Sunday, August 25, 2013

OC87: A Movie About Courage and Living Your Life in the Midst of OCD

My husband was away, and I was feeling anxious.  I've come a long way since the time I walked 7 miles around a lake in order to ward off the anxiety of being alone for a week, but I'd been having physical aches and pains in the weeks leading up to his leaving, and my OCD was stirring.

Feeling achy and anxious, I started searching for movies on Netflix.  This was my way of avoiding searching for the meaning of my symptoms, but still, compulsive and exhausting.  Working my way through the alphabet and the numbers, using the arrow keys to navigate to one letter at a time.

Then OC87: The Obessive Compulsive Major Depression Bipolar Aspberger's Movie came up.  I remembered hearing about it when it came out a couple years ago, but I hadn't seen it.  It was already midnight, but I started watching.

Bud Clayman majored in film in college, but thoughts that scared him, and depression infiltrated his life.   OC87 refers to 1987 when he built his life around attempting to control the world around him, and the thoughts within him.

I was moved by Bud Clayman's persistence in making this film about his life now, after 30 years of OCD, depression and Asperger's, which involved dealing with people, dealing with his intrusive thoughts, indecision, anger and grief.  I particularly liked the scene he wrote where he played both "Good Buddy" and "Bad Buddy" in a riff on a scene from Lost in Space.  Part of this is in the trailer for the movie, the Bad Buddy telling the Good Buddy that he isn't capable of living without him, but Bud Clayman is capable of living his dream, even with the spectre of OC87, in the midst of the imperfections.

What this film reminded me was that to spend the week trying to figure out if my symptoms were a physical problem, or whether it was OCD, and freezing myself into a block of worry was a manifestation of my illness, and not what I want in my life.  

In one scene, Bud asks a woman what films she likes, and she asks him the same question, and his answer is that Ordinary People is the best movie ever made.  He describes how OC87 evolved out of a desire to describe how therapy had helped him, how it was a safe place, and how Ordinary People resonated with him, in its depiction of therapy.

Ordinary People is one of my favorite films, and I hadn't expected it to come up in Bud Clayman's film. I saw it when I was 12 or 13, several times, mesmerized.  Netflix had it, and I watched it next.  I'll write more about that.

Have you seen OC87?


  1. No, I haven't seen it, but I want to now! I hadn't heard of it, so I appreciate you bringing it to our attention. Ironically, 1987 was a pretty bad year for my OCD. The late 80s were not good times.

    I was fascinated with Ordinary People too. That's one that I need to watch again.

  2. I'd heard of OC87 and Bud Clayman but never saw the movie. Thanks for the reminder about it. Also loved Ordinary People......

  3. I haven't seen the film but I'm going to look at watching it with my partner this coming weekend. Thank you for the recommendation.

  4. I never see the movie to. But it seems to be very teaching film. Thanks a lot.