OCD Isn't Funny. Right?
August 24, 2009 6:02 PM   Subscribe

How do I (or do I) politely explain to people that when they laughingly say they have OCD (because they want to be tidy or whatever), I find it truly insensitive?

Perhaps I'm being oversensitive, but I've got a kid with OCD and it's no flippin' picnic like "Monk" or that real estate jerk on Bravo make it out to be.

OCD is a serious neurological disorder and I just get mama bear pissed when I hear a friend (or colleague) make an offhand comment about someone acting "all OCD."

OCD ain't funny. My teenage daughters say they hear this constantly in school from teachers about kids who have neat binders or clean lockers and as they live with someone who's been hospitalized because of his OCD, they don't find it too amusing, either.

Am I being a trifle oversensitive, or is there a nice way to say to someone, "That's really not funny."
posted by dzaz to Human Relations (43 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you're being oversensitive.
posted by mpls2 at 6:09 PM on August 24, 2009 [12 favorites]

I figured I might be.
posted by dzaz at 6:11 PM on August 24, 2009

I don't think you're being oversensitive to be bothered by it, but you must remember that many people don't know anything about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as it actually exists. All they know are shows like Monk or the way people use the phrase flippantly. The best thing to do is to say something like, "You know, I understand that people use 'OCD' to mean very attentive to detail or perfectionist, but that isn't what OCD is. My son has OCD, and it's actually quite difficult, for him and for us. I'd appreciate it if you didn't use the term that way, because when people use it that way, it makes it more difficult for other people to understand what it is we deal with everyday. Could you please use a different term? It would mean a lot to me and my family."
posted by ocherdraco at 6:11 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I figured I might be. And I can't stand when I hear people correct others over things like this...it's like, oh just let it go already.
posted by dzaz at 6:12 PM on August 24, 2009

I think the best thing to do is to say, "that's not really funny. It's a real disease that many struggle with." If you educate them, they may be less inclined to joke about it later -- and that's pretty much what you want here, right?
posted by kate blank at 6:12 PM on August 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

I would be frank about it.
posted by canadia at 6:12 PM on August 24, 2009

Some interesting discussion about this issue here.
posted by josher71 at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2009

As an adult, you can probably get your friends to stop saying it around you, just by explaining nicely. "That's funny how people call things OCD, because they really don't know anything about it." etc.

The teenagers are hopeless though.
posted by smackfu at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2009

I should add: if it bothers you, it's going to bother you, whether it's oversensitive of you or not. Saying something like what I wrote above will both make you feel better (because it will unnerve you to say nothing), and is actively appealing to someone to help you, rather than just saying "you're being insensitive." People are more likely to change if you position it as something they can do to help you rather than as something they've done wrong.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I mean, I think the best you can do is not to get angry, or, rather, not to show it, and try to come from a place of "I have the special ability to make other people think more seriously about something" and you can say, "Hey, I don't want to rake you over the coals, but I've got a child with OCD and it's a serious neurological disorder and it's a struggle, each and every day, and it hurts me when I hear you refer to OCD like it's a joke."

I think if you try not to come off as preachy and judgmental and angry and mean (I am not saying you are any of these things, I'm just saying they're moods that put people off) but more earnest and truly trying to make another person understand something they're not thinking about... then, that really improves your chance to have it work out well for everyone involved.

I can say personally that I've made comments like that, about myself and others - referred to OCD as a joke - and I would have appreciated it if someone told me that, and I would be less likely to project my shame back at them as anger if they were cool about it. Personallly I will definitely really try not to use the term like I have, and I appreciate you making me think about it. Thanks.
posted by kbanas at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

If you don't want to come off as oversensitive and overreacting, bring it up at a totally different time. Tell the person about your son and the impact OCD has had on his (and your) life. I completely stopped using the word "schizo" after meeting family members of people with schizophrenia.
posted by desjardins at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2009

It feels similar to the reaction I have to people saying something they don't like is gay or retarded.
posted by dzaz at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're being oversensitive. What you're saying is totally understandable. But there's no polite way to tell someone that, although they thought they were being funny, they were actually being offensive and not funny. No one is going to want to hear that. You have the right to be offended, but if you tell someone they're not being funny, you're running a steep risk that they're going to be offended as well.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:15 PM on August 24, 2009

I'm not sure anyone can really rule on whether or not you should mention this to people, as that's a very personal call. I can tell you however that the odds are that these people truly don't mean anything by it and are simply using a shorthand phrase that, while new, is part of a longstanding tradition of exaggeration. When you stop and think about it, people use phrases like this about a staggering number of real-world maladies that are no laughing matter. People say things like psycho, brain damage, retarded, crackhead, etc. More than anything, it suggests a coarseness of speech that should be discussed as a whole. My guess is that these people probably use these other phrases as well.

I can also speak from experience where a number of us worked at a comedy show as writers, and one of the non-writing crew members in our office had an autistic son. Now, nobody made autism jokes, but any time anyone said anything about retardation, even purely in jest, this guy made a point of being offended about it. He was not well-liked.

I guess my advice is that you shouldn't stick to one hard-and-fast rule on the subject. It's a very grey area. You can be offended if someone says "OCD", but are you offended if someone says "seriously obsessive" or "crazy obsessive"? It gets slippery. I think if you must bring it up, do whatever you can not to appear self-righteous about it. The mama-bear attitude is going to earn you the reputation of being a large, belligerent animal that should be living in a cave. Just mention politely that this disease is a part of your life and it's a sore spot. People say a lot of offensive things a lot of the time, and I think you'll get farther by letting them know that it's your sensitivity and not that they're bad people who deserve to be clawed and have their pic-a-nic baskets taken.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 6:17 PM on August 24, 2009 [7 favorites]

Just to add another perspective, though... OCD is a spectrum thing, and I have friends who will laughingly say "I have OCD!" and who, in fact, do have it to an extent and have all manner of tics and rituals that they manage to keep secret... but occasionally they have to do something or have things a certain way when someone is watching and they want the witness to know that they know that they seem uptight. So there's that.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:18 PM on August 24, 2009 [7 favorites]

Following on from moxiedoll... things like OCD are the label we give one end of a spectrum, and it's not necessarily a completely bad thing if casual language use has the effect of blurring the boundaries on that spectrum... surely in some sense it is a comfort to be reminded of the fact that your kid is like other people, only more so...? You're not being oversensitive but maybe there's a chance that thinking about it in these terms will make it less upsetting.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:23 PM on August 24, 2009


I'm confused. In your OP you said "How do I (or do I) politely explain to people I don't like this" and then you said "And I can't stand when I hear people correct others over things like this...it's like, oh just let it go already."

Yes, that was oddly worded. I don't like it, but as I think about it, I become even more uncomfortable when after someone makes a remark I find "iffy" (retarded, having OCD, gay, etc.), another person gets preachy about why they don't want to hear that. I have a friend who will tear anyone a new one if she hears them say the word "bi**h," and although I also dislike the word, hearing her confrontations make me feel worse.

That type of confrontation makes me super uncomfortable.

Does that make sense? I'm wondering if there IS a polite, non-preachy way to explain why a serious issue is no laughing matter. Or if there is no polite way to do so.
posted by dzaz at 6:24 PM on August 24, 2009

I don't think it's necessarily wrong of people to talk like that. Nor is it wrong to use those things to open a dialogue on the issue. The same way I don't think it's insensitive to say that your thirteen-year-old is deaf because she doesn't listen to a word you say... but if you say that to someone who actually has a deaf child, that could be a great opportunity to talk about the issue.

I have an untreated OCD spectrum disorder. I don't find these sorts of things entirely insensitive, although my particular variation is I guess not really common enough to ever receive such treatment. I even will use it to draw comparisons myself, although not necessarily nearly as favorable as the general population, I suppose. (My grandmother's housekeeping is what I'd call OCDish, and I'm afraid to load her dishwasher without asking what order things go in because she gets upset by it.)

Hospitalization is considerably more than most people with that or related disorders need. You and your family may rightly be more sensitive because of the degree to which you are affected by this. If you tell someone that this is a very sensitive issue for you, explain why, etc, and they keep doing it, they're jerks. But most folks, I think, are more considerate than that.
posted by larkspur at 6:25 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think you should feel at all bad that this upsets you. This is a complex issue. I think it may actually be counter-productive to say something like "I don't appreciate you joking about that - my child has actually been hospitalized for OCD!" People may think to themselves, "Oh, it's OK to joke about OCD, just not in front of dzaz, because s/he's over-sensitive about it because of her/his kid". Then you end up in a situation where no education has occurred, and/or people believe you to be "touchy", and/or people you know feel like they have to watch what they say around you, which is, I would think, uncomfortable for both parties. I think the truth is that people probably shouldn't joke about having OCD because it is disrespectful to people who actually have OCD, and secondarily, upsetting to close friends and family members who understand what the condition really is. Maybe you can say something like "You know, to a person who actually has OCD [or to a person who has experienced true OCD first hand], those jokes really aren't funny - you're making a joke out of a serious condition/disability/impairment." That way, you're educating people that critical little bit, while gently suggesting that the reason to stop joking about OCD isn't to avoid setting off "oversensitive" parents - but to avoid making a joke of people who are coping with a serious condition.
posted by Cygnet at 6:30 PM on August 24, 2009

And I was editing that and totally took out the part where what I'd say would be somewhere along the lines of: "You know, our family has gone through a lot because of this family member who really has OCD. I get what you mean, but it makes me uncomfortable when people talk like that, because our experiences have been so difficult." That makes it not just, "How dare you be un-PC!" but an issue of how their talking like that makes you feel, which is the problem.

Things along those lines have worked for me on other issues that I'm sensitive to because of my family history.
posted by larkspur at 6:31 PM on August 24, 2009

I think many people confuse OCD with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and it has increased recently due to shows like Monk/Flipping Out/popular usage. It can be difficult to hear offhand remarks that people make, particularly when the remark hits close to home. If I think that speaking with someone will make a difference in their thoughts or behavior I will speak up, but for the most part I would let it go.
posted by macska at 6:32 PM on August 24, 2009

I guess I should also add that I have more than a few strong OCD-like tendencies myself (I don't mean my binder is clean, I mean I can't stand wearing a pair of socks that is a slightly different color from my [barely-visible] hair tie), and I sometimes say so. I'm not really here to make a call about whether or not it's OK to talk about OCD in a casual way - I would leave that decision to people who have more direct experience, and who know whether or not casual references are acceptable or not. My post above was written under the assumption that you've decided that it's generally not a good idea to joke about OCD.
posted by Cygnet at 6:37 PM on August 24, 2009

i think you're being oversensitive. no one is using the term to belittle anyone else (as they often use retarded; gay, ehh -- that's a different can of worms), but rather to try to offset the awkwardness we might feel about something we know might seem a little off to other people.

i'm sure if they simply knew your son has been diagnosed with the real thing they'd feel bad saying it or at least have the common courtesy to not use the term around you -- but i still don't think it's any reason to make someone feel like they just said something downright hideous when they really didn't (at least, in my opinion).

my brother has autism and i am very quick to react to jokes regarding autism/aspergers. at first i'd just kind of say under my breath, "oh.. my brother has that." the vibe would get weird temporarily, but it wasn't like i was trying to make them feel bad (most of the time). in fact, the first comment afterwards was usually a question that would turn into a little lesson session -- even referring back to the joke; "yeah; those are called motor noises, he does that when he gets really excited! he's a fun kid, i'll introduce you guys to him the next time we're in my neighborhood."

and i usually did, which turned out to really show some awesome sides of my friends i hadn't seen before. nowadays i usually slide it in at some point at work or in passing with new friends. i don't hold anything they say prior to my acknowledgment against them because they're only human and i'm sure i've unknowingly put my foot in my mouth more times than i can count.

so like desjardins suggests, bring it up later. i wouldn't specifically target the offender either, because chances are they did not mean it in any other way than to say "i'm really awkward/weird/paranoid about this kind of thing -- i know this -- sorry!" without saying just that. because that's even more awkward. just bring it up in some sort of group setting or if it suits you better, be an advocate and get yourself more openly involved in community awareness programs for OCD, etc.

so yes, on preview, what desjardin + kbanas said.
posted by june made him a gemini at 6:42 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is severe mental illness in my immediate family (not OCD), as well as addiction and, well, just a boatload of issues. I've had friends over the years say things to me that did hurt my feelings, because I knew they didn't understand what they were talking about. Mental problems, be they mild or severe, are so hugely misunderstood by the general population. Of course, there is a reason for that. Few people are geekishly interested in psychology or the DSM-IV, like I am, or have first-hand experience with some of these illnesses.

And that's the crux of it. If you really want your friends or acquaintances to change, your only option, I think, is to do what Doctor Suarez recommends. You aren't going to be able to easily and quickly explain any objective truths about obsessive-compulsive disorder to them, so unless someone specifically asks you for that, don't even try. It doesn't work very well.

Personally, I've just learned to not take uninformed remarks to heart. It's the same inner tool I (try to) use when (I feel) I hear someone make a completely uneducated political statement.

Make sure you understand one key thing: Nothing you say, no story you tell your friends about your son, will ever make this illness "real" to them until they actually read up on it (i.e., truly and thoroughly educate themselves) or until they experience it themselves or within their family. They may indeed respect your wishes to not make jokes or use the term "OCD" casually, but they won't understand it in reality, and so what you really want--for them to understand--will not be what takes place. What will take place is them just removing one word from their vocabulary, in all likelihood only when they're around you.
posted by metalheart at 6:47 PM on August 24, 2009

My go-to phrase when touchy things like this get brought up (that works in a variety of situations):

"Dude, seriously? You're being a dick."

This works best with an eyebrow raise right before hand and a deadpan delivery. If you think they might be willing to learn, a kind of "casually throwing that out is belittling/demeaning/[insert adjective of choice] to those who have/suffer/are [issue at hand]" is a decent follow-through on telling them that you find that sort of language problematic and explains why. It's up to the person to decide if they want to change. (It's also up to you to decide to avoid this person if they continue with their dickishness.)
posted by sperose at 6:48 PM on August 24, 2009

To follow on what moxiedoll and game warden have said. I've known and lived with a number of people with moderate to quite severe OCD and OCD spectrum disorders.

While it's not at a level that it negatively impacts my life, I have a number of behaviors that I must do, and that if they're interrupted or if I try to ignore them, will bother me forever until I "fix" them. Some of these are compulsions that I've intentionally developed as coping mechanisms but that have become non-negotiable; others have spontaneously developed for unconscious reasons. These things very rarely influence my life negatively, but they do embarrass me on occasion or make me look like an asshole: "No, I'm sorry, you can't borrow my pen. Not even while I watch you. I'm sorry. I can't let you touch it." At these points, it radically softens the situation if I can say, "I'm a little OCD about my pen." It's a shorthand that lets them know that it isn't a choice I'm making, it's not that I distrust them, but something that I have to do. And it saves me having to explain to them that because I once lost an emotionally irreplaceable pen, it literally feels like I'm on death row any time my pen isn't in my pocket or in my hand. It often saves the arguments about, "Dude, that's weird. Just gimme your pen" and "then why don't you just carry a Bic, man."

While my behavior isn't at the level of a "disorder", they are compulsions or obsessions. I don't feel that I'm doing any disservice to my OCD friends.

But, I can also understand how it galls you.
posted by Netzapper at 6:55 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree that you should talk to them about it after the fact. And I find it sometimes helps to start a conversation like this with something like, "This is kind of hard to talk about, and I might sound like I'm over-reacting a little, but..." and then tell them that it bothers you when people make jokes about being OCD because your son has it and it's been really tough.

I guess it sounds a little apologetic, which I don't think you need to be. But it gets at the fact that this is a sensitivity of yours but also that you understand they didn't mean any harm by it.
posted by juliplease at 7:02 PM on August 24, 2009

I think the spectrum idea is important here-- all mental characteristics lie on a continuum and when it gets to a point where it interferes with functioning, the DSM tries to draw a line and say: here be disease.

I have OCD that is subclinical most of the time and am not bothered by OCD jokes because I feel that if you recognize that things are on a spectrum, you can see the humanity in the dysfunctional stuff and understand where it comes from.

I certainly can understand you feeling hurt that people seem to be taking the condition lightly, but it might help to see this also as seeing OCD as part of the human condition and therefore, not so alien. Not to say that you shouldn't educate, etc and discuss if you feel someone has crossed over into rudeness. But I think that it can be a bridge to inclusiveness, not just an insult.
posted by Maias at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'd say, as I do with "retarded" or "ADD" - "Hey, while I get what you're sayin', it isn't cool to joke about serious diseases that real people have" OR if I don't know the person well and want to be snarky I say, "Yeah, isn't it a shame that people use that term so lightly? That must suck for people that really have it."
posted by k8t at 7:48 PM on August 24, 2009

I used to feel as you do, but I reluctantly let it go.

People say 'depressed" to mean kind of sad; "paranoid" to mean unusually cautious; "schizophrenic" to mean very changeable or having a 'split personality'. Some say "I wish I had ocd" or "I wish I had anorexia," so they could keep the house tidier or lose some weight.

My nephew has asberger's, my brother is an actual (recovering) junkie, I'm clinically depressed, an aunt had real ocd. It used to really chafe me to hear the medical and psychiatric terms used casually or jokingly. Eventually I accepted that it's just how language works. Words mean what people use them to mean. Now I just rant about it from time to time with like-minded people :-)
posted by wryly at 8:44 PM on August 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

Not that it's justified, but I'm sure we've all made wisecracks or casual comments about mental/physical conditions, often without knowing it.

You might be perfectly fit, and joke one day to a friend about how you feel "fat" after a big Thanksgiving dinner. That friend might know someone who has serious obesity issues. Or you might say you're "blind" without your glasses, and someone might know someone who actually is blind. Same for deafness, retardation, ADD, anorexia, Alzheimer's, etc. And it's not like you can rank one as being more difficult to live with than another.

Yes, we should all be a little more cognizant about what we say, but it's human nature to be prone to exaggeration. But at the same time, such comments are rarely meant to be malicious, and that should be taken into consideration. Now, if a guy says something that's deliberately an attack on those with OCD, then yeah, they probably deserve a talking to.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:45 PM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Please don't forget that you don't necssarily know whether these self-speaking people have diagnosed OCD or not, the validity of that diagnosis, etc. Maybe just listen without judging or reacting.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:10 AM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

So many excellent responses here. Thank you, everyone.

What helped a lot is reading that there's a spectrum of OCD behaviors and while my son's has been severe and life-threatening, lots of people have little OCD-like things as well.

And when my friend says she's obsessing about getting those new shoes, I'll agree that they're nice and not get all inwardly huffy.
posted by dzaz at 4:22 AM on August 25, 2009

You need to take their intentions into account. Surely they aren't intending to make light of a debilitating neurological disorder. Tasteless, yes. Malicious, no.

Other examples include retarded, spastic, alcoholic, obese, autistic, bipolar, comatose, handicapped. Kids love to use them in fake self-depreciation, as in "OMG you guys, I was sooo [real disorder that they do not have] on the weekend!"

Having said that, you need to pick your battles. If you feel the misuse of OCD is something you would like to fight to put a stop to, then you go girl.
posted by heytch at 4:39 AM on August 25, 2009

I think you find the more direct responses (ie, I'm uncomfortable with you saying OCD in that context because my son has it) are uncomfortable because they shut down further conversation - and further education attempts. I think it's a good strategy if someone is truly being a jerk about OCD, or you don't mind cutting off interactions with that person. But for every day circumstances I think it's better to focus on an approach that allows the conversation to continue. For example

Friend: Oh my god! I totally have OCD about dusting!

Dzaz: Haha! I hate dust too! I just wish real OCD was more like that. All my son does is touch the butter dish 12 times* - his room is a mess!

*or put something else here if you feel this would be more flip than teaching.
posted by fermezporte at 5:12 AM on August 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

"Dude, seriously? You're being a dick."
... It's up to the person to decide if they want to change. (It's also up to you to decide to avoid this person if they continue with their dickishness.)

Don't worry. Enough holier-than-thou lectures and they'll avoid you. No one likes to be lectured on something that has no effect on well.. anything.
posted by malp at 6:36 AM on August 25, 2009

As someone with OCD - which has been quite debilitating in the past - I don't like to hear people say things like "I'm so OCD!" either. It just brings up unpleasant things. I'm so PTSD like that. Bitches!

But seriously, the word you may be looking for here is "ableist". Using OCD flippantly is similar to using the word "retarded" flippantly - people who have no real connection with the words tend to use them lightly, because they don't really understand the consequences for those who actually are afflicted. It's not malicious, but REGARDLESS OF INTENT it is appropriative, thoughtless, and can be quite marginalizing. Despite those here who don't have OCD telling you that you are being oversensitive, I can tell you that you really aren't. OCD was my personal hell for years and hey, hearing people lay claim to it in a way that is both dismissive and a pejorative? Not the greatest feeling in the world. And I do believe that it says a LOT about our attitudes (as a society) towards those who are non-neurotypical.

That said, though you assuredly are not being oversensitive, well - good luck getting people who have never had OCD, or had a loved one with OCD, to understand that. Generally speaking, when someone tells me they are "so OCD, oh my god" I stick with pointing out that you can't actually be OCD - that's kind of like saying "I am so cancer", which is just grammatically silly. I find that tends to shut the conversation down without my being labeled as a hysterical bitch, at at best, it forces the other person to think about the phrase "I have OCD" and what it actually means.

Um. Good luck?
posted by ellehumour at 7:07 AM on August 25, 2009 [5 favorites]

I believe - as many wrote in some way - that a good and mindful thing is to try accepting others' sloppiness of manners and language and to let go.
That is, in some cases. In my experience, such an attitude is hard-won, and sometimes one's patience crashes when people are behaving particularly rude (or if one just hasn't one's day); usually it crashes fast on these occasions. Even if you tell yourself that you're being oversensitive or whatnot, you need an emergency exit of some kind for such moments. You could be prepared to say "funny you say that. I have a son with OCD, and I tell you, it is no picnic," if you feel like it. If the person you're talking to has any sensitivity of her own, she'll google "OCD" when she comes home.
posted by Namlit at 7:28 AM on August 25, 2009

I deal with this on occassion with my Tourette Syndrome, a lot of the "I wish I had Tourette's so I could cuss out my boss!" or people thinking it's hilarious.

I generally just say "It's different when it's something you deal with every day," and leave it at that.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:09 AM on August 25, 2009

You are without a doubt being oversensitive. However, if you it bothers you that much, go ahead and say something. People tend to clam up after being given an unneeded guilt trip. In fact, except for your close friends, people may thereafter clam up around you in general, for fear they will offend or upset you.

And when my friend says she's obsessing about getting those new shoes

And yeah, obession was a word with a non-medical meaning long before anyone ever knew what OCD is, so maybe you should get off your horse.
posted by spaltavian at 12:42 PM on August 25, 2009

I used to have OCD when I was younger and I have a completely different take on people saying things about it. Back in the day, no one had even heard of OCD, much less discussed it. OCD was not talked about with friends, family, or anywhere in the media. Fast forward to As Good As It Gets, Monk, etc. and it seems everyone has a general idea of what OCD is, even if they don't know how serious it can be.

To me, hearing OCD talked about casually, even if in a joking matter, means that it is no longer as stigmatized as it once was. OCD was incredibly isolating on it's own, but to not have anyone else understand it made it even more so. I joke about OCD now, even though it may be normal behavior that I'm joking about and I tend not to mind when others do so as well.

I understand that it can be offensive, but it's a lot easier to assume the best about people then to burn bridges over semantics. Just my two cents.
posted by karyotypical at 1:02 PM on August 25, 2009

I would try not to act offended, especially if it's unintentional. 99% of the time people aren't trying to hurt your feelings, it obviously you get that.

When somebody flippantly says they're OCD I'd say, brightly, "I know what you mean! I wish my son only had a few cute habits. But he's really struggled with the disease."

If it's a friend who's just insensitive, this should remind them that it's a big deal for you. And if it's a stranger, they'll feel bad and maybe think next time they say it.
posted by shopefowler at 10:55 PM on August 25, 2009

So it seems kinda similar to someone who wants to lose 5 lbs. saying they wish they had anorexia just for a week. Generally said without thought but not purposely cruel.

No big deal. I wanted to mention that one of my daughters did have a HS teacher who would throw OCD around pretty often to a few students who were exceptionally precise in their work. She went to him afterschool, told him that she knew he didn't mean anything bad by it, but that someone close to her had OCD and had to be hospitalized. She said he was incredibly apologetic, had no idea, etc. But then, that's a kid telling an adult in a position of authority, and I'm glad she was able to do that.

Thanks for all the responses except for the unnecessary one that told me to get off my horse.
posted by dzaz at 3:49 AM on August 27, 2009

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