19 OCD Memes (how it perpetuates mental health stigma)

In this blog, we look at OCD memes, after which we discuss what OCD is, what are its symptoms and signs, and how its treatment works. We end the  blog by discussing how OCD memes may sometimes end up creating more stigma and causing harm.

OCD memes

Compilation of 20+ memes from around the internet

  1. um humm. 
  1. Who is making thi rules?
  1. New number, who dis?
  1. No jokes
  1. Oops..!
  1. One more time?
  1. The struggle is real.. 
  1. Oh boy!
  1. You know where to find your car now!
  1. The scales are tipping..
  1. My compulsions can wait..
  1. Not that simple!
  1. IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW!`
  1. Interesting..?!
  1. Joke or stigma?
  1. You’ve got a point mate!
  1. Are they, though?
  1. You’ve got nothing on me. 
  1. Perks!
  1. Tell me more..
  1. I need help!
  1. Shocking!

What is OCD?

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.”(APA) 

A diagnosis of OCD requires the presence of obsession and/or compulsions that are time-consuming (more than one hour a day), cause major distress, and impair work, social or other important function.

There  can be various kinds of OCD themes like:

  • Contamination: a person feels there are germs on them, or around them. They lead to acts like hand washing, clothes washing, taking a bath, cleaning etc. 
  • Checking: this is usually done to overcome the fear of hurting self or others, by checking locks, gas knobs, etc over and over. People with such OCD often end up developing rituals, like checking the door 17 times or turning the knob off 20 times before going to bed. 
  • Intrusive thoughts: these thoughts are extremely disturbing. People often repeat phrases to get past them. It is done to prevent a much dreaded future event. 
  • Symmetry: some people might prefer their belonging to stay in a certain way, if not so, it may cause discomfort and distress. 
  • Hoarding: this is related to hoarding of supposedly useless objects. 
  • Repeating: the same act, action, phrase etc are repeated several times, to guard against harm, fear or injury. 

Obsessions are persistent and recurrent thoughts, images or impulses that may cause negative emotions like anxiety, or disgust. A lot of people recognize that these thoughts or obsessions are irrational, but they are hard to ignore or escape. They usually can not be suppressed. 

Compulsions on the other hand are mental acts or repetitive behaviour that the person feels forced to perform or go through in response to the aforementioned obsessive thoughts. 

While these compulsions may temporarily lead to a relief from anxiety, they are not a permanent solution to the same. This relief reinforces the committing of these compulsive acts by the person. 

The anxiety however almost always returns and does so in a greater intensity than it was previously felt. 

Signs and symptoms of OCD

People with OCD have symptoms of compulsions, obsessions, or both. They interfere with all aspects of the person’s life and cause clinically significant distress. 

Obsessions have the following symptoms:

  • Fear of germs 
  • Fear of contamination from chemicals
  • Unwanted thoughts about self or others related to sex, or harm
  • Aggressive thoughts like killing self or others
  • Wanting things in a symmetrical or nearly perfect order

Compulsions are characterised by:

  • Excessive washing of hands, or cleaning
  • Repeated checking of things
  • Constantly arranging or setting things in a certain order
  • Compulsive counting
  • Saying a certain phrase several times
  • Taking a certain number of steps when walking
  • Pulling skin, hair, etc

OCD treatment

Treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder include:

Medications

Some medicines found to be effective in reducing obsessive compulsive disorder symtpms include SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. They may however take 2-4 months to start showing effect, or working. Common ones are fluoxetine (prozac), or sertraline (Zoloft). If this does not work, antipsychotics also sometimes prove to be effective. 

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy

This therapy is used to expose the individual to the anxiety provoking obsessions, and prevent the person from committing the compulsive act. This is done to show that the anxiety would eventually die down itself, without having gone through the compulsive act, without actually causing a very dangerous or fatal reaction to not having done so. 

It is commonly called ERP, and was first introduced by Stanley Rachman in the 1970s. 

Flooding

This therapy is aimed at flooding or suddenly immersing the individual with anxiety provoking thoughts or obsessions, causing the resultant anxiety to organically die down. It is aimed at killing the fear of the anxiety itself by proving that it would not actually lead to your worst fears coming true. 

Relaxation techniques

These include techniques used to relax a person like mindfulness breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, deep slow breaths, or imaging a better scenario etc. 

It is taught to the subject or client, enabling them to be able to deal with their anxiety provoking obsessions through other techniques than indulging in compulsions. It reduces the likelihood of going through with these compulsions by giving the person a substitute to deal with their anxiety or obsessive and intrusive thoughts. 

Social support

WIth any given mental illness, the feeling of having someone who gets you, is going through the same thing, or is there to support you might be helpful. 

Thus, talking to people who are going through the same thing by means of support groups, or having a strong group of friends or family to support you might be helpful in management of these symptoms. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

It is a non-invasive technique of stimulation that targets the brain, to deal with the imbalances within the brain like reduced activity in certain brain areas, or that of certain neurotransmitters. A magnetic field is induced targeting a particular brain area, associated with OCD symptoms, aimed at reducing the same. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

How OCD memes may end up creating more stigma:

Such memes end up creating more stigma by reducing OCD, which is a serious clinical disorder into its popularised components, thus trivialising the pain of those who have to go through the distress and dysfunction brought on by such disorders. 

We need to realise that obsessive compulsive disorder is more than just being tidy or washing hands, or wanting things to stay in a order it is not a quirk or a personality trait, but a distressing and maladaptive disorder that may make you unable to think about anything else or function properly in any sphere of your life. 

Conclusion

In this blog, we looked at OCD memes, after which we discussed what OCD is, what are its symptoms and signs, and how its treatment works. We ended the  blog by discussing how schuh memes may sometimes end up creating more stigma and causing harm. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): OCD Memes

What are the different types of OCD?

Various types of OCD are:

Checking
Mental contamination/ contamination
Hoarding
Symmetry and ordering
Intrusive thoughts/ ruminations. 

What does OCD stand for?

OCD is a clinical diagnosis that stands for Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder. It is a chronic and long lasting disorder characterized by recurrent and intrusive thoughts, followied by uncontrollable compulsions. The obsessions cause anxiety, which are temporarily curbed by following through the compulsions. These compulsions are time consuming and extremely distressing.

Does having OCD mean I’m crazy?

Having OCD is extremely distressing. These compulsions or intrusive thoughts are irrational and recurrent but the person has no control over them. Having this disorder in no way means that you are crazy, or dangerous or evil. You can have OCD but still be productive as well as a fuly functioning member of the society. It can be cured as well as managed. 

Is OCD autistic?

A few of the features of OCD and autism like social awkwardness, or peculiar nature, being possessive and particular about your things, being invested in your routine etc might make them seem similar, but these are completely different disorders. 

Is OCD my fault?

Having any mental illness, let alone OCD is not your fault. A lot of underlying causes come into interplay causing various mental disorders. OCD has nothing to do with your character or your worth. 

What triggers OCD?

Different types of OCD have different triggers. While distress in life, or traumatic life events may trigger it for some, normal stress can cause it for others. Others still may have their symptoms triggered even during happiness. 

What we recommend for OCD

Professional counselling

If you are diagnosed with OCD then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (n..d) Web MD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/obsessive-compulsive-disorder#1

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (n.d.) National Institute of mental health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

American Psychiatric Association (n.d.) What is obsessive Compulsive disorder?

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ocd/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (n.d.) MayoClinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625

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