Inner Workings is Strikingly Similar to Life with OCD

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Contrary to popular belief, OCD is not all about being excessively clean and tidy. It’s also about having horrible intrusive thoughts. Basically they’re thoughts of you doing or wanting something that goes against your morals, having nightmarish images that clash with good images, or imagining the worst possible thing that could happen (obsessions), which often results in compulsions to avoid or relieve them.

When I saw Inner Workings before Moana, I gotta say, even though it wasn’t intentional (it’s about feeling torn between duty and heart), the main character definitely exhibits traits of someone who could have OCD.

Said character, Paul, has a set routine: get up at 6 am sharp, shower, go directly to work at 8:45 am to take the ten minute walk to the office, no stopping. Throughout the short, when his heart has other ideas (dance in the shower, have a good breakfast, go to the beach), notice how his brain always thinks of the worst possible outcome: that any change to his routine will result in immediate or eventual, painful death.

I got to say, that’s almost exactly like having intrusive thoughts with OCD. This isn’t just someone torn between head or heart, this is someone with massive anxiety. Again, even if this wasn’t intentional (the director of the short based it on being torn  between two cultures, and you can tell this wasn’t intentional because Paul recovers pretty quickly), it comes across as someone with bad intrusive thoughts that have been eating away at his life. As someone who has had problems with OCD that are relatively fine now, I related to this short a LOT.

You can read more about intrusive thoughts HERE, but I’ll say this: if you want to write someone with OCD, start with this short. It’s actually a good stepping stone in understanding the disorder beyond just being someone who frequently washes hands and organizes their desk perfectly.

Author: Laura Alexander

My name is Laura, I use they/them pronouns, and I'm a college student with Asperger's currently enrolled at the Social Service Worker Program at Sheridan College. I have a passion for film and animation, social issues, and helping others, all of which will be featured on The Flying Red Robot blog. Please read the about page before commenting or following. "Big Hero 6" is my favourite movie.

2 thoughts on “Inner Workings is Strikingly Similar to Life with OCD”

  1. Hi Laura,
    I know that this is kind of tangential to the main subject of your blog, but I was just wondering if you could help me out a little, as someone who’s had problems with OCD in the past. My OCD has been really intense since my concussion, and I was just wondering what worked for you as far as alleviating it some? Don’t feel like you have to give advice or anything, I’m just wondering what’s helped you.

    Thanks a lot.


    1. I’ve been on Antidepressants for awhile and that’s helped me immensely. I know CBT is also really helpful for a lot of people. I’m not a doctor or anything so I’m not sure what else I can say, but look up any treatment and see what you can do. Take care.


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