OCD-UK frequently speak out against numerous examples of OCD misuse, some of which gains national media coverage.
Despite making our reasons clear, some observers often fail to understand the significant point about why we choose to speak out against the misuse of OCD.
Sometimes observers suggest that by speaking out we are guilty of promoting political correctness, we have been told to ‘get a grip’ and accused of lacking a sense of humour and being too easily upset. We also usually get a ‘I have OCD and I find it funny and we should not take it so seriously’ comment.
In fact it’s none of those things, by speaking out we’re simply inviting people to show understanding and respect for those suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
There’s a difference between laughing at your own experiences, if that offers you comfort, and making jokes that trivialise an illness that many others are suffering from. Objecting to something inappropriate does not make us snowflakes or politically correct. It's simply objecting to something that is inappropriate and causes significant damage. Doing and saying nothing would be inappropriate because it allows misconceptions to exist and grow.
If we don't try and influence change, then nothing will change. OCD will continue to be misunderstood and trivialised as long as misuse is prevalent and allowed to go unchallenged. Every time OCD is misused or used inappropriately it does more than trivialise and add to misconceptions, it also adds to the stigma faced by those suffering.
The uncomfortable truth is that social media, retailers, TV production companies and the mainstream media play a part in perpetuating misconceptions and stigma around some mental health problems, but especially OCD, and they are part of the problem which discourages some people seeking help. Misinformation can harm.
So, the importance of challenging every misuse of OCD remains vital to ensure nobody suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is left feeling unable to speak out about what they’re going through. Anything that delays or prevents someone seeking help and further adds to the distress they’re experiencing must be challenged.
OCD-UK are proud that our amazing Young Ambassadors #OCDUKYA (aged 13-18) have worked tirelessly to challenge stigma and explain why OCD jokes/memes are so hurtful to them, and people of all ages suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. For them, and the vast majority of people suffering because of OCD, our charity will continue to be a voice that works to educate about the realities of OCD to minimise stigma.
We remain so grateful to all those retailers and organisations over the past few years that not only listened, they heard and they chose to act, in some cases by removing OCD products or removed inappropriate headlines. Their decisions were made in direct response to the feedback made by OCD-UK and members of the OCD community – your voices really do make a difference! We can make the impossible of no OCD misuse, possible!
Finally, it may be prudent to remind readers that the acronym OCD includes the word disorder. The Oxford English Dictionary define ‘disorder’ as an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions... that is real OCD!
This is just one aspect of the charity’s work, and it is a vital one. If you are able to support the work of OCD-UK please do become a member or make a small donation, every penny really does make a difference.