This is something that is very close to home for me, I can’t help but notice how misused the word OCD is and how many Misconceptions about OCD there are. I don’t blame anyone for misusing the word at all, that’s due to lack of understanding which is where the misconceptions come in, because OCD can be perceived as a cleaning and organizing disorder, which it can be, but its the thought process behind the behaviours that not many people know about, and OCD can take many forms NOT just cleaning.
Have you ever heard someone say or said yourself ‘Oh I am so OCD about organizing’? Or ‘I love to clean, I’m so OCD’? You probably have. I know I have, you just have to type OCD into twitter and see all the tweets that are along the lines of the quotes above. The thing is when you have severe OCD hearing this can be frustrating because being particular about how clean you like things or how you organize things etc does not make you OCD. OCD is where you feel compelled to do these things, you don’t WANT to do these things a certain way, you feel like you HAVE to do these things or something bad could happen. Which is where the thought process behind OCD comes in, which is what most people don’t know about. OCD stems from a thought usually a ‘What if’ thought or a bad thought, so someone may have a thought ‘If I do not do this, someone might die’ or ‘If I don’t do this I could get really ill or someone else could’ then the anxiety comes flooding in and makes you feel like you HAVE to do it or else this thing could really happen. To have OCD you do not have to have psychical compulsions they can be mental such as an image or thought about something anxiety provoking, then feeling like you have to work out what that thought means about you and ruminate over and over about it. We know its irrational, but its the ‘What if’ it could and the fear is so real we can’t take the risk and ignore it. All of the above are just examples of OCD, there is so many different types of OCD and compulsions etc.
Something I have been seeing a lot recently is people saying ‘I would love to have OCD then I would be organized’ or ‘My OCD has its pro’s because at least I’m always organized and tidy’ which I think is the worst thing to read when you have OCD yourself. As I cannot express how wrong this is, no one with OCD enjoys their compulsions, if that were the case everyone with OCD would be happy and as far as I know, I have not spoken to someone who sees having OCD as a pro or a good thing that they enjoy. Yes being organized and enjoying cleaning etc is not a bad trait to have, so if you are enjoying what you think is OCD, it probably isn’t! Another comment I have also been seeing is ‘I have CDO, it’s like OCD but the letters are in alphabetical order’ this ‘joke’ is completely ridiculous, I don’t know anyone with OCD that calls CDO because of their OCD.
So this post isn’t about me being bitter because I have OCD and people think they do when they don’t. It’s about spreading awareness. So next time you hear someone say something along the lines of the quotes above, you can politely correct them so they know that they could be offending someone with severe OCD who is really struggling with it, or if you find yourself saying these thing just take a second to think is this really OCD or am I just particular and like to do things my way. If you think you may have OCD or know someone who does then please get help, here you can find where you can get information on whether you have OCD and what help is out there for you http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/.
So basically what I am trying get across is, if you like things in a certain way sometimes, you are very particular about things and are organized, it does not mean you have OCD. I really hope this post helps anyone to understand OCD more and to use the word a bit more seriously, too not joke about it or think of it as a slight quirk you have.