The Difference Between Perfectionism and OCD


Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’s website.

You know, it really, really bugs me when people say, “We all have a little bit of OCD, don’t we?”

No. You don’t. We are all a little bit of a perfectionist; there’s a difference.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is many things — repetitive counting while performing rituals, not stepping on cracks, making sure you’ve locked the doors and windows 20 times, turning the lights on and off numerous times, washing your hands countless times, touching surfaces as you go past and if you miss go back to get it, keeping useless objects because someday you will need it, having to wash 50 times even if you do so much as walk past something that smells because the smell stays in your nose, fighting to keep control of yourself…

These things, all the while your head is telling you, “If you don’t do it, something bad is going to happen and it will be all your fault.”

“You’re useless; you don’t have OCD, you’re just pathetic.”

“You’re still not clean, people will smell you from miles away.”

“You’re such an annoyance.”

“Everyone can tell you wore the same top, no one will believe you.”

“You’re so weak, why don’t you just get them back? You can’t hit them, but what’s stopping you from stabbing them?”

We feel out of control. We often don’t know who to trust. We often think the worst, even when everything seems perfectly OK.

There’s a difference.

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