Life with OCD: OCD Awareness Week

Did you know that it’s OCD Awareness Week? It started yesterday, October 9, and it goes through this Saturday, October 15. I only started celebrating it a few years ago, but it’s now one of my favorite times of year. As part of OCD Twin Cities I’ve hosted three big events; tonight we’ll hold the fourth. It’s like a mini version of the OCD Conference: an opportunity to get together with a roomful of people who want to learn more about OCD, whether because they have it themselves, their family member has it, or they treat it. Being among people who understand is almost indescribable—we spend so much time confused and feeling alone, the camaraderie found in events like this is healing.

But holding an event in a physical space is only one way to spread awareness. You can use the hashtag #ocdweek on social media. You can change your profile picture using the OCD Awareness Week Twibbon . You can share a blog post that speaks to you, or an article about the science behind OCD—and you don’t even have to tell people that you have OCD yourself. You can say, “Wow, this was such an interesting piece,” and your friends will learn something new. They may learn how to support you even if they don’t know you have OCD. And the more educated the people around you are about OCD, the more comfortable you may feel about telling them your own story. If you’re already “out” you can go live on Facebook, or write a post of your own.

I support OCD Awareness Week because I don’t want anyone else to feel as alone and ashamed as I once did. If something I share this week leads someone to a proper diagnosis or treatment, it’s the least I can do.

I also support OCD Awareness Week because it’s the perfect excuse to address the frustrating misconceptions being perpetuated all over the Internet. Like this “OCD test,” with the handy disclaimer that this isn’t meant to be a diagnostic tool. Gee, thanks, random person with no medical degree! Now everyone and their brother think they have OCD—and chances are they don’t.


And this collection of infuriating images that will trigger your inner micromanager! Do you know how much I wished I had an inner micromanager and not actual OCD? Actually, maybe I don’t. Because at least I understand what OCD is and don’t spread misinformation.



Or all the times people tweet things like “Ugh, I’m soooo OCD about my closet. It’s so disorganized right now!” Or “I love experimenting with new makeup, but it always has to be the same brand. #OCD.”

I could spend all day calling people out on these quizzes, articles, and tweets, but it’s more effective for all of us who understand OCD to share accurate information so often that it overwhelms the inaccurate stuff. When people use #OCD to search for a meaningful connection, they might actually find it! The hashtags that bastardize OCD will be buried, so we won’t have to start an argument with someone—and honestly, as frustrated as I get, I know that most people who share ignorant posts aren’t being malicious. They simply don’t know any better. That’s what we’re here for, and what OCD Awareness Week is for. Let’s start now with all of this momentum behind us, but let’s not stop when this week is over.

Alison Dotson

*Sponsored by nOCD – an OCD treatment app that helps OCD patients get treatment when they need it most in a clinically effective way (!

Learn more about nOCD and our mission to revolutionize OCD treatment at  


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