I recently read that the retail store¬†‘TK Maxx’ had to pull a range of products that many felt trivialized¬†obsessive-compulsive¬†disorder (OCD).

The Christmas themed kitchenware featured slogans¬†like’ I have O.C.D… Obsessive Christmas Disorder. This upset some customers and caused a backlash from charity campaigners.

I am sure a lot of us will be wondering why a harmless festive slogan will cause such reactions. I wondered about it too and have since gotten information on what OCD really is. Thanks to my  BBC London radio shows as well as my personal research.

What is OCD?

A lot of us have heard of OCD before and use the word loosely because of our lack of in-depth knowledge of what it really is.

The NHS website describes it as ‘a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours’. It affects men, women, and children and interestingly can develop at any stage.

I listened to a lady on the radio who said hers started postpartum. She started having compelling thoughts about harming her baby. She, of course, loves her baby and was deeply troubled and disturbed about the thoughts. Luckily she got help and has been given medication and advise on how to manage it.


  1. unwanted and unpleasant repeated thoughts or images, worries or doubt.
  2. Repetitive behaviour or mental act that an individual feels the need to carry out to reduce anxiety caused by obsession.

According to the OCD-UK website, There are 5 main types

  • Checking
  • Contamination
  • Symmetry and ordering
  • Ruminations/Intrusive Thoughts
  • Hoarding

Many of us have used the term OCD loosely. We often¬†refer¬†to a very clean or neat person or¬†some other compulsive action as OCD. They may actually be a symptom, but are not necessarily OCD in the instance it’s been used. I listened to another caller who always felt the need to clean herself that she would take a shower sometimes lasting about 21/2 hours.

It’s more serious than being¬†clean or orderly. We should¬†please¬†show some¬†respect to people¬†living with it by not referring¬†to our ‘clean¬†selves’ as being OCD. It is a devastating mental health condition and shouldn’t¬†be used trivially as people suffering it find it offensive when it is done.

Another caller spoke of how he struggled with the thoughts for a long time and was almost suicidal. He thought he was going mad but subsequently got help.

If you find yourself having any obsessive thoughts please do not be ashamed or embarrassed, please seek help! Talk to your Dr. about it, you can also reach out to support groups or organisations like the OCD-UK, OCD ACTION etc.


My post today is a layman’s view but please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions. Our in-house doctor, Dr. Adeola will be able to respond appropriately.

The ‘TK MAXX’ management responded swiftly¬†pulling the products and apologising¬†saying ‘it was never their intention to cause offense’.


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