Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Living with OCD and its stereotype

I'm not an organised person. I'm not tidy. I'm definitely not neat. I don't "feel uncomfortable" when a picture is hanging at an angle. So.. I can't "be OCD" right?

The truth is, even if all of those things were true, it doesn't equate to obsessive compulsive disorder.

OCD has become a term that's thrown around so often these days, I thought I'd share the truth behind the disorder. 

For starters, OCD is not an adjective. A person cannot "be a bit OCD" - a person can have obsessive compulsive disorder.

OCD is not the same as perfectionism, or being organised and neat, and it is not restricted to a fear of contamination. 

Quite simply - and pretty literally - OCD is the process of having obsessive, intrusive, upsetting thoughts which cause deep anxiety and carrying out 'compulsions' in order to relieve this anxiety and stress.

Whilst a lot of people who have OCD hand wash excessively this is not the only type of compulsion that exists. Compulsions can be anything which relieves the anxiety from the intrusive thoughts. Honestly, anything - sometimes just thought suppression. More often than not the type of OCD a person has is not confined. This means a person can carry out checking behaviours and cleaning behaviours and counting behaviours. Someone could also have intrusive thoughts that are religious and sexual and violent. 

The primary difference between OCD and perfectionism is the anxiety which OCD causes. If a person were to wash their hands or reorganise due to their OCD - this would be an extremely stressful process for them. They do not enjoy doing it - which often leads to avoidance of the issue at hand. 

I have obsessive compulsive disorder. It's a disorder that's often trivialised and I'm not great at explaining it, but it is so much more consuming and painful than it is portrayed as.

I don't 'just wash my hands a lot'. There is so much more to it than that. Hours and hours of my day are confusing, stressful rituals and routines. I lose sleep, I cry, I get sick - constantly being on edge, stressed and anxious has physical effects too. These things aren't something I do in public, and until now only a handful of people knew, so it's not a visible illness. But it is just that, an illness. It's not a quirk. It's not cute. It's a debilitating illness with no cure. 

I think it's time that OCD was portrayed properly in the media. That people stopped trivialising it, and so many other mental health disorders. Jokes are great, but physical illness is seldom joked about - so why should this be different for mental health?

-neurogenicbeauty, xo

5 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more, it's a horrible thing to go through! Great read :)

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    1. It really is. Thank you! That means a lot to me. Hope you're good :-)

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  2. You ARE great at explaining it! Really clear overview of what OCD is that will be understandable to a wide audience. Thanks for putting this out to the world and for sharing your experience. Would you consider posting on The Secret Illness Wall? http://thesecretillness.com/category/the-wall/ We are working to communicate about the lived realities of OCD. Please give us a shout if you're interested.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad it transfers well! Yes I'm of course I'm happy to ☺️

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