The national OCD charity, run by and for people with lived experience of OCD
Myths Vs Truths
I wanted to talk about a comment that I have heard twice recently: the myth that “Everyone has a bit of OCD”. During the pandemic, I understand that many people have been more anxious about hygiene and, for people who don’t know much about this disorder, it seems that they are suffering from OCD. There are many reasons why this is not true. For one, although I realise that there are some who will become affected by OCD as a result of the pandemic, the increased hygiene measures will most likely only be temporary for others. Those with OCD could find it extremely difficult to settle back into normality. Secondly, you have to ask yourself if performing these tasks to reduce the risk of COVIID-19 is giving you stress that is out of proportion to the situation. If you like doing it, that already sets you apart from people with OCD.
For me, it is frustrating to hear people belittle something that is such a serious aspect of mine and many other people’s lives. Since going back to school, I have felt the need to clean lots of my things, such as my bag, phone and folder, almost every day. Even after doing these tasks, which can take over half an hour, I’m still not completely satisfied that they are clean. For example, even though I’ve wiped my bag, I still wouldn’t be able to touch it and then go and do something else. This is why I wish people wouldn’t describe themselves as OCD in such an offhand way. For most people, cleaning something would be enough to be satisfied that it is clean.
I know that this comment is intended to try to normalise what people with OCD are going through but it really isn’t acceptable. Nobody would say “Everyone has a bit of cancer” or “We all have a bit of autism”. OCD is an illness too and it should be treated as such! In truth, we should be saying that “Everyone needs a better understanding of OCD”.
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