This is an issue that has caused me a whole lot of frustration, gritted teeth and clenched fists the last few years. So please, for the sake of my sanity…do read on!
Definition of OCD:
A psychiatric disorder characterised by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.
OCD is a mental health condition that causes the sufferer to battle with and fear their own minds. Just think about that, about how terrifying it must be to be afraid of yourself, to not know what is real and what’s not.
It’s not something that anyone would choose to have if they knew what pain and internal suffering a person with OCD goes through. And so why do so many people see it as a ‘cute’ or desirable character trait – something that can be joked about. So let’s get one thing straight, OCD is not an adjective and so people need to stop using it as one. Organising your pens in a line and then saying “oh my OCD is coming out” is fair enough if you actually have the disorder and the pens not being straight causes you genuine anxiety but if you don’t, then why say it? OCD comes in many different forms and while organisational behaviours can be part of it, it is not exclusive. See the links below for more information and read on for my story:
▲Link to a Crash Course psychology video on OCD and Anxiety disorder
▲Link to information about OCD by the NHS
OCD & Me
I’ve suffered with OCD since I was 11 years old and it is truly a nightmare of an illness to live with. It started around the time of starting high school with compulsive behaviours and rituals being the main issues – I felt like I had to do them because the thoughts were always telling me that if I didn’t then something bad would happen and I always thought it was better to safe than sorry. Examples of things I did are:
Not stepping on certain tiles in the kitchen, always counting everything I did in multiples of 7 or 3 (3 was my ‘safe’ number) and I always had to do the same routine every morning and night. Howeber if something bad happened or I’d simply a bad day then I would have to change the routine and my rituals because the bad things that had happened would be down to that. I also had to go to the toilet before or during every single lesson at school for the whole of year 7 and maybe even some of year 8, I can’t remember. I hardly ever actually needed the toilet but I just had to go anyway. It wasn’t an enjoyable way to live and things only got worse as the intrusive thoughts came.
I won’t share the specific details of the thoughts as it’s too personal so I’ll just say they were like torture to live with. They came accompanied with a constant feeling of anxiety in my stomach and chest and they could happen anywhere at anytime. They came a lot during school but also at home, when I was out… everywhere. Holidays were the worst as I didn’t have the safety of my usual compulsions and so the intrusive thoughts would get 10 times worse. I remember crying when I got home from school until my parents got back from work on many occasions and sometimes even crying as soon as I woke up because I knew that the intrusive thoughts were going to torture me all day.
So please, please, please don’t make flippant jokes and remarks about OCD as it is honestly not something to be made fun of or laughed about or even used as an adjective. For more details on types of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours or where to find help if you think you may suffer with OCD then the links above provide a lot of useful information and feel free to comment with any questions you may have 🙂
Love and hugs,