This blog is a little off topic, but since it’s my blog I guess that I can choose the topics. Anyway, today I would like to write about my newest pet peeve: when people use the term “OCD” to describe mildly obsessive or orderly tendencies. I hear it all the time in instances like these examples I found on Twitter:
im really nervous about wearing the same shoes two days in a row
I find great satisfaction when I can close tabs on my computer
If you do a Twitter search under #ocd you’ll find an endless list of such posts. It’s not just on social media; I hear people use the term “OCD” in everyday conversation more and more often. And it bugs the hell out of me. “Oh my God, I must have over a hundred pairs of shoes. I’m so OCD.” “I spent an hour alphabetizing my DVD’s because I’m so OCD.”
No. You’re not.
First of all, OCD isn’t an adjective. It stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it’s an anxiety disorder that is highly disruptive to those who suffer from it. This post isn’t about those people who truly suffer from OCD, diagnosed or undiagnosed. It’s for the overwhelming majority of people who use the term as a catch-all for even the slightest neurotic tendency.
Being perfectionistic or desirous of order doesn’t make you “OCD”. It makes you someone who likes things a certain way. If you really did have OCD, you’d know it. And your biggest problem wouldn’t be that your DVD’s weren’t in alphabetical order. What you mean to say is that you’re a perfectionist, or anal-retentive about cleanliness. Perhaps you enjoy collecting things or keeping your house organized. It’s most likely not a compulsive mental illness, it’s just what you prefer.
I don’t find it offensive when people misuse the term, I just think it’s annoying from a grammatical standpoint. It probably doesn’t matter to most people, but I guess I’m just…nit picky…that way.