Myths That Haunt!
Updated: Jan 30
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a clinically recognised disorder. However it is also one of the most commonly misunderstood mental illnesses in the world. There are many myths and stigmas about OCD that the majority of the population believe are true. An example includes, ‘people with OCD are extremely tidy, clean and organised.’ Individuals who suffer from OCD perform compulsions. Compulsions are actions that temporarily dismiss an intrusive thought that the individual suddenly experiences. These actions can range from only counting in even numbers to putting a certain object in a certain place in a specific room. People with OCD may be organised but a lot of the time, the reason for this is much darker than you think. For around a year now, a personal compulsion of mine has been the way my desk and vanity in my room looks like. This includes what books and objects are on it, as well as where they must be placed. Sometimes when people observe my room, they tell me how wonderfully organised it is. Even though I appreciate their compliments greatly, the one thing I’d wish for was the opposite. I wished I could place objects freely around my room without being plagued with intrusive thoughts. To this day, I still wish I could place a pair of earrings on a different surface without being plagued with intrusive thoughts and chronic anxiety. However in the back of my brain, I know I’m trying my best and am slowly edging out of my comfort zone. Fortunately I have gone from having a specific place on my vanity for each item to being completely unresponsive to where the items are currently sitting. Personally, overcoming a compulsion is one of the bravest things anyone with OCD can do. Even by overcoming just ONE compulsion is a massive step.Another myth is that people with OCD need to be ‘more relaxed.’ The reality to this is that it is simply not possible. People with OCD find it extremely diffcult to control their anxiety and unpleasant thoughts. Over time, without help, the thoughts become more distressing and compulsions become more extreme. This can affect relationships and ability to function. Although, many people who experience OCD are good at hiding it and falsely appear to function well. Relaxation will only bring abrupt feelings of calmness but most definitely will not have an impact on OCD at all.Stigma is a humongous part of the reason people with OCD suffer in silence and don’t reach out for help a lot of the time. This is because people who have OCD don’t realise it is actually OCD as they have misinterpretations of it due to society and media. The last thing that sufferers want are people thinking they are ‘weird’ for having these thoughts. This fear confines them to not speaking out, making it a lot harder for them to deal with it. I have been speaking openly about my OCD to my peers and classmates to help raise awareness. Recently, one of my friends approached me to tell me I had helped her realise she had been suffering from OCD for over a year. This made me feel extremely proud. Who knows what would’ve happened if she hadn’t found out as soon as she did? Without a doubt, she’d be finding it a lot harder to cope. Diagnosis of OCD will always be haunted by it's Myths' until and unless there is complete awareness about it.