OCD .Vs. Being A Perfectionist: What Is The Difference?

A while back now I wrote a blog post called ‘The Many Misconceptions Of OCD’ which you can read HERE. I wanted to do a follow-up post about this as It’s a  topic most people with OCD will relate to and I think its important to spread awareness about. I often see people saying ‘I’m a bit of perfectionist when it comes to such and such’ followed by then saying they are quite OCD. Another thing that is very common is when you tell people ‘I have OCD’, they don’t take it very seriously, I’ve had people say ‘I think everyone is a bit OCD to a degree, I am about such and such’ And although it’s not their fault they don’t understand it’s still annoying to hear when you have suffered with years of being in the grips of this terrible disease. So what is the different between OCD and being someone who’s particular about the way they do something, or a perfectionist or very organised person?


Perfectionist/Being Particular Examples

 When someone finishes tasks to a very high standard because they like to do so or like to achieve the best results they possibly can or they will feel agitated with themselves.

Liking things straight because you find it irritating if things aren’t.

Organising clothes in colour order or in a certain order because you like how it looks/makes you feel.

 Wanting to clean the bathroom daily, because you like it being clean. but if it HAS to be left you can leave it without much discomfort or distress e.g late for something important, so you leave the cleaning!

Your need for doing things in a particular way isn’t a must its a want to do so, and doesn’t affect your quality of living and interfere with your day-to-day life.


The Same Examples In Someone With OCD

Having to finish tasks until they ‘feel right’ because something terrible will happen if you don’t. Making you very anxious, frightened and most importantly you feel like you HAVE to, not want to.

Having to immediately straighten wonky things, because it causes a great deal of anxiety if you don’t, it doesn’t ‘feel right’ like that. If you leave it like that something terrible might happen!

Organising clothes in colour order or in a certain order because you feel like you HAVE to or that dread that something bad might happen and anxiety will not go!

Having to clean the bathroom daily, because if you don’t you and your family could get ill and the contamination could spread to the rest of the house etc. It cannot wait for anyone or anything, it must be done before I do anything else or you will become extremely anxious! Cleaning the bathroom is no longer a want or should, its a HAVE to or else.

You have to do compulsions and certain things in a certain way or something terrible could happen. This must to do things exactly as your OCD wants is effecting your quality of life and interfering with your day-to-day life and your general happiness.


As you can see OCD is based around feeling like your keeping you and someone else safe from something you consider bad and makes you incredibly anxious. It’s not a want it’s a NEED to do these things.These are just a few of the examples I could think of, there are so many symptoms and different forms of OCD. You can learn more about OCD and get more tips on how to deal with your own OCD in the ‘OCD, Anxiety & Depression’ category HERE, where you can see all the other posts related to this topic. Like I said in the related post I wrote a while ago, this isn’t people like me with OCD being bitter about having OCD, taking life too seriously or not being able to have a laugh about it. It’s about the illness not being taken seriously and knowing how it can affect us and others suffering with it. It’s about spreading awareness, so people understand these things and don’t misuse a serious illness as a word for an everyday quirk or habit.

Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting or liking my blog post, it means an awful lot to me!




3 thoughts on “OCD .Vs. Being A Perfectionist: What Is The Difference?

  1. Good post illustrating the differences between true OCD and the watered down version of what many people refer to as OCD. The term OCD has become so overused by the general population and most people have no clue what clinical OCD feels like

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I know most people don’t mean to offend sufferers, but hearing someone say ‘Oh I’m so OCD, it really annoys me if this isn’t like this’ is the most frustrating thing! Good for you to raise awareness and show the true difference xx

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