When Someone Described Standardized Tests as 'Crack for OCD Kids'

Testing. Testing. A, B, C, D.

Do you remember those standardized test sheets from grade school and the SATs? The ones with the answer bubbles? As an attempt at humor, someone recently described them as “crack for OCD kids.” My heart sank. I wanted to say something, anything to extinguish the stigma. But I didn’t. I thought I couldn’t. I hope one day I feel confident enough to share my obsessive-compulsive disorder story with those closest to me. But how do you tell a loved one that your experience looked more like this?

“Number 2 pencil?”

I think so. That’s just a regular pencil right? I should check.

Raise my hand. “Yes, that pencil will work just fine dear.”


But wait. What if she didn’t get a good look at it? What if mine is different?

Look at my classmate’s just to be sure. Our pencils look the same.


First question.

A. The answer’s definitely A.

Read it again.

Yes, A.

First bubble.

Fill it in, but don’t make it too dark, or too light, and don’t go outside the lines.

Just a little more, right, around, the edges… too far!

Erase. But don’t smear.

Fill in the empty spaces.

A, right?

Read it again.

Yes, A.


Second question.

Read it again.



Yes, C.

Second bubble.

Not too dark, not too light, fill it in all the way.


Wait. C, right?

Read it again.

No, B.


Erase. Erase all the way. Don’t smear. Don’t tear the paper!

Second bubble again.

B? Read it again.

B. OK. B.

Fill it in all the way.

Third question.

I’m fortunate to have no personal knowledge of drug addiction. But if “crack for OCD kids” means it consumed my every thought and is something I wish I could have stopped doing but couldn’t, then maybe that description is more accurate than I thought… but it’s not humorous at all.

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