What I Want Khloe Kardashian to Know About Her 'OCD' Cookie Jar Video
Dear Khloé Kardashian,
You popped up in my Google alert on “OCD” this morning. (I’m a Mental Health editor, so I keep tabs on conditions like this). Usually I see articles on new kinds of treatment or people sharing their personal stories, but today I saw your name.
Interesting! I thought. What does Khloe Kardashian have to say about OCD? Then, I saw your video in a cute little write up on People.com, which read:
The segment, aptly titled KHLO-C-D, shows her fiercely building stacks (on stacks on stacks) of perfectly aligned double-stuffed Oreos inside the massive 2-gallon glass cookie jars that reside on her kitchen counters.
‘I love them, but I’m also crazy,’ she says, ‘but I love to know that the rest of the world is as crazy and organized-obsessed as I am.’
‘You say O.C.D. is a disease, but I say it’s a blessing,’ she adds.
I went downstairs to tell my brother, and we both laughed, but in a slightly uneasy way.
Then I went back to my computer and started to tear up.
You see, my brother had a really bad day yesterday.
Nothing he did was “right.” Nothing — completing his school work, checking his emails, how he was eating. I overheard him and my mom discussing medication. Did he take it? Was he sure he took it? Did he maybe, accidentally skip one dose?
During dinner he was wringing his hands over and over again, his face twisted with stress.
My brother’s world is black and white. If he can’t do something in a way he’s deemed “correct,” he feels like he can’t do it at all. He easily gets stuck on tasks, making everyday things sometimes hard to get through. He’s been in and out of hospitals, and is right now back in school trying to balance his ambition and an illness that’s holding him back.
Yesterday, OCD was winning.
But hey Khloé, you seem like a good person, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you do experience extreme and irrational anxiety if your cookies aren’t arranged in a certain way. If that’s the case, I’m sorry, and I’m so glad you can push through it and call your OCD a blessing.
But I also want to make sure you understand the weight those words hold for my family, and others like us.
I want you to sit in my brother’s room with me. Watch me hold his hand while he cries because he didn’t do his laundry, so he can’t get dressed, plus nothing in his room is right. He hates being around people his age because it makes him feel like he’s behind. He’ll never date anybody, he’ll never have a “normal” life, he’ll never move out of my parent’s house…
I want you to be with my brother when he’s with my mom, cycling through self-doubt after self-doubt. How does he know if he’s doing his treatment correctly? How can he do things without obsessing over them? How does he know he’s living “correctly” if he can’t ask for reassurance?
I want you to see my brother when he’s alone, tracking his anxiety levels while brushing his teeth. Or when he used to have panic attacks when a door wasn’t shut properly. Or when he’s in his room during a family party, lost in cycling thoughts.
I want you to see my mom’s worry from across the room, mouthing to me, “Check on your brother.”
For him, OCD is usually not a blessing.
But I also want you to see my brother leading a support group. I want you to see how brave he is when he knows his story will help others. I want you to see my brother at his best — creative, determined, motivated and always full of great ideas. He’s the most empathetic person you would ever meet. He can laugh at your video, but he’d never hold it against you or anyone who lightly uses the term “OCD.”
A lot of people have used this slang, and a lot of people will continue to use it. But I just wanted to point out the heaviness of those words. I hope when people casually refer to their habits and preferences as “OCD,” they think of my brother and the 2 to 3 million adults in the United States who live with the condition.
And although your cookies look great, I hope you also use your fame as an opportunity to educate your audience and the people who look up to you.