This may sound like a skipping record, but it is not. Tragically, it is just one of the many intense rituals that may plague the mind of someone who has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Perhaps what is worse though is that these people are widely misunderstood, especially as children and teenagers. If the public was more educated about the causes, behaviors, and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the people who suffer with it would not have to suffer in silence.
The misconceptions about OCD are not all new. In the Middle Ages, for example, the Catholic Church thought that the symptoms of OCD were brought on by the devil. Unfortunately, things did not get any better as time progressed. Many years later in Victorian times, OCD sufferers were mocked as insane (Hollander, 1999). OCD even made an appearance in a classic piece of literature. In his play Macbeth, Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth was a textbook example of someone with OCD. Her character however was a madwoman, whose compulsive hand washing gave her lines like "Out damn spot! Out I say!" (Hollander, 1999). This type of public ridicule only added to the pain of those with OCD.
This disorder does not only plague adults, it can start very early in childhood, and it impacts every aspect of what we know as normal life. A few years ago, a young girl appeared on an episode of Oprah to tell her story.
"I get stuck in the mirror and have a hard time getting out" Darcie [an eleven-year old girl with OCD] said, fighting back tears. "I know I look okay, but I don't feel right. I don't feel comfortable if I leave. To people who hear this, it might sound strange. When you have OCD you know how it feels (Summers, 1999).".
To read what Darcie said about her life with OCD is tragic. In his book, Everything In Its Place, television show host Marc Summers talked about his own childhood with the disorder. He went into detail when he wrote about the cleaning rituals he performed every Sunday from the time he was eight to sixteen, later saying that just like Darcie, everything had to be in its place (Summers, 1999).