There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about mental health out there. These stories address some of the dangerous and troubling beliefs about different conditions, and explore what it's really like to experience mental health problems.
The following blog does not intend to advise, diagnose, or question mental illnesses; it has been crafted for the purpose of informing and educating individuals on the difference between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and perfectionism. If you have a legitimate concern regarding your own health, please seek advice from a GP or mental health professional in your area.
OCD and Perfectionism: So, what is the difference?
There is a secret; one that nobody is prepared to talk about; one so shocking it may bring down society as we know it. Am I talking about a scandal, or some sort of political corruption? Am I talking about some secret society that quietly rules over us, or perhaps I am talking about the fact we are all lizard people. While I would infinitely prefer to talk about any one of these things, I am in fact talking about the truth that, literally, nobody is talking about. I am talking about the fact that people with mental illness walk among us.
When I’m really struggling internally, I overcompensate externally. Think Ross from Friends when he finds out about Rachel and Joey. That episode struck a chord with me because I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve tried to put on a good show and ended up looking like an absolute idiot. I’d get all loud and animated; try to be funny; try to convince others and myself that there’s nothing wrong. They say the unhappiest people are the ones that seem the happiest. For a large chunk of my school days, that was me. My face was laughing and smiling but my eyes weren’t.
The way I like to describe anxiety is that it is much like falling down the stairs. When you miss a step and your stomach drops for a second. That’s how anxiety feels: the only difference is it is constant, always there, tapping away at each part of me. It is sweaty palms, shaky fingertips and chronic headaches. It is the inability to breathe properly and stay calm. It is thinking "I shouldn't have said that" and "they are laughing at me".