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17 Annoying Things That Happen In Every Plot Line About OCD

OCD doesn't mean being a neat freak, OK???

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community about the things that annoy them the most about how obsessive-compulsive disorder is depicted in movies, TV shows, and books. Here are the worst offenders.

1. First of all, OCD is pretty much always represented by neat freak characters who clean obsessively.

IFC / Via

Some people with OCD definitely have cleaning compulsions, but for some reason, those have been become representative of the entire disorder.


2. Or characters always have well-known compulsions like excessive hand-washing, counting, or light switch-flipping.

Challenger / Via

Compulsions can be ANY ritualistic behavior and yet, we pretty much see the same three over and over again.


3. In fact, the "obsessive" part of OCD is rarely given the time of day.


So many compulsions are repeated to deal with obsessions, and that's never explained or portrayed in detail. Also, while some people with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions, some only have obsessions, and YOU NEVER SEE THAT.


4. It's portrayed as really debilitating — which it can be — but rarely as something a character can manage and live with.

Disney / Via

People with OCD are able to live independently, hold down jobs, make friends, ALL KINDS OF THINGS. And yet, it's pretty much always portrayed as completely unmanageable. For #drama, maybe.


5. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, it's portrayed as a just personality quirk.

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Because having a condition that traps you in a vicious cycle of irrational fears and actions is ~so quirky~.


6. More often than not, OCD is the butt of a joke.

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Unreasonable, over-the-top reactions when things aren't the way a character with OCD needs them to be = the height of comedy, apparently.


7. Or it's treated like a superpower.

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Like, it would be awesome if OCD gave you superhuman abilities to notice tiny details and solve problems, but that's just not the case.


8. Let's be real, we rarely see the less palatable parts of OCD, like violent intrusive thoughts.

Because hey, that wouldn't be cute, quirky, or funny. —audreyk4e563e043
Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed / Via

Because hey, that wouldn't be cute, quirky, or funny.


9. Characters with OCD typically fit a specific stereotype.

CBS / Via

Anyone can have OCD, regardless of their personality and yet the characters with OCD are always super analytical, neat, and type A? Makes toootal sense.

—Jane Hirschey, Facebook

10. And there's a total lack of diverse representation when it comes to characters with OCD.

HBO / Via

The majority of people on shows or movies with OCD are white — and this lack of representation perpetuates the stigma in some communities that mental illnesses are ~white people problems~.


11. Everyone always knows that a character has OCD, because it's super obvious.

When in reality, OCD is rarely something you can know someone has just by interacting with them. SHOCKING, right? —elliem47c8e0f45

When in reality, OCD is rarely something you can know someone has just by interacting with them. SHOCKING, right?


12. The phrase OCD is tossed around as an adjective.

It's infuriating how often it's snuck into dialogue super casually when it's not referring to the ACTUAL ILLNESS. Like, “Oh, I have terrible OCD about my desk being organized.” NO.


13. Of course, like most portrayals of mental illness in media, love is the ~cure~.

FOX / Via

Thank god for convenient love interests swooping in and saving a person with OCD from themselves and their condition!!!

—Hillary Plozza, Facebook

14. The little ways that OCD can take over your life are never shown.

Comedy Central / Via

OCD can make you stay awake for days straight because you're convinced you'll stop breathing. It can make you stop leaving your apartment at all because you're afraid someone might see you and notice your compulsions. It's so much more than just one behavior.


15. And the physical repercussions go unmentioned, too.

Rebecca Hendin / Via

Even with the go-to compulsion of hand-washing, they never bother to show what that's actually like — AKA, washing your hands so much that they crack and peel and bleed.


16. We usually see compulsions that are the result of some traumatic experience that give a character a ~reason~ to start obsessing over a certain thing.

Disney / Via

When actually, obsessions and compulsions don't have to make sense — in fact, they often don't.

—Willow R., Facebook

17. And finally, medication is pretty much shown as a cure-all, so once the Very Special Episode is over, a character's OCD is usually never mentioned again.

E4 / Via

Once a character realizes they have a problem and need help, they just get on medication and then BOOM! OCD IS UNDER CONTROL.


Note: This post was inspired by Community suggestions, but does not include direct quotes from users.

To learn more about OCD, check out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health here.

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