‘A Day with OCD’ Short Film shines a light on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Visionary Arts were invited to attend an exclusive premiere of a new Short Film produced by Lynn Crilly and Sky Andrew and directed by Mark Allen.

A Day with OCD’ chronicles a day in the life of Sam who suffers with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a condition which is said to affect 1 in 50 people and that just represents those who have had an official diagnosis.

“It is a deep-rooted, anxiety based, debilitating and destructive mental illness that affects both the sufferers and their carers alike…OCD can be defined as a mental health condition that changes a person’s way of thinking, their feelings, their behaviour, or all three… OCD deserves the same attention and respect as any physical illness, yet sadly, it is still often woefully misunderstood” – Lynn Crilly

Whilst introducing the film, Lynn explains that the condition does not discriminate, it can affect a wide variety of people, regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality and/or social background and eloquently went on to describe the condition as ‘and unwelcome intruder, arriving without warning and occupying headspace’.

The main character Sam, is played by Lynn’s real life daughter (also Sam) who takes on her very first acting role (you’d never know). Sam lives with OCD and has done for several years and the film was inspired by her real life struggles with the condition. She is now living a happier and healthier life and cites performing arts as the catalyst for this and discovering how powerful the arts can be in helping people who are struggling with mental illness.

The film begins with Sam psyching herself up to face the day before rearranging the ornaments on her bedside table ‘so that Nan doesn’t die’. Dry humour which sets the tone for the rest of the film.

Throughout the film, we are privy to Sam’s inner voice and her internal battle to get through a day filled with obsessive thoughts, rituals, repetitive behaviour and anxiety. From her morning meltdown after discovering her sister has eaten her carefully planned lunch of varied hues (no Green), dealing with her desk being re-arranged at work, to cleaning her restaurant table herself at the bemusement of her friend Maggie (hilariously played by Megan Kerby who also co-wrote the film) and navigating the dating world where she cannot bear to be touched without her trusty hand sanitiser.

OCD is also a condition which is often trivialised and misdiagnosed by medical professionals which is conveyed so well in a scene where we see Sam seeking help from her GP, who intimates that ‘it’s probably just hormones’ and suggests camomile tea to help ‘calm her down’. The film shows that not only is the condition often not taken seriously, but even where it is, sufferers often experience extremely long wait times for referrals to mental health services.

Although Sam was very open with her on-screen family about her condition, which Lynn says was based on their true life experience as a family, they don’t quite seem to quite grasp her condition and its symptoms, with her mum thinking she has autism and her dad thinking that having OCD means you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community!

In the film, Sam refers to herself as a ‘30 year old miscreation’ which many OCD sufferers will identify with who often feel that they are somehow ‘broken’ with no hope of recovery. Lynn who is a mental health champion, counsellor and author of several books including ‘Hope with OCD’ and ‘Hope with Depression’, that give advice to sufferers of mental illness, hopes that the film will offer that much needed hope, as she believes recovery is possible with the right support from friends, family and professionals.

The film appears to be a real team effort, with everyone involved in the project having real lived-experience of mental illness in some form, and as a result the film does a fantastic job at shining a light on and showing the reality of living with a mental health condition, but in a light-hearted, thoroughly entertaining and comedic way, whilst still managing to get the overarching message across.

You can watch the film below –

 

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