Stop, Look, and Listen
OCD in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media
Suffering From Anxiety Illustrates Mental Illnesses As Real
Monsters" - Toby Allen's amazing illustrations show various mental
disorders as monsters. Here's
"The obsessive-compulsive monster is a cruel and manipulative puppeteer
that uses fear to control its victims."
(More of his
- Nelli Miller's I
Am: An Exploration into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder -
(This site is now gone. The links are to archived
pages in the Wayback Machine; some of the artwork, poetry, and
real-life stories are still available for viewing.)
"by sufferers, for other sufferers". The site also features
stories and a
of OCD-related "music, readings and interviews". This is a
beautiful site with one drawback: the poetry and stories are in
individual PDF files, making them awkward to download and read.
an exhibition at the Boston Center for the Arts
(Wayback Machine) - "OCD delves into the
phenomena with eight artists for whom obsession and compulsion are
both the subject and the method of their work ..."
(March 19 through May 7, 2004)
- OCD PROJECT -
is a blog documenting various OCD projects by Lil Yates when she was a
Product Design Student in her final year at Grays School of Art. Some
really great stuff!
- Kirk Stacey's pure-ocd:
Taking a look into the world of OCD - is an interesting and unusual
site that uses fictional short stories, scripts, and photographs to
promote awareness of OCD, its different manifestations, and how it
affects the lives of sufferers.
(Other art by Kirk.)
- Steven Diamond - is a
Las Vegas magician who suffered from OCD. His web site features his
autobiography, video clips of a Jane Pauley interview, and an audio
course he's developed for overcoming anxiety disorders.
- As Good As It
Gets (1997, IMDB) - Jack Nicholson as Melvin and Helen Hunt
bites from the movie.) Melvin:
Some of us have great stories. Pretty stories, that take place
at lakes, with boats and friends, and noodle salad. Just no one
in this car. But a lot of people, that's their story. Good times,
noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad,
but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good.
Aviator (2004, IMDB) - Leonardo DiCaprio as the young,
famous Howard Hughes. Some of the
reveal his fear of germs, an obsession that would overtake him
later in life. Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz was the medical consultant
for the OCD and is well-known for his PET scans of OCD patients'
brains. I saw him give a talk on TV claiming that they did the
same PET scans on Leonardo DiCaprio after he performed the OCD
scenes in the movie and DiCaprio's brain showed the same highlighted
areas in the brain, the implication being that if a normal person
can turn OCD on, an OCD sufferer can surely turn it off. That's
Dr. Schwartz's two-cents worth.
Filthy Love (Wayback Machine)
(2004, IMDB) - "an
offbeat romantic comedy ... [about] a man with Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder (OCD) and Tourette's [sic] Syndrome negotiating his
way through divorce and redundancy." From
Darlington (Wayback Machine): "The piece was co-written by actor
Ian Puleston-Davies who suffers from OCD himself."
(1987, IMDB) - is the story of two sisters raised by their Aunt Sylvie,
a hoarder. The movie is based on the novel Housekeeping
by Marilynne Robinson
Men (2003, IMDB) - stars Nicolas Cage as a con man, Roy,
who suffers from OCD, Tourette's, and other anxiety disorders. The
plot has an interesting twist at the end. The OCD seems a little
contrived and is inconsistent in places, but how can you not like Cage!
- The Tic
Code (1999, IMDB) - is about a 10-year-old aspiring jazz
musician with Tourette's. I haven't seen the movie yet.
Heroes (1995, IMDB) - is based on
Lidz's memoir of his family. I haven't seen the movie yet, but
the two uncles apparently suffer from OCD. (A
of another Lidz book says Uncle Arthur was a hoarder.)
- "Closed In" -
"Experimental Narrative about OCD Shut-in". (QuickTime movie; filmed by
Video Nation - "OCD" - Mark Boustead, a film maker, "explains what
living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is like and how it
manifests itself for him". (March 2004; available in RealPlayer format)
- "React -
"an ocd person learns to overcome". (QuickTime movie; produced by
- NOBODIES -
podcasts from Jason and Kelli; they occasionally talk about Kelli's OCD.
- OCD Animations / Ocean of OCD -
is a series of clever video animations that illustrates how OCD hems
in your life and how to break free of it. To help understand the
videos, read the text below each one before watching. The prose
People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - is a lengthy list of
historical figures and present-day celebrities who purportedly have OCD.
Some entries actual describe the person's OCD, but other entries are
just summaries of the celebrities' careers.
obsessive celebs - a life less disorder-nary - lists 12 celebrities
and the nature of their OCD. The celebrities include Cameron Diaz,
Jessica Alba, Billy Bob Thornton, David Beckham, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer
Love Hewitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Gascoigne, Jane Horrocks, Natalie
Appleton, Fred Durst, and Woody Allen.
Radio 4 - All in the Mind - Dr. Raj Persaud explored OCD in the
April 10, 2002 airing of the program (available in RealAudio format).
He talked with someone about
First Steps to Freedom
and with Dr. Isobel Heyman about
OCD in children.
Compulive Disorder" [sic] - "Chris [Moyles] talks to Jimmy
Carr about OCD. (MP3 from The Breakfast Show, 2005-11-15)
- Ireland's RTÉ Radio 1:
Compulsive Disorder" - was the subject of Olan McGowan's very
Box show on May 9, 2006. McGown interviews soccer superstar
David Beckham and his wife, both of whom suffer from OCD, and
OCD professionals Leslie Shoemaker (counseling psychologist
and advisor to OCD Ireland)
and Sinclair Hamilton (psychotherapist and advisor to OCD Northern
- On the
1, 2006 broadcast of
Show, Anton Savage interviews Leslie Shoemaker (see
above), Dr. Martina Gibbons (cognitive psychotherapist and director
and About Association), and an OCD sufferer, David Quinn. The
OCD segment begins about 32 minutes into the one-hour show and lasts
for about 17 minutes.
Compulsive Disorder" - is a poignant and informative program
in Ella McSweeney's
Matters series. The OCD professionals featured on the
May 11, 2007 show are Leslie Shoemaker (see above) and
M. Salkovskis, Ph.D. (clinical psychologist and researcher).
- Hoarders (A&E) -
"Each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look
inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with
their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a
Buried Alive (TLC) - Hoarding: Buried Alive "explores
the psychology behind the compulsion to accumulate and store large
quantities of nonessential things ... With the help of expert
therapists and organizers, the hoarders will attempt to unlock the key
to their obsessions in hope of reclaiming their lives."
- How Clean Is
Your House? (BBC) - "Through a horrifying yet hilarious combination
of observation and science of grime, this show will revolutionize the
dull world of housework." In the few episodes I've seen, the houses
are cleaned, but there is no discussion of the obvious hoarding and
there is no psychiatric help for the hoarder.
vs. Hoarding: Buried Alive - is a critique of the two
series with a well-argued choice of Hoarding: Buried Alive
as the better show. The article concludes by recommending you watch
How Clean Is Your House? for the best of both worlds.
- Obsessed (A&E) -
"Intense and highly personal, A&E's true-life docuseries
Obsessed examines the lives of everyday people imprisoned
by unmanageable, repetitive behaviors and sometimes debilitating fear."
"Highly trained therapists use desensitatization and exposure therapy,
coaching the patients through exposure to the causes of their anxiety
until the feelings begin to fade."
OCD Project (VH1) - "Six participants diagnosed with the most
severe forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have lost their
friends, put their families on the brink of collapse, and completely
bankrupt [sic] their lives. Now, as a last resort, they've
decided to move together and undergo intensive therapy."
- The Big Bang
Theory - is a comedy revolving around four science nerds. Sheldon
is arguably the smartest one of the bunch and, since the first episode,
Personality Disorder (OCPD), which is basically OCD without the
distress. In "The
Engagement Reaction" (Season 4, Episode 23), Sheldon displays
I learned a new word today!), which may or may not be distinct from
OCD contamination fears (i.e., it may be an obsession without
- Haven - features former FBI
agent Audrey Parker investigating mysteries in a mysterious town.
"Audrey Parker's Day Off" (Season 2, Episode 6) has Parker reliving
the same day over and over again, with a different friend being killed
each day by a hit-and-run driver. She finally figures out that the
repeating days are caused by a man who suffers from OCD, in particular,
counting and checking compulsions. (In general, the supernatural
mystery to be solved in each show is usually caused by the actions of
an individual.) The OCD is realistically portrayed, but the ending is
in poor taste.
- House - I'm a big fan of Hugh
Laurie and, for the first couple of seasons, of House.
(In subsequent seasons, the storylines - especially the non-medical
threads - have gotten increasingly bizarre and somewhat tedious.)
and Shut" (Season 6, Episode 19) - reveals, indirectly, that
Personality Disorder (OCPD).
Must Remember This" (Season 7, Episode 12) - features a lady
who supposedly has a perfect memory, plus health problems. By the
end of the show, you find out that the "perfect" memory is a result
of her obsessing over every incident in her life. Chase prescribes
an SSRI and says that it will fix her OCD. If only ...
- "The Dig" (Season
7, Episode 18) - features an ill teacher who, after the House crew
breaks into his house, is suspected of hoarding. They eventually
find out that the man's wife is the hoarder and that the
hoarding began after she had 3 miscarriages (which she didn't tell
her husband about).
- Monk - is a
humorous TV series starring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, a detective
with OCD. Check out the on-line game,
board includes discussions of OCD.
- Tyler Perry's House of
Payne - In
Wax Off" (Season 1, Episode 13), "Malik gets excessively consumed
with taking showers" and "Ella worries that he has OCD."
And don't forget the cartoons! In one of Nickelodeon's Rugrats
Chuckie won't play in the trash with the other babies because of his fear of
germs. At the end of the show, however - realizing that life's too short, I
guess - he does a little exposure therapy of his own, plunging into the trash
and having fun.
And Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory! The following posting
news group was apparently referring to Episode 35 of the second season (#48 in
Psycho" (Wayback Machine):
I just saw one of the most incredible segments on Dexter's Laboratory.
In it, the mother is deprived of her gloves and told to relax by her
kids and husband. This has to be one of the most perceptive looks into
obsessive-compulsive disorders I have ever seen. The creators of this
show should be proud.
Comedy Central's adult-oriented Crank Yankers puppet show includes
Ken (voice of Kevin Nealon):
||2, 4, 6, 8, 10
||1, 3, 5, 7, 11
||"I don't like to be dirty - I don't like you to be dirty."
account (Wayback Machine) of Saturday Night Live's
Did you ever see the SNL take-off on Calvin Klein's "Obsession"?
Nora Dunn is the main character, Phil Hartman the narrator and
I can't remember the rest but it is priceless! Done just like
the CK commercial of the time, shot with black & white
backgrounds and I remember a couple of the lines because they
were sooooo funny:
"If keeping a clean house is a crime, then let me be guilty!"
"Somewhere between cleanliness and godliness lies Compulsion, the world's
most indulgent disinfectant. From Calvin Kleen." (Phil Hartman?)