This topic was requested by a loyal follower with OCD. However, this topic is also very dear to my heart. As someone in the mental health field, I cringe any time I hear someone use a mental illness to describe a normal behavioral nuance. Unfortunately, I hear this one a lot. I have even been told by others that I am “so OCD.” Most times, I correct them. On rare occasions when I just did not have the strength to explain, I let it slide. However, this topic absolutely needs to be addressed. It is important that people understand mental illness so that we can remove the stigma and create a safe place for everyone.
1. OCD is more than an adverb
Actually it is not an adverb. It does not describe a behavior. It is a noun. It is a disorder marked by obsessive and intrusive thoughts and compulsory behaviors.
2.OCD is more than being really organized
Some people who have OCD are really organized, but it is more than organization. It is the intrusive thoughts reminding the person to constantly organize even when they do not want to. It is the anxiety that if they do not organize something bad will happen.
Normal Thought: i hate disorganization. I need to get my house organized.
OCD Thought: If one thing in my house is out of place, my whole life will fall apart. My spouse will leave me and my family will hate me.
3. OCD is more than being clean
Most lay people associate OCD with cleanliness. Some people like to be clean, but that does not mean that they have OCD.
Normal Thought: I like taking a shower and feeling squeaky clean before I go to bed
OCD Thought; If I do not wash my body 20 times, with this specific soap, in this specific order, I will get a disease
4. OCD is more being a perfectionist
Some people like things to be done perfectly or as near perfect as possible. That is fine. That is normal for someone who is ambitious. This does not constitute OCD. If the absence of perfection does not interfere with your ability to do your normal day to day tasks, then it is not a disorder.
Normal Thought: I want this assignment to be perfect.
OCD Thought: If this assignment is not perfect, I will fail out of college and never get a job. I’ll have to check this assignment 50 times,even if it means i miss work and get fired.
5. OCD is more than having a specific routine
Routines are important and good. Many people have routines and are not happy when they are thrown off their routines. However, before you think that you have OCD you need to ask yourself the following questions: Does throwing me off my routine cause me intense anxiety? Will I not be able to move on with my day? If you answer “no”, then you do not have OCD.
Normal Thought: I hate being thrown off my routine, but I understand that I cannot do this task today.
OCD Thought: If I cannot do this task, my whole day will be ruined. I cannot do anything else until I am once again able to complete this task.
6. OCD is more than favoring things that are symmetrical
So I have a weird behavioral nuance. I do not like to watch animated TVs or movies with asymmetrical faces. I was once told that I was “So OCD” because I favor things that are symmetrical. OCD is more than this.
Normal Thought: These cartoons are ugly with their disproportionate faces. I’ll watch something else.
OCD Thought: *This cannot even be turned into an OCD thought, an intense fear and avoidance of something (even a TV show) is another kind of anxiety disorder. That is Specific Phobia.*
7. OCD is more than noticing small differences
Yes, people with OCD notice small differences. However, it is deeper than that. The small difference is obsessed over and causes intense anxiety to the point that the person could have a panic attack, or lose their ability to function and move on with their day. They may also believe that something bad will happen because of the small difference. If a small difference annoys you but you are still able to go on with your day, you do NOT have OCD.
Normal Thought; That one tile is different than the other. That’s pretty annoying.
OCD Thought: That one tile is different than the other, so I cannot enter that room. If I enter that room, I will die or someone will get hurt.
Question of the Week
Do people have a poor understanding of OCD?
OCD is definitely real in a lot of people's lives. However, many people claim because they have little things they pick and fuss over, that they have serious issues with [OCD] but [that is] not true. Many people. like myself, have a very bad problem with OCD. [It was once so bad that] I was too scared to touch anything. Moving stuff frustrated me, and when things [were not] where i wanted, i would spazz out [and lose my cool]. Do people have a poor understanding of OCD? Absolutely!...It does not sideline what people do know, but we should definitely educate people on the...truth of this crippling disease...Answer by Siiiimmongaaa, Instagram Blogger| Instagram
I can confirm from personal experience! OCD is a monster...a horrible bully...that ruins your life. It's not an adjective for being a neat freak or highlighting or being symmetrical and all that nonsense.
Want Your Answer Featured?
OCD is more than what people typically characterize it to be. It is not an adverb or a fad. It is a debilitating disorder that you absolutely do not want to have. So, before you say “I’m so OCD” and further perpetuate misinformation about this disorder, please read up a little more on it, and be a bit more sensitive to those who do have it.
About the Author
Mish (Pronounced Meesh) Truth has always been a natural social justice advocate. She now holds BA in Psychology and will hold an MSW by May 2021. She is currently a goal coach, a tutor, and a writer.
She is is passionate about social justice issues and overall mental wellness. This includes knowledge on how to develop healthy relationships, and awareness mental and medical illnesses, and social justice issues.
Growing up in an urban, low income, community, she learned a lot before her time. She credits her success to her self awareness and desire for personal growth.
Her goal is to change the world by affecting at least one person, educating them, inspiring them, and then empowering them to go out and affect more change.
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