Reducing Stigma and Standing up for the Truth–Even When It’s Hard

I recently wrote a piece for B Stigma-Free, a great new initiative that aims to–you guessed it–reduce stigma. Oftentimes I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when I write about how important mental health awareness is, and it’s in my day-to-day interactions with acquaintances and co-workers when I feel less confident in spreading the truth about what OCD is. Sometimes etiquette gets in the way of me correcting someone’s misconception about OCD, and sometimes I still worry that if I tell people about my own embarrassing obsessions they’ll judge me.

How do you deal with it when you tell someone you have OCD and they respond with a casual remark, like “I have that, too. My kitchen always has to be scrubbed clean!” Do you nod and smile? Do you explain that the person probably doesn’t have OCD, at least not based on that particular “symptom”?