“Oh my OCD acts up so much when..”
“Does anyone get OCD about their linen closet? I can’t stand when it’s messy”.
“I am OCD about ________”.
And here’s my personal favourite: “we should hold an OCD support meeting at our house! They’d clean the entire thing for us!”.
Living with OCD
Let me start off with saying OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is a medical diagnosis, not a catch phrase. It’s often paired with another neurological disorder like ASD or anxiety. It doesn’t mean that I spend my days organizing piles, but rather battle a chemical imbalance that makes normal things often seem super scary, like germs (although the “scary” thoughts can differ from case to case).
I’ve had this for probably half of my life, although my doctor thinks childbirth is what triggered it, as it usually stems from a strong, unbalanced desire to protect your loved ones. I’d like to come on here and say I manage it well, that it doesn’t really impact anything, but it does. Add a pandemic (read: germs, and many of them), and well, one look at my hands would tell you I’m struggling.
Beyond the Smiles
And like other neurological disorders, it doesn’t always show. There are days when I can do more, visit a few stores and meet a friend for coffee (pre-pandemic). And there are days where I hide inside and sit in a ball on the couch because that way I don’t have to touch anything. There are days when my husband sees the person he married and days where he can’t find her under all of the anxiety and fear.
So while posting something like this makes want to crawl in a hole, please know that these squares and the smiles behind them don’t always paint a true picture. It’s often said a picture says 1000 words (as in filter, smiles, nice kitchen), but I think we need to also look for signs that someone is struggling and reach out to them, or at the very least, stop using their disability as an adjective.
This article was included in a Mental Health series, the collaboration was intended to keep the conversation going and to encourage readers to look beyond the smiles when it comes to maternal mental health.
You can view the other articles here
Maternal Mental Health- ADHD & Anxiety, by Christine Coughlin
Mom’s Mental Health- Depression & Anxiety, By Codi Darnell