So, I recently started a new job. One of the training was on Quality Assurance and the person leading the training said that everyone in her department had OCD traits. This begged a huge question. So I asked, “what OCD traits are you talking about?” She goes on to tell me how she likes all her clothes neat and hung sorted by color and style of shirt. Although attention to detail is certainly something everyone with OCD has. I fought the urge to inform her that OCD is much more then organization. I didn’t blame her for falling into this misperception as this is what is constantly potrayed by media. In all fairness there are some people with OCD who have to have things just right and organization is part of it. To say that attention to detail is an OCD trait is probably true.
However, my room and car are constantly a mess. In fact, just the other day my friend posted on my fb page a video about that friend who always has to move a ton of stuff before anyone can get in their car, that’s me. Even at a young age my desk in school was always the messy desk. I completely defy what most people think of when they think of OCD. As mentioned, I blame the misperception spread by media and accepted by the public.
I recently found out how bad the misperceptions were after the target sweater deal. A local radio station asked peoples opinion about it. Everyone who responded had the opinion the people who complained bout the sweater were being too whiny. I quickly realized the misperceptions about OCD by the comments they made. One guy said something to the effect of OCD isn’t even a big deal, it’s not like or as bad as anxiety or depression. I had to inform him that OCD is an anxiety disorder and the majority of people with OCD also have depression. His response was while it’s not like it kills people like anxiety and depression. again I couldn’t help but realize the lack of understanding he had. The worst part was how many people like his status about it not being as bad as depression and anxiety. Based on other post I could tell that they had the idea that OCD is something someone enjoys and is by being picky by choice.
This is damaging. It causes people who truly have OCD to believe they must have some other diagnosis, that their illness is worse, and that if they think it’s OCD they should be able to pull out of it by themselves. It causes organization that save lives to miss out on funding. It even impacts some of the professionals diagnosis of the illness based on what they stereotype it as. I had a horrible case of OCD and was misdiagnosed for a long time. The physician in charge left me on a med that very easily could of killed me. So, when I make those comments about the target sweater I’m not whining. I’m simply trying to fight the stereotype and misunderstanding. Honestly , I wouldn’t have said anything and would have been fine with the shirt if the misunderstanding wasnt there or target did something to promote accurate knowledge on OCD.
While I got a little off subject. The real point is OCD is not just neatness or organization.