Have you ever been out, enjoying a perfectly nice day, and overheard this?
I have guests coming this weekend and I’ve been cleaning all day. I’m sooooooo OCD about having a clean house.
I’ve never had a past-due notice. I’m soooooooo OCD about paying bills.
My kids are never late to school. I’m sooooooo OCD about being on time.
To all the people out there who like to brag about being “OCD”, I’m here to tell you that, sorry, you most likely don’t have OCD. (Oh, and “OCD” is not an adjective, so you can’t really describe yourself as OCD. OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a noun. Maybe if you had OCD, you would know that. I kid. And I digress.)
OCD is not a charming personality quirk. It is not a positive personality quirk. It is certainly not an enviable personality quirk. It’s not a quirk at all. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disorder. It’s right there in the name. Likening OCD to an admirable personality trait is an insult to all real OCD sufferers.
I am soooooo OCD so I know what OCD is (and what it isn’t). For me, OCD is:
- a prison. I become so obsessed with the state of cleanliness in my house that I can’t leave certain areas of the home until I’ve repeatedly scoured them. The kitchen is a big time trap for me. I love to cook and bake, but I spend a disproportionately large amount of time cleaning my work space before, during, and after the meal preparation. When I’m out of the house, I often dread returning home, because I’ll have to begin checking all my “hot spots” again (spots where I once saw ants, spots where I spilled something sticky ages ago, spots where my kids had some sort of crumb orgy months ago…).
- exhausting. The checking for dirt, for bugs, for germs, for plumbing leaks….it involves more physical maneuvers than you can imagine. I once pulled a toilet out of the floor because I was convinced it was leaking into the sub floor. (It wasn’t.)
- humiliating. (See above. The plumber was mystified as to how I pulled a toilet out of the floor. What can I say? OCD sufferers are determined…for all the wrong reasons.)
- a bigger time-suck than Facebook. (Again, see above. Checking on all my obsessions and then “fixing” them are not quick processes.)
So, no, my “sooooo OCD” friends, you are not so OCD. I don’t brag about my OCD and I am certainly not proud of it. I live with it, I seek treatment for it, and I fight every day to conquer it so I can live a fuller life. For me and for everyone with true OCD, find a new word to describe yourself, preferably a real adjective this time.
(Photo credit: www.womenshealthency.com)