I have resisted writing this post for quite some time, as I feel it is politically incorrect to stereotype any one group of people. But for some inexplicable reason, I’ve recently mustered the courage to say what I’ve wanted to say for a long time:
People with OCD are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
I base this statement on my own experience. I know what you’re thinking: “Of course she feels that way. Her son has OCD.” But really, everyone who knows him will tell you; he is thoughtful, gentle, sensitive, and kind, and would do anything for those he cares about. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally (any bugs found in the house during Dan’s formative years had to be lovingly placed outside, not stepped on or squashed). And it’s not just Dan. I personally know quite a few people who have obsessive compulsive disorder and I would describe them all the same way. The blogs I read as well as the people I’ve connected with via the internet only reinforce my belief.
It’s not unusual for those with anxiety disorders to avoid conflict. They may be described as “people pleasers,” and have trouble saying “no.” They may avoid hurting anyone’s feelings at all costs, and almost always put others needs before their own. Not surprisingly, this type of behavior often exacerbates anxiety and the sufferer can easily lose his or her sense of self.
But that’s not what I’m talking about when I say those with OCD are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I’m talking about their core, their essence, the people they truly are, not a specific way they feel they have to act.
Thinking about it, I wonder if really “nice” people who are predisposed to OCD are more likely to develop the disorder than others who may be predisposed. Let me give you an example. When I was a first-time mother, I remember having the thought, more than once, that I could drop my baby at anytime; just let go and she would fall. I remember thinking it was odd that the thought kept popping into my head, but beyond that I put no weight on it. It was just a thought that floated by. But maybe, if I were “nicer,” (as described above), the fact that I could even “think” of hurting my baby would have been so upsetting to me that maybe I would have gone down a different path: “How could I think such a thing? I must really want to hurt my baby. I’m not fit to be a mother. I shouldn’t even be allowed to be around my baby.”
As I’ve learned about OCD and how all of our brains work, I know that we all have these types of thoughts and they mean nothing. Our minds have minds of their own; that’s just how they work. But when these thoughts weigh heavily on us, even horrify us, we begin to attach meaning to them that doesn’t really exist, thereby opening the door just enough for OCD, which plays on the sufferer’s deepest fears, to sneak in.
Does this make sense to anybody, or am I way off base?