Please Stop Saying You Have OCD

A few days ago when I was coming home I realized that I have lived at the same location my entire live and when I drive home I still count the streets until my turn. In my neighborhood the street names go “A, B, C, D, E” and I live on “C.” I am always nervous that I am going to miss it even though I never have. When I direct friends to my home I always tell them about the alphabetical system and the most common response is, “My OCD self is happy about the way the streets are laid out.”

I understand why one may respond this way, but I don’t find it an appropriate response. You can choose to read this or not. It could be read as taking a “small issue” out of hand but if you have an open mind, please continue to read.

Jokes are constantly being thrown around about obsessive compulsive disorder and I am tired of it. I do not personally suffer from this disorder but I do struggle with mental health and have a couple mental disorders and by far the worst part about suffering from this is the stigma and jokes about mental health. When I find myself in a conversation and a joke about mental illness is said, I never laugh and often times find myself screaming inside from wanting to announce that I struggle with my mental health and have spent many hours in therapy.

I’ll put it this way, let’s say that you are heavy and you are insecure about it and you are out with a group of friends who are thinner than you. One orders a piece of pizza and says, “I’m such a fatty.” How do you feel in that situation? Awkward maybe? A little bit more insecure than you already were? That is exactly how it feels when you are the one who suffers from OCD and someone makes a light hearted ‘joke’ or comment about it.

Anyone who has been medically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will have an abundant amount of struggle for the rest of their life. I argue that they will have more struggles than one who does not suffer from a mental illness.  Making innocent jokes about having OCD is insulting. If you understand what I am saying but don’t know what to replace saying “I have OCD” with here are a few suggestions on what you can say:

“I want everything to be organized.”

“It is a pet peeve of mine that I want everything to be in a nice and neat order.”

“I like things to be in a particular order.”

“I enjoy my space being clean.”

Please just be considerate when expressing your personal need for an orderly environment.

Thanks, Lama Leah

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