I should probably preface this article by saying that I’m one of the least politically-correct people you will ever meet.
Now, a lot of you might read that as “oh she’s definitely a racist’ or “oh, she can’t be bothered to care about the feelings of others.”
To which I will respond: The first is definitely not the true. The latter… meh. Maybe slightly true.
It’s not that I don’t care about offending others; it’s just that the amount of crap people get offended by these days is way too much study material for me to sift through. If I spent all my time worrying about what every person got hurt by, I would spend more time avoiding people for fear of saying the wrong thing than actually getting to know people with the purest of intentions.
For me, intentions are far for significant than verbiage. Words are just that – words. They can be spiteful, derogatory, funny, endearing, or indifferent – it all just depends on who is saying them and what the context is. An anecdote: I was going to brunch with a bunch of gay men and it was taking these boys forever to agree on where to go and what to eat. I finally exclaimed, “You fags are so freak’in high maintenance!” to which everyone laughed.
Is fag a bad word? Absolutely! Does its value depend on who says it and what the situation is? DUH. And if you disagree with me, that’s fine. But I’m definitely not someone you’ll want to hang out with because – in my world – I love everyone, and it’s because I love everyone that I take it upon myself to sometimes use stereotypes and joke about them the way I see fit (and I would hope all of my friends wouldn’t spare me the same consideration).
I preface all of this because what I’m about to say actually contradicts almost everything I just laid out for you, but I feel very strongly about it. So, for better or for worse, here we go:
YA’LL HAVE GOT TO STOP USING THE TERM “OCD” SO FLIPPANTLY.
I get it – You don’t like germs. You can’t stand when a hanging picture is crooked. You like it when your work desk is tidy. You hate using public restrooms. It annoys you when people don’t put things back exactly where they found them. The toilet roll facing the wrong ways annoys the rap out of you. You like to be in control of everything and you hate being late for stuff.
This, dear friends, does not necessarily make you OCD. It actually just makes you a stickler for organization and that’s ok. But stop flippantly telling friends and co-workers “sorry, I’m a little OCD about things.”
No, Susan. You’re a pain in the ass and maybe a little frigid, and that’s okay, but just own it. Stop self-diagnosing your own neuroses with a debilitating mental disease that pretty much holds victims prisoners of their own mind, body, and life.
To be clear, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is:
“…a brain and behavior disorder that …causes severe anxiety in those affected and involves both obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life. Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and cause marked anxiety or distress. The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a particular order, aggressive or horrific impulses, and sexual imagery. Compulsions are the individuals who attempt to suppress such thoughts or impulses or to neutralize them with some other thought or action. These can include repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, ordering or checking on things; or mental acts, such as praying, counting, or repeating words silently.”
Now, I don’t personally have OCD, but what I DO have is a LOT of friends and acquaintances. I’ve lived in five states and worked numerous jobs and have met my fair share of people in my 30-something years on this earth. There are two things I can tell you: I have only met maybe a handful of people who truly suffer from OCD and it has all but destroyed their lives. I can also tell you that the majority of people I know who claim to be OCD aren’t.
Here’s what OCD looks like: Washing your hands so many times a day that your fingers start to bleed. OCD is getting up in the middle of the night at least 35 times to make sure you turned off the bathroom light. OCD is touching your doorknob 7 times every hour because you are afraid if you don’t, your loved ones are going to die. OCD is masturbating 30 times a day because you have no idea how to control it. OCD is spending HOURS scouring your kitchen because no amount of cleaning will ever appease “the monster.” The majority of people with true OCD can’t live normal lives or have normal relationships. And if they do, it requires years of therapy and medication.
In other words, REAL obsessive compulsive disorder is not someone who gets flustered if their plant isn’t facing the right direction. It’s not avoiding sharing nachos with friends at Happy Hour. It’s not over-analyzing what you are going to say in your big meeting tomorrow. These might be mild obsessive thoughts, but they aren’t full-blown O.C.D.
So, yeah, it’s problematic when people who aren’t actually obsessive-compulsive claim to be because it completely diminishes the severity of people who actually suffer from it. It’s not cute. It’s not quirky. It’s not one of the qualities you should mention in a job interview when a potential employer asks you about your “flaws.” Claiming OCD because you don’t like your house being a mess is kind of like blaming your bitchy attitude on being bipolar, Or claiming you’re lazy because you have ADHD.
It’s complete B.S. and it makes it, so people with REAL mental disorders don’t get the recognition, understanding, and support they need.
So, let’s all just agree that it’s totally ok to have quirks and neuroses and things that bother us. Everyone has them. What’s NOT ok is to chalk up our character flaws as the result of a pretty debilitating mental disorder because we’re too afraid just to say we’re a little anal-retentive.
(Which, coincidentally, is what I called all of the high-maintenance fags I went to brunch with last week).