Fictional characters like Sheldon Cooper of The Big, Bang Theory and Adrian Monk of Monk depicted OCD in characters whose quirks were highly irritating....at first. But as the audience grew to know them over the series' 12-year and 8-year respective runs, the disorder became recognized as integral to their characters' positive attributes. The overwhelming majority of people do not have OCD, but society's fear-filled response to COVID-19 brings the condition home.
Life for everyone in the Bay Area right now---with the intense handwashing, fear of leaving the home and fear of causing harm to others---resembles some of the classic OCD struggles. And indeed, OCD sufferers with contamination-related compulsions are facing heightened anxiety during the pandemic.
Howie Mandel has been afflicted with
ADHD and OCD since childhood.
But many others are reporting that years of therapy have made them the calmest person in their household. And the sheltering has the potential for a big positive — a turning point for a disorder that has been marked by a lack of understanding in the media and popular culture.
Jeff Bell, a KCBS radio anchor and mental health awareness advocate who documented his own OCD struggle in the 2007 memoir “Rewind, Replay, Repeat,” said he’s already seeing signs of empathy from the public, who are getting a sample-size version of the trials of an OCD patient.
Monk, 2002-2009, was a dramedy about a brilliant detective. Tony Shalhoub and some of the cast reprised their roles in this new YouTube short.