“I clean my desk every day. I’m a little bit OCD.”
We have all likely used a phrase similar to that at some point in our lives.
It may seem an innocent quip, but it’s an ill informed one.
In a culture — even as enlightened as our own — when the stigma of “coming out” as mentally ill still causes huge anxiety, we do need to think before we speak.
It is a fact that you can be no more “A little bit OCD” than “A little bit MND”.
OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, destroys lives and is in no way a pleasant, positive personality quip.
I suffer from the condition and there are times I want to take a hammer to my skull such is the pressure of the repetitive and irrational thoughts.
Thankfully, as a society we’ve largely moved beyond telling people with depression to “man up”.
There are some, though, who believe and regurgitate the tired and redundant cliches.
“Men don’t complain” and “Perk up” are still recycled by decent people.
This isn’t a pop. I’m not on my soapbox — 99.9% of people I have confided in have been warm and patient. The world is largely full of good folk.
There is still some way to go, however.
And while events like the recently completed Mental Health Awareness Week are welcome creations, we need more than taglines and hashtags to tackle this problem.
Dealing with the internal warfare that is living with mental illness is hard enough without being confronted with stigma.
Sometimes we just need to think before we speak.