Monday, January 28, 2013

Sensitivity Training

OCD has become a pretty commonly used term.  It's thrown around a lot in pop culture to describe peoples' pet peeves, or someone who is meticulous about order or cleanliness, as in, "I'm really OCD about my coffee, I have to prepare it in a certain way", or, "Don't let her catch you with water near the keyboard. She's totally OCD".  Sometimes, to explain my odd behaviours, I'll say, "Sorry, I have OCD, so that's why I'm...(insert weird thing like hyperventilating, stomping my feet or ripping my jacket off) and I'll get the response, "Oh, I get it, I'm totally OCD, too.  I hate germs". I try not to get too bothered about this stuff - I know people aren't trying to be hurtful or insensitive, but to be honest, but it has a way of minimizing the daily difficulty of living with the disorder.  In addition to that, it creates a real challenge to be open and share when I feel like I have to legitimize the problem.  I'm certain that this is only misunderstanding and not intentional ignorance, so here we go.  Let's start understanding!  Check out this (really awesome) excerpt from the Canadian Mental Health Association...

"While worries and doubts, superstitions and rituals are common, OCD occurs when worries become obsessions, and compulsive rituals are so excessive that they dominate a person’s life. It is as if the brain is a scratched vinyl record, forever skipping at the same groove and repeating one fragment of song...these thoughts cannot be stopped or ignored, even though the person usually knows they are unrealistic. Often, a person’s obsessions are accompanied by feelings of fear, disgust and doubt, or the belief that certain activities have to be done in a certain manner...People with OCD try to relieve their obsessions by performing compulsive rituals, over and over again, and often according to certain “rules”. Typical compulsions are washing, checking and arranging things, and counting. These actions give them only temporary relief from their anxiety" -

I know what you're thinking.  Maybe I DO have OCD!  But how would I KNOW?  Yes, years of research and the best medical minds have come up with actual tests that you can take in mental health facilities.  But that sounds like work.  So I've created my own little 3-question internet quiz to avoid the hassle.

You're probably not OCD if...
You are disgusted by germs and you scrub your fingernails eight times a day.
You might be OCD if....
You lay awake at night thinking that eight germs are chewing your fingernails off.

You're probably not OCD if...
You have to go back to the car to make sure you locked it.
You might be OCD if....
You have to lock and unlock the door seven times, then crawl underneath it and sing "Greased Lightning".

You're probably not OCD if...
You like things in a certain order on your desk and you have to re-arrange them before you work.
You might be OCD if....
You like people in a certain order in your office and you have to re-arrange them before you work.
See? Who needs science?

P.S. I've been looking for pictures to accompany these posts, but let's be honest, any OCD-related pictures are going to be pretty depressing, and Steven doesn't usually take a picture of me during an anxiety attack.  But.  Ta da!  This is a picture he took camping after he had trapped me in the hammock.  If you'll notice, I'm wearing his (clean) socks on my hands.  This is not only because mosquitoes LOVE my blood and I was getting eaten alive, but because I can't stand the way my hands feel when I'm camping and I get really anxious - oh, and by the way, I also can't handle the texture of normal gloves - nothing helps.  Introduce...camping gloves!


  1. That picture is cute :) I love that he trapped you in there; what a sweet hubby he is to take such good care of you! Haha!

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