I’ve been heartened by the attention given OCD on social media this week, OCD Awareness Week.
In my reading this week, I found Janet Singer’s blog post, “I’m a Little OCD,” on ocdtalk, particularly thought provoking.
Janet is preparing for the publication of her book, Overcoming OCD: A Journey of Recovery, which she wrote with Seth Gillihan. Janet’s son has OCD, and she learned about the disorder and treatments—good and bad—while helping her son.
Janet’s post this week addresses the situation that probably many of us with OCD have encountered. The subject of having OCD comes up, and someone says, “Oh, I’m a little OCD.” Or “I’m so OCD.”
If you have OCD, or a family member or friend with OCD, statements like that might frustrate you. They seem to trivialize a serious disorder. Just because you like to put all your Virginia Tech clothing in one drawer doesn’t mean you necessarily have OCD.
Janet came up with a great way to respond to such statements as she spreads the word about her work:
“So my response has been something like, “’OCD is such a misunderstood and misrepresented illness, which is one of the reasons why I believe this book is so important. I hope you’re getting the right help if you do have OCD.’”
I like the fact that the response is respectful and leaves open the opportunity for education and help if the person is really in need.
I used to get upset when I heard people seem to discount OCD as a little problem. And I do think there are misconceptions about the seriousness of the disorder and how it can disrupt lives.
But for all I know, the people saying, “I’m so OCD” might be worried that they have a problem. They might have untreated OCD. They might be worried about someone else. They might be looking for help. They might be able to pass along helpful information to family members.
So ….. I’m going to consider those “I’m so OCD” moments as opportunities to help. I hope I remember in the moment to give a response like Janet has been giving while she’s spreading the word about her book.
Because people can ask for help in a lot of different ways.