It's Not Me, It's the OCD

an Autoethnographic Reflection on OCD, the Self and the Blurred Lines Inbetween

  • Molly Sandford-Ward University of Edinburgh
Keywords: mental illness, ocd, recovery, medical, treatment, the self, autoethnography


Fundamentally, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) forces sufferers to question, and fear, who they really are. Furthermore, when treatment requires a level of differentiation between ‘normal thoughts’ and ‘OCD thoughts’, this effect can be exacerbated. Even if treatment is successful in reducing symptoms, it is possible to end up feeling lost, when the gaps left by OCD are not automatically filled with a secure sense of self. Indeed, OCD is not necessarily experienced as an entirely ‘external’ illness, and can be conceptualised by sufferers to be part of their personality. Therefore, OCD treatment should not only seek to reduce symptoms but also help patients to engage with and shape the new ‘self’ that may emerge.

How to Cite
Sandford-Ward, M. (2018). It’s Not Me, It’s the OCD. Re:Think - a Journal of Creative Ethnography, 1(1), 35-41. Retrieved from
Academic Essays