I know there are some words we all use lightly, and words are just words after all. That doesn’t stop me from cringing every time someone says they are “so OCD” about something. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental illness. It’s not cute.
Your mother-in-law is coming over and you’re stressed because you haven’t had time to clean the toilet. Sometimes you like to organize your crayons by colour. You like when your linen smells fresh as opposed to when it smells like BO. You moved your stove once to clean the gunk underneath.
ME: Okay, time to put on my underwear.
OCD: No, you can’t put on that pair. It touched the floor just now.
ME: Why does that matter?
OCD: What if there are germs on the floor?
ME: What germs?
OCD: You wore your shoes in here yesterday when you forgot your phone. Remember that time eight weeks ago when you walked on a bandaid? Yeah, those germs. THINK OF THE GERMS.
ME: Fine, I’ll put on this pair.
OCD: STOP! Your toe touched that one!
OCD: YOUR TOES ARE ON THE FLOOR OMG THE GERMS.
ME: Well…you have a point. I’ll put on –
OCD: NO NO NO NO THAT PAIR TOUCHED THE DRAWER HANDLE. REMEMBER WHEN YOU TOUCHED THE DRAWER HANDLE WITHOUT WASHING LAST YEAR?
ME: You’re not making any sense.
OCD: DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. DANGER.
My scenario might seem kind of silly, and it might have made you laugh – but I’m not exaggerating.
OCD can intrude into your life and affect every tiny detail of your daily routine. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s routine and what’s obsession.
I don’t want to generalize, but it can be incredibly hard to live with someone who has OCD (thank you, loved ones, for your patience – even when that patience has worn thin). I worry all the damn time. About everything. It’s frustrating and exhausting.
As I said, it’s not cute.
I’ll work harder to choose my words carefully, if you promise to do the same. It does seem like no matter what you do you might be offending somebody, but this has been my two cents on the usage of OCD.
P.S. If you’re suffering from OCD, I really like this book. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help (therapy is tough but it does help), and remember, you’re not, never have been, and never will be alone.