OCD Is Not a Joke!

“I can’t stop organizing my books alphabetically. I must have OCD”

“So OCD about everything in my life! Can’t stop. Too funny!”

You may have heard these jokes made in a movie or by someone you know. Why do we joke about OCD in a light-hearted way? Why is OCD seen as something that can be made a joke of? One reason is, we as a society don’t understand what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is. When we don’t understand something, we often stigmatize it and, unfortunately, make fun of things we don’t understand.

I have and will always have OCD. At the height of my anxiety during adolescence, I was afraid of contamination. OCD slowly took over my life, at one point I was only eating packaged foods.The belief was processed foods were prepared in a highly sterilized environment; whereas eating out at restaurants, take out, and food from family/friends was contaminated because a lot of people handled the food and/or prepared in a less than sterile way. Thinking back on it now, it seems irrational because packaged, processed foods are not necessarily healthy nor free from contaminants. At the time, it was how I rationalization and coped with the crippling anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not a joke. It is a raw and debilitating reality for hundreds upon thousands of people on a daily basis. Making a joke out of OCD continues the pervasive stigma around mental illnesses and disorders. Before you make a joke about OCD, think about the people around you. Chances are one of them personally experiences OCD or knows someone with OCD.