What OCD is not . . .

An ice cube tray with an even number of cubes removed, the remaining cubes in a pleasing, symmetrical pattern.  This is not a symptom of OCD by itself.
An affinity for symmetry and organization is not OCD. Feeling agitated by mess and disarray is not OCD. This was how I removed ice cubes this morning. I do not have OCD.

OCD is not being picky.

It is not liking symmetry and order.

OCD is not being very tidy and getting upset when people mess up your space.

It is not going into someone else’s messy space and wondering how they can live like that.

OCD is not having a routine that you follow every day.

It is not liking things to be done or organized in a particular way.

OCD is not getting irritated when a pizza isn’t cut symmetrically or someone is walking around with one shoe untied.

It is not having an urge to tie someone else’s untied shoe or to “even up” something that was arranged unevenly.

All of my kitchen spices are alphabetized. The shirts in my closet are organized by color, dark to light. I have made myself the exact same thing for breakfast every morning for the past 3 years. I hate clutter and knick-knacks. I like clean, modern design. I clean my kitchen every night; I do not go to bed until the dishes are done. I sweep and vacuum every day. I put things away when I am finished using them. I always buy the same brand and style of pen, in the same ink color. I am particular about my handwriting. I won’t buy a journal or planner unless the pages are white (not cream or off-white). I only like silver jewelry, not gold. I think and think and think before spending money on something that isn’t a necessity. Sometimes I weigh the pros and cons between the generic and the brand-name item in the grocery store, even if the price difference is only ten cents. When I take ice cubes out of the ice cube tray every morning (for my breakfast routine), I always take out an even number and I take them out so they leave a pattern that is pleasing to my eyes. If the last person left an uneven number of ice cubes in the tray, I take out an extra one, so the remaining cubes are in a pleasing, symmetrical pattern. I always use the Oxford comma and two spaces after a period–and I cannot stand it when others do not.

I do not have OCD.

Maybe you do some quirky things like I do. Maybe you think people like me are nuts. Either way, it’s not OCD. I’ve seen the memes. “You know you are OCD when . . . ” and a picture of a pizza cut HORRIBLY! Or one curtain that is an inch shorter than the other three. Before OCD was a reality in our family, I would have thought the memes were funny, too. I don’t think they’re funny anymore. Now, when I see those memes, it makes me think of someone wearing a scarf over their full head of hair and posting a selfie, “Look, I have cancer!”

Not funny.

You don’t make cancer jokes.

OCD jokes aren’t funny, either.

I’m not mad at people who post the memes or take “How OCD are you” quizzes. I understand, they’ve never experienced it. It seems like it might be a fun disorder. People might even think they have OCD because they will ALWAYS cut their pizza beautifully and replace those mis-matched curtains.

That’s not OCD.

OCD isn’t any fun and it isn’t funny.

How do you know if you’re not just quirky, if you actually have OCD?

If it’s preventing you from living your life.

The average person with OCD waits 17 years before getting real treatment. It’s not comedy, it’s a tragedy.

The next post will be descriptions of obsessions and compulsions, and how the two combine to make obsessive compulsive disorder.


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