When I came across the following satirical piece I wanted to climb on the nearest chair and slow clap. What a brilliant way to express what it feels like when your suffering is misunderstood, seemingly minimizing it. I wrote a piece on just that. You can read it here.
New Strain of “Super OCD” Sweeping the Nation
By Holly Tousignant || The Toast
Experts across the country are warning that America is in the throes
of a new mental health epidemic. Over the past decade, psychologists
have reported record numbers of those who suffer from being, like,
suuuuper OCD – and the figures are only getting worse.
“Super OCD” is not to be confused with textbook obsessive compulsive
disorder, which can be characterized by unwanted compulsive rituals and
disturbing intrusive thoughts that detract from one’s quality of life.
Rather, those who are super OCD report experiencing symptoms that
include adherence to conventions of basic human hygiene and really
liking their pencils to be sharp.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Amy Smith, whose harrowing journey to
acceptance began when she took an online quiz that one time which gauged
her reaction to disturbing images like crooked pictures and floor tiles
that don’t match up.
“When I see something that is uneven, it kind of bugs me. Almost no
one else feels this way; I am very unique,” Smith confessed. “I’m able
to forget about the uneven thing as soon as I look away, but for those
few seconds the mild displeasure is overwhelming.”
Jane Lee first suspected she was super OCD after she spent a
leisurely afternoon alphabetizing her collection of cookbooks. Her fears
were confirmed when a co-worker wore mismatched socks to the office and
she felt compelled to look away.
“I’ll be out with friends and everything is going fine, and then
something will happen – someone will drop a slice or pizza or spill wine
down my shirt, so I’ll say ‘better clean that up.’ And everyone will
just go silent,” Lee said. “It’s like the elephant in the room.”
Lee experienced the stigma associated with the illness firsthand when
her cousin Jen, who has conventional obsessive compulsive disorder,
suggested that Lee was not, in fact, super OCD.
“For some people mental illness means debilitating panic attacks and
uncontrollable, repetitive actions, and for others it means preferring
your jackets face the same way in your closet,” Lee said. “It’s a
Psychiatrist Dr. Frank Black studies the disorder and deems himself a
pioneer in the field. According to Black, super OCD is still considered
a fringe issue, with many health professionals unwilling to classify it
as “something that exists.”
“Some of my colleagues would define mental illness as that which
‘interferes with people’s lives,’ but I think that’s a narrow-minded way
of looking at things,” he said. “I had this one patient who would
sometimes double-check that he’d locked his car. The seconds it took for
him to do that are seconds he’ll never get back.”
Black has dedicated his career to developing treatment strategies for
patients like Amy and Jane, and he hopes other brave sufferers will
continue to come out of their immaculate closets and seek the therapy
“If I can help even one person hang their blue sweaters next to their red sweaters, I know I’ll have done my job.”