The phrase, “I’m so OCD” is often tossed around as a shorthand way of claiming to be particularly tidy or organized. In reality, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is a serious mental illness that affects at least 2% of the population. Now, a new online art project called the Wall is combatting some of the most common misconceptions about OCD by allowing people who suffer from this mental disorder to anonymously share their experiences.
The Wall is part of The Secret Illness, a multimedia art project that explores the realities of those living with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Becca Laidler, a filmmaker and one of the project’s co-creators, told Mashable that she was inspired by her own experience of growing up with a mother who wasn’t diagnosed with OCD until later in life. Liz Smith, Laidler’s co-creator, said that for her, the project was about raising awareness of a serious condition that is commonly trivialized. She also said that she believes some people suffering from undiagnosed OCD may find some relief when they view posts on the Wall and realize they’re not alone.
The Wall is regularly updated with new posts shared by people from all over the world. Those who post can either choose to remain completely anonymous or can include their first name and city of residence. All posts feature text confessions overlaying pixelated portraits. Examples of recent posts include “Being a good father is hindered by my OCD” and “I am not just OCD”.
The Wall Confession Shared on Twitter
Image Source: https://twitter.com/secretillness
Sharing Experiences Helps Combat Misconceptions
There are many popular misconceptions that surround obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many people assume that OCD is all about neatness and tidiness, and that people with OCD “just need to relax”. Some people also view OCD as a personality quirk, or think that “everyone is a little bit OCD” sometimes.
OCD is not a characteristic or personality quirk; it is a recognized mental illness that can dramatically affect sufferers’ day-to-day lives. The National Institute of Mental Health defines the condition as “a long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.” The disorder manifests in different ways for different people and can vary in severity. However, many people diagnosed with OCD admit to spending several hours every day on their obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals, even though they may recognize those thoughts and behaviors as irrational.
The hundreds of posts on The Wall offer a glimpse into the challenges faced by real people with OCD and prove that this condition is more than just a harmless quirk. The creative project also highlights the importance of getting help for OCD and offers additional resources for those who have this mental disorder or know someone who does.