Your Bell Let’s Talk Challenge

I have a Bell Let’s Talk challenge for you:

Stop saying “I’m so OCD.”

Lots of people do, but speaking as someone who actually has OCD I have an important message. You’re not OCD. And you almost certainly don’t have OCD, either, because if you did you’d never describe yourself as being “so OCD.” (Unless you were being ironic. And even then.)

OCD isn’t something you are. It’s not a quirk, a transient personality trait, or a general appreciation of fastidiousness (regardless of what Monica Geller taught you). It’s a mental illness, and it ruins lives. OCD traps people inside their own worse nightmares and makes escape virtually impossible. It takes, on average, seventeen years to be diagnosed. And it increases risk of suicide by a factor of ten.

I’ve written a lot about OCD over the years. I’m subclinical these days, meaning OCD’s essentially a non-factor in my everyday life. I haven’t had a flare-up since July. These are very good things! But I’ll never stop advocating for mental health. Today, while you’re trying to bankrupt Bell Canada, challenge yourself to change the way you talk about mental health. Stop using OCD as an adjective. You are not OCD.


4 thoughts on “Your Bell Let’s Talk Challenge

  1. I learned about this after my wife was diagnosed with OCD as well. Since then I’ve been really cognizant of the mental health jokes about “being OCD” or saying “I’m so depressed” when what you really mean is “I’m sad today.”

    I’m still going to try to bankrupt Bell today though.

    • You’re a damned hero.

      Excising “depressed” is an ongoing project of mine, along with words like “crazy” or “insane.” It’s amazing how a word that refers to an awful mental illness has been applied to things like, for instance, “my team losing.”

  2. One of the great challenges facing those who understand, care and wish to help, educate and inform through attempts to correct misconceptions and confusion, attempts which are often stubbornly resisted and even repudiated by those who are ignorant as to the facts, between the meaning of the word ‘depression’ (as in ‘being depressed’ and ‘feeling depressed’) as a synonym, often subliminal, for sadness and any other of a multitude of similar ‘feelings’, moods or temporary states of being and the illness ‘DEPRESSION’. Unfortunately, this conflict contributes greatly to the misconception of, and trivializing, pooh-poohing and brushing off of the magnitudinous effect that real ‘depression’ as in ‘the illness’ has on folks truly afflicted. ME, I know! :-O
    I like this definition from

    “Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.”


    • Oh, man. Ridding “depressed” from your vocabulary’s challenging: I’m in the midst of doing it as we speak. Another one: saying things like, “Ugh, the Leafs make me want to kill myself.” I don’t think people fully comprehend the extent to which they trivialize mental health when they use that kind of terminology.

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