(Illustration by Victor Abarca / Fusion)
It has been almost 4 years since I first wrote my article about living with Primarily Obsessional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for Fusion, now Splinter News. It was the first time someone had sought me out to write a paid piece about my mental health. I had contributed a blog to Time to Change and spoken openly on my own social media to help others understand, but this was by far the biggest platform I had stood on in terms of speaking out about what had been causing so much chaos within.
I wrote about the misconceptions of OCD in the original article. About what people assume it is and how the term “OCD” is tossed around as much as other vague descriptors for unusual behaviour, such as “awkward”, “binge” or “addictive”. The reality is much less vague. It can be as debilitating as it is misunderstood, and in reflecting on my own past experiences and the pain it put me through, which in turn caused pain for those around me, I am curious as to whether much has changed in terms of how OCD is digested from the Internet and in popular culture and whether more is known about its true nature.
The DSM-V in North America recently moved OCD from being under anxiety disorders to a section of its own, the same way Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has its own unique place in the manual. To me, this speaks volumes to how complex this condition really is – and how much psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and therapists alike are still striving to uncover.
As we move into 2019, I am intrigued – both personally and professionally – as to how we can better assess and treat obsessive behaviours. In a world where “obsession” is the behaviour that feeds growing consumerism (technology, fashion, food for example) I am eager to research how the future may start to shape our mental health – and what effective measures we can take to safeguard our minds and demand greater responsibility from businesses sell us these life changing products.