OCD is a very misunderstood mental illness, and being an OCDer means dealing with the mainstream perception of what it entails e.g. telling somebody that you have OCD and hearing them reply “Oooooomigad me too my room always has to be perfect and tidy”. To be honest Daniel, I think you’re just confusing having OCD with being a fully functioning human being, but whatever dude.
Another thing people say is “Oh no way. You don’t act like you have OCD” – Well thanks for your input, Susan, but if I told you the inner workings of my mind you’d probably be terrified and/or have me committed. I mean, as humans we have a fundamental desire to not be exiled from society, or carried up a hill and tied above a burning pit by people with pitchforks whilst our parents watch from the sidelines yelling “MY BABY. MY STRANGE OBSESSIVE BABY”…right? But really, I never get offended by people’s misconceptions, but frustrated? Frustrated is a definite YES.
There is no way of explaining to people in casual conversation some of the private, mental experiences involved in OCD so sometimes you just have to let it go, whilst silently nodding your head as your colleague tells you about the fact they just HAVE to avoid cracks in pavements. At my worst, I wasn’t able to leave the house to go and check out/avoid any cracks (of the pavement variety, not the bum variety) because I was shut in the house where I was safe from the pathogenic terrors of the universe, and the universe was safe from the pathogenic terrors of…well, me.
For me, having OCD has always been a very private and personal experience (unless you’re in my circle of four lucky humans who I constantly seek reassurance from until they’re pulling their hair out), so I have often found it difficult to correct people and tell them about my deepest darkest moments in fear of losing them.
It’s a catch 22 really, because on the one hand I’m a huge believer that we need to smash down taboos about mental health, and in order to do that we have to learn to speak openly about our little brain blips and embrace the ability to share and therefore comfort others. But then I think…do I really wanna go around telling people that I have to lick each of my fingers and then rub them all together like an absolute WEIRDO in order to feel complete? Behave.