i’m writing a story and wish to include a character with ocd. i myself do not have ocd nor do i know anyone with it, so i have no first-hand (nor second-hand) experience with it. i’m very aware there’s a ton of stigma surrounding this very misunderstood mental illness, so i wish to try my hardest to present it as accurately as possible.
i’ll start off with what i already found out from research:
ocd (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is, as the name suggests, a disroder. a mental illness. it’s not a “quirky” personality trait to apply to any character to make them “stand out”.
ocd is much more than just excessive cleaning and a strong desire/need for everything to be in order, such as symmetry or any particular order. it’s not to be used for humor.
ocd is not the same as perfectionism (i’m a perfectionist, but i don’t have ocd as i mentioned). a person with ocd is not necessarily a perfectionist (and vice versa).
ocd is usually a series of obsessions (thoughts) and compulsions (behaviors). it consists of intrusive thoughts and behaviors an individual with ocd often fails to control, resulting in so-called rituals (compulsions) to ease the anxiety, though often with little success. it’s a constant need to repeat the same rituals over and over again.
ocd can be a result from genetic, psychological or environmental factors, though it doesn’t always have a specific cause.
ocd can be treated either by medication (psychotherapy) or cognitive behavioral therapy (or a mix of both). it doesn’t tend to go away on its own.
this sums up what i already know about ocd, but i would love to hear your perspectives and experiences! please let me know if i got anything wrong as well.
also, for another character, i’m curious about this specific scenario:
they tend to become fixated on something or someone that intrigues them; usually goals or people that are hard or nearly impossible to reach. even in cases where something goes against the law, they feel they have little to no self-control when it comes to standing their ground to prevent themselves from reaching out to achieve that goal or person. if they don’t act on their feelings or fail to achieve that goal or person, they feel miserable and depressed. they don’t feel accomplished, thus they continue acting on their feelings/desires. no matter what they do, since they’re fixated/obsessed, this goal or person is most or all they can think about until they achieve it.
detailed elaboration to this scenario
this character is someone who can in no way prevent themselves from doing what their mind or feelings tell them to do, like (most?) people with ocd can’t. they’re consciously aware that their goals can’t always be achieved due to the given circumstances and that they shouldn’t always act on their desires, but they still feel the urge to step out of their way to try, which can sometimes cost them something valuable, such as a relationship or a job. even if they try to hold back, eventually, they will fail/refuse to do so since their urges become mind-numbing or too much to bear. their mind becomes clouded with the person/goal they’re fixated on, and distracting themselves, as well as performing certain rituals, doesn’t help ease their anxiety (for long), so their only bet is to fight for what they desire. if it’s a person they desire, once they achieve them, they try their hardest to treat this person as a god/goddess since they’re fearful of losing them; they have been their target after all. it’s like they fall prey to this person’s charms. they would trade their own life for this person’s.
due to an important event in their past, they sometimes feel the urge to ensure their loved ones are safe because if they don’t, they believe they could be the cause of harm or that it would be their fault for allowing harm to come their loved ones’ ways. alongside feeling miserable and irritable, if they don’t act on their desires, they can also believe that something bad will happen, either to them or the person they’re fixated on. it triggers their instinct to protect. they become fixated on one person/goal at a time.
this character is in their late 20s and they’ve been this way their whole life, especially in their teens, when they were very promiscuous (they had a constant need for stimulation and adventure). after the important event, they became obsessed with the idea to frequently check on their loved ones. for a few years in between, their tendency to become fixated on something/someone had calmed, however, the force returns once a significant person enters their life in the story, gradually making them lose focus and self-composure all over again.
they never attended therapy or had been diagnosed with anything. in fact, they themselves are preparing to work in the psychological field, and they’re overall great at what they do so far. their studies/career mean everything to them. no one ever suspected they could have a condition since on the surface, they’re good at composing themselves and appearing “normal”. most of whatever goes on in their head and what they do when no one is watching is their secret.
is this condition also considered a disorder (if so, which?), or is it just poor ability to control one’s desires, thoughts and actions?