It has always been a passion of mine to raise the awareness of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but more-so to reduce the stigma of it. Like with anything there is going to be stigma surrounding different topics, it is unfortunate but sadly that is a part of life.
As many of you know mental health isn’t something to be joked about nor is it something to make light of in certain aspects. I freely admit I have OCD and there has been times I have laughed at situations I have been in regarding compulsions – mainly because it is a case of you either laugh or cry. What I do not accept is when people make the kind of jokes and comments that show the total lack of education in relation to OCD.
Let’s take today for example, like many programmes I watch on television it is incredibly frustrating when someone who is in the public eye makes a misinformed comment about OCD. This is what causes most people to continue to make jokes and why the stigma surrounding OCD remains. I may come across as ‘petty’ to some, but if you have experienced any form of a mental health disorder you will know how in some cases they can totally destroy a person and break them down, beat them so hard that sadly some may turn to suicide as an escape. That is why I feel the need to politely share my annoyance to those who misuse the term.
Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray (you know the guy who fills in when the main people are away) was discussing about how because of the pandemic he wipes down his letters, parcels and packages etc. which is fair enough, I do the same. You can’t be too careful when there is a nasty spreading virus about. Instead of leaving it there he goes on to say that he is “a little bit OCD” when doing this.
Firstly, let’s realise that NOBODY is ‘a little bit’ of a disorder. Just because OCD is abbreviated doesn’t make it something you can have ‘a bit of’. Jeeze, I wish I had ‘just a bit’ of OCD. What people do not realise is OCD is something that affects a person DAILY. 24/7. Shall I tell you when OCD doesn’t actually affect me? When I am asleep, cos I am unaware. Every other second of the day I am living with intrusive thoughts – some so bad that I frighten myself and most involve some no doubt ridiculous compulsion repeated over and over and over to the point where I have mentally exhausted myself, drained and upset from spending so much time doing tasks that do not make sense but I can’t risk not doing it. Cos “what if”. What if this one time I don’t comply I get murdered? What if this one time I don’t comply a loved one is in a car accident? What if this one time I don’t comply my car goes into the sea and I’m locked inside? Believe me, they get worse but this is an example.
So like I do with everyone who I have heard misuse the term – I tell them. I explain that what they have said isn’t the case, I explain what it is like and 9 times out of 10 they’ve instantly put loving cleaning and OCD as the same so I correct that too. It frustrated me more-so because straight after his comment the next feature on the programme was about loneliness and mental health. Ironic. How can someone sit there after making an uneducated comment about a mental health disorder and then preach about how we all need to be there for each other because ‘mental health is important’. Like always I hoped for a response to acknowledge the error, not necessarily reply to me myself but just acknowledge the misuse of the word. If it was me I would want to show the viewers I was willing to learn about something so important. It is though it is viewed as mental health is in one category and OCD is in another. When in fact the two are exactly the same, OCD is a mental health issue.
So what did Adil do? In all honesty, I didn’t think he would respond – I didn’t think he would acknowledge it at all. What I didn’t expect was that he blocked me. I’m not fussed that he blocked me, I wasn’t following him anyway so that I don’t really care about. What I do care about is the fact that by him blocking me it suggests two things one being that he doesn’t actually see anything wrong in what he said and the other being he stands by the fact that it is okay to misuse the term OCD. That to me is totally unacceptable, especially when you are on television. People watch and learn what they see on tv and this is the whole reason behind why the misinformation and stigma needs to be stopped.
OCD isn’t a quirk.
OCD isn’t a person who loves to clean.
OCD can ruin lives.
OCD isn’t funny.
Nobody can be ‘a bit’ or ‘little bit’ of a disorder.
Nobody can be a disorder.
Every mental health illness is important and needs to be taken seriously.
Those in the public eye need to realise that they cannot preach about being so supportive of those with bad mental health and also disregard those with bad mental health.
We are all equal.
People need to educate themselves if they are going to use terms or talk about said topics.
People need to help reduce the stigma of OCD and all other mental health issues.
Blocking me did not help you Adil, but it certainly helped me in being more determined than ever to end the stigma and introduce correct education on OCD.
Watch this space.