A red curtain with a microphone in the spotlight. « Blog

By Shaun Flores

Scouring the internet as I usually do, not doom scrolling I hope, I stumbled upon this clip on TikTok by comedian Brian Regan who speaks about his OCD symptoms and journey. 

This shows us just how recovery for OCD and the way OCD affects everyone is incredibly different.

As a comedian, Regan's role is to make jokes and he is renowned for his self-deprecating humor, it is the way we cope he seems to cope with OCD. In other clips, he has spoken about his OCD and recognized the levels at which OCD affects everyone differently.

In my role as an advocate/activist, I am cautious about not getting myself into a bottleneck of activism where anyone who disagrees with me and the OCD community we push them out and alienates them, I seek to understand the difference.

Being a part of the OCD community I have seen people with severe OCD, being onward, with intensive treatment giving them a shot at life. I have seen those with mild to low OCD, who can cope with their everyday life. We operate on a spectrum, thus highlighting how the way we view OCD and its effects can also be the same. 

I am not a fan of companies, corporations and the general society mocking OCD, without a clear understanding of it. Even communicating with therapists on a day-to-day basis, many of who I inform I have OCD, also reply “I have OCD, I love my things organized”. The general idea of OCD is misunderstood.

A dark stage with a red chair and a sign that reads "Comedy"

Yet from this clip from someone who does have OCD, using his own humor he is mocking his own life which perhaps is simply the way we deal with it. I do not believe he is an advocate or an activist for OCD, and neither should he be forced to be one. He does not represent us all with OCD, and neither do we have to claim him in the community.

We can not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Directly comparing Brian Regan with another comedian who has OCD

Maria Bamford who also has OCD and uses her platform to tell a different story of OCD.  She was the Keynote Speaker for the IOCDF's 2020 Online OCD Conference.

In 2016 she appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and spoke about OCD.

Bamford has also appeared in documentaries on OCD on Netflix. The way she presents her comedy is different and can be more easily palatable to the OCD community and wider society. 

Even making a comedy series about OCD, via her Youtube channel Maria Bamford.

It is through the use of satire ( the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.) which can be an easier segway into conversations rather than shouting, preaching or immediately calling people out. 

Both comedians are using their skillsets through comedy in differing ways which is something that is to be celebrated. It is through the advancement of ideas through differing platforms in a myriad of ways we push the message out. We can not get it 100% right as there is no absolute consensus.

One important realization when it comes to living with OCD is that we can not expect everyone to understand what we go through. Those who have OCD, or loved ones perhaps might when they see the extent and depths OCD can render people to. For others like Brian, his OCD does affect his life to the scale it has for some of us. Even for myself writing this OCD left me suicidal and contemplating taking my own life, even still through recovery my advocacy and activism I find light in the darkness of OCD. 

Maybe Brian has done the same. Maybe that is what Brian uses to overcome OCD, and simply because we do not agree does not mean he does not appreciate what OCD can and can't do. He is operating as an individual. Brian does not speak for our community and we don't speak for him, He has the freedom to mock and make light of OCD and in the very same breath, we can challenge him in productive ways or not support him.

At the end of the day, comedy makes light of many issues in society, I know how OCD is still perceived and yet I will continue to do my advocacy and activism and maybe in the spirit of uncertainty, Brian and I can sit down and speak all things OCD and we can see the thin line between humor, but the freedom to think is the freedom to offend. 


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