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Mental Health

This is What OCD is NOT

For years, the real meaning of what it is to live with OCD has been manipulated. We want to change this, and really see and understand what everyone that has OCD deals with on a daily basis.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD, a mental health condition where symptoms include intrusive unwanted thoughts which for some, lead to compulsive, repetitive behaviours.

So, here are 7 things that OCD is NOT. 

OCD is not just being neat and tidy 

  • “I’m a little OCD” 
  • “My room is so OCD”
  • “I’m so OCD about …”
  • Unless you actually have OCD, none of these things are true. 

OCD is not a joke

What we said above, and so many other things like it, have turned having OCD into a joke, or a throw away comment on the tidiness of a friend or someone you live with. But it is not a joke.

OCD is not easy

Living with OCD is not easy. It is not something that can be flipped on and off like a switch.

OCD is not a choice 

In exactly the same way as with every other mental health issue, having OCD is not a choice and never has been one. It develops for all sorts of reasons and is sometimes managed with methods used by mental health and medical professionals such as medications, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling and other specialised therapy practices.

OCD is not a personality quirk

OCD behaviours are not little quirks or habits that we all have, like needing to check three times because you’ve forgotten to turn the oven off.

Intrusive thoughts caused by OCD are very real and can be very scary to those that are having them. Whilst someone who does not have OCD might have intrusive thoughts about things, these will usually quickly be forgotten.

For someone with OCD, an action, or failure to do an action, can feel like it will have very real world consequences for themselves and those around them, thus driving compulsions. 

OCD is not collecting things 

OCD can manifest in some as obsessive hoarding of personal possessions, and items that others will see as useless or even rubbish.

But people with hoarding OCD hold on to these things, and can cause lots of other social and health difficulties needing careful support and coping strategies. They are often socially isolated, and suffer from other mental health conditions such as agoraphobia, depression and anxiety.

Collectors on the other hand are hobbyists. Collecting stamps or coins or toys or books brings joy and opens doors to new communities of people. You see the difference?

OCD is not always the same in everyone

OCD differs widely from person to person. For some, it can be centred around repeating actions, for others it can be around certain foods, and others it can be about hoarding, compulsive cleaning and loads more. Compulsive actions can be centred on certain items and rooms in someone’s home and other environments they regularly visit, or about themselves as a person. 

For more information and specialised OCD support, check out the International OCD Foundation here

If you feel you need support, you can reach out to us here.