Everyday, I help many amazing people suffering from the debilitating condition of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). I witness first-hand their distressing struggles, and as someone who has suffered from severe OCD for much of his teenage life, I can fully empathise with them. Witnessing how saddening and exhausting OCD really is, there’s nothing much more insulting than to normalise it. Suddenly, half the population has a “bit of OCD”.
Ok, so this may sound like a rant, but bear with me here – it’s more serious than that. OCD is NOT everyday paranoia or anything to that scale. Not everyone does this, but let me make this clear. If you don’t have OCD, you don’t. Nor does your friend who may happen to be extra careful about washing hands before eating.
You may mean something different, but then your wording must be different too. Real OCD involves suffering, and a lot more in terms of struggles. There are plenty of terms in the English language that can correctly describe any paranoia you have about something: OCD is not one of them unless you really know what it means. Everyone has things they are more particular about, such as cleanliness or safety, but that’s instinctive and normal, unlike OCD. OCD involves your mind beckoning hostage to irrational thoughts and compulsions.
People who suffer from this condition can spend hours washing their hands or taking a shower, such that they delay their urge to relieve due to the distress it can cause. Others have endless intrusive thoughts, often relating to harming someone. This can make mothers of young children suicidal, as they can’t enjoy being a mother with the constant irrational thoughts they’re unable to overcome.
OCD ruined my chances at A-Level; it had a direct impact on my performance at school. I still live with the effects of that today. But I’ve recovered now, thankfully, so this isn’t about me. But all over the world there are still many people who have suffered with this for years, and still fight it every day. Others have to take strong medicines to reduce the overactive thinking, in order to live their lives. So, simply put, it’s ignorant and insensitive and normalise this.
Please avoid doing so and feel free to spread the message; it matters to so many people.