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Why We Need to Talk About the Truth of OCD

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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.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard people say they are “so OCD” or “I definitely have OCD” — a throwaway comment because they had just spent 20 minutes deep cleaning their house, or they had to straighten a wonky picture on the wall. These comments made me doubt and question myself for years. Why? Because all along, I was living with OCD but I wasn’t aware.

I wasn’t aware because I had been conditioned to believe a lie, a stereotype portrayed in the media and on the television — something that delayed me from seeking help for many years.

Unfortunately, the dark truth and drive behind OCD is intrusive and unwanted thoughts, something you will never read about or see. I mean, why would you? It wouldn’t be entertaining to watch another episode of the UK’s “Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners” if they were cleaning out a house because they were petrified their family would die if they didn’t. OCD is often a household joke, something used in jest. To be quite frank, it needs to stop now.

It is thought OCD affects around 1-2 percent of the population in the UK, so why are we still falsely throwing the illness around? I am not sure you would be able to get away with saying the same with any other mental illness or disorder, so why is it acceptable to do this with our illness?

We do not spend years of struggling to be told it is just a quirk in our personality, and we certainly do not deserve to be made a mockery of. Our illness is torturous and debilitating at its worst. We lose out on work days and social events because our anxiety is so overwhelming from the nightmares spinning around in our heads, and that’s at its best. Some of us are prisoners in our own homes because we fear the outside world so much.

So how can we change this? Well firstly, those living with OCD need to talk about their illness if they can and talk about it proudly. Those living with mental illness are some of the strongest and most motivated people I know. We fight a battle every day and we are still able to carry on.

More importantly, do not fear the judgment of other people and educate yourself. Learn about your illness so you can teach other people about it.

Remember that knowledge is power.

To others, please just think before you say those three letters

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Originally published: October 28, 2017
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