WHY?

WHY?

WHY?

ERADICATING STIGMA

Shame. I experienced a lot of shame. People don't take it seriously, so I thought that if I seek treatment, people will think I'm over reacting. I thought I was over reacting.

- M.V.

The perception of OCD as a "clean freak" doesn't begin to cover it.  

- H.G.

I told my mom and she said, "You know that's irrational- I don't understand how you can't just stop doing that, and walk away when you know it doesn't make sense." She compared me one day to my grandmother, who has struggled with severe mental illness; she said "I don't want you to be like Mimi and have to call your therapist every time you need to take a shit."

- A.W.

"I'm such a perfectionist". You don't understand what that means to someone with OCD-level perfectionism. It's a laughing matter to them but it's definitely not to me. It's like almost used as a joke- "Well I'm so OCD," and it's like, "Well, no you're not. That's not what that is."

- E.B.

They don't see the pain- even in cleaning compulsions. They think that it's just something that people with OCD like doing and they say, "Oh, she's just quirky; she has a lot of quirks,"  but really what they should be saying is, "She's in pain; she's experiencing a lot of pain."

- M.F.

There's like certain, social attitudes toward mental health as a barrier. People don't view it the same way they do physical health, like something everyone should do as a way of self-improvement. I waited until it was a crisis.

- J.A.

EDUCATING OTHERS

STIGMA

The stigma for OCD is mostly invalidating OCD as a character quirk or perfectionism, fastidiousness, when really it's really scary. I would want people to know how horrifying and debilitating it really is. It's a very serious illness. I want people to understand the gravity of it.

- A.H.

I think probably what I think is most important to remember is that OCD is like a life-long condition. It doesn't get cured. You're constantly battling your brain and I think people with OCD are some of the most mentally strong people I've ever met and whose mental strength is the most unappreciated of any population.

- E.B.

Two people can have OCD and have completely opposite symptoms. One person can be messy and the other can be completely clean and have everything in a very rigid structured order, and they both could be equally sick. It takes pretty much any form, you can't really draw a stereotype of someone with OCD and have it be completely accurate. The OCD phenotype is all over the place.

- J.A.

I used to do commercial acting work, so in LA when they start casting Christmas commercials, everyone is bundled up all cute and hallmark-y. This woman there was wearing a shirt that said "OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder". 

They say, "OCD", but they mean cleanliness, orderliness, neatness perfectionist, or like a personality quirk. People aren't familiar with what it really means.

- A.H.

The lady asked if I was working and I said, "No, I'm on disability." She asked, "What for?". I said, "OCD," and she said, "You don't have to say any more. You probably had the cleanest office when you were working." She was handling my money so I laughed a little bit and then I just walked away.

- M.V.

EXPANDING REPRESENTATION OF diverse SYMPTOM PRESENTATIONS

STIGMA

At my worst, I was practically mute. If I was going to speak, I had to make sure I thought through the exact sentence I was going to say before I said it out loud and that would get really complicated because by the time I thought of what I would say the conversation had shifted to something new.

- M.F.

I had a debilitating fear of choking on food, so I wasn't able to eat food at all...also debilitating fears about blasphemy before God. I wasn't eating and was very concerned morally...that constant nagging fear that I did blasphemy against God, that that was always happening; also self-deprecating thoughts. In the evenings, it was the worst; Self-critical statements with profanity, almost abusive.

- A.H.

When I was first diagnosed I thought you could contract a developmental disorder, like if I touched a surface that was touched by someone with a developmental disorder I could contract that disorder. I don't think this is the shit that the media shows.

- H.G.

With perfectionism, I was in a major depressive episode, stemming around "I'm trying my best; why is it not good enough?". I was spending hours ritualizing with cutting stuff up into the same size which would help me calm down. The apartment that I lived in was a disaster. The scabs on my chest, back, hands, face- there was at least a handful of them that were infected.

- E.B.

For me, at my worst it was 12+ consecutive hours standing on the stairs; punching myself repeatedly in the face; trashing my room to quiet the thoughts; repeating words over and over again; having to pray for every thought that crossed my mind.

- M.V.

At my worst, I was rapidly and consistently losing weight because I was afraid to eat food, and drink water. I had pre/post meal rituals, and was actively ritualizing for at least 8 hours daily. There was a lot of counting– I counted steps, I counted shoes, I counted words, I counted breaths, I counted scratches, I counted movements, I counted everything.

- A.W.

Quirk

Quirk