Really. OCD, not a cute term to describe our somewhat quirky preferences. And here’s a short cartoon that explains why. Please read it.
I do not have OCD. My daughter has OCD. I do not know personally what it feels like physically, emotionally, and mentally to have OCD. I only know of the suffering that OCD can cause from observation and from my daughter’s sharing with me. Yet just a tiny fraction of what I’ve learned second-hand is more than enough to know that to trivialize OCD with casual jokes and references to our own odd habits is frankly just cruel.
And no, I don’t believe that people intend to be cruel with these remarks. Of course they don’t. So again, I ask you to please go read that cartoon.
Watch your 3-year-old child be UNABLE to sit through listening to a ten minute reading of a storybook without having to go check at least two or three times to make sure her closet door is closed, and tell me she isn’t suffering. And that you’re not suffering for her.
Watch your teenage child start spiraling out of control when her OCD meds stop working. Watch her not be able to finish things because everything she starts MUST be finished without pause or she MUST start it over. Not a challenge when you’re talking about, oh brushing your teeth or taking a shower. But those 8-10 papers for lit classes that have to be started and completed right down to their final draft in one sitting…well, that gets a lot harder. So much work she HAD TO delete because she couldn’t stay awake any longer or she had to go to work or to another class. It’s no wonder she crashed and burned and ended up in a deep depression with serious suicidal thoughts.
She is again doing well, has been for a few years, with new medication and new strategies. She’s such a freakin’ amazing young woman, I tell you. So freakin’ amazing. Yet I will always worry. And I will always hurt for her, and for every other person with OCD, every time I hear someone make light of the true suffering that OCD can cause.
(I should note that I do have her permission, and her blessing, to talk about this.)