‘I’m so OCD’: a phrase used by many to describe their preference for things to be neat and orderly. It seems like a harmless enough comment, yet is in fact incredibly insulting to sufferers of obsessive compulsive disorder and trivialises the illness. It is very real and very painful illness to live with. Its not a fun little quirk-it’s a debilitating disorder.
Its not when someone like their pens in rainbow order, nor is it when a person likes their things neat or in a specific order. It is not ‘being a perfectionist’, nor is it liking things done in a specific way. Just because you like your work neat or your books straight does not make you ‘so OCD’. You are ‘so OCD’ when you are constantly being bombarded with intrusive thought after intrusive thought. You are ’so OCD’ when you have to perform ritual after ritual to slow your racing heart and whirring mind just for a second. You are ‘so OCD’ when you break down in pure panic when something goes wrong-say you are unable to perform a ritual, or perhaps you lose count. The little voice in your head gets louder and louder and louder. It screams at you, telling you that everyone you love will become ill and die because you did it wrong and ‘you are such a failure’. You are ‘so OCD’ when you spend hour after hour obsessing over intrusive thoughts and actions, when pretty much your entire day is dedicated to keeping that voice at bay. Counting over and over and over again. You are alive, but you aren’t living.
So next time you say ‘I’m so OCD’, stop. Think. Are you really?