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Just Right

Just Right OCD is another subtype of OCD. It differs slightly in that compulsions are not usually aimed at keeping something bad from happening or to feel certain again. Instead, they are in an effort to regain the 'just right' feeling. People with Just Right OCD typically experience more impairment compared to those with other subtypes of OCD and are more likely to have a comorbid disorder along with it. A Just Right OCD episode can unfold like this: You're walking down the street without a care in the world when someone brushes past you grazing your left arm. If you have Just Right OCD, this seemingly harmless situation results in you losing that cool, calm, collected feeling. Now you are tense, agitated and highly distressed. You immediately have an urge to rub your right arm to even out the physical sensations. After you do this, you feel back to normal now that your 'just right' feeling has returned.

Triggering Situations & Compulsions

  • repeating a word or phrase until it feels just right in volume, enunciation, or authority

  • turning a light switch on and off multiple times

  • opening and closing a door until it feels just right

  • repeatedly putting on a sweater

  • avoiding cracks in the sidewalk

  • symmetry with organization, furniture, artwork in a room

  • evenness with your hair part, curls or styling

  • physical sensations such as scratching one arm because of an itch and then scratching the other arm to even it out

Additional Symptoms

  • extreme distress from the loss of the just right feeling

  • difficulty moving on without getting the just right feeling back

  • compulsions can be brief but more often are extremely time consuming with some people losing hours of the day to repeating behaviors until they have done them just right

  • urges to avoid potentially triggering situations

The Problem with Just Right OCD

The cycle of Just Right OCD involves triggers which lead to tension and distress, followed by the pursuit of the just right feeling. The triggers in Just Right OCD are commonplace and occur throughout the day. And because we know that pursuing evenness, symmetry or the just right feeling provides only temporary relief, it is inevitable that you will find yourself back at the beginning of the cycle. Compulsions are a habit of performing the action that gives you the desired 'just right' feeling and by doing them time and time again, your tolerance of the not right feeling lessens. It seems over time that the only way to feel right again when triggered is to perform the compulsion.

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