Friday, August 14, 2015

Debunking the "I'm so OCD" Myth

When it comes to OCD, I've done my homework. I've read OCD workbooks, perused online articles, chatted with professionals, worked on exposure and response prevention therapy, attended two OCD conferences hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) and I’m still learning the nuances of what it means to have OCD and how to treat it. 

This makes the IOCDF's new OCDvocate initiative all the more dear to my heart. No, that's not a typo. We just commandeered the word advocate. 

And we needed to. 

If I'm still stumbling as I navigate this illness, how can I expect others to know that OCD is not an affinity for having things in order? 

Maybe we can start with kiboshing the phrase "I'm so OCD." OCD is an illness. Would you say, "I'm so cancer" or "I'm so hypothyroidism"?

OCD involves obsessions, which are intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that happen over and over against the person's will. Maybe it's the obsession of feeling responsible for any potentially hazardous items on the sidewalk while you're out for a walk. 

Compulsions are repetitive thoughts or behaviours in an attempt to reduce the distress. Maybe the compulsion is picking up those potentially hazardous items from that sidewalk. A rusty nail, shards of glass, you name it. 

Yet you often hear people proclaiming that they are so OCD. 

When I'm driving and think I accidentally hit a pedestrian (known as hit-and-run OCD), I don't stroll into the office and chuckle to my coworkers saying, "Morning guys. Man my ride here was so OCD."

There was a time where I didn't leave my city for a full year because I thought I was the magical force keeping my place from catching fire and my cats from burning to a crisp. If someone were to ask, "so why didn't you go out of town with your husband for Christmas?" I wouldn't respond with, "I'm just so OCD!"

I'm not so OCD. I have a diagnosis that at times can feel devastating. 

But I'll cut the public some slack. It's not like OCDvocate programs are running rampant. But this one has started and I'm christening it with this blog. 


Get the full lowdown at The International OCD Foundation's Blog 

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