Thursday, January 14, 2016

Scottish Headlines Outrage OCD Sufferers

Don't be offended.
I love my OCD peeps.
To keep it as simple as possible, since this is not the story I'm telling, a man in Scotland stabbed and killed his neighbor over a misbehaving dog. What a monster, right? He's only serving 14 years in prison, to boot, but that's Scotland's problem. The problem for people suffering with OCD is that this maniac had the disorder as well, and that is what is making headlines.

The first headline I saw on the topic was on Twitter and it went "OCD thug jailed for 14 years for murdering neighbour after row over dog fouling." Did the writer, Rebecca Gray, really think his disorder was so relevant to the case that she needed to cram it into that already supererogatory title? Apparently, so. In fact, another article that refers to the guy as "OCD Man" in the title, says that the judge claims the man initially shouted at his neighbor because he has OCD. This is what has Twitter's OCD community peeved.

Let's get one thing straight here before the ridiculous media causes widespread panic over this disorder. People who have OCD mitigate their symptoms by hiding, avoiding, doing exposure therapies or acting out their compulsions. They do not deal with their germ phobias by first flipping out on and then stabbing their neighbors. That is not a symptom of the disease. That stabbing bit is an anger problem or just pure unadulterated evil, neither of which is mentioned in the leading OCD literature.

Am I outraged about these headlines? Probably not. Am I annoyed? Definitely. On the one hand, we have people who carry a trial size bottle of hand sanitizer for emergencies calling that OCD. On the other hand, we have people attributing a murderous freak-out to the disorder. You know, OCD doesn't have to be misunderstood. It is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. There is a wealth of information that these reporters could turn to before writing spurious headlines that further stigmatize a bunch of mentally ill people.

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