What We Miss When We Talk About OCD


I think we miss something when we talk about OCD. All we seem to talk about is the counting side or cleanliness side, but there are other sides.

I struggle with OCD, but I am not a very neat person, and sometimes I forget to wash my hands, but I still have OCD.

My struggle with OCD is more internal. I see images in my head all the time that I can’t make go away and that I obsess over, then do something odd in an effort to make it go away.

I see myself hurting people. I see myself doing inappropriate things. I see myself going off on someone. I see a scratch and worry I have a staph infection. My head feels funny, so I must have a brain tumor. And I can’t make it stop, so I cut, or I scratch, or I bounce, or I crack all three joints in my fingers, or I count my steps between cracks trying to keep them the same, or so on to make it go away. Sometimes I avoid the person involved so I don’t accidentally do that, and when you have OCD, that can turn into a lot of people, so you can’t be around anyone. I am even obsessing right now that someone is going to read this and tell me I am wrong, I don’t have OCD, I am just dramatic or pathetic. But I have been diagnosed by two different doctors, so I know I have OCD, but I still obsess.

When someone says they have OCD, don’t contradict them by saying they have a messy room or dirty hands — their experience may be different. Not everyone who has OCD is Monk. Try to remember that next time you want to say, “I’m so OCD.”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Beginning to recognise myself again despite Olivia's presence.

The Question My Therapist Asked That I Didn't Know How to Answer

I stared at my therapist. With my mouth slightly ajar and a look of confusion on my face, I scanned my brain for a suitable response. I simply couldn’t find one. You might be wondering what she asked me. It wasn’t a difficult question about how my thought-challenging was coming along, nor was it a question asking me to describe how [...]
Watercolor illustration of a beautiful woman with a lily tattoo on her shoulder

Just Because I Look 'OK' Doesn't Mean I Am

One of the things I find frustrating with having a mental illness is the way in which people often judge you by the way you are functioning at that precise moment in time. They assume that just because you can go to work, or engage in a conversation for five minutes with a smile on [...]
young smiling woman at sunset in field

How I Began to Heal From OCD and How You Can Too

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. Let me begin this piece by telling you how little I believed in the possibility of recovery from obsessive-compulsive [...]

When OCD Traps Me Inside My Own Mental Blocks

When I was younger, I used to daydream about a world where everyone wore “sandwich boards” when they went out in public. Each board would outline their various mental health conditions, in descending order of significance. At the time, this seemed like a great (if potentially cumbersome) way of shattering the stigma around mental health [...]