Ever heard or said these phases:
‘I wish I had OCD so I could have a clean home/have my DVDs in alphabetical order/etc, etc, etc’
‘I’m so OCD about having my books neat/about parking within the lines/etc, etc, etc’
I am sure a lot of people who say these and similar phases don’t mean to cause upset, the thing is though phases like this trivialise a serious and debilitating condition and therefore can do more damage than you think.
It seem the latest thing recently is a ‘quiz’ of ‘How sensitive is your OCD radar?’ Essentially what it is, is clicking on the picture which is different to the other two, essentially an odd one out eye test. People without OCD could get 100% and people with OCD could get 0%, because that isn’t what OCD is.
I’ve been wanting to write a blog about OCD for a while but kept putting it off, but having seen this ‘quiz’ I am no longer putting it off, because OCD in’t funny, or something you wish you had.
Here is what OCD is:
People here the term OCD and think of people with very immaculate homes and think of people who wash their hands constantly because they’re concerned about contamination.
So for some people with OCD they have a compulsion to wash their hands a lot because of an obsessive fear of contamination, but for so many with OCD that isn’t what OCD is, plus you don’t see what is going on in our heads.
OCD is having the worst thoughts enter your mind and just stay there, your worst fears are there saying they will or have happened and they disguise them self as your own thoughts, when they’re intrusive thoughts, but distinguishing the difference becomes so hard and exhausting. Then having to do random compulsions, which usually make no logical sense, but if not done the intrusive thoughts get worse and worse and your anxiety gets worse and worse, so you have to do the compulsion and the intrusive thoughts reduce for a bit and then they are back again and the cycle continues.
So here is some of what OCD is for me (remember all of us with OCD are different), some of my intrusive thoughts I will not say because I am too sickened by them myself and they can make me feel like a monster.
OCD is being too scared to go outside because your thoughts are telling you you’re going to murder someone.
OCD is refusing to see your partner and friends because your thoughts are telling you, you’re going to hurt them.
OCD is being convinced you have already hurt someone.
OCD is turning off all plug switches without a plug in, because if you don’t it will be your fault when buildings burn down.
OCD means you go home between a rehearsal and a concert and risk being late for the concert, because your intrusive thoughts are telling you, you left the radiator on and if you don’t go and turn it off you will cause a fire and burn down a whole block of flats. When you get home and the radiator is off you spend a long time pushing the switch to make sure, pushing it in 3 sets of 3 to make 9 and doing that 3 times and then taking 3 photos to look at and check it is off.
OCD is becoming convinced you will accidentally hurt or kill someone so you stay inside.
OCD is becoming convinced you have given someone cancer because you accidentally touched a cigarette and that gave you lung cancer and you passed it on. Even though the logical part of your brain is desperately trying to tell you that isn’t how it works, you still rub your hand raw and do countless compulsions to try and convince yourself it isn’t true and even still you’re an anxious wreck.
OCD is when you were a kid every time you saw a baby getting these thoughts of wanting to eat it and being terrified that you would eat a baby, you didn’t want to, but you became convinced you would, but you never told anyone because you were so scared.
OCD is spending several hours getting one shelf on your book shelf correct, because if it isn’t correct you will end up murdering someone.
OCD is being terrified of camp fires or candles because you’re so convinced they will spread or fall and kill everyone around you.
OCD is leaving extra early for things, to allow time for your compulsions.
OCD is having to tap certain posts on your right when out 3 times, it doesn’t matter whether that makes you go past where you need to go, or you have to wait for people to go past etc, they have to be tapped because otherwise the intrusive thoughts become more powerful and people will get hurt by you or it will be your fault and your anxiety will be severe, so you tap the posts.
I could go on and on. Still wish you had OCD so your home could be tidy, because my home isn’t tidy, I am not a tidy person, I never have been and I probably never will be. So wishing you had OCD to have a tidy home means you have to have all of the above too and not be guaranteed to be a tidy person anyway. Still want it? Want to be convinced you’re a murderer or will cause people’s death? Still think you’re ‘so OCD’ because you happen to like your books neat etc.
I am sure that most of you who say those phases I opened with don’t mean to cause upset or anything, but the thing is what you really mean is things like ‘I am a tidy person’ ‘I am particular about having my DVD’s/books in the right order’
You see because OCD isn’t another term for tidy, neat, particular etc, it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a debilitating condition and by trivialising it you make it out to be a joke and something not as serious as it actually is. So maybe next time you are about to write or say ‘I’m so OCD about…’ or ‘I wish I had OCD to be…’ maybe say what you really mean and don’t use a debilitating condition which leaves me and many others anxious and frightened of what we may do. OCD isn’t funny or something to trivialise and it isn’t something you wish you had.