People have been making a lot of “hand washing OCD” jokes lately. I see them on Facebook, I see them on Twitter, I see you sharing them. I want to tell you something.
I actually have OCD. Yes, me. I’m living with obsessive compulsive disorder. And I sincerely wish you would stop using OCD as a punchline. I wish I had the energy to write a beautifully elegant post about this, but I don’t. I’m tired, so I’m just gonna speak quickly and from the heart. And that is probably for the best right now…
OCD is not trendy.
OCD is not a joke.
OCD is not a punchline you should use to get Facebook likes or retweets.
OCD is something that consumes my life and the way I live it.
OCD makes me miserable.
OCD impacts my relationships.
OCD is not your punchline.
You make an OCD joke and you get a lot of Facebook likes and retweets. You get the retweet but you don’t get the panic attacks. You don’t get what I get. You don’t get the all-consuming disorder. You don’t get the night terrors. You don’t get the cancelled plans because you are too anxious to go out. You don’t get the pain I feel when I skin-pick so much that my fingernail falls off. You don’t get the broken relationships. You don’t get the tears. You don’t get the humiliation. You don’t get the self-hatred. You don’t get the pain. But you got the retweet, so good for you.
OCD isn’t a joke.
Don’t make insensitive comments or jokes about how you’re “sooooo OCD about washing your hands right now”. There are actually humans who have OCD and wash their hands as an OCD ritual. It is an all-consuming task. It’s not a joke for your amusement.
Also, many people think OCD is only “hand washing and organizing” but that is often an unfair misconception. OCD can be debilitating, rituals can be life consuming… but we don’t all have the same rituals. For instance, My OCD doesn’t impact my hand washing. My OCD has absolutely nothing to do with hand washing. People with OCD might have the same broad diagnosis, but we are all gloriously different.
I’m living with a debilitating disorder that is misunderstood. My disorder is unfairly used as a punchline. Your punchline. So, please stop. When you make an OCD joke you hurt mental health awareness. You strengthen unfair mental health stigmas.
You might be thinking; “don’t be so sensitive” or “it’s just a figure of speech”. But I don’t see it that way. My diagnosis is not a figure of speech, and it shouldn’t be. I want my diagnosis to be validated. I need my diagnosis to be taken seriously. That’s nearly impossible when OCD is a common punchline and something that is joked about.
If you want to learn more about OCD see the basic definitions at the end of this post.
Learn More About OCD:
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by two main things; Obsessions and Compulsions.
Obsessions are repetitive and intrusive thoughts that are often unwanted. Most of the time, people know their obsessions are irrational but are unable to divert their attention from the obsession.
Compulsions are irrational and excessive urges to complete certain actions. These repetitive actions can temporarily relieve the stress brought on by an obsession. Most of the time, people know that these rituals are irrational, but are unable to prevent the need to perform them. Like obsessions, people may try not to perform compulsive acts but feel forced to do so to relieve anxiety.
To be diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, a person must have: obsessions, compulsions, or both that are upsetting and cause difficulty with work, relationships, other parts of life, and typically last for at least an hour each day.