On Wednesday, the pregnant reality star created a quiz on Twitter, polling her followers on how ‘Khlo-CD’ they are. She also joked of her love of rearranging cookies perfectly in a jar.
Throughout the week-long series, Kardashian will share with her followers advice on to “get organised for the year” and how she organised her “home bar” (also known as, and I quote, “going H.A.M on [her] home bar”).
Fans were fast and furious in pointing out that glamorising Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and framing it as a desire to be “tidy” is detrimental to those in the throes of mental health battles.
“I’m a fan of Khloe, but glamorising OCD as ‘Khlo-CD’ really upsets me. It’s a real mental illness and should be thought of seriously,” one said.
“I hate the fact that every single thing celebrities do is broadcast over the news, as if it’s actually relevant. But Khloe Kardashian calling herself Khlo-CD is f*cking offensive. Being tidy is a needle in a haystack of issues relating to real OCD,” another tweeted.
In Australia, it’s believed two per cent of Australians have OCD. According to SANE, it’s defined as “an anxiety disorder”.
“People living with OCD are troubled by recurring unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses, as well as obsessions and repetitive rituals,” SANE’s definition reads.
Lily Bailey talks to Mamamia about the reality of living with OCD. Post continues after audio.
According to Dr Emily O’Leary, the Director of OCD Clinic Brisbane, it’s hugely problematic for someone with the following of Kardashian to be framing OCD in a context of being “organised”.
“It’s a problem for two reasons,” she tells Mamamia.
“First off, it stereotypes what OCD is and… pigeon-holes people with OCD into people who are neat freaks and people who are tidy and organised. OCD is very broad and has lots of different symptoms.
“The other thing is that it’s really invalidating to people with OCD – saying all it is is liking their pillows in a certain order. The World Health Organisation rates OCD in the top 10 disabilities in the world, but things like this minimise what they’re going through.”
Dr O’Leary believes when it comes to our conversations about OCD on a public level, there’s a disconnect between how how popular culture portrays OCD and the reality of having it. After all, she notes, it’s hard to communicate the different depths of symptoms, because people confuse intrusive thoughts for dangerous behaviour.
“We’re getting better at awareness, but the problem is OCD has a number of symptoms that people misinterpret a lot. For example, some people with OCD have intrusive thoughts about running people over or mums might have intrusive thoughts about harming their babies – it’s like a series of worst case scenarios. As soon as you start thinking harming thoughts, people get afraid, so it’s hard to communicate these symptoms because people think these people are a danger, but they’re absolutely not.
“A lot of people with OCD are quite ashamed of their symptoms, they have high guilt. They reality is it’s just about as common as diabetes but no one talks about it because no one wants to be judged.”
Dr O’Leary says it’s becoming far more socially acceptable to go to a general practitioner and say you’re depressed, but much harder to go to your local GP and say you’re having thoughts about running pedestrians over.
“You’re scared of being labelled as a psychopath,” she tells Mamamia. “That’s why Khloe Kardashian isn’t helpful.
“As a society, people don’t really understand what it’s like for people with OCD. I think they think they just align their pencils neatly.”
Dr O’Leary believes we need to hear more stories of family members and colleagues who have OCD to understand it “is no joke”, and certainly not a punchline or marketing ploy regarding organisational tips.
“Marriages are destroyed, people are having intrusive thoughts for up to eight hours a day, so some people can’t work. This is a massive issue. The problem is people don’t access help early enough, but we know if you get help early, it really helps prognosis. The long you leave it, the harder it is.
“We need to have a really non-judgemental approach to OCD. Being organised is great, but that’s a behaviour, not a disorder.”
What do you think – is “Khlo-CD Week” offensive?