It baffles me all those people who post about supporting Mental Health and changing their profile pictures to “Mental Health Awareness Week” or whatever but can also make comments about certain mental health issues treating it as a joke. How does that make sense?
Let’s take for example morning television programmes. They are one of the first to allow people to appear and talk about their own mental health struggles. The presenters appear to show great empathy and aim to understand and educate the viewers about such important topics – and that is fab. So then why is it acceptable for certain regular appearances to make insensitive comments and NOBODY corrects them?
This Morning had a lady on known as “The Queen of Clean”. She’s appeared on the show several times before – she loves cleaning, she expresses her cleaning tips and you get the gist. She stated today that she always cleans the oven after cooking but in order to show the viewers how to clean their oven she purposely left it from the night before so that she can show the cleaning tips on an oven that will need cleaning. Makes sense? Great.
The vibe she was giving I just knew what was coming, and I knew it because I have experienced it so much.
“Obviously as you know I am so OCD like that”
The simple facts are you either HAVE this disorder or you don’t. You cannot have just ‘a bit’ of a disorder and you cannot be ‘so much of a disorder’. Without abbreviating it you tell me if the same sentence makes sense?
“Obviously as you know I am so obsessive compulsive disorder like that”
Why has “OCD” been switched from a debilitating disorder to a ‘quirk’ someone has? It is far from a quirk. It controls lives, it ruins lives and it is not something to make a joke out of. Now don’t get me wrong I have moments when I can laugh about certain things I have done, maybe not at the time but afterwards because it is good to try and make your stressful situation a bit lighter. I sometimes also laugh about what I do in front of others because it is either laugh or cry and I really don’t want to cry.
One thing many people seem to not understand is the fact that OCD is more than just cleaning, and those who suffer in the cleaning sense do NOT enjoy cleaning. Nothing OCD makes you do is enjoyable. It is stressful, exhausting and extremely time consuming.
I could be wrong but I am pretty sure this lady has appeared on the compulsive cleaners programme before and states she herself has OCD. (Like I say…. I think she is the same lady!) If that is the case she would not be enjoying cleaning, let alone making tv appearances because she enjoys cleaning. She also would not have been able to leave her oven dirty overnight.
Despite all that the two presenters just carried on chatting to her, laughing and joking – neither of them went “Oh. Hold up a minute. It isn’t OCD, you’re not so OCD. It is a serious disorder that can really affect a persons life.” Why is that? Why do they in one breath have people on sharing their stories and being all sympathetic towards them but in the next find it acceptable to let someone make an insensitive comment?
You shouldn’t allow it to be okay for this but not for many other important issues. Especially as it is classed as a Mental Health Disorder.
Sadly, there is still so much stigma and I am working really hard with other charities and behind the scenes to try and reduce the stigma. Too many lives are lost because of mental health problems. People making jokes and insensitive comments are part of the reason others may not speak up about it and that is NOT okay.
I never spoke up about my OCD because when I was 14/15 because my English teacher noticed a compulsion I had and ridiculed me in front of the whole class. Not just that one time either she did it the next few days I entered the classroom. Thanks Miss Booler for being part of the reason I didn’t get the help I needed early on because YOU made me feel stupid at that time. YOU made it so I felt I couldn’t open up to anyone about what was going on inside my head. Perhaps if I had opened up sooner it wouldn’t have got as bad? I will never know because she took that chance away from me.
So let’s not make it OK for people in the media to make the same ridiculous comments because that ONE teacher had that affect on me, the media has a much wider audience to affect millions of people. We cannot let that happen.
Upon this blogpost I have contacted the television programme about the situation and why it isn’t okay. I will keep you all updated upon their response IF they respond. If they don’t well….. that says it all doesn’t it?