Thursday, October 16, 2014

Opportunities to help

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.


  1. That's a great way of looking at it.

    You asked about the urgent care. It's across from the mall and called Velocity Care. It's run by Carilion. I used to like one called MedExpress, but it closed down, so I had to switch. If my PCP didn't make me wait forever WITH an appointment, I'd go there instead. But I got frustrated with them. Urgent Cares (so far) have been much faster.

  2. Hi Tina, I always look forward to your posts, and what a wonderful surprise to read this one! I'm glad my words resonated enough with you that you felt they were worth sharing. And I so agree with you.....people ask for help in all sorts of ways, and it would be a shame for us to miss those opportunities to reach out to others.

  3. you're right - they may be saying it in a flippant way, but they might actually be concerned.

  4. It is a very kind way to look at people who may be trivializing a serious disorder, but you may be right about people being worried but not knowing how to ask for help. It seems to me that people (including myself) need to be educated about many mental problems and that they all need to be taken seriously.

  5. Sadly I did not see any publicity on OCD in Canada.

  6. You know I've found myself using that statement from time to time although never intending to make fun of those who do suffer from OCD. I believe everyone has something in their life though that they tend to Obsess about. I tend to bite my nails which can be considered an OCD trait, also twirling hair, or picking scabs (which I sometimes do) but generally speaking these are minor things compaired to what others go through. I do hope the people who need help for this find it and I'll try to be less inclined to use that phrase lightly now.

  7. With a glance upward I see the comment that OCD wasn't addressed in Canada, in turn it wasn't here either-however with advocates like yourself hopefully OCD education will spread.

  8. Just keep your spirits up and be sure your voice is heard. Education comes one voice at a time and we can never feel that our voice does not count or that no one is listening!! I have seen a bit on t.v. and also on fb, so I hope people take time to listen and read. I have MS and I rarely see anything on t.v. or in the media about the disease, only when someone famous dies from it. It saddens me but I keep my voice strong.....don't feel sorry for me, read about it, learn about it. It's not just the Montel Williams disease and look how well he's doing.

  9. it does seem like so many people say it, just so casually if they seem to focus too long on things...the word is out, but i think you are correct in saying that not many know about the seriousness of it...hope you have a great weekend!


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