Creative works by people with OCD?
April 10, 2006 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for creative works by people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Their work does not have to be specifically about OCD, though it's fine if it is. Pointers to musicians or visual artists with the disorder would be much appreciated. Also, are there any OCD blogs of note out there?
posted by Marit to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From Wikipedia: you can sort out the "creative artists" from other and perhaps follow their works.
These figures have been identified as having the disorder:

* Howard Hughes
* Nikola Tesla
* Jessica Alba
* Charles Darwin
* Howie Mandel
* Florence Nightingale
* Rose McGowan
* Joey Ramone
* Marc Summers
* Howard Stern
* Samuel Johnson
* Fiona Apple
* Woody Allen
* Harrison Ford
* Charles Dickens
* Winona Ryder
* David Beckham
* Paul Gascoigne
* Emily Lloyd
* Michelle Pfeiffer
* Marcel Proust
* John Larroquette

And those with Anxiety Disorders wich includes:
persons with OCD

Naomi Campbell (model)
David Bowie (singer)
John Stuart Mill (philosopher)
John Cougar Mellencamp (musician, actor)
Johnny Depp (actor)
Anne Tyler (author)
Shecky Greene (comedian)
Courtney Love (singer - actress)
Sally Field (actress)
Jim Eisenreich (baseball)
Barbra Streisand (singer)
Ann Wilson (singer)
Winona Ryder (actress)
Howard Stern (king of media)
Anne Tyler (author)
Olivia Hussey (actress)
Cher (singer, actress)
Pete Harnisch (baseball star)
James Garner (actor)
Tom Snyder (host)
Kim Basinger (actress)
Earl Campbell (football star)
Donny Osmond (actor)
Marie Osmond (entertainer)
Oprah Winfrey (host)
John Candy (comedian)
Edvard Munch (artist)
Beverly Johnson (supermodel)
John Madden (announcer)
Howie Mandel (comic)
Sam Shepard (playwright)
Lani O'Grady (actress)
Robert Burns (poet)
Isaac Asimov (author)
Alanis Morisette (singer)
Sissy Spacek (actress)
Robin Quivers (radio host)
Barbara Gordon (filmmaker)
Burt Reynolds (actor)
Sir Isaac Newton (scientist)
Charles Schultz (cartoonist)
Michael English (singer)
Sir Laurence Olivier (actor)
Dean Cain (actor)
John Steinbeck (author)
W.B. Yeats (poet)
Leila Kenzle (actress)
Aretha Franklin (singer)
Joan Rivers (actress)
Deanna Carter (singer)
Dave Stewart of the (singer – Eurythmics)
Al Kasha (songwriter)
Charlotte Bronte (author)
Nikola Tesla (inventor)
Roseanne Barr (comedian)
Naomi Judd (singer)
Susan Powter (tv host)
Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist)
Carly Simon (singer)
Willard Scott (weatherman)
Nicole Kidman (actress)
Sheryl Crow (musician)
Anthony Hopkins (actor)
Dick Clark (television personality)
Ray Charles (musician)
Eric Clapton (musician)
Edie Falco (actress)
Barbara Bush (former First Lady - U.S.)
Tony Dow (actor director)
Michael Crichton (writer)
Robert McFarlane (former National Security Advisor - U.S.)
Bonnie Raitt (musician)
posted by rmhsinc at 1:03 PM on April 10, 2006

"Devil in the Details" by Jennifer Traig is a most excellent OCD memoir.
posted by naomi at 1:10 PM on April 10, 2006

Jin Wicked, creator of Crap I Drew On My Lunch Break, has OCD, and has referenced it a couple of times on her site.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2006

I'm not aware that On Kawara has OCD, but his art could certainly be called both obsessive and complusive. In a little bit of serendipity I was working on this post when you must have posted your question.
posted by OmieWise at 1:22 PM on April 10, 2006

Your question was intriguing so I looked a bit more--perhaps validating that I am not alone--and I stumbled on this list (I can not validate accuracy but it is through self report). But I did follow up on a reference made to Warren Zevon (which I verified as much as I could). In my book his music and personal presence is (was) as good as it gets. Thanks for asking the question:,,528719_685869,00.html
posted by rmhsinc at 1:25 PM on April 10, 2006

Not by a person with OCD, but I wrote a long essay about what it's like to live with/be in a relationship with someone with OCD (my ex). If you'd like, I can email it to you; my contact info's in my profile.
posted by fuzzbean at 1:28 PM on April 10, 2006

David Sedaris has written several pieces about his OCD, most notably "Plague of Tics" from Naked.
posted by arco at 1:35 PM on April 10, 2006

just wanted to second naomi's recommendation of "Devil in the Details." What I found appealing about the book is the author's way of being able to identify some of the turning points in her life with OCD and being able to step back and describe to the reader what was going on in her head at the time.
posted by whatzit at 1:35 PM on April 10, 2006

Boston Center for the Arts had an all OCD exhibition a few years ago.
posted by glibhamdreck at 1:41 PM on April 10, 2006

Marc Summers' official site has information about his new book. He's been pretty well known for all of his work in front of the camera, and is the national spokesperson for the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.
posted by mewithoutyou at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2006

i would like to third the mention of "devil in the details." this is somewhat off-topic, somewhat on:

billy bob thornton is also OCD, and he is friends with warren zevon. there was a hilarious bit on letterman once in which thornton speaks of his OCD, his relationship with zevon, and what it felt like to hear that zevon is OCD "about guns."
posted by starbaby at 2:08 PM on April 10, 2006

I'll second David Sedaris's excellent "Plague of Tics".
posted by saladin at 7:15 PM on April 10, 2006

Last year I worked on the English subtitles for a independently-produced Japanese documentary called "As a Stick and a Mirror of Our Hearts" (Kokoro no Tsue to shite Kagami to shite". The website is here, though it's completely in Japanese. It was specifically about an art therapy studio, located inside a hospital, for people suffering from various degrees of OCD and other mental illnesses. For me, the film was an eye-opener, because in my biased preconception, I'd half expected to see patients doodling with crayons or something in their spare time with their therapists; instead, many of the people featured in this film are true artists, though unknown, in their own right, grappling with their illness through their art and creating intensely beautiful works along the way.
If you're interested in seeing it, I can refer you to the people who created it. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to send you a video. E-mail's in my profile.
posted by misozaki at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2006

Another book: Just Checking by Emily Colas.
posted by xo at 9:27 PM on April 10, 2006

SEW by Nicholas Gurewitch, Sarah Witt. Sarah is the one with OCD, although you'll see that when you watch. I really liked it.
posted by JackarypQQ at 11:10 PM on April 10, 2006

Thank you all for the suggestions! It's funny, I've read Naked and I completely forgot about Plague of Tics. I'm going to check out all the books mentioned.

JackaryPQQ -- ah, thank you! I knew I'd seen SEW in a post to the blue, but I was unable to find it.
posted by Marit at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2006

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