I was reading an article today in which this person said he was proud to have OCD and didn't believe that it was a mental illness. In fact, he detested the implication that having OCD was anything other than a difference of personality. He did not consider it a disorder. He did not have negative feelings about it. He believed that almost all things listed as disorders were not necessarily disorders. He did not trust the people labeling them as such....and honestly the comments back at this guy were pretty aggressive. From other OCD sufferers claiming that if he thought it were just a difference of personality he must not actually have it. And I was left wondering why we do that. Why do we feel the need to judge other sufferers and scold them if they have a difference of opinion on their own diagnoses?
I don't agree with the guy mind you. OCD is definitely a mental illness. At the same time I can understand his side of the argument. Somethings that are considered "disorders" in my opinion may not actually fit the definition.
Disorder- a state of confusion.
Like ADD for instance. It is an impairment but only to the conventional ways of learning and thinking. And there are a lot of people with ADD and ADHD that look at it as something other than a disorder. When we look at people that have suffered from ADD and ADHD, we may see a lack of focus on certain things but a huge amount of creativity and focus on other things. In fact, some of the greatest minds in history have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and even though they struggled they were still able to do amazing things and create new ideas that one else had ever considered before. Is ADD or ADHD a disorder or do we need to really look at it as a different way to learn and experience the world? And before I am taken and tared and feathered for saying that, my oldest has ADD. He is bright, intelligent, funny, and extremely creative. He struggles in classes he finds monotonous and boring but in classes where they are hands on and teach him in a way where he is actively involved....he does much better. I have started to look at his ADD as something else rather than just a disorder. I look at it as a way he learns. Which is different from mine, but that doesn't make it wrong. It just makes it different. It makes him different and in many cases smarter than I was at that age. I have a hard time believing that what he has is wrong and have started to believe that the way we teach may be flawed. He has to learn a different way and maybe instead of trying to confine all children and forcing them to learn the old way isn't necessarily right. Maybe he has an impairment or maybe he is of a higher intelligence and the regular way of teaching lacks the way to reach him. Maybe his brain simply has to be stimulated and sitting in a class where power points and long drawn out lectures are the norm, just may not be stimulating enough. Maybe he has an ability we confuse as a disorder because we lack the ability to understand it. I don't always understand what he goes through but the one thing I do know is that what he has is not a state of confusion. He is inattentive not confused. I sometimes think maybe we are the ones that are confused because we are unable to get on his level and understand how his brain retains knowledge. Maybe it isn't him...maybe it is us. Maybe we have the disorder rather than those that have ADD and ADHD.
And if we follow this way of thinking, I can understand what the guy was trying to say with his post.
For me, OCD is a disorder. It is a state of confusion for all of those involved. It does have some positives as well as many negatives. It is a different way of living. It does make things complicated and yet you tend to appreciate things more.
And that leads me to why I understand this man's post. I disagree with him, but on the other hand I do believe that all of us deal with our issues the way we deal with them. I for one, feel that my OCD is a huge part of who I am. I can't say that something I have had since the age of four hasn't changed me or shaped who I am. It has and it does. It makes me more sensitive to other's pain because I understand pain on a very real level. It makes me hold all that I have dear to me, because at one time I felt very much alone. It does have an impact on my day to day life and not all of it is positive. In fact, on many days it is a visceral struggle to accomplish my plans. It has left me unable to work. Unable to go out of my house as much as I would like. Unable to do a great deal of many things that I fight to do on a daily basis. I don't know what life is like when you are "normal" because I have had it since early childhood so I do not remember what "normal" feels like. And therefore, I do not know who I would be without it or what my life would be like. I can't say that it doesn't define me because in many ways, it does. It isn't all of me but it is a great deal of me. I could say otherwise but that would be a lie, and I don't lie.
I am not proud to have OCD but then on the other hand I am proud that I am a survivor of it. That I am a fighter. That I am open and honest and trying to turn my struggles and hardships into something more positive by writing and trying to help enlighten others on how OCD affects people. I am not proud of OCD but I refuse to be ashamed of it either. So I can understand his point of view to a degree. And I believe it is his right to believe what he chooses. Whether he wants to be proud of it or not.
Then I am disheartened by the comments he received. Why are we jumping all over his beliefs? We don't have to agree with him but we don't have to be defensive and insulting either. We know what OCD is like. We know the pain and devastation it causes. What right do we have to insult and demean his ability to accept OCD as anything other than how we perceive it to be? If he feels that for him it is a way of life and not a disorder then why can't we just let him believe that way? Why must he conform to our ideas of OCD?
Is OCD hard? Yes. Is it hell? Absolutely. Do we suffer? Yes. Does that mean we have to be insensitive to the other people that suffer the same disorder? No. And we shouldn't judge. Because frankly, every single one of us has been judged for having it. We are all familiar with what that feels like. Maybe he doesn't want to see OCD as a bad thing. Maybe he has decided to accept it in a different way? Maybe he wants to view the beast in his mind as something positive? Is that so wrong? Is it so wrong to believe that different is okay?
I wrestle with this conundrum. I hate my OCD and yet I am also thankful for it because although I suffer I know who I am. I like who I am. I like my life and without it, my life would be completely different. Maybe it wouldn't be as good as this one. Maybe I would never have had my children or spent the time to really have gotten to know myself. Who knows?
But what I do know is that we shouldn't be yelling and condemning each other. We should be supportive of each other especially, since we know what it is like to live with OCD. Weird opinions or not we should have each other's backs. In a world when we are judged by everyone else do we really need to be throwing that same judgement at our own sufferers? Can't we have different beliefs about our diagnoses and still support one another? I wonder....I really do.