Thursday, October 12, 2017

OCD Week and the Importance of Awareness

Sometimes, it's the society that's really insane.
It's 2017 OCD Week!  I can't believe it has been a year already.  Once again, it is time to raise our voices together to try to build more awareness about what OCD really is.

This week comes every year right around Halloween.  I was actually at a haunted house recently that reminded me of how important OCD Week really is.

I hadn't been to a haunted house in like 10 years, but my fiancé and I were looking for something fun and different to do.  And it was fun.  Four different themed haunted houses with pop-out scares... including one simply titled "Insane Asylum."

Now, I'm not one of those people who demands complete political correctness at all times. I understand why the "Insane Asylum" has become a Halloween staple. Mentally ill can sometimes mean unpredictable, which can in turn sometimes mean dangerous, which is something that people fear.  

But the problem is, most mentally ill people are not dangerous; they're just tortured and hurting.  On top of that, a number of the mentally ill people who are "dangerous" are only in danger of causing harm to themselves.

Insane asylums are all but gone at this point, because the scariest part of them was not the patients themselves but how many people were mistreated. If you actually look into the history of "Insane Asylums", it is very disturbing and horrifying... but not in the fun Halloween way.  I had to try and put those realities behind me and just enjoy the rest of the night, facing more "fun" villains like clowns and masked monsters.

But I couldn't help but realize that I have considered committing myself in the past to some sort of mental health facility.  I have never been dangerous, but more than once I have been so scared and overwhelmed by the intrusive thoughts that accompany OCD that I have considered seeking refuge somewhere that intensive treatment could be provided.  

I was lucky enough to have family support.  I had a diagnosis and I had access to outpatient mental healthcare.  I was secure enough in my position that I didn't feel the need to hide that something was wrong or deny that I had a mental illness that needed treatment.  Unfortunately, many are not so lucky.

I know someone who is currently facing serious mental health issues.  She not only clearly struggles with some mental illness, she also deals with some other problems as well.  The worst part is, I'm not sure that she knows life can be any better.  Her family does not discuss such matters.  Their pride and the stigma related to any mental "defect" stop them from dealing with the problems.

I hope that soon we can all get to the point that we stop judging people for the mental problems that they face.  I hope that enough people raise awareness that we stop seeing the mentally ill as haunted house characters, and start to see them as real people.  The less stigma attached to mental illness, the more people will feel like they can come forward and get the help that they need.

Therapy and medication are nothing to be ashamed of.  Whether it is OCD or Schizophrenia or Borderline Personality Disorder... it is okay to admit you have a problem.  Working to become the best person that you can be... acknowledging and facing your shortcomings and making changes to fix them?That's bravery.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you are having a good week.

  2. Beautiful words, Laura, and well stated.

    1. Thank you! I really wanted to contribute to raising awareness during OCD Week.

  3. Nice, thanks for sharing