Diminishing Shame & Loneliness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is probably another one of those mental health topics we don’t really want to have to talk about in the workplace EVER.
We say we want to encourage more open conversations on mental health and start to shift the boundaries on what we share and what we keep hidden.
Yet, mental illness still governs most of our approaches to treatment in the UK. A medicalised model consisting of hospitals, medication and professionals focused on illness.
Only 11% of employees disclose mental health issues to their line manager due to fear of discrimination.
To impact our future generations. We ALL need to get comfortable talking about some of these complex mental health issues and no longer invest 96% of our mental health budget in crisis treatment.
To beautifully overthrow shame and loneliness we must focus on mental health instead of mental illness if we really want to diminish fear and not be hidden.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
OCD extends far beyond a stereotypical concern with cleanliness.
Wanting a clean kitchen does not mean a person has OCD. What makes a person OCD is when the obsessional fears lead to compulsions.
We are not talking about the obsessive thoughts we all experience from time to time, rehearsing over in our heads a difficult conversation, or if we have remembered to turn off the hair straightners.
OCD is not being able to complete a task without repeating a particular prayer or mantra and if interrupted must start the ritual all over again, so bad things don’t happen.
People with OCD experience upsetting, intrusive thoughts, such as envisioning themselves hurting a loved one or can’t leave the house without checking the door is locked once, twice, three more times because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.
When a thought isn’t just annoying, but causes actual distress and extreme anxiety taking up hours and hours of a day. For people suffering with OCD contamination-related fears and the need to keep the kitchen sparkling clean is one of the lesser concerns.
OCD sufferers can be having more intrusive thoughts about acts of violence, accidents, or even a deep fear of saying the wrong thing in a social situation. The illness creates a constant raging war in your head of things to worry about.
Intrusive thoughts come out of nowhere and get louder and louder if you try to ignore them, gripping the mind like a hostage situation.
OCD sufferers sometimes can’t even leave their house or have to cancel plans because they are terrified the unthinkable will happen. The ‘what ifs’ always scream louder than the rational protest from that tiny logical voice within refusing to be ignored.
Most OCD sufferers know their intrusive thoughts are driven by doubt and it is not logical, by telling yourself nothing bad will happen isn’t enough to create a silence.
Loosening of the Screws
At work or at home you may not spot any warning signs of OCD if you are expecting some kind of maniac rocking in a corner or someone in the office claiming to be the King of Scotland. Instead, too many OCD sufferers are embarrassed or scared to tell someone, and get good at performing their compulsions subtly.
It is exhausting having to be on constant high alert and feeling responsible for every awful thing that happens. Talking openly with friends, family or a work colleague will not resolve these issues, but if you dare to open that box of pandora, it will diminish a little bit of the fear and isolation.
To learn more about how to have open conversations about mental illness, manage disclosure with more confidence and avoid crisis situations. It could help you to notice more subtle things which may invite a welcomed conversation.
Join our 7 day challenge to raise awareness in your workplace.