important to me than her desire for a well-deserved afternoon nap. It definitely was OCD!

At some point, my mum summoned me for a heart-to-heart talk. She was worried that at the rate at which I was going, I might not be able to function in a relationship with anyone especially the opposite sex, if I insisted that all had to be squeaky clean at ALL times. She explained that we lived in a home and not just a house. I think that the talk was helpful since I eased up on OCD at that point. I started to endure little bits of untidiness here and there and before I knew it, I was (almost) cured.

Although, I now claim to be free of OCD, I am still bothered about “little details” which most people don’t pay attention to. For instance – handshakes! I have spent many-many years studying the average person. It’s amazing what people do with their hands. If you ask me, I wouldn’t mind shaking hands with people only right after they take their bath in the mornings and possibly in the evenings, but I guess that’s an unrealistic expectation, especially since my job doesn’t entail spending time with colleagues in their homes. I will naturally have to wait for them to come to the office, or meet with them at workshops and conferences, where I will have to nobly take their hands, all under the guise of observing the age-long “compulsory” handshake.

Hands are very useful; I can’t imagine life without mine. However, other than the zillions of functions that hands are useful for, I find people picking their noses with them – some dig so deep, I fear that they’ll cause a nosebleed; others use hands to scratch their butts in the most awkward way. I have seen people walk out of public toilets without washing their hands while others blow their noses with them or simply wipe the sweat off their faces without resorting to the handwash! All of these “gestures” and much more make me uneasy about the “handshake”… Who needs the extra microbes? This is my trouble with the handshake!

So, obviously, I don’t find it pleasurable shaking hands with people. This is not to say that humans should stop shaking hands (…as if I have the power to put a stop to it…). I guess that’s a price we all have to continue to pay. However, my own very active imagination causes me to constantly picture where people’s hands have been. Therefore, I don’t exchange hands except I am pressured to do so. Most times, I keep a good distance and smile instead of extending my hand. Maybe I still have small doses of the OCD… Thank God it’s not some form of terminal disease!

___________________________________________________________________________________________ Editor’s Note: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. Many people erroneously self diagnose OCD. If you have any of the recognized symptoms, please see a medical professional for professional advice.


  1. Ginika

    November 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I guess you have a very mild form of OCD because it is not easy for ppl with this type of disorder to recover. My older sister once explained it to me once when I was like I cant understand how people had to for example count the number of steps they take to their front doors; then she said its like when we used to travel to the village as a child, we used to count the lamp posts.

    • Ginika

      November 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      Infact sometimes, I feel sometimes that I could easily adopt an obssesive behaviour but I bring myself back when I think, ‘its part of life and people have died yet from so so so and so’. Some folks have it bad. Nice article.

  2. Not impressed

    November 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Yawn… You do NOT have OCD Ejire… So what, you like things squeaky clean. OCD is a disorder, not a simple preference

    • lolli witout d pop

      November 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      i think so too. OCD is a very strong disorder that doesnt consider age, race, religion etc. People go through years and years of therapy for it. It is a disorder, and therfore the sufferers are better off witout it. from the little stated, the writer doesnt hav OCD, becos believe me, this article would be TOO small to even begin to explain all about it, he/she was just looking for a juicy beginning to his/her loathing of handshakes.
      kudos on the effort tho.

    • lowlah

      November 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      no ocd comes in different forms… the host of the american who wants to b a millionaire has OCD. he cant shake your hand…so he does the knuckle bump… if her cleanliness comes before the comfort of others around her it is ocd… she might have it mild but this is not just about being clean…

  3. ugo

    November 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm


  4. iphee

    November 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Catchy title…! mi likey but like Dan Foster of POP IDOL would say :”I was expecting to be taken there but you left me hanging” **winks**

  5. genesis

    November 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Unecessary write up

  6. Me

    November 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Don’t worry, if you like places being squeaky clean, wait till you have 2 or more kids (especially boys). You will clean till you are cured completely of OCD.

  7. honeybee

    November 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Lol @ me…. I was thinking the exact same thing!! When i had my 1st child, i used to clean the house 6 times a day. Now after 2 more, i dont even bother! I cant shout!!

  8. Belladonna84

    November 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Lol!!!!!! I can only suggest u carry anti-bacterial hand-gel with u at alllll times!

    • ibinike

      November 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      My thoughts exactly

  9. D.O.T.M.H

    November 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Lol. I feel u.

  10. nkemgi

    November 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    i have a friend dat had dis systoms. i doubt she can be cured by just heart to heart talk cos we ve talked and quarelled and shee hanst changed.

    • jess

      November 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Ha! Your friend had what now???

    • notaplayerhater

      November 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      [email protected] jess…pls let it go…pretty please!! lwkmd

    • nkemgi

      November 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      ocd jess. tot i wrote in english???????

    • adelegirl

      November 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      lmao!!! This is why comments are the best part of bella naija posts. :-DDDD

  11. Yuds

    November 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I had some sort of OCD until I became an elementary school teacher… That OCD had no choice but to DIE! You start off constantly grossed out by kids with runny noses, dirty school bathrooms and all sorts of smells… but then something happens! Your love for them overwhelms you and suddenly it’s okay for them to touch you with their dirty little hands or tug on your skirt with soiled hands. As for dirty adults? That’s a different story! 🙂

  12. beezy

    November 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Very funny how you diagnose urself and also got cured by urself all in a flash…
    Is it supposed to be “cool” to have this thing?…..
    OCD!!! Seriously!! Honey, if u had OCD, u sef go know….

  13. jcsgrl

    November 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    What about disgusting nigerian men who take a piss, shake their ding ding and with the same hand extend a hand for a shake. Nyama!!!!

  14. istidele

    November 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    i donk shake hands and thats not OCD

  15. Miss ATL

    November 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Give air kisses!

  16. Fifi

    November 10, 2010 at 7:18 am

    ur own berra jor!
    my own is door locking and safety!

  17. lioness

    November 10, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I was a psychology major, so I’d say no on your diagnosis. But, you do have loads of symptoms that if you did go off d bend i.e some event happened that ur mind couldn’t tolerate/handle (in the highest sense of it), it could precipitate full blown OCD. I had symptoms too. I would always tidy up friends rooms & houses at the expense of classes, functions & good relationships. I’d bathe 6 times a day, only ate with my own plate & cutlery (restaurant or no restaurant). If am not with it then a take away pack must be in demand & that’s after scrutinizing the kitchen to see how their food’ made. I’d break out in hives if I was forced to eat at a friend’s or relative. My bed was not only laid, it had to be ironed & pinned so that if I permitted anyone or meself to sit “midly” on it prior to bedtime, it would not “shift”!!! Lol. Clothes were ironed to perfection & dirty clothes were folded crisp before they go to the wash. Cosmetics on tabletops must be arranged with brand names facing forward & books. & cds sectioned (genres, colors, date of publication, width & length) just right! I would pull out a comb & immediately “make a stranger decent” in a matter of minutes! Never shook hands & never apologized if you thought me rude! If I happened to then my hand sanitizer was in the other hand the whole time. My word! I did it to so many people right there in their presence. Even daddy’s friends. Chai!!! But thank God 4 His mercies. Am a lot chilled now….a whole lot! Have my bath twice (sometimes once if tis too cold), no more pins but must lay it as soon as am off d bed, eat out without giving a thought to it & let people be (at least 65.9% of d time).
    You can only call it OCD when social functioning is completely impaired coz normal stuff cause you delibitating anxiety not a little discomfort, when it results in psychosomatic (causes a physical breakdown if not removed from d “environment” causing the anxiety). Like the name implies, its an obsession that is compulsive. If you don’t give in to the compulsion, you literally go gaga!

    • Ready

      November 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

      See Ejire? Now, the above? THAT is OCD.

  18. Adaku

    November 10, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Mine is a really weird form of OCD, if I touch something with one hand, I have to touch it with the other hand too. I’d been doing it all my life and I never even noticed until my mum pointed it out to me when I was 17. Now I have to make a conscious effort not to do it and when I don’t I feel…kind of empty on the side that hasn’t touched that thing, I don’t really know how to explain it. Even when I shake people with one hand I have to find a way to touch them somewhere with my other hand so I don’t feel incomplete.

    It drives me nuts.

  19. Alero

    November 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    lmao really hard.CURING BY

  20. shuldawritten disb4 i gatHIGH

    November 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    HEY..i gat multple word disorder..ERROR ERROR ERROR..c?

  21. ify

    November 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    i think mine has 2 do with counting nos from 1 to at least 12… cld be more, every time i have 2 lock d door or check that the gas isnt leaking, b4 i sleep or leave the hse. also when i turn off a tap i have 2 tighten it and count to make sure its not leaking even if i can c ders no water coming out of d tap. it drives me soooo crazy sometimes. i’ll really love 2 stop doin all dese n many more crazy little things i do. sometimes i feel like i mite b goin crazy.

  22. mariaah

    November 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    There are so many forms of OCD E.G, my B.F has to put two handkerchiefs in his pocket every day before he steps out. I f you ask him he ‘ll say one is for cleaning sweat from his face and the other on his neck… We live in the UK where any one hardly sweats, his job is not so physical, even today with the temperature plummeting down and soo cold he did that’s OCD..

  23. Ytee

    November 10, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Most of you don’t have OCD jor. Abeg make we hear word! Lol

  24. Boondock

    November 13, 2010 at 12:06 am

    All these comments, who are you to judge whether she has ocd or not? Unless you’ve got a psychology degree, hush up! There different types of ocd, no two cases are hardly ever the same.

  25. Brenda

    December 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I have family with OCD and I totally respect it, people should take it serious!

    we should all support each other =)

    • Sara

      December 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      Wao Brenda, thank you for this information, I didn’t know that there still people that cares, I will support them because I believe this will be big! just like Ray Man

      Again Thank you

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