We’ve all heard it before. Perhaps that tiny, inky blot at the corner of your page bothers you slightly, or that particular, uneven piece of handwriting causes you some mild annoyance. “Oh my gosh, I’m just so OCD.” Whenever something’s slightly amiss or doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing enough, we chalk it up to OCD.
The term itself has been tossed around like a basketball so often, that it has become severely misunderstood. OCD isn’t being annoyed at that spot you missed whilst cleaning; it certainly isn’t wanting everything to appear neat and tidy.
So, what does OCD actually look like?
According to the International OCD Foundation, OCD is defined as unwanted thoughts and/or images that replay themselves constantly in your head.
‘If I don’t wash this plate a certain way, I’m going to get hurt. If I don’t tell my family I love them, they’re going to die. I have to do this thing twice, or something bad will happen.’
Quite exhausting, don’t you think? Now, imagine having these thoughts on constant replay, almost like a broken music record.
People with OCD have to wash things a certain way, clean things a certain way, or even count things a certain way. Sometimes, people with OCD may like doing things in certain numbers: in twos, threes, or fours.
OCD isn’t a fad or a funny ‘joke’; it is something very real, which affects severalpeople. Misusing the term is harmful to those who have been diagnosed with the disorder, and hearing others toss around the term freely may invalidate the very real issue that certain people have to face.
Once we understand and start to break down the common misconceptions about OCD, we can start to do better.. There are many resources out there to help (International OCD Foundation, BeyondOCD.Org) which you can share with those you know who suffer from OCD. Once we start to finally do better, we can start to heal.