by Kate Fitch
Today’s post is about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD seems to be a common joke when someone seems tidy, or the subject of photo series’ on the internet depicting things with bothersome asymmetry. These might look familiar:
Frankly, these are small things that bother most people. Yes, OCD can be focused on orderliness, tidiness, color coordination, and symmetry, but it can also manifest in many other ways. Like:
- Intrusive thoughts and images about harming other people
- Obsessive worry about eating contaminated food
- Excessive hand-washing
- Checking and re-checking locks, switches, and electrical outlets
- Driving over the same places repeatedly due to worry that you hit someone
- Constantly checking pulse and blood pressure for fear of a heart attack
This common stereotype about OCD and “neat-freaks,” being organized, or liking symmetry can prevent people from realizing they have a diagnose-able problem. In my case, it prevented me from realizing that my graphic intrusive thoughts were a symptom of OCD. Being able to put a name to the problem and get the appropriate treatment was long overdue for me because I thought OCD was a neatness thing. I’m not very neat at all in reality.
So, think before you joke about it. Changing the conversation around OCD starts with you! Next time you hear or see a joke along the lines of what I posted at the start, speak up! Let them know that OCD isn’t like that for a lot of people.