I recently wrote a post about the wonders of researching and of the miraculous invention known as g00gle.
I was reminded of this when wondering why something in the book I’d just read didn’t gel for me.
Don’t get me wrong; there was nothing particularly crappy about the book. I liked the writing style, the story line and the characters. I also thought the issue of mental health was handled reasonably well, especially for m/m where BDSM, the magical healing cock and twu wuv fix all ills.
It was then I realised what it was that was needling me. It was all to do with one of the characters being described as OCD.
I think ‘OCD’ tends to be a throw-away term to refer to those who are picky, have persnickety ways, etc, etc. We – and, yes, I’m including myself – tend to use it in a laughing kind of way. Not nasty per se, but jokingly pointing out the funny-oddness of fussy habits.
As I said, I was one of those people, and I still am in many ways.
OCD was always something I used to describe myself and the things I did. I was being half-serious about it at the time because deep down I knew it was a very, real issue. Indeed, my ‘OCD’ became irrevocably embedded in my mental health in the lead up to my ‘episode’ in early 2011 and continues to play a major role in my daily life.
Without a doubt, this, and my mental health as a whole, makes me overly sensitive to the world around me, including characterisations and descriptions trying to portray these kind of a problems.
Regardless, I have to say it…
Dear Authors, Is it that hard to fucking research? You seem to be able to use the internet for promo, tweeting about sucky reviews, looking at porn, etc. Did you not know you could actually find out other stuff besides certain sexual positions being urban legends or not? Wankers. Love, Me.
OCD is not about a way of doing things to a level of perfectionism a person might have towards their job, their home, their hobby. OCD is not a quirk or a trait or a habit that comes and goes depending on whether a person is working, cleaning, gardening, building lego, whatever. And OCD is certainly not something which magically re/disappears.
Perhaps this is why obsessive and compulsive are used in the actual descriptor of the term, not to mention the behaviours themselves? Could be. Maybe there are even different kinds of disorders associated with these behaviours? I know, right. What about there being two ‘OC’s’ out there; one relating to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the other to Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, and that they mean different things?! Wow.
Isn’t it amazing what you can research on the internet by just typing in 3 letters.
If there are any authors out there who still read this blog, why don’t you let loose and look up the definition of ‘compulsion’? Oh, hell. Forget about it. Why don’t I just give you the link.
Are you beginning to get a sense of how not-throw-away that ‘OCD’ thing is? Want some further insight into compulsive behaviours? Okay then.
It’s not being able to leave your house without going through your routine of making sure everything is put away, wiped down and tidy in every room of the house and all floors have been swept and cleaned. It’s making sure all the notes and lists to yourself are updated throughout the day. It’s whoknowshowmanytimes-checking all the windows and doors are locked and closed before you got out. It’s even turning the car around to go back and check the windows and doors just to make sure. It’s when you and everyone else who knows you realises ‘making sure’ is what you use to refer to your compulsion to do things that may or may not be rational to anyone else but you. It’s when you keep getting up from watching the telly at night to get the dust pan and brush to sweep up the cat fur et al only you can see. It’s when you put them back in their proper place and soon the cycle starts all over again. It’s when two years after having the family over for Christmas you still can’t get the coffee table back into it’s proper position. It’s having a panic attack because you’re running out of time to get somewhere, but you HAVE to clean the floor one last time. It’s sitting on the floor weeping because you can’t get rid of a dirty spot on the floor even when you’re the only one who sees it. It’s using turpentine and bleach on your hands to get rid of stains. It’s when one of your new friends in art class asks what’s going on, but it’s only after she pulls you away from cleaning up after someone else to show you you’ve been going around the room and lining things up that you realise something is wrong. It’s when the only control you have in your life – in what’s going on in your head – is what you can do, what you have to do, to make you feel more safe and secure. It’s when the thought of leaving your safe space terrifies you to the point of having hysterics and panic attacks. It’s your doctors telling you some of you compulsive traits will probably require hospitalisation and intensive therapy to break. It’s when - no matter how hard you try - you CAN’T stop. You just can’t.
Doesn’t sound so fucking easy as ‘OCD’ now, does it.