It’s almost funny that people don’t see you shrink when they make you feel an inch tall. That’s what I become when people say they are ‘so OCD’ for realigning their wardrobe or straightening a wonky picture. People don’t get hospitalised for straightening pictures.
OCD is classed as one of the top ten most debilitating illnesses by the World Health Organisation. OCD can have you twitching and tapping and checking until you have no life left. In severe cases it can convince you that you need to do dangerous things to stop bad things from happening. The irony.
“No you don’t understand, I do have to order my books.” Some will say when I pick them up on using the phrase. If not alphabetising your books will cause persistent anxiety that something terrible will happen and deep distress- see a doctor. But most people do not feel this way. Would you say “I’m so cancer with this hair cut”? Of course not.
OCD is a connection between a situation and a possible frightening scenario happening. Sufferers find by doing a compulsion to try to change the situation the anxiety that something bad will happen is relieved. Sometimes it tells you that something completely illogical will happen if you don’t perform the compulsion. It doesn’t make sense. “If you don’t tap the window your friend will die”. What makes OCD an anxiety disorder and not psychosis is that the sufferer knows it is illogical. But the anxiety is such that they have to do it anyway. The frustration of wasting days of your life doing compulsions to stop bad things happening that will never occur anyway is immense. The only relief from the anxiety is doing what OCD demands.
So before you say you’re “So OCD” think about it. Every time you say that line it belittles the girl trapped in the kitchen checking the cooker ‘just one more time’. It makes fun of the guy in the bathroom scrubbing through skin. For them it is not just a quirk of personality to boast about at the pub, it’s pathological pain. What you feel when you are a ‘bit OCD’ is normal. Anxiety derives from fear which is there to keep us safe. When you check the straighteners are turned off it is to stop a real threat. It becomes OCD when this thought cannot be released- it goes around again and again. Our minds are loop recordings of unlikelihood.
This OCD Awareness Week sufferers are stepping out of the shadows. We don’t want money- just change. Please correct your friends. OCD is a real disorder which makes the brain function differently. Would you say “I’m so…” for any illnesses outside of the brain?