I’m SO OCD!

People have developed this habit of saying “I am so OCD about ___”. They say it because they like their shelf organized or because they are picky about what foods to eat. They say it because they are squeamish about something dirty or because they are fussy about their appearance. They say it without understanding what they are saying.

I want to say to them, You’re OCD about that? Really? Can you even name the types of OCD?

Have you ever thought that maybe someone tampered with the food at the grocery store, dropping drugs or worse inside, so you carefully choose the items out of view on the back of the shelf? Do you have to hear the safety seal of your item click or you’ll dispose of it? Have you ever second-guessed it and disposed of it anyway? Have you ever walked away from a counter mid-order because suddenly the people behind the counter didn’t appear trustworthy, even when you frequent the counter daily? Have you ever thrown away perfectly good food because it seemed “off”? Do you do this every day? Have you ever made yourself throw up halfway through a meal because suddenly it had a strange taste or texture and may have been poisoned? Have you ever feared overdosing on common medications like vitamins or antibiotics, to the point that you went to the doctor or called poison control? Does touching something sticky send you into a panic? Have you ever been afraid to eat something or take a medicine in case you had an anaphylactic reaction even though you have no known allergies? Have you ever stopped eating whole food groups for the fear of contamination of heavy metals or pesticides? Do you frequently research your symptoms and illnesses that you could possibly have?

Have you ever washed your hands until they cracked and bled? Taken showers or changed clothing multiple times a day? Do you rinse your glasses and utensils sometimes several times before use? Do you prep food on clean plates instead of your cutting board because it may be unsafe since you last used it? Do you throw away your belongings in fear that they have drugs, chemicals or poison on them? Do you think batteries are going to explode or leak causing you to inhale or touch toxic vapor or chemicals?

Do you spend hours a day obsessing over the what-ifs? Did you watch your boyfriend go from overwhelmingly supportive to frustrated and fed up with your “constant negativity”, while blaming yourself the whole time? Have you had to go home sick from work or even change jobs because you couldn’t cope with the environment? Have you isolated yourself from your friends and family in fear that if anyone sees you they will know how “crazy” you are? Do you constantly have to reassure yourself that you are not worthless?

Do you do all of this while trying to be a good mom, run a household, make appointments, go to work, and appear normal? Do you do all of this without falling into such a depressive state that it effects every corner of your life?

No? You don’t do any of those things?

Then stop saying that you’re OCD. Using OCD as a synonym for clean, anal or organized might seem harmless, but it’s not. It keeps people from truly understanding the disorder, which makes it harder for those that have it to get help.