There is, undoubtedly, a lack of understanding of OCD. However, we can't blame other people for misusing the terminology, if they haven't been educated about the condition, or had direct experience of it. The same is true of our understanding of anybody else's experience of life, whatever it is that determines that experience.
For me, such comments actually offer a way in to talking about OCD with others.
|Photo: Peter Gettins Photography|
Another friend admitted to obsessively checking that her gas cooker is off, providing me with another jumping-off point to talk about the condition.
In fact, the way she conducts her checks sounds a lot like an OCD compulsion: she jiggles the dial controlling the gas flow to each ring, while saying 'off, off, off', and has to start again if she's interrupted. That last element really struck me. It's very common in OCD to feel that you haven't enacted a compulsion properly if you're interrupted. Even a small noise can break my concentration and be enough to constitute an interruption.
My view is that if someone has one OCD-style habit, they may be more disposed not only to listen to, but also empathise with, sufferers whose lives are dominated by such behaviours.
And, hard as it can be for OCD sufferers to open up, we have to share our experiences. If we don't, others will continue to misunderstand, undermine or ridicule those with the condition.
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If you don't have OCD, do you have any OCD-style habits? If you do have OCD, how do you respond to people saying 'I'm a bit OCD'?