Visuals depicting OCD

‘A picture paints a thousand words’ as the saying goes, therefore today I’ve been exploring which visual best suits my life with OCD. Is it a bully whispering in my ear, if so what does this bully look like? Do I have a bird sitting on my shoulder chirping nuisance OCD thoughts in my ear to prevent normal behaviour? I entered keywords into Word ClipArt for inspiration without much joy, so moved onto for images to buy.

Entering ‘OCD’ in the search box resulted in 2,174 images – I duly went through half of them (clearly obsessive) but still struggled to bond with any photographs/illustrations. So I entered ‘Mental Disorder’ in the search box – this resulted in 36,344 images! I was on a determined mission, but even I couldn’t look through more than a few hundred, but again nothing really resonated with me.

My partner, who is an illustrator, came up with the image above to represent me living in COVID times, but I’m afraid I wasn’t too impressed that it reflected the reoccurring nuisance thoughts. To be honest, at first glance I thought the dangerous red virus droplets were poppies falling on the umbrella!

So I’ve given him a more specific brief of: brain synapses/neuro transmitters, ping-pong thoughts going back and forward in perpetual motion like a Newton’s cradle, and thought bubbles with scary words in them like contamination, blood, germs, dirt, poo. These things are how I think of my OCD.

I look forward to his next illustration that I’ll add in my next post.