Sunday, November 8, 2015

Don't Like The Label....

                   As all human beings are individuals, I don't like the use of labels or umbrella terms describing us as if we are all identical. Living with any illness, be it mental or physical, you are going to have to come to terms with people labeling you to put you in a category with similar people for statistical purposes or to more easily describe to others what you suffer from. You get used to it, and even get used to using these labels when describing yourself. Because it is easier. Because it is common place. Because  like anything else you repeatedly hear and do, it becomes habit.

                  That being said, I have a problem with the term I am supposed to use for my disorder. I have a problem with the term anxiety disorder when describing my OCD. There I said it. Everyone light your torches and get your pitchforks ready...I don't like the label. I can not speak for everyone, I can only attest to my own thirty two years of having OCD and what my opinion is about those hellish thirty two years. Anxiety disorder as a description is not wrong when it comes to OCD,  but it lacks the complete description of what actually goes on. OCD, to me, is not simply an anxiety disorder. It is an anxiety causing disorder and there is a difference.

               Anxiety happens to everyone at some point in there lives. That isn't what we are talking about here. Anxiety has several disorders under it's wing. We aren't talking abut those in this post, either, although those are equally life altering and important to talk about. We are talking about a mental illness that isn't as much triggered by the anxiety as it causes the triggers to be there in the first place. It causes the anxiety. It creates the issues. Not the other way around and I think just simply calling it an anxiety disorder and not an anxiety causing disorder makes people misunderstand how it works.

                Calling it just an anxiety disorder doesn't explain how OCD fishes through your brain to find the most vile, most revolting, most disturbing thoughts to bother you with. It isn't interested in small things that don't upset you. It wants to horrify you, terrorize you, and make you live in a world of shame and guilt. It needs the anxiety to function, so it must cause it to do so. These thoughts are what cause the anxiety. Once it finds the one thing or three things or ten things that are completely unlike your personality, once it has uncovered something that really disgusts and upsets you, that is the image or thought it hooks onto. That will be the thing you obsess over. That will be the thing it haunts you with, until you learn to desensitize yourself to it. Then it goes fishing again. Once an intrusive thought no longer bothers you, it is dropped by the OCD so it can search for something else to up the ante, crank up the fear, and increase the feeling or horror.

                 No, the term anxiety disorder doesn't quite explain the Hounds of Hell that live inside your head, trying to take over your life by making you feel dirty and shamed, afraid and horrified. It doesn't really speak of the depth you will go to avoid such upsetting thoughts or how much you can end up giving up just to try and prevent the hell that OCD shows you. Calling it an anxiety causing disorder makes way more sense than just calling it simply an anxiety disorder because that is what it does. It causes the anxiety that causes the anxiety. It is more than just a few words under a label. It is my life. It is many other people's lives and it entails way more than simple labels can describe. That is all I am saying.

                    Labeling it as just an anxiety disorder makes some people confuse it with normal anxiety and it is way more than just anxiety to us. It is a life full of undeserving guilt and pain. It is a life full of people misunderstanding your diagnoses. It is a life full of pushing through and jumping over hurdles that OCD purposely puts in your way. It is the hell we are trying to crawl out of one fistful of dirt and ash at a time. To call it anything less than what it is to us and what it does to us feels insulting and sanitized and there never anything sanitized about having OCD. It is an anxiety causing disorder not simply an anxiety disorder and I refuse to call it anything else. I refuse to bow down and live my life under a label I don't believe describes my pain accurately. I refuse to label myself with something that only half describes the hell I live through on a daily basis.  I think it is important to label ourselves correctly if we are going to be forced to wear the labels given to us, around our necks like chains, to make us more easily identifiable by our mental illnesses. So, if we must be labeled, I am  going to label myself by how I feel my disorder affects me. And when asked by others what OCD is, I am going to say it is an anxiety causing disorder because for me, it is the truth. It is my truth and I will wear that chain of labels more proudly if I feel it represents what I live with more clearly to others. I mean, I will probably put charms on my chain and snazz it up with some spray paint or modge podge or something, but I don't mind wearing a chain of labels or a chest plate covered in name tags, or whatever the hell they want to give me to describe my OCD, as long as it is factual to what I go through. I just need factual and honest and real if I am going to have to use labels to define my life's issues. I don't really think that is asking for too much, I mean I could be wrong. But I have to represent myself the way I feel I am not how others think I should be. This is me. My name is Nelly and I have an anxiety causing disorder. I have OCD and I am not letting something as small as a not descriptive enough label hold me down.

Neurotic Nelly


  1. Our society loves labels, titles, compartmentalizing, demographics, charts, spread sheets and pie charts. Compiling this data and feeling a sense of accomplishment when done keeps those with their own form of "OCD" happy. :)