What is the right thing to say?
Suffering with OCD is a huge battle on its own but what’s even harder is for the individual to open up about what’s going on in their minds. Just like glass, a person suffering with OCD has a delicate mind. One slip and it’s shattered. When it comes to expressing thoughts or inner feelings, one has to punch through a hard brick wall and it's a slow and arduous process. It’s crucial to keep a few things in mind when talking to someone suffering from OCD.
1. Reassure them.
Let them know you’re there for them and that it's going to be okay. Fighting with your brain is scary and little things like letting them know that you have their back can make all the difference.
2. Convinced them to see a professional.
Accepting a mental disorder doesn’t happen overnight and seeking help can lead to reluctance. This can be due to various reasons- the stigmas around mental health issues, the feeling of ‘failing’ in therapy (which absolutely sucks, if you were wondering) , etc. But treatment is crucial and cannot be neglected. Encourage the individual suffering with OCD to attend these sessions by letting them know that fighting back your emotions is as good as a lost war but acknowledging them makes you stronger.
3. Here are some things to avoid saying when talking to an individual with OCD:
“Don’t worry so much about everything”
“You don’t have OCD, You’re just fine”
“You’re OCD is so annoying. Can you please stop?”
“I used to be a clean freak like you too”
People with OCD aren’t aliens. So don’t treat them like one. They are just as human as you are. Even though it's extremely crucial to choose your words when speaking to someone battling OCD, it’s equally important to treat them the way you’d treat anyone else so they don’t feel like an outcast.
Today, choose to be a little kinder.