OCD representation

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:

  1. 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”.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. ocd can be a result from genetic, psychological or environmental factors, though it doesn’t always have a specific cause.

  6. 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?

8 Likes

It’s a disorder. Some people have it really bad and it interferes with their work and other things. Thankfully I don’t have it that bad but it’s still a urge to “complete” it. If I don’t do something a certain amount of times or do it “perfectly” it’ll mess with me for the rest of the day. I go by 8’s when it comes to tapping, flipping things, etc and it has to be the same amount of times on each side. If I’m really anxious to begin with then it can go up to 28.

Overall I’ve had conflicts with teachers and some friends because they find my actions excessive or annoying. I’ve even had a conflict with my stepdad because he thought I was being extra.

6 Likes

thanks for your insight! yeah, i did mention it was a disorder, so i’m aware. it sounds intense and not fun at all (no mental illness is fun after all).

i’d love to hear more perspectives from people with different levels of ocd!

2 Likes

No problem :sparkling_heart: I hate when people think it’s such a fun thing or as simple as being a neat freak. It’s literally the worse anxiety ever :woman_facepalming:t4:

2 Likes

yeah, i believe you. i myself don’t have ocd (i have depression, social anxiety and asperger’s), but i really feel that, just on an alternate level. i hate the stigma against any mental illness.

1 Like

I think people just want to claim something because they think it’s good for attention or whatever. That ends up making it worse for people who have it. I also have social anxiety and depression so it’s not fun especially when people joke around about something serious :sweat:

1 Like

I can particularly say that I have some heavy anxiety and maybe even a bit OCD from information heard, though never diagnosed (I’m not sure if it calls for diagnosis all the time, but you can let me know ) For me, the anxiety is the worse. Sometimes, I can be in your typical normal conversation and when asked a question (mainly a question that involves expressing my feelings or explaining why I did something), my heart accelerates and it actually hurts physically to create a response.

I literally can’t speak at all no matter how badly my thoughts are begging me to. You feel helpless, trapped even. I don’t know if it happens to anyone else, but that’s my experience with. I once even had to be excused from an exam room because I kept coughing and couldn’t breathe properly from all the stress I was facing. Whereas with the OCD, sometimes it can be as simple as me just having to touch something and not being able to stop myself. I wouldn’t even have a reason as to why.

2 Likes

ocd (and any other mental illness) can only be confirmed by a professional, so if you feel you might have ocd, i recommend you check in as soon as you can.

1 Like

I know an author who has OCD, and she decided to write a story telling what it’s like to have it and the offensive terms she faces!

Here’s her link:

Truthfully Yours, OCD: http://episodeinteractive.com/r/s/5584006892224512

4 Likes

You do have to be diagnosed as far as I know to confirm that you have it. (I’m not saying you don’t have it. I’m in no way able to say that, since I’m obviously not qualified.) It’s not something that can be self-diagnosed. Of course, people might have those disorders and not know, and some may have it but never be diagnosed.

3 Likes

I read that story, too! And I learned so mcuh from it.

2 Likes

Same!!

1 Like

thank you for sharing this!

1 Like

No problem!! :two_hearts:

1 Like

Thank you for letting me know.

1 Like

Definitely going to check this out.

1 Like

yeah, i know. i’ve done a bit of research this far, i’d just like to hear people’s perspectives directly.

my friend has ocd and some of the things that happen are that she has to do a certain number of repetitive movements before she can do something else.
An example being that she has to wash her hands exactly 3 times before dinner, and then tap her knife and fork together 4 times. And the different foods on her plate must be seperated form eachother.

2 Likes

Aww I’m really proud that you’re doing this!

2 Likes

I think @shaharPie can help you with this :sparkling_heart:

2 Likes