Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD. It’s serious stuff. In fact the latest DSM-5 contains a whole chapter on “Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders”!
The DSM-5, for those unfamiliar with this handy little reference book, is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as published by the American Psychiatric Association (www.dsm5.org). If you’ve never seen it, have a flick through. Go on! I guarantee that you’ll diagnose yourself with at least 7 conditions on first glance and probably a further 236 sub-conditions on more in depth reading.
Joking aside, it’s a very serious, detailed and hefty publication used to diagnose and treat millions of people the world over. The sad thing is that we probably all feature in there somewhere, ergo, according to the DSM-5, we all have a mental disorder. That disorder, in my opinion, is that we’re human. And many ‘Mental Disorders’ are, again in my opinion, actually incredibly sophisticated coping strategies for other things. Sadly Western psychiatry sees these amazing coping strategies as disorders – problems to be treated and medicated against.
But I digress. My current mental (self-)diagnosis is one of an incredibly healthy, full-filling, life-enriching OCD.
This is what my photo roll currently looks like on my phone:
I’m obsessed with cute pictures, inspirational words and life messages that make me stop and think!!! They’re in my photo albums, on my wallpaper, my desktop, all over my apartment and (probably sometimes soon) inked onto my body and stuck to the insides of my eyelids.
So how can I be so sure that this OCD is a healthy one? It’s a fine line right? When does healthy eating become an eating disorder? When does keeping fit become body image issues? Because each time I look at one of these images, I feel good inside. It takes me to a better place. It challenges my approach. It makes me think.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not trivializing a serious mental health condition here. I have a lived experience of mental health so I do understand that for some people, OCD can be debilitating and a horrible experience. But I am saying that putting energy into and obsessing over things that mean our glass goes from half full to overflowing, is time incredibly well spent!