Thursday, September 9, 2010

PullPullPullPull (2/2)

I mentioned in the beginning of last week's post (from which I got some really lovely responses, on and off the blog - thanks to all who read and offered their support) that as I thought about what aspects of my OCD and Trichotillomania I'd write about, my story took many different forms. It's hard to condense 15 years of an experience into a readable blog entry, and depending on the day, particular angles of the story would take center stage. Here is one that didn't make the cut in the original post, because I realized as I was thinking about it that it could make a post of its own:

I could talk about a lot of the obstacles I've overcome or the lessons I've learned because I live with OCD, but instead I'm going to discuss one of the things that annoys me most in this world. I've encountered it everywhere from the classroom to restaurants to the workplace, from friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. We'll be chatting about this, that, or the other, when my partner in conversation might straighten a fork next to his plate. Or talk about the way her CDs are organized back home. And then they use that dreaded phrase:

"LOL, I'm so OCD."

No. No you're not. I recognize that it seems like a convenient way to laugh off a little personal habit or quirk that you otherwise might worry is silly. But please understand, when you trivialize a condition that has plagued me for more than half my life, it infuriates me.

One of the tenets of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV) is that the obsession or compulsion interferes with the individual's ability to lead their normal life. While I know it may seem an odd thing to care about, I sincerely doubt that your desire to keep the napkins in a neat pile has kept you up nights, or forced you to miss important appointments. I once almost missed a meeting with a teacher because I couldn't stop tweezing the leg hairs that my brain deemed thicker than the others. Yeah, I know. Really fucking weird. And often really intrusive on my ability to be a functional human being.

So no offense, but you don't have OCD, and as someone who does, I find it kind of insensitive that you're throwing that term around like it's free candy.

And yet, even as I write this, I wonder how many times I've told someone that "I'm so blind," just because my eyesight is bad. Or decried something I've done as "so retarded." (I rarely, if ever, use this word anymore, and it appalls me that I once did.) I can see everything that happens around me. My brain functions completely, even if it is a little wonky sometimes. Careless language is so easy, especially if we don't think about what we're saying. So in deference to the times that someone else's thoughtlessness has royally pissed me off, I'm going to do my best to think before I say stupid things.

1 comment:

ali d said...

Just realized I would horde free candy. Bad analogy.