Disorders,  Educational,  Mental Health

7 Reasons Why You’re Not “So OCD”

This topic was requested by a loyal follower with OCD. However, this topic is also very dear to my heart. As someone in the mental health field, I cringe any time I hear someone use a mental illness to describe a normal behavioral nuance. Unfortunately, I hear this one a lot. I have even been told by others that I am “so OCD.” Most times, I correct them. On rare occasions when I just did not have the strength to explain, I let it slide. However, this topic absolutely needs to be addressed. It is important that people understand mental illness so that we can remove the stigma and create a safe place for everyone. 

1. OCD is more than an adverb

Actually it is not an adverb. It does not describe a behavior. It is a noun. It is a disorder marked by obsessive and intrusive thoughts and compulsory behaviors.

2.OCD is more than being really organized

Some people who have OCD are really organized, but it is more than organization. It is the intrusive thoughts reminding the person to constantly organize even when they do not want to. It is the anxiety that if they do not organize something bad will happen. 

Normal Thought: i hate disorganization. I need to get my house organized.

OCD Thought: If one thing in my house is out of place, my whole life will fall apart. My spouse will leave me and my family will hate me.

3. OCD is more than being clean

Most lay people associate OCD with cleanliness. Some people like to be clean, but that does not mean that they have OCD.

Normal Thought: I like taking a shower and feeling squeaky clean before I go to bed

OCD Thought; If I do not wash my body 20 times, with this specific soap, in this specific order, I will get a disease

4. OCD is more being a perfectionist

Some people like things to be done perfectly or as near perfect as possible. That is fine. That is normal for someone who is ambitious. This does not constitute OCD. If the absence of perfection does not interfere with your ability to do your normal day to day tasks, then it is not a disorder. 

Normal Thought: I want this assignment to be perfect.

OCD Thought: If this assignment is not perfect, I will fail out of college and never get a job. I’ll have to check this assignment 50 times,even if it means i miss work and get fired.

5. OCD is more than having a specific routine

Routines are important and good. Many people have routines and are not happy when they are thrown off their routines. However, before you think that you have OCD you need to ask yourself the following questions: Does throwing me off my routine cause me intense anxiety? Will I not be able to move on with my day? If you answer “no”, then you do not have OCD. 

Normal Thought: I hate being thrown off my routine, but I understand that I cannot do this task today.

OCD Thought: If I cannot do this task, my whole day will be ruined. I cannot do anything else until I am once again able to complete this task.

6. OCD is more than favoring things that are symmetrical

So I have a weird behavioral nuance. I do not like to watch animated TVs or movies with asymmetrical faces. I was once told that I was “So OCD” because I favor things that are symmetrical. OCD is more than this. 

Normal Thought: These cartoons are ugly with their disproportionate faces. I’ll watch something else.

OCD Thought: *This cannot even be turned into an OCD thought, an intense fear and avoidance of something (even a TV show) is another kind of anxiety disorder. That is Specific Phobia.* 

7. OCD is more than noticing small differences

Yes, people with OCD notice small differences. However, it is deeper than that. The small difference is obsessed over and causes intense anxiety to the point that the person could have a panic attack, or lose their ability to function and move on with their day. They may also believe that something bad will happen because of the small difference. If a small difference annoys you but you are still able to go on with your day, you do NOT have OCD.

Normal Thought; That one tile is different than the other. That’s pretty annoying.

OCD Thought: That one tile is different than the other, so I cannot enter that room. If I enter that room, I will die or someone will get hurt. 

Question of the Week

Do people have a poor understanding of OCD?

Answer by Miguel, Blogger| Facebook
OCD is definitely real in a lot of people's lives. However, many people claim because they have little things they pick and fuss over, that they have serious issues with [OCD] but [that is] not true. Many people. like myself, have a very bad problem with OCD. [It was once so bad that] I was too scared to touch anything. Moving stuff frustrated me, and when things [were not] where i wanted, i would spazz out [and lose my cool]. Do people have a poor understanding of OCD? Absolutely!...It does not sideline what people do know, but we should definitely educate people on the...truth of this crippling disease...
Answer by Siiiimmongaaa, Instagram Blogger| Instagram
I can confirm from personal experience! OCD is a monster...a horrible bully...that ruins your life. It's not an adjective for being a neat freak or highlighting or being symmetrical and all that nonsense.

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Final Thoughts

OCD is more than what people typically characterize it to be. It is not an adverb or a fad. It is a debilitating disorder that you absolutely do not want to have. So, before you say “I’m so OCD” and further perpetuate misinformation about this disorder, please read up a little more on it, and be a bit more sensitive to those who do have it.

27 Comments

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    • Mish Truth

      This comment deeply touched my heart. As a new blogger it means so much to me to know that my articles have this effect. Check back Monday July, 25, 2019, for my next blog post. Blog posts will be released Mondays at 7:00am edt from this point on.

  • Jasmine

    Honestly, I used to think that I had OCD because if the number for volume (tv, radios, etc) wasn’t an even number or dividend of 5, it would cause me anxiety. I couldn’t listen to the volume without feeling like something was extremely off and the world would end if it wasn’t “correct.” My family thought it was funny, but mentally, I would be freaking out and whatever sounds were still coming out would just make me feel angry/defeated/anxious. It’s hard to explain. I agree with you; people need to be mindful of the things they are claiming to have. I think that goes for anything that has to do with someone’s mental health.

    • Mish Truth

      Hey Jasmine,
      That definitely sounds like a component for OCD. The obsessions are there (the non stop thinking about it) along with the compulsions (the need to actually “fix” it. Of course I cannot diagnose you because (1) I am not licensed yet and (2) If I were licensed, I have not met with you personally. However, I can provide you with an additional resource. You can find more information on OCD HERE

  • Stephen

    So I Read It and It’s Definitely A Great Read. I’ve Never Thought About That Topic to That Extent. I Really Liked How You Broke Down The Similarities, But Showing The Difference That Describes OCD and Normal Behavior.

  • Anonymous

    I met an OCD guy for the first time in high school. I knew that he had said he was OCD, but it wasn’t until I saw him separating his lucky charms that I gave it a second thought. Every day at lunch he would separate his cereal and I finally asked why and he explained it to me. I truly thought OCD was much simpler than what it actually is.

    • Mish Truth

      Hey Dear,
      Yes OCD is much more complicated than many of us see on the surface. I am happy that you were able to learn more about it through this article and your friend who trusted you enough to explain the situation.

  • Sandy Baudoux

    So many people use OCD every day, making it a very loose term. I love how you explicitly showed the difference in the train of thought between normal people and those with OCD.

  • wmc barker

    what does O C D stand for ? why are so many so lazy to use initials for just about everything AND why do some folk say/write the bible when it is the HOLY BIBLE…it’s HOLY not the bible there is only one Holy Bible, there are many bibles, ie : the quilters bible, the VW bible, etc etc etc. lazy thinkers disgust me.

    • Mish Truth

      Hi WMC Barker,

      OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is defined as having 2 major components:

      1. Obsessions (The non-stop intrusive thoughts about something)
      2. Compulsions (The uncontrollable urge to DO something even when you do not want to)

      As for The Holy Bible, I would say that people often want to shorten things. It is similar to our need to give people nicknames and say “cell phone” instead of “cellular telephone”. I do understand that this could be extremely offensive to some, but I think that many people do not mean any harm when they say “The Bible”.

    • Mish Truth

      Hi Sophia,

      I am so happy that you do not have OCD (it is a burden). I am also glad that you learned that you do not have it and a little more about what it is.

  • Miguel Rodriguez

    Ocd is often to used loosely and we do rely on this term as an excuse for being controlling…well written Mish

  • Tabitha

    Wow I must admit I have used this term loosely in the past but I will make sure to not do so in the future! Great read!

  • Malika

    This is great! I dont think people realize that by stating they have something when they don’t, they minimize the plight of those who actually do. Anxiety disorders are minimized enough already without people further perpetuating that by claiming they are “so ocd”.

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