Sweaters never made for great coping mechanisms anyway

Because this is my blog and I have a million thoughts and feelings, I give you a break from our regularly scheduled chats on life with autonomic dysfunctions and bring you chats on people talking about this infamous sweater from Target:


There are several ways people are reacting to this sweater.

  1. Hey! Funny joke!
  2. They’re poking fun at a mental illness
  3. That’s not even a very good joke

The people from group two are the people whose reactions we heard loudest—because a few of them went ahead and said, “this is offensive to me, please stop selling this product.”

Does Target have to do that? No. But customers always have the right to ask.

A lot of people are upset that we’re too sensitive or too politically correct lately. As a child of the 90s, I’m kind of used to it. When people my age complain, “you can’t say anything anymore!” I roll my eyes because it was our parents and teachers that taught us to be sensitive in the things we say. At what point did 20-somethings ever have full license to go around saying insensitive things without repercussion?


Facebook, Twitter, and the news are full of ranting adults whining about how everyone needs to suck it up and take a joke, but has anyone ever taken a moment to step back and question why the object in question is offensive to someone?

But here’s my guess about why the OCD shirt is offensive to so many:

We still don’t know how to have appropriate cultural empathy about the impact OCD has on peoples’ lives while reserving a place for humor for those of us who want to be able to laugh about it. Humor helps so many of us cope—but my coping mechanism is not your punchline.

OCD manifests in so many different ways, some are seen and unseen. And because many are unseen, those who aren’t first party to someone’s personal experience are privy to dismissing a person with OCD’s experiences. I’ve had a lot of people deny my diagnosis because they have never witnessed me completing any rituals. Well,

  • OCD can manifest in obsessive thoughts that never. go. away.
  • I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

OCD does not look the same on every person. Any episode of My Strange Addiction will tell you that. And recovery does not look the same on every person. One person can go through a few months of cognitive behavioral therapy and achieve recovery. Others will battle this illness for decades.

As far as Target’s shirt goes, I’m more disappointed in the fact that it’s boring. I know it’s in the category of “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” but it’s just an uninteresting design. Additionally, the “joke” is unoriginal. Tons of other companies have used it on their products. Unfortunately for Target, they’re the biggest … target. (I’m sorry for that. But it was too easy. Just like poking fun at OCD is, apparently.)

So I guess before screaming “STOP BEING SO SENSITIVE YOU’RE TOO PC!!!” at someone who says they’re offended by the shirt, maybe remember that there’s a reason that they’re offended, there’s a battle that they’re fighting, and for the love of all that’s holy, it’s almost the holiday season, please don’t be angry at other people, be angry at faceless organizations. It’s just better for everyone.

1 comment

  1. Agreed completely, it’s like someone taking the panic and anxiety (because there’s a few differences between the two) attacks that I’m cursed with and turning it into a tasteless joke on a t-shirt. I mean, I try to be light-hearted about it, especially if others I know are not offended by anxiety lulz and such (like if I’m trying to cheer myself up, for example). But seeing something like this shirt really isn’t all that “lmao” material. OCD is a struggle, and you’re absolutely right, it doesn’t look the same on everyone. I still struggle with whatever OCD I have left from when it was severe two years ago, and it’s definitely not something to joke about. Being medicated for it? Yeah, not a joke.

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