A Letter from the Founder

Trigger Warning: Mentioning specific intrusive thoughts, Harm/Impulse Control OCD

My name is Elise, and I'm the founder of the ocdopus. I've had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) since I was at least 6 years old, so at this point, I've been living with it for about 19 years. Through my lived experience, my imagination, and my desire to make a significant contribution to this world, the ocdopus was born. 

I started this shop for a couple reasons. One, OCD is terribly misrepresented and misunderstood. Mental illness stigma is pervasive across all the disorders, but when it comes to OCD, people think they already know what it is. They often don't. I found out I had OCD through googling my obsessions. That was the only way I knew my disturbing intrusive thoughts were a symptom of OCD, and not me absolutely losing my mind. 

Two, people use OCD for punch lines on merchandise. I wanted to put merch out into the world, side by side with these joke shirts online. I wanted to make people with OCD feel seen, and to make those who don't know more about it stop and think. "OCD? Why are things that say maybe and embrace uncertainty coming up? Isn't that about cleaning?" And so, the education begins. 

Three, the world does not put out products that reflect what we learn in OCD therapy. A lot of OCD treatment feels very counterintuitive and conflicts with what society says. Maybe you've seen those motivational posters that say things like "you are what you think", "thoughts become words, words become actions". And when you're having repetitive thoughts about, let's say, opening the door while your car is moving, and you're worried you're going to do it, those posters don't help.  

I often thought about things I would love to buy for myself or my friends with OCD. I started taking those ideas and making them into products that we could actually buy and give to each other. People give our products to their friends, family members, children, therapists, clients, and support groups. They show solidarity in fighting both the disorder itself, and the stigma surrounding it. 

The OCD community is overflowing with wonderful people. I am honored to have the opportunity to get involved and give back in this way. I cannot thank you all enough. I hope you get as much out of the shop and I get out of running it. It's truly a dream. 


Elise Petronzio

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