Okay, I’ll just get right to it. I can’t stand it when people say “I’m so OCD.” And I’m not sure why, but it seems as if this phrase is being used more than ever these days. It’s not just the fact that OCD is a noun and not an adjective, and therefore the statement is grammatically incorrect. No, there are other reasons why this expression makes me cringe every time I hear or read it.
For starters, OCD is a neurologically based anxiety disorder marked by obsessions and compulsions that are beyond the sufferer’s control. It has the potential to lead to total disability. So for someone to say “I’m so OCD” in reference to some anal retentive behavior such as keeping one’s apartment neat trivializes the true meaning of the disorder. OCD is already misunderstood in our society, and this misuse of the acronym only makes things worse. Yes, as an advocate for OCD awareness, I may be more sensitive than others in this regard, but hey, it’s my pet peeve.
To complicate matters more, what most people mean when they say “I’m so OCD” is “I’m so OCPD.” Yes, they are both still grammatically incorrect, but OCPD, or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, is marked by the same anal retentive behavior that most people are referring to when they say “I’m so OCD.” OCD and OCPD are two distinct disorders, and one of the many differences is that those with OCD know that their behavior is not rational, while those with OCPD believe their way is the right way. More on OCD vs OCPD in another post.
But what bothers me most about “I’m so OCD” actually goes back to the improper grammar of it all. Not because I’m a stickler for grammar, but because of the connotation of the statement. To me, it’s like saying, “I’m so cerebral palsy” or “I’m so cancer.” We all deal with diseases or other differences in ourselves or our loved ones, and I think the last thing most of us want is to be defined by our disorders or illnesses. They are but a small part of who we are. My son has OCD. It is something he has, not something he is.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. And thanks for letting me vent.