• Emily Stetzer / 0 comments

This is actual insanity.

Social Media is great for many things.

It’s great for spreading awareness about mental health. And it’s great for giving us a platform to show our true authentic selves.

But it’s not so great at encouraging compassion. It's not so great at encouraging others to look for more information before jumping to conclusions. 

I recently shared a video on Tik Tok. It consisted of Lindsay and I returning from a walk with our dogs. They were visiting us in NYC. My sister believes they might have stepped in diarrhea —“or some sort of mush” — which leads her to wash their paws in the tub. 

In classic OCD form, my sister was convinced that one wash was not good enough, and they needed to be washed again two hours later. What was meant to illustrate a textbook OCD situation turned into a 60-comment debate about whether or not we were fit to take care of the dogs.

Someone even went so far as to advise us to “rehome the dogs until you are fit to handle them in their full capacity.” 

The two dogs in question are our family's dogs, Zoey and Ollie, that we literally rescued and nursed back to health four years ago. We lived with them for two years at our parents house. If you know Lindsay and I personally, you know how OBSESSED we are with Zoey and Ollie, how fully invested we are in their health and wellbeing (even though we no longer live in the same house as them). 

So for someone to see this one video, and immediately put in writing that — because we washed their paws an extra time after they stepped in something gross on the streets of NYC, and because we have a mental health disorder — we are not fit to take care of these dogs, that really PISSED me off.

So I did what any passionate person would do and replied to this comment with a video. I concluded the video with this:

They are THE MOST loved, well taken care of dogs. So when you say we're incapable of caring for these dogs because my sister washed Zoey's paws twice in one day, this one instance? That is insanity. We are simply trying to spread awareness and break the stigma about OCD so people will feel less isolated. Unfortunately, that point was lost on everyone who makes assumptions based on one video. That is all.”

After we posted this video, the same commenter doubled down on her assumptions (she later decided to block us, so I can no longer see her exact comments, but here is what I remember):

“I call it as I see it and see that two girls who have no control over their compulsions should be taking care of themselves before anybody else,” and she sees “no plan of redirection” in our behavior.

Although most of the community recognized her statements as “small-minded and cruel,” it made me understand that there are other misconceptions about people living with OCD that never crossed my mind. 

We were never surprised by the assumption that we are just neat freaks, “aren’t you supposed to love cleaning?” or “I have OCD too, I must have everything on my desk perfect.”

But to hear someone say that because we have OCD and because we occasionally give into our compulsions that we are unfit to care for anyone other than ourselves?

That was new to me.

To see someone comment, “This is not okay. These dogs need to be advocated for?” That was also new to me.

But then I remembered Alegra Kastens, a NY Therapist & OCD Specialist, who truly took one for the team and combatted a TON of hate and ignorance from people who truly misunderstood the disorder. 

It is now clear to me that we have a TON of work to do to educate the community about OCD.

Before this ordeal, I only recognized the need to educate the community of people who are suffering and may have OCD themselves.

Now, I realize the importance of educating the broader community — those who are fortunate enough to not know the wrath of OCD and whose comments will discourage others from getting the help that they need for fear of being judged.

Presently yours,


The best CBT-inspired reminders for OCD:

I am separate from my mind

My thoughts are passing clouds

Brave the uncomfortable

Embrace uncertainty


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