Dear Sir,
As its OCD awareness week I thought there is no better time than now to raise awareness and to bust some myths and common misconceptions about OCD. I’m no professional but I deal with the condition myself and I’m extremely passionate about ending the huge stigma attached to mental health.
OCD is an anxiety disorder with two main parts, obsessions and compulsions, the obsessions are the unwanted and unwelcomed thoughts, images, urges, worries and doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. The compulsions are repetitive activities that you carry out to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession, giving it the name of ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.’
One of the most common misconceptions about OCD is that it is purely based around being clean, keeping things tidy and being organised. I’m sure almost everyone with OCD has heard “Oh so you like to keep things tidy?” or, “I should get you to come and clean my house.” When telling people that you have OCD. The phrase ‘that’s a bit OCD’ also gets used a lot and it’s extremely annoying to somebody living with it, it’s a harmful phrase to throw around and it creates barriers for people suffering with OCD, one being that it is giving off misinformation and may stop genuine suffers from realising that they have OCD. It also adds to the stigma and the misuse of the term OCD mean that when you build up the courage to tell the people around you that you have the illness you also usually have to explain what it is, many people think that it isn’t a serious illness.
Of course it is different for every individual, many people get perfectionists and people with OCD mixed up. For some people their OCD may be minor and they might find that it does not usually interfere with their lives, for others it can create a lot of interferences. Living with OCD can interrupt your day-to-day life, impact your relationships with others, leave you feeling lonely or ashamed, whilst also having an impact on your physical health.
If you know somebody with OCD or if somebody has just told you that they’re suffering with it, don’t be afraid to ask questions, it will show you’re trying to understand and it’ll usually be more appreciated than just bringing up all of the misconceptions, remember there are so many different types. If like me you’re living with OCD remember you’re never alone, don’t be afraid to speak out about it and to educate and correct others, help them to try and understand.
Together we all have the power to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health.
Charlotte Dawson.