Today I visited Amazon to see the ratings for my book (which, by the way, fluctuate so wildly they’re not at all helpful). Instead of searching by the full title, I just typed “OCD” into the search box, and since I didn’t choose “Books” from the drop-down menu, I came across a surprising number of “OCD” products. Not useful materials for people who have OCD, but gadgets and gizmos for organized or picky people.
There’s the OCD Pencil Cup with the words “store,” “stack,” and “file” on the sides, and the OCD Cutting Board complete with helpful measurements and “The OCD Chef” stamped on the front. There are more, but let’s not get into that.
These product names upset me, and at times I feel overwhelmed by how much misinformation is out there about OCD. How can we ever reach people with the right information when the wrong information is on pencil cups and cutting boards, and when Buzzfeed publishes clever and green cleaning tips with the title “33 Meticulous Cleaning Tricks for the OCD Person Inside You” instead of one that, oh, I don’t know, accurately describes the article? And when people in comments sections shoot us down for pointing out inaccuracies, telling us to loosen up and be less sensitive?
We keep pushing, that’s how. We keep living our lives as the awesome people we are, and everyone around us will start to learn more and more about what OCD really is. If you’re not “out” with your OCD diagnosis yet, that’s okay. You can still help spread accurate information by sharing articles on Facebook or recommending them to friends. No one has to know you have OCD (although you know how I feel about being open about it–it can be truly healing to expose demons to caring friends). If you hear someone say, “I’m so OCD!” you can gently point out that OCD is no laughing matter.
It can be frustrating to keep fighting misconceptions and stereotypes. At times it can feel like playing a game of Whac-a-Mole! (Huh, now I’m hungry for guacamole…) An insensitive joke pops up and we knock it down just to face another. But we can spread awareness–don’t give up.
Wow. That is upsetting to hear. “Ocd products?” I feel like it’s only a matter of time before the real word gets out on what ocd is…and importantly, what it is not. We have to fight against ocd every day and don’t need to fight against this misrepresentation also! We have gotta believe it will change.
I know, I was shocked! I made a comment on one of the products and said it was an offensive description. Of course someone wrote back and said it’s not really offensive because we all have our neuroses. I haven’t written back–sometimes it’s so frustrating to try to educate people!
I am still adjusting to the idea of “me with OCD,” although I, like so many others, have suffered for years before really seeking to tackle this aspect of my life head on. I found it funny that you used the “whack-a-mole” analogy in this article because that’s the analogy I use often to describe how overwhelming my obsessive thoughts can be. It’s like I try desperately to get all my ducks in a row in one area, but then some other intrusive thought pops up in another corner of my mind, and before I know it, moles are popping up and going down and I’m frantically trying to whack them all, but it’s a losing and exhausting battle. Thankfully, the worst torment and anguish is several years behind me now. I have only recently realized how much OCD and anxiety still have had me in their grip though, making life more about going through the motions than about really LIVING. Truly, I still can’t really differentiate between regular anxiety and OCD because they’re so wrapped up together.
I just downloaded your ebook yesterday, and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks for sharing your story and tips to combat this consuming disorder!
It definitely takes time. I’m at the point now where OCD is a huge part of my life even though it doesn’t have a strong hold on me anymore, because I write about it all the time. I’m not OVER it, but I’m a million times better.
And thanks so much for reading my book!
Oddly enough, I like these “OCD Products”, as they would help in my day-to-day living, and would help reduce anxiety, such as the chopping board. I have looked into getting that board in fact, because the prospect of being able to measure the food I prepare beyond weighing it, without having to hold a ruler against it, is highly appealing.
Think what you will of me, but I spend hours of my life trying to hunt down some good “OCD Products”, because they actually seem to help me live with my OCD Tendencies.
(NOTE: Everyone I know believes I have OCD, but I have not been diagnosed with anything and so I will not say that I do, and so refer to it as “OCD Tendencies” instead)