Is there a link between OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and creativity?
This is a question I have been wondering about for a long time but I haven’t been able to find a definite answer to it yet. I have always considered myself as a creative person but is my creativity a sign of OCD? Or is it just a factor that makes my OCD worse by helping me invent a crazy amount of new obsessions and compulsions?
Well, I do not know. And I am not sure if I will be able to answer any of these questions in today’s post but what I can do is sharing a hilarious story to show you just how creative OCD can be.
A Day At The Museum
So, talking about creativity. I have always been in love with art (especially painting) and visiting art galleries has always made me feel better. Looking at beautiful works of art really helps me escape reality and masterpieces are not the only thing I love about galleries but I also love their atmosphere, the way they smell…and the peaceful environment. So.. literally everything.
And that’s why my friend and me decided to spend our Saturday afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest). Could you possibly imagine a better plan for a rainy day? Personally, I cannot.
So there we were. Strolling around the Museum of Fine Arts, absorbing the art and completely forgetting about a friend we had not invited to our little museum tour. And as you might have already guessed, this friend of ours is called OCD. I always think of OCD as if it was an actual person – I know it sounds pretty weird but believe me, personifying your OCD can help you keep it under control. And well…my OCD is a guy and he is like an annoying ex-boyfriend you can never get rid of no matter how hard you try. Like….nobody wanted to have him at the museum but he still decided to come over. Seriously, how annoying is that?
Further reading: The Face Of The Devil – Personifying Your OCD
Anyways, back to the story! We were looking at some Egyptian clay pots when my OCD decided to join us and he would ask me:
What if you pass out and break something while falling to the ground? Like…these Egyptian clay pots look pretty fragile and they are extremely valuable! So it would be a shame if you accidentally broke one of them.
Now, what is the best thing you can do when your OCD starts bugging you with its stupid questions? Try not to answer them and try to focus on something else. And well, I would normally be able to do this but this time it was a little bit more difficult due to a very simple fact: since the beginning of the pandemic, wearing a face mask has become mandatory in Hungarian museums.
I think I am pretty good when it comes to coping with my fear of fainting – well, over the years I have had enough time to learn how to keep it under control – but wearing a face mask for hours is a pretty new thing to me. So, I was trying to tell myself that I wasn’t going to faint but I guess at this point you can already imagine what my OCD told me:
What if your brain does not get enough oxygen? That could easily make you pass out!
Hm….well that’s a good question. And who knows? That might actually happen so I decided to play it safe and I got one of those portable museum chairs to make sure that I have something to lean on if the inevitable happens.
Was it a good idea? Hard to answer but it definitely helped me forget about my sudden fear of fainting. Like...carrying the chair around made me feel safe and I know that reassurance seeking isn’t an appropriate way to cope with your OCD but I really needed a “quick fix” ’cause I obviously did not want my crazy thoughts ruin my entire afternoon.
But then, there was something about that chair. It did not only bring a sense of calm but also exciting new “OCD opportunities”. I told you OCD was creative, did I not? So while I was enjoying the beauty of renaissance paintings it managed to come up with a new idea:
What if I throw the chair at one of the paintings?
Now, I know that sounds absolutely crazy. And I will not get offended if you laugh at it because to be honest, I too think it is pretty funny. Imagine a guy walking through a museum, totally scared of throwing a chair at a Raphael painting.
And the story isn’t over yet. I was trying not to think about the disastrous consequences of throwing a chair at a renaissance masterpiece but unfortunately, ruining a Raphael painting was not the only horrifying thing I could do with the infamous chair. Because…
What if I attack someone with the chair?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a violent person. I do not think I would ever be able to harm anyone but my OCD does not always agree with me on that. ‘Cause there’s always that “what if” – like… when you know your thoughts are bats***t insane but it doesn’t mean you’re able to stop having them.
Further Reading: Am I A Monster? – The Story Of My Harm OCD
So… few hours at the museum and I have already destroyed a few Egyptian pieces of art by falling on them while fainting, smashed a couple of paintings with a portable chair and attacked innocent museum workers.(of course, only in my mind) Now, what’s next?
As you can see there are a lot of things that could possibly go wrong while visiting a museum but there’s one that my OCD almost forgot about. I said “almost” … ’cause OCD would obviously never miss the chance to ask you:
What if I grab a painting and run away with it?
I am sure I am not the only person who would like a beautiful painting hanging on their wall. But I guess worrying about stealing a painting from the museum is not that common. Well… that was another intrusive thought I would have. It was less scarier than the other ones but it still shows how creative OCD can be.
I am proud to tell you that no paintings/staff were harmed during my museum visit. You might have already guessed that because I wouldn’t be writing this post if I acted on any of my intrusive thoughts.
I honestly have no idea whether my OCD is responsible for my extreme creativity or whether it’s the other way around but I thought it would be a good thing for me to share with you what kinds of thoughts I have. As I only spent a limited amount of time at the museum so these thoughts haven’t really had a great impact on my life but at least I could show you what my “OCD brain” works like!
- Creativity and OCD Go Bizarrely Hand-in-Hand
- OCD And Creativity
- Creativity & Mental Health – 5 Artists Who Lived With Mental Illness
- Catastrophic Thinking – Living In The Shadow Of Disaster or Life Is Like A Fairy Tale
- When Your Brain Is Drained – OCD & Mental Exhaustion
As you all know, there is one thing I love more than sharing my stories: reading yours. Do you think there is a link between OCD and creativity? Is there any OCD story you’d like to tell us? Feel free to share your thoughts, feelings and stories in the comment section!