When OCD isn’t obsessive cleaning disorder

I have OCD. Memes about it are a dime a dozen and I could write a whole post solely about the memes. “I wish I were OCD so my house would be cleaner.” “OCD quirks are so cute!” “I’m OCD but I call it CDO so the letters are in the right order.” “Wow, how can you be OCD and not be a clean freak?”

These attitudes are outright dangerous to those with OCD. OCD is both obsessions and compulsions. So for me, it may manifest as repeating a convo in my head I had YEARS ago over and over. Worrying about one little word I may have misplaced on a Facebook post, over and over. Being irrationally afraid  of one of my friends getting hurt. They’re obsessions, and they’re intrusive. They’re a major part of my life.

Compulsions are the other part. It isn’t that I don’t think I locked the door. It isn’t that I keep looking at the door for fun or getting up to check because I want to. I have to. I will literally lay awake until I can check it. I will worry myself to the point of throwing up if I don’t check it. I check my DVD folder and my game folder on a regular basis to make sure everything’s in the order it’s supposed to be. Even if I haven’t touched them otherwise in days, they’ve still got to be just right. The photos on my wall have to be hung just right – to you, they may not look straightly hung or odd but I require them to be a certain  way.

Liking your DVDs or books lined up just so is not OCD. It IS OCD when it interferes with your life. OCD is not a preference. It’s the way your life is. You literally cannot function unless they are in your so-called preferred order. Being nervous about something is not OCD. Replaying it over and over in your brain, not being able to escape from it, IS.

I am not a washer. I am not a germaphobe. I am not obsessed with keeping things clean. But it doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from OCD. Just because you do things a certain way and like it that way, doesn’t mean that you have OCD. It’s all comes down to do you WANT it that way or do you HAVE to have it that way? When you have to have it that way, it crosse from a quirk into something that makes life more difficult.

Please don’t make jokes at our expense. Please don’t claim you have OCD when you don’t.

2 thoughts on “When OCD isn’t obsessive cleaning disorder

  1. I agree, no disorder should be a joke. ADHD isn’t just liking things that are shiny or sometimes getting distracted. Thanks for writing this.

  2. I have OCD and generalized anxiety. Every time a friend of mine says “oh that’s just my OCD” I feel sick to my stomach. I lock doors too so I completely understand what you go through in that regard. I’ve never called anyone out on it in real life because the conflict gives me anxiety. If people really knew what it felt like they would not consider cleaning equivalent with OCD.

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