In the last few years a couple of really good movies about mental illness have been successful They had all the things in them that made them interesting. They were a love story of sorts. I really appreciate the awareness and those that made these movies great. A Beautiful Mind was about schizophrenia. Silver Linings Playbook is about Bi-Polar. I haven't gotten to see the Silver Linings one yet so don't tell me how it ends...
As Good As It Gets was a brilliant movie about OCD. I always liked the t.v. show Monk as well. Both of these has put OCD more in the fore front than it has been before and yet I am dissatisfied. It seems that OCD is viewed as funny and stereotyped. If you were someone that had never come across a person with OCD you might make some generalizations just from these two shows. I would like to take a minute to enlighten you If you permit me.
Not everyone with OCD is a clean freak. Hoarders are also sufferers of OCD.
Not everyone with OCD have a fear of germs. Every fear or phobia is specific and just as people are different their fears are different. Many of us are clean freaks and germ-a-phobes but there are a lot of people with OCD that are not.
For some reason with the exception of the OCD t.v. series the mentally ill are played by male actors. Mommy Dearest was about Joan Crawford and is so far the only female role that I have found about OCD. She was quite harsh and I am fairly certain she had much more than just OCD.
So the generalizations we are left with are that only older men in their fifties have this disorder. That we are rigid and angry people. That we can not communicate efficiently with others. That we are all clean freaks and are terrified of germs. That we are hateful and resentful. That we are terrified of everything in our environment That we are to be laughed at. That we can not have real relationships. That we are damaged and sad. That we can't be beautiful or sexy. That we can not have beautiful romantic love stories written about us.That we are old curmudgeons shuffling around. That people with OCD are violent (American Psycho) or abusive (Mommy Dearest). That we are incapable of living full and happy lives. That we don't deserve to have more realistic movies written about us because it is not sell able or interesting.
This is not accurate at all. OCD people are most often kind and extra sensitive. We worry about not being accepted and loved. All of us have OCD traits but we have different personalities. Some are more pessimistic and some of us are optimistic. We are all different and should be represented in that fashion. Frankly, we deserve better and more accurate depictions.
I would like a movie with a beautiful actress like Jennifer Aniston playing a real depiction of OCD. Instead of being afraid of something small like outdated milk she could have real phobias. That would be nice. Yes the milk the thing is funny but not all of our phobias are. They are real and they are terrifying We laugh at some of our issues but it is not all fun and games. OCD is a debilitating mental illness. Her love interest could be some one like Gerard Butler. They could be in a diner and she could say" I have intrusive thoughts. I am so terrified of the images and voice in my head that I have hidden all the knives in my house and I only cut things when the house is empty just to avoid the fear. I am not violent but I am afraid I will stab someone."
Gerard,"That's ok. We can just order out all the time."
Jennifer," I am afraid to take elevators. They make me feel like I am suffocating.I have anxiety attacks in them"
Gerard," No problem. We can always take the stairs."
Jennifer," I pull out my own hair until I have bald patches and I can't stop or I pick my skin till it bleeds. I have scars.'
Gerard," You are the most beautiful woman in the world."
Jennifer,"I had to give up driving. Every few blocks I have this terrifying fear that I have hit someone. I know I have not but the doubt and fear is so real I have to get out and check.'
Gerard," I would happily drive you anywhere you need to go."
Jennifer," I touch things several times until it feels right and it makes me late all of the time. My friends are embarrassed to be seen with me but I can not stop the urge."
Gerard," I don't care, I love you."
Jennifer," I know I have a lot of issues, but I promise you that no one will love you as much as I do. No one will ever be as loyal or good to you as me. Because I care on levels most aren't capable of."
Then they could pan to her room when the stress has gotten to her and they could show what it's really like for us. They could show him holding her as she rocks back and forth crying the corner. They could show how she feels like a failure and how she is devastated. How she is terrified of having children because she could pass it on to them.They could also show her being productive with her life. They could show the ups and downs of finding medications that work. They could show the terrible side affects that come with these trials. They could show how she goes to a therapist and gets help. Because that is much more accurate than being afraid of milk or stepping on a crack in the pavement. Because OCD is not a joke. Because OCD is much more than an hour long movie played by a cranky middle age man who hates dogs or likes cleanliness.
Hollywood if you are going to crack open the door of mental illness then lets be real for change. Let's break open the door frame and release the truth of mental illness. Let's represent how it really is for people that have OCD. Don't sugar coat it. Don't make it your personal joke. Don't make us all men living alone in a dank apartment or house. Show us as beautiful men and women because that is what we are. We are not just crazy lunatics locked in the attic. We are everyone. We are many. We are contributing to our communities and taking part in our own lives. Show our humor but also show our pain. Show our capacity to love and learn. Show how we overcome our difficulties. Show us as real identifiable people. We are not Jack Nicholson. We are not Faye Dunaway or Christian Bale. We are strong and we are loyal and loving. We are just like you. Represent us fully and see how many of us come out of the shadows and stand up and say I have OCD. Help the world to really understand us. Help us to accept our own illness and for once not be ashamed.