07 January 2007

More on OCD

Julia:

Sometimes there are faddish psychological conditions that get all over the public consciousness at certain times for various reasons. Ten years ago everyone left and right was being diagnosed with ADD and taking Ritalin. More recently it seemed like maybe there was an OCD craze going on. There was Monk, that Emmy winning tv show, and this good book about another OCD detective solving crimes.

Every time these fads go around, the less serious tics and obsessions of these conditions become secret portholes that allow their sufferers to see things in the world others can't. Nowadays everyone is ADD because of the internet. Detectives solve crimes thanks to their OCD-fueled attention to detail. Sometimes now I think maybe having a couple OCD quirks would make me a more interesting person, or maybe make me better at my job or something. I bet, though, real sufferers of these conditions are pretty annoyed by stuff like this. Tourette's is really isolating, and spending every other moment trying to quell some overwhelming urge to count orange cones while driving must be terrible. Plus, what makes these conditions innocent and interesting, and other debilitative conditions like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's not interesting at all? I guess the latter are degenerative, which is not funny at all. But ADD and OCD can be just as tragic in their more extreme forms.

I just saw this episode of Scrubs where Michael J. Fox plays an OCD surgeon whose tics seem charming until the end scene, where he's screaming at himself, not able to get himself to stop washing his hands and go home at the end of the day. It was pretty weird watching a real-life Parkinson's sufferer playing cute OCD, then playing the other, real side of having a debilitative psychological condition.

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