If I had a secret, that would’ve been it. Congratulations! You’re the next to know. Biggest surprise? I still have yet to say it out loud to anyone. I either make letters with my hands or text it.. So far. While one part of me would be, “Oh my goodness! What if a future employer sees this.” I realized that hiding it only gives into the stigma, and I’ll probably make a different post along those lines soon enough. But there’s no reason I can’t function as a “normal” part of society, in fact, if you check the facts, mental illnesses are more normal than not these days!
Before I begin, I hope you have done your research on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I have lived with it in mild and severe stages. If I had known more about what it really was, I could’ve gotten help sooner. I encourage anyone whether you truly have the diagnosis or not to look it up. The more you know, the more and better you understand.
The following list is built to be honest and entertaining. Things that you shouldn’t say when someone tells you about their OCD.. Or any mental illness really.
No! Really? Yes, you’re absolutely right! OCD is literally in our heads! Mental disorder. You’re also wrong. It’s not all in our heads. There’s this interesting side effect to mental disorders where they cause disordered behaviors and actually interrupt our lives! And the lives of those whom we love. And no, we don’t want it to interrupt your life! We’re too concerned with other things. Don’t be a dick about it, if someone tells you they have OCD, they trust you enough not to make them sound “crazy”.
- “You just want attention.”
Yes, I totally have all of these whack-o thoughts that I worry about all day and night and try to rationalize because I want attention. I like to do things x amount of times or avoid certain situations because I really just want attention. Actually, no. We don’t do that. People who say “omg I’m so OCD”, they do that, people who actually have OCD? No. They can’t help their compulsions, it takes a lot of work to break the chain. A LOT. Telling you that we have OCD explains some of our behavior and is ultimately a sign of “I trust you to know this part of me”.
- “Just stop thinking that. Just stop washing your hands. Just stop worrying.”
If we could. We would. We’re trying. Day and night. Sometimes too hard. It’s a complex work to manage obsessions and compulsions. It’s a hell of a lot of work. It’s completely draining! You have no idea until you’re there. No one wants OCD, but it is a part of us and we do have to live with us, and it does get better. What we really need is your support because we’re going to mess up, we’re going to relapse, we’re going to zone out and zone in.
- “We all have our quirks.”
Compulsions, they aren’t quirks. Especially in people like me who have the purely-obsessive type, you will probably never notice our compulsions, most of them exist in our heads or in things like prayer and avoidance. A quirk of liking something a certain way is a hundred times different than having to check that you locked your door fifty times, or worrying that you didn’t lock it the entire time you’re out! Quirk (according to dictionary.com): a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism. Compulsion (dictionary.com): a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational orcontrary to one’s will.
- “Everyone has something wrong with them.”
No. People with OCD are the princes and princesses of the Earth, please bow down to them! Okay, no I know that’s not true, we all know that’s not true. Everyone does have their problems. However, we didn’t come to you to hear that. We are 100% aware. We live with this problem every day. Some days are hell and some days still manage to be heavenly. You have your problems, I’m telling you one of mine. And it’s not even a problem, I live with it, I learn from it, I manage it. I’m stronger than it.
I hope you can excuse my sarcasm, it was purely for entertainment. I made this list mostly to expose the fact that these things do hurt to hear. The list is actually longer. There is a ton of stigma about mental illness in this world, but if we continue making efforts to destroy the stigmas, maybe these things will become easier to treat. I’ve dealt with it for years and have only told about three people besides my old counselor until now.
I’ll follow up with a post on meaningful, progressive ways to react.
For more resources on OCD: