Living with Me and My OCD, a really moving and important documentary has just been released on YouTube and is available to view for free. The documentary was filmed, directed, and edited by Claire Watkinson, herself a sufferer of OCD. She created the film with the aim of reducing popular misconceptions and stigma around OCD. A few things that struck me upon watching it:
- The interviews really emphasize just how deeply people with OCD are suffering. They are tortured by their OCD fears, worries, and anxieties and, even though they have insight into the fact that their fears are distorted or exaggerated, they still can’t stop the worrying, the fear, and the discomfort. This really reveals how the emotional part of the brain, when activated, completely overwhelms the thinking part of the brain. People who are not struggling with OCD sometimes fail to appreciate how little control we humans can have over our thoughts and behaviors. The brain is a powerful organ that can make us do things that we don’t want to do no matter how hard we try to fight it.
- The misconception of OCD as a “normal” thing that all people experience has very real consequences for people with OCD. They are sometimes dismissed as not having a real mental illness when they try and disclose their struggles. People wonder why they can’t just “get over it” because they don’t appreciate that OCD is an actual mental health issue that is far different from the experience of the average person. If a person simply prefers doing things a certain way, but can do it differently if they really want to, then that is not actual OCD. Simple as that. On the other hand, if you are suffering silently with OCD, find someone you trust – a friend, a spouse, or a parent – to start sharing your story and seek help from a professional who works with OCD.
- People tend to think of OCD as just “cleaning” or “organizing.” However, this really masks the broad range of worries with which people with OCD can struggle. OCD can result in fears of being a pedophile, of wanting to hurt oneself and others, of going to hell, of catching a disease and dying, of being responsible for bad things happening, and of any number of other terrifying things. When you have OCD, these fears are completely unjustified but you can’t reassure yourself that they are not true. At around the 20 minute mark, there is a story of a woman who struggled with the fear of being a pedophile, and how she was treated due to ignorance around OCD.
So here’s the link to the film: Living with Me and My OCD. Be sure to check it out and share your knowledge. Let’s reduce the stigma and the misconceptions around this very debilitating mental health disorder.