Thursday, April 11, 2013

Betrayal of the Mind

I wasn't going to write this post. I have been avoiding it for a few weeks. I don't like to rant too much but after a story I just read on google + I just feel it's time.
I have had OCD since I was four years old. I am not a doctor or therapist but I have almost thirty years of experience of this disorder.
I get really tired of people saying after they clean out their car ,"I am so OCD". Ugh. You don't see people walking around after an argument saying,"I am so bipolar" in a conversation. Mainly, because bipolar is considered to be a serious  mental disorder. There is nothing funny about bipolar disorder. Apparently, OCD has a comical view or thought to be a less invasive disorder.
I just read that someone almost got hit by a car and the driver's excuse was that they were OCD.......
Stop it. Just stop it.
 Now we are using OCD as an excuse for not paying attention or a reason some people like to clean? Things like this really tick me off. It promotes misunderstanding of our disorder. It makes it seem small and irrelevant.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not fodder for you not wanting to take responsibility for your actions. If you clean a lot then you are a clean person. Unless you have been diagnosed with OCD  do not, I repeat do not, say you are so OCD. You ,quite possibly, have no idea what you are talking about. Not all OCD people are clean freaks. Most likely you just like cleanliness. Good for you.
If you had driving OCD you would not have almost hit someone. Why? Because you would have already stopped three times making sure you had not hit someone before you got around the block. You would be hyper-vigilant in your driving.
OCD has many symptoms but we all share some commons issues.

 We are unsure of ourselves, unsure of what ever we are doing and unsure of the world around us. We are unsure of our thoughts and our actions. Since we are so unsure we are much more detail oriented. We tend to be extremely cautious individuals.

We always feel guilty. Guilty for our thoughts. Guilty for our compulsions. Guilty for you, for me, for the pope. We feel guilty for everyone and everything. We are guilty, guilty, guilty. We feel responsible for everything and we carry the world's guilt on our shoulders.

We are betrayed by our minds every second of everyday. When people use the OCD term for an excuse or as a comment about their habits, it really stigmatizes us in a way we are not happy with. Yes, I am a clean freak but using that as a sign of OCD is wrong. It is one of my symptoms of OCD,  but it gives the impression that if you are not a clean freak you do not have OCD. I have no more OCD than a hoarder does. We are both suffering from the same disorder.
It is not about being socially accepted. I want people with OCD to be socially accepted , but only if it is a true representation of our disorder. It is a painful existence and it is just as serious as every other mental illness.
I would like you to take a second and really think before you speak. Having OCD is not easy, not funny, and certainly not a good time.
How would you like to be so riddled with guilt that you avoid the smallest of things, so as not to hear the voice or have the bad images? How would you like to avoid cutting things in your house because you have images in your mind of you stabbing someone you love. It can be so strong that it feels like an urge. It scares the hell out of you. You throw down the knife and avoid cutting anything unless you are alone in your house. The guilt is so overwhelming that you sob and shake. You know it is not normal and you feel like a horrible person.Why can't you just be normal? Why do you have these images and thoughts? Doesn't that sound fun?

How would like to not be able to get out of the car without touching the door six times? The voice in your head says that if you don't do it right your whole family will die in a terrible accident. You know that won't happen but the anxiety is so high you can taste it. People stare at you and make fun of you. You have to keep touching it until it "feels right".  The guilt rains down again. Why can't you just be normal? Why can't you just get out of the car without drawing attention to yourself? Sounds like a walk in the park right?
Speaking of park.
How would like to go to the park and touch something with gum on it? You have now contaminated yourself and have to leave. Your hands feel soiled and you must wash. You must get out of the situation.  You are terrified you have gotten a disease or a sickness. You go home and wash till your skin is raw and angry. You may even have to wash a certain number of times, because we OCD people just looove our numbers. Ask one, we all have a number. Trust me, (fake cough, mine is three.) Now you might find a blister on your hand. Great, now we get to go google the symptoms and find a million things that it could be and they are all horrid. It is not any of them but we are convinced it is one or all of them and we get to dance with the anxiety. Yay, sarcasm. Our night is full of crying, apprehension, and doubt. Doesn't that sound wonderful?
No, are you sure? Because when you say you are so OCD, that is what you are saying you do. When you use the term OCD be damn well sure what you are admitting to. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not a cleaning disorder. [tweet this].It is not an excuse for not paying attention. Cleaning is a symptom of the disorder like a fever is a symptom of an illness. Not everyone has a fever when they are sick and as such not everyone who has OCD cleans. Please educate yourself and realize what you are saying hurts us. If you have not experienced the betrayal of your mind, stop talking about having OCD. If you do not have the guilt and doubt and intrusive thoughts then shut up already. We do not appreciate your mockery or misinformation that you are spreading. Thanks.
                                               Sincerely, One ticked off OCD lady,
                                                                Neurotic Nelly


  1. Thank you sooooo much for posting this article Nelly. It really bothers me to how the Movie/Television Industry "makes" fun of people with these disorders as well. I don't think it's funny, comical, or something to be taken lightly at all. To be honest my children have a difficult time when dealing with my disorders. It's not a joking matter.

  2. Thank you Dawn! Mental illness is a serious issue and should be taken as such.

  3. Great blog post and thank you for sharing it!