OCD: Not a humble brag

24 Sept 2019

This week we dive into OCD in an attempt to give you a rundown on the condition and why it's far more serious than you think, and why you can't be "a little OCD".

If you think you need help with OCD, OPCD or any other conditions we mention in this episode, please reach out to your doctor - there are definitely things they can do to help.

Show Notes:

So what is OCD? (As defined by the World Health Org)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterised by an obsessive need to repeatedly do certain things, such as hand-washing, checking or cleaning house.

To be classed os OCD they must take up at least 1 hour of the day.

Thoughts, ideas or impulses which are intrusive and unwanted enter the individuals mind again and again even though they may acknowledge them as excessive and irrational.

These thoughts are the obsessions and the actions undertaken to ‘control’ them are the compulsions - though not all compulsions are overt.

These acts and ideas are distressing and the person often tries to resist them.

As a consequence of this condition, the person often takes longer to complete tasks and may have some disturbances in interpersonal relationships.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic disease with periods of remission and relapse.

OCD is ranked by the WHO in the top 10 of the most disabling illnesses due to lost income and compromised quality of life

What is NOT OCD?

Catch-cry for liking things orderly and neat

A humble brag about your commitment to tidiness

A regular desire to clean and tidy up

A pleasant sensation or something enjoyable

Accumulating collections of items

Used interchangeably with Autism Spectrum Disorder and sufferers who elicit a preoccupation with something

Used interchangeably with Hoarding disorder (two separate disorders with sometimes overlapping symptoms)

Who has it?

Approximately 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children - quite often it is grouped in reporting with other anxiety related illnesses so accurate data can be hard to obtain.

How does OCD differ from OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder)?

OCPD is often confused with OCD. However, they aren’t the same.

OCPD is a personality disorder that’s characterised by extreme perfectionism, order, or neatness.

People with OCPD will also feel a severe need to impose their own standards on their outside environment.

People with OCPD have no idea that there’s anything wrong with the way they think or behave. They believe that their way of thinking and doing things is the only correct way and that everyone else is wrong.

So how can OCD or OCPD relate to our stuff/ clutter?


The obsessions and compulsions associated with OCD sometimes result in an individual’s having difficulty discarding and/or acquiring items or possessions. ​

In some cases, a person’s fears of contamination lead to difficulties with discarding or acquiring items. ​

“Magic numbers” may result in excessive acquisition, because a person feels compelled to buy everything in multiples of his or her magic number.

Avoidance of repetitive rituals may also play a role: a person may avoid throwing out old mail, for example, because it would trigger endless, anxiety-laden checking rituals.

Or paralysing fears of making the wrong decision about discarding something may be so intense that it becomes easier not to discard anything.

Flip Side:

The Atlantic article on a woman who suffered with compulsive decluttering - stemming from OCD. ‘obsessive-compulsive spartanism’ - hasn’t been diagnosed as an official disease yet.

Blog post indicating “they're driven to have ruthless clear-outs, even getting rid of things they still need. And, in spite of reducing their possessions to the absolute minimum, they may still find their environment unbearable.”

Podcast recommendation:
Mia Freedman NO FILTER (17 July 2017) Lily Bailey and the secret routines of OCD.
Gives insight into suffering and daily struggles. Lily Bailey is 23 yr old British model/ journalist/ author.
Lily Bailey's book: "Because we are bad"

Reference links