It’s common to hear people who are organized or take great care in washing their hands joke that they are “so OCD!”. But obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is no laughing matter, and it involves a lot more suffering than many are aware of. While it is not uncommon to sometimes think disturbing thoughts or to engage in rituals, doing this occasionally is not OCD. In fact, the reality is much different and a new short film screening at the Sunscreen Film Festival is working to help others embrace the seriousness of the disorder.
The film — called “Waving” — aims to depict an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the brutal realities of OCD, coupled with a sense of hope that help can be found. The film follows Charlie, a father in self-imposed exile to protect his family from the emotionally destructive thoughts he cannot escape due to his OCD.
The film is a passion project for Executive Producer Ethan S. Smith, who was born with OCD and struggled the majority of his life until receiving life-changing treatment in 2010. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to reduce the stigma around mental health and OCD, a disease that affects one in 100 adults in the US, making it more prevalent than many other severe mental illnesses.
“The film takes viewers on a psychological journey inside the head of someone who is wracked with nonstop destructive thoughts, and the power of those who show compassion and are able to guide them out of that dark space,” said Smith. “So much of my life was spent spiraling down a dark hole. By the grace of good people around me, I was able to find support and get the help needed to steer my life back on track.”
The film stars actor Ralph Ineson (as Charlie), known for his work in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 &2,” “Chernobyl,” and “Game Of Thrones.” In “Waving”, Ineson’s portrayal of a person with OCD greatly furthers Smith’s goal to build better understanding of and empathy for those who have this very debilitating disorder.
“Having a background in acting and directing, the opportunity to support a film about OCD was a natural fit for me,” said Smith. “I am proud to be part of a community with people who are able to build awareness about this mental health disorder and provide information so others who have OCD can get the help and treatment they need.”
“Waving” is premiering at the Sunscreen Film Festival on Friday April 28 at 1:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at this link. To learn more about the film, visit WavingFilm.com. A preview of the film can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/727278895/d30d565064.
“In Waving, you see Charlie begin to get help at the end of the film by talking with a new friend,” said Smith, who is a national patient advocate for the disorder. “But one thing that isn’t included in the film is the long path to finding a treatment that works for the individual. Alarmingly, it can take up to 14 to 17 years from the onset of symptoms for a person to get an appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment for OCD. Managing OCD symptoms can be a long and difficult process because OCD looks different on everyone.”
Smith urges everyone to see this film to get a better understanding of this mental health issue afflicting so many. And if you suspect OCD, learn more here. The right resources may just be the lifeline you or a loved one needs.