OCD can destroy lives without proper treatment. But that’s okay because the acronym is funny, edgy, and makes for great jokes on silly and cute holiday sweaters.
Many individuals and organizations have shared their disappointment and frustration with a Christmas sweater available now in Target stores across the US that declares whoever wears it a sufferer of “OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder.”
But, why stop at OCD? Just think of all the funny holiday sweaters we could make out of other debilitating diseases and disorders.
When you can’t remember which pole you parked your sled on? “Hmmm, North or South?”
Santa And Reindeer Supporter
Post-Turkey Snoozing Disorder
The last one is “especially appropriate” to sell today, on Veterans Day! Imagine a combat veteran coming home and being confronted by a sweater like this worn by loved ones.
Kidding aside, the International OCD Foundation receives emails all the time from our members and supporters asking us to respond to inappropriate uses of the term “OCD” on TV shows, by celebrities, in product names, but we generally do not respond. We do not want to be the word police, firstly because research has actually shown this type of response does not effectively combat stigma and secondly, responding negatively can actually have a rebound effect and create more instances of this type of misuse and misunderstanding.
But this is an opportunity for education and setting the record straight. We do not think the executives at Target (or anyone who misuses the term) are doing this out of malice for those with OCD. We truly believe this is more about a lack of understanding. OCD has unfortunately become synonymous with “anal-retentive,” “neat freak,” or “type A.” It seems most people who use the term that way actually have NO idea that OCD is a debilitating mental disorder that affects the ability to go to school, work, have relationships, or live a full life without proper treatment.
So let’s use a disorder that everyone better understands: Can you imagine walking into Target and seeing a Christmas sweater that made light of autism? Can you imagine Target apologizing for carrying the offensive autism sweater but saying they planned to continue selling it? So why is OCD different? OCD effects start in childhood, just like autism. OCD gets in the mind of children and causes extreme anxiety, worry, and obsessive intrusive thoughts that affect the ability to communicate, do schoolwork, and have fun with peers. Like autism, there is no cure for OCD, but there are therapies can help. Like autism, OCD is invisible. For some reason, as a society we understand the severity of autism, the toll it takes on families and children, and have all decided it’s off limits.
But for some reason, it’s still open season for OCD.
Let’s help Target understand why this OCD sweater is more than just a silly joke. Continue messaging, tweeting, and emailing Target to let them know how their sweater furthers the stigma and obstacles OCD sufferers too often face in accessing treatment. Get in the holiday spirit by tweeting @Target with a photo of you in your favorite ugly Christmas sweater to show Target you’d rather your holiday spirit come dressed in hideous shades of red and green with way too many details and embellishments rather than an inaccurate and dismissive message about OCD.
Let Target know this holiday season, you’d rather wear ugly sweaters over lame ones.