Writers, Stop Saying You’re OCD

First off, when someone writes, “I’m OCD about my writing.” that doesn’t even make sense. And second, it’s a stupid thing to say. Do you have any idea what it’s like to live with OCD? Seriously, any idea at all? No? Then shut up. Do you think it would be acceptable for other people to say that they’re autistic when it comes to something? Or that they’re dyslexic when they’re not? But it’s somehow okay for you to go around saying you’re so OCD about your writing? See how dumb that sounds?

You want to say you’re attentive to detail with your writing, then say that. You want to say you’re a perfectionist with your writing, then say it. But let me tell you as someone who knows exactly what OCD is like, it isn’t just being a perfectionist. It isn’t just being attentive to detail. It’s not something that you can understand unless you’ve been around it. I have. You probably haven’t.

Let me give you a slight glimpse into what I’ve seen. We all have our daily routines, right? We don’t even have to think about them. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Whatever it may be. But think about if you were so particular about what you’re doing that the time it took for you to get ready for work everyday doubled. Think of having to do every single task exactly the same every time. Think of sitting in your car and having to change the radio exactly the same number of times before you can settle on the channel you started on. Think of having to wash your hands constantly just because you have to. Think of losing your job because your OCD has you so consumed by minor tasks that you can never get to work on time. Think of your home having to be spotless 24/7. Not clean, spotless. Think of no one understanding your behavior but proceeding to judge you anyway. And the thing is that I just barely hit the tip of the iceberg about OCD. There are many more things I could mention that the average person just won’t get.

I bet you read all of those things thinking that it’s not a big deal, and that’s the problem. You don’t get it. And you never will.

You should read up on what OCD really is before you go off saying how OCD you are about something. Otherwise you just look like an ignorant prick.

22 thoughts on “Writers, Stop Saying You’re OCD

  1. My mother-in-law was really bad when my husband was a child. She had to vacuum so all the lines in the carpet were just so, and if you stepped on one she’d freak out. She was prescribed something, and has struggled her whole life to be less anxious and attached to routine. And I don’t even think she’s full-blown OCD. It’s a terrible thing to have, because it makes you a hostage in your own life.

    I usually just say I’m very particular about my bookshelves, or my writing. Because that’s the truth.

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    • My brother is the same. But it’s never really gotten better for him and he’s 45. My family is huge and he doesn’t talk to any of us. And there’s nothing we can do. Even if we showed up at his door he wouldn’t come out. But oh well.

      And yes, that’s what I’d say. I’d never say I’m OCD about anything. Ever.

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  2. My son was OCD, mildly, compared to many with that trouble, but “mildly” wasn’t good enough to give him a normal life. He suffered from other afflictions that have initials ascribed to them as well. ADHD, for one, and panic disorder. My son died in 2012, and I miss him. I wish I could have him back to tell him again that I love him. It’s true that we sometimes unknowingly make light of things that bring pain and suffering to others. We should stop it and quit looking ignorant. Blessings to you, John…

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  3. I don’t know if I have OCD or not. But I’ve struggled greatly with keeping my home spotless and get very distressed if anything is out of place; had trouble allowing people to help me with things because it has to be done precisely as I want it even down to putting items in a grocery cart, loading bags into car and helping put them away; the way clothing is folded, spots of water on counters or smudges on anything, anything laying on carpet or floor that should not be there; having everything in a specific place on my desk when I worked and at home. I’ve been slowly working on trying to be less obsessive since I had cancer in 2011 and went through treatment through most of 2012. My body couldn’t handle the stress and it came to a point where I just couldn’t do the stuff anymore. Now, I try to walk away from certain things that bother me and fight with it. Again, not even sure that it’s OCD but it has been a bit debilitating for me and my family.

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    • To add to this, I cannot take anything on my skin like lint from clothing. I also cannot stand to get food on my hands. I would rather have dirt from the ground. To me, OCD is not sensible in a lot of ways. One thing could be so terribly bothersome yet something else doesn’t phase me. Not sure what to make of that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m obviously not going to sit here and say that you do or don’t have something, but everything you described sounded very much like what I’ve been around. And it’s difficult to deal with, for anyone close to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can only speculate what it’s like from the other side of this. As I’ve become more aware of my actions and obsessions, my grown children have confirmed how much of an annoyance it’s been for them. My youngest has told me several times recently that our home is abnormally clean. That there is no one that she knows who has a house like ours.

        I am glad that I am becoming more aware of how much time this takes and I’m slowly letting go of some of my routines.

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  4. I agree 1000x. It drives me nuts. People do it all the time with various mental disorders- “oh man, I’m so depressed”… no, you’re sad and you’ll be fine tomorrow. Depression is a debilitating disease that doesn’t just mean that you’re sad. I don’t have it personally but I know how hurtful it is to people I know with depression.
    It bugs me that people do it only to mental disorders. You wouldn’t compare yourself to a paraplegic or something, so why is it okay when it’s a debilitating mental disorder?

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  5. I don’t remember if I’ve ever said this as a writer. If I have, my bad.

    I’ve treated many patients for physical problems, but a lot of what got in their way was their OCD. I truly felt terrible for them.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I approve this rant. 🙂

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  6. Cosign 100%. It really irks me to hear anyone claim they’re “OCD” about anything. Misuse of terms irks in general irks me – no you aren’t “acting schizo,” random hypothetical person.

    While my Dad and I both show some OCD symptoms (legit ones, like intrusive thoughts. Not just the need to be clean), I think we’re really just control freaks. There is a big difference between being anal retentive and having a mental disorder. Being a control freak doesn’t usually interfere with your life – OCD does.

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  7. Well I have OCD, but it’s much better now. There are still a lot to work on, i guess forever.
    OCD about writing, wow… never knew that it’s a thing now, lol.
    Wow… people will say anything.

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  8. It annoys me in general when people say ‘I’m OCD about….’. I have a Psychology degree and have studied OCD so much and its like..well no you’re not, you choose to do that. I imagine living with OCD is a nightmare so I get annoyed when they say it

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  9. I can’t say I’m OCD about anything. My wife says I’m OCD about leaving my clothes on the floor, but I don’t think that is the same thing.

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  10. Hmm… well I’m sure I have said it once or twice before in my life. Never out of disrespect or anything like that, but because I’ve honestly felt I have certain ticks when I write that are very compulsive (I do them every single time I’m about to sit down and write anything and I can’t seem to not do them). It’s frustrating because I can’t seem to get started until my tick’s settled. My mother also has OCD that has its good days and its bad. When stress gets to her, it’s like nothing can be done right and everything is dirty or smelly, or (on the REALLY bad days) she can’t even leave the house.

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  11. Pingback: January’s Great Start to 2015 | Write me a book, John!

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