Sunday, August 16, 2015

What's the Rebuttal to "I'm so OCD"?

I recently had a fantastic interaction with a customer service representative. Mid-conversation, she commented that she is so OCD. I smiled politely, while feeling like I was doing an injustice to the blog I created less than 24 hours prior.

But what are you supposed to say? Especially when you're not sensing ill intent. I'm not about to start policing the English language. I recognize that our culture has misguided people. I recognize that it's said in passing.

Plus she was a really great employee!

So I did some research when I got home. How would one broach the subject?

I tried: How to respond when someone says they are so OCD.

Too wordy.

Next up: I'm so OCD rebuttal.

Too specific.

But what I did find were various articles posing the same questions: Is standing in line at the grocery store really the best place to educate others? Will my choice of wording put the person on the defensive? Can my level of passion be portrayed in a couple of minutes? Will the person appreciate the magnitude of what I'm advocating for?

My husband suggested, "Hand out business cards."

Is he onto something? Would it be viewed as spam? Something that ends up in the nearest trash can (or recycling bin for the environmentally friendly.)

It reminded me of years ago when a friend and I decorated our city with whimsical notes of hope, taped onto the drive through speakers at fast food joints and in bathroom stalls. They were intended as unexpected tidbits of inspiration (that for all we knew ended up in the trash/recycling bin).

Do I decorate the city with OCD awareness notes?  

Nile Cappello from The Huffington Post shares my frustration, 

It's insensitive to diminish OCD to the one, slightly obsessive or compulsive behavior you have. It shows a serious lack of understanding of what OCD is and does, and is a subtle yet powerful way of saying 'Oh, we all have that! It's not that big of a deal.'"

Jackie Lea Sommers hits it home on her blog, 
if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not OCD.”

Writer for CosmopolitanTaffy Brodesser-Akner, shares an example:
"'I am so OCD about cooking,' says a friend. What she means. . .is that she's meticulous, that she's upset when she puts in a pinch of salt when the recipe calls for a dash. Sure, she would have preferred to get the recipe right, but when she didn't, she didn't throw out her batter. She didn't wash the dish and start over. She didn't go into a set of completely unrelated rituals that took up time and peace of mind from her already fraught day. To associate OCD with a sort of anal-retentive behavior pattern is to totally miss the point.”

Writer, Brittany Fichter illustrates her point with this comparison: 


We’re all on the same page. But how do we address it in the moment?


She suggests the rebuttal, 
"you may not have a mental illness, but you are, in fact, quite meticulous!”
A solid suggestion! But would I have the guts to say it?

For now, I am comfortable blogging as my way of being an OCDvocate.

There was a time where writing about my OCD was out of the question. I now have attached my name to the illness. And maybe that's what raising awareness is all about. Learning to first feel okay in your own skin by strengthening your own awareness and then choosing the path that works for you.
If nothing else, I'll let my husband try the business card approach..
Or, you know, make a new episode of Cooking with Melanie. 

1 comment:

Mom said...

Very nice video. Good message. Really makes the point well.