It's time to end the short-sighted stereotyping of OCD. I can't tell you how many people I've encountered who think OCD is a "neat freak" quirk. I truly wish they understood that It's so much more than that and that its symptoms are unique to each person.
For starters, my OCD isn't even associated with neatness. For crying out loud, my room is a mess, my backpack is filled with fruit snack wrappers, and my car is usually a mobile accessory store filled with earrings and purses.
Instead, my OCD is connected with obsessive thoughts. I go throughout my day trying to do normal everyday tasks, but then my thoughts take over. Suddenly what was a great and happy day turns into a huge emotional ordeal. My brain cannot let go of certain thoughts. The best way to describe it is to imagine your worst thoughts playing over and over like a broken record. This often leads to major anxiety and emotional breakdowns.
The thing is, it's hard for people to relate to me. They associate my mental illness with a social stereotype and when I don't fit that, they get confused or write me off as misdiagnosed. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely people with OCD that struggle with cleaning compulsions and that battle is also very difficult. I am not dismissing their pain at all. Though I believe they can resonate with me in the fact that the reality of their battle is rarely portrayed accurately.
I wish people would educate themselves with OCD before labeling every single person with OCD as someone who obsessively cleans. I wish people would stop and think when they hear or see these stereotypes portrayed; that they would have the insight to realize that these things are nowhere close to the fully reality of what it's like to live with OCD.