#OCDproblems – Reclaiming the hashtag

At the end of last year (how odd it feels to say that!) I had an idea. As a twitter community we had done some awareness raising using the #thatsocd hashtag. It was a powerful way to describe our lived experiences with OCD. However, I had a nagging concern that perhaps it was only reaching those suffering with OCD and I wanted to find a way that allowed us to reach a wider audience so that we weren’t just preaching to the choir- as it were.

On Twitter there is another hashtag that looks like this : #OCDproblems.

People use it to tweet about their neurotic quirks and habits. You know how it goes:
“Hate it when the teacher doesn’t wipe the board properly. lol.#OCDproblems”

“Wish people wouldn’t wear odd socks 😉 #OCDproblems

It’s irritating and a misuse of the term. Suddenly I wondered what it would be like if we took over the hashtag. If we piggybacked on it then we would be reaching all the people who normally use it to describe their neuroticism. I wanted it to be a peaceful awareness raising exercise not a snarky ‘have a go’ session so I put out a tweet to see who would be up for it. The response was astounding. The wonderful Ellen White went straight to gathering support and we were on a mission! I had anticipated that we may tweet for half an hour, perhaps an hour if we found much to say. Two hours on we were still going strong. 

I wanted to do a video to collate all the tweets that were sent. The video is long. This is deliberate. There were hundreds of tweets that were sent and I wanted to reflect that. If I were a media studies student (and thank god I’m not, this was hard enough!) then it wouldn’t be winning any prizes. It is not short, sharp or succinct. But then neither is OCD. It often feels never-ending, monotonous and repetitious and although I’m hoping they’re not words you’ll use to describe the video I felt to cut it or make it into some snazzy video would be to do people’s experience of OCD a disservice.I am also mindful that the video moves along quite quickly and that may make it difficult to read all the tweets. This is for two reasons. On an entirely practical note the video was shaping up to be about 20 minutes if I slowed it down much more. On a more symbolic note I wanted it to represent the speed with which OCD can move. Often our intrusive thoughts can feel fast moving and slightly hard to grasp. Please do not worry if you don’t read each and every tweet, the aim is to get a flavour. I have tried to include everyone’s tweets but I collated them using technology so of course this is not always fail-safe. Apologies to anyone I may have missed.

So just a few things left to say. Firstly, I hope you enjoy the video and feel that you have gained something from it by the end. It is by no means a perfect video but I am proud of the end result.

Secondly, thank you to @secretillness who made a lovely snapshot video of the tweets. It can be seen here

Finally, I want to thank the wonderful twitter community who tweeted openly and bravely about their experiences with OCD and who made the video possible. Any errors in the video are mine alone.

Wishing you all the best for 2015 and I hope you all make steps on your road to recovery.

Emily x


Copyright: The video is my own work but please feel free to share in order to raise awareness. Please do however credit me where possible.
The music is courtesy of the Free Music Archive. Artist is Chris Zabriskie. Track is Prelude No 18.