Coffee roastery naming their business OCD sparks online controversy

A new Bay of Plenty coffee roastery has sparked online controversy for naming their business OCD – short for Obsessive Coffee Drinkers.

Francesca Eldridge, who has lived with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) most of her life, said it was deeply upsetting and hurtful that a company had chosen to coin their business name from a mental illness that has caused her and many others major suffering.

“I can’t imagine anyone would ever open a major depressive disorder corner dairy or the bipolar disorder hair salon, to me it’s not only offensive but it’s bizarre to name your business in that way.

“It’s like my suffering is being made fun of,” the 40-year-old New Plymouth mum said.

Eldridge, who runs an online support group called @francescaeldridgehealth, said she was alerted to the business by one of her Instagram followers who messaged her saying “do you think this offensive or am I being over sensitive?”.

“I had a look at their social media, and you sort of feel a combination of pissed off and tired because it’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last time,” she said.

“I also felt like, they are probably not trying to be hurtful but they are being clueless.”

Eldridge said there was a lot of shame attached to OCD, and if someone who was in a really dark place saw someone making light of their illness it would make them feel even more shame and like no one understands.

“If I think back to when I was a teenager and in my early 20s when I was really struggling – when I say really struggling I’m talking about feeling suicidal, huge loss of quality of life, massive impact on my ability to work and socialise and function, huge impact on my marriage.”

Frustrated by the name, Eldridge wrote a number of posts inviting people to comment anonymously on how the business name made them feel.

She said the response was generally along the lines of outrage, ‘this is really awful’, ‘this is trivialised’, ‘this is hurtful and showing their ignorance’, and it was this misunderstanding that made it harder for people with OCD to get the help they need.

A number of health professionals had called the coffee roastery out on its Instagram page but the business deleted their comments, Eldridge said.

“A business making a mistake is okay but a business refusing to listen shows a lack of courage and empathy, in my opinion.”

She said she just wished the company had engaged in conversation and publicly acknowledge that they would at least consider the criticism.

The company told the Herald they had arranged to meet with Eldridge but did not want to comment further.

READ MORE: About Francesca Eldridge’s story here.

Where to get help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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