Are you open with others about having obsessive compulsive disorder?
It’s kind of a tricky thing. Personally, I would have to answer with both a yes and a no. I have blogged about my OCD before (on a personal blog), so people who read that entry know. But I don’t go around publicizing it to people in the ward or to friends as an introductory statement: “Hi, I have OCD, what do you do in your free time?”
I was talking to a good friend (who also has OCD), and we commiserated over the fact that, even if we did tell someone at church that we have OCD (in order to try and explain our behavior or “standoffishness”), the likely response might be something like “Oh…” and then (more excitedly), “Well, I’m a little bit OCD too. Sometimes I just have to get things clean” or “I think I’m OCD sometimes. I’m super into organization.”
The fact that OCD is not very well understood by the masses can be a major hurdle in diagnosis, overcoming compulsions, finding empathy, and just trying to get people to understand. Because, honestly, it seems like people just don’t get it unless they also have OCD. You can try to explain it to them, but until someone feels the acute anxiety and stress associated with the compulsions (and obsessions), they have no right to say, “Oh, I so know how you feel. The other day I totally used hand sanitizer after I changed my son’s gross diaper.”
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, except to say that I understand if you are hesitant to be open about having OCD. But I also want you to know that talking to others who do have OCD can be amazing. Even if you have different types of OCD. You may listen to their story like “Why in the world are you freaked out about that? I wish I had that problem!” (which will probably happen), but you can still understand how incredibly real their struggle is to them. And vice versa.
With your help and participation, we can make this website a type of virtual group therapy—a place where we can go for validation and help when we feel like no one else gets it. Because chances are good we all face times like that.
(Participation, you say? How? What? Well…go to “Register” and fill out a profile! Then you can post questions and comment/answer other people’s questions in the forum)