Some would say that Adrian Monk–a failed police detective who is a brilliant investigator not in spite of but because of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)–has served to normalize people with this disorder within the minds of the culture. He’s made it okay to be OCD. In fact, he’s made it “cool” to be OCD.
I frequently hear people identify themselves as having OCD. Another label people put on themselves with amazing regularity is ADHD. From the talk around the water cooler (are there really water coolers in offices any more?) you’d think that half the population of the US has one or both of these disorders.
I know that all of us have parts to our personalities and wiring that leans more one way than other. But does a leaning make a disorder? Even a strong leaning?
I tend to organize my world in a certain way and really do like it when everything is in its place according to my definition of “organized.” (And trust my, I define organized differently than many other people do.) This does not make me OCD. Even the fact that I have been known to get up in a meeting and straighten blinds or framed art on the wall does now make me OCD — though it does get me labeled that by colleagues at the time.
I also occasionally have a hard time focusing or sitting still. Does that mean I have attention deficit? No, not any more than the fact that I sometimes have a sense of what someone is thinking makes me psychic.
But that’s not my point. What I’m really wondering about is what is it about us that makes us want to label ourselves with these kinds labels? Maybe it’s just that after a couple of decades of modifying our vocabularies to be politically correct, we’ve had to turn our creative name-calling and labeling on ourselves and we’ve had to come up with new labels. Or, maybe it grows out of our need to be noticed & known combined with our fear of being noticed & rejected.
I really don’t know. This is just something that has been noodling around in my head for a while.