“This is a sickness. I have an illness. Every time someone uses a bathroom and they flush, all the bacteria is shot into the air.”
Zergnet: Simply Irresistible
When I was 15, my parents and I went to buy some kittens from a couple in rural New Mexico. Their first words to us were, “Did you know that cats can be retarded?” We didn’t. We took two. They were … challenging, but we loved them all the same. Well, it turns out that dogs and cats can also suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. In humans, OCD causes behavior like excessive hand-washing, or pulling out one’s hair by the roots, or repetitive checking of stoves, lights, and locks. Apparently, eight percent of dogs exhibit compulsive behaviors like pacing, spinning, tail-chasing, snapping at imaginary flies, fence-running, licking, chewing, barking, and staring. Tail-chasing, licking, chewing, and barking? Huh. I thought that was just dogs. If those are characteristics of dogs with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, what do normal dogs do? Keep reading »
Last night was the premiere episode of my new favorite show ever — “Hoarders” on A&E. Similar to “Intervention” and “Obsessed,” “Hoarders” followed two stories of people with this OCD-related disease. Jennifer and Ron are both hoarders whose messy (ha!) ways are greatly impacting the home they have set up for their three children. Laundry, trash, and junk pack every inch of their house, causing the family to have to eat all of their meals in bed because there is nowhere to sit down or put their plates. But this couples pales in comparison to Jill, a Milwaukee woman who hoards everything and the kitchen sink, but primarily focuses her obsession on food. She’s got four refrigerators packed to the gills with spoiled, expired meat and dairy products, a pantry stocked with more couscous than your local grocery store, and, beneath all the other trash, rotting pumpkins and fruit everywhere.
It’s clear Jill suffers from a real mental illness and her recovery will be tough, but I couldn’t help but giggle at the enthusiasm the woman clearly has for food. “It was a very nice pumpkin when it was fresh,” she explains to the hoarding specialist, in reference to a barely recognizable squash. “The eggs were too pretty to eat!” she tells her sister about a container of eggs gifted to her TWO YEARS AGO. “Ohhhh! I didn’t know I had tamales!” she exclaims, after discovering a package of frozen tamales in the back of her freezer, behind a wall of disintegrating and rotting meat. Warning, this show might kill your appetite. Clip above. [A&E: Hoarders] Keep reading »
First, there was “Intervention,” A&E’s harrowing documentary series that takes an unblinking look at the lives of addicts. From naked, screaming meth heads to killing-themselves-slowly alcoholic fathers, the show is equal parts terrifying, riveting, and compelling. While the characters change — pill-popping shrink, homeless crackhead, Listerine-swilling mom — the story is always the same. Somewhere along the road of their lives, these people went reeling off course, and their addiction controls their futures, as they stagger from bar to dealer to homelessness.
Now, “Obsessed” takes a look at people who are controlled by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Whether they can’t stop washing their hands, are convinced the refrigerator will fall through the floor at any moment, or pick at their faces with what amounts to pliers, they are ruled by their OCD. Keep reading »
Ever since I found out that Howie Mandel has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I’ve semi-obsessively watched “Deal Or No Deal” waiting to see how Howie reacts during those awkward moments when a contestant tries to hug him. Howie’s OCD is no joke—it’s seriously limited his life, and he’s writing a memoir about it called “Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me.” In the book, he’ll reveal much more about his battle with the disease than the nuggets he’s given us so far: that he hasn’t shaken anyone’s hand since 2001, that he walks around his house with a face mask and gloves on, that he is so afraid of public restrooms that he can only use the bathroom at home, and that he shaves his head because it makes him feel cleaner. [Wikipedia]
I am completely and thoroughly fascinated with OCD, so you better believe that I will be picking up Howie’s memoir the day it comes out in November. And I’m also counting the minutes until VH1′s “OCD Project,” which will be like a “Real World” for OCD sufferers undergoing treatment. But since it’ll be a while until either of these comes out, here are some details about other famous OCD suffers to tide you over. Keep reading »
We’re all a little bit crazy. I know I am. After battling a bout of depression in my teens, going through therapy in my 20s, and ultimately becoming a happy, more well-adjusted person, I decided to get my masters in psychology. Why? Because people are endlessly fascinating and complex. So I get a little too excited watching shows like “Intervention,” “Obsessed,” and “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.” Sometimes my friends make fun of me, pointing out that I am the one who is “addicted” or “obsessed” with these shows. Laugh all you want, but I don’t watch because I get off on other people’s problems. I just think it’s important to have empathy for what other people are going through. I watch to be a better person, darn it. And that’s why I am so psyched that VH1 has created a new reality series that follows people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Keep reading »