Waving focuses on the incredible toil pure OCD has on mental health. When every thought comes with dire warnings and every object radiates anxiety into the very centre of your being.
I was once told by a Jungian therapist that my pathology makes me believe I am the centre of the world. The obsessions that bad things will happen, particularly to my family, unless I carry out the illogical compulsions is a crippling condition. You are never at peace unless you are intoxicated or asleep.
Waving takes this premise to its extreme. What would happen if the person responsible for the continued existence of everything just gave up?
The condition clouds every aspect of your perception to the point where you no longer know what is real and feel there is only one way out.
Suicide is a complex issue and some- thing I have at times considered but there is a stronger desire to keep fighting and shine a light on this cruel condition beyond the simplistic portrayals we have seen to date.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Despite the dissemination of clinical psychology’s findings over the last century, there is still plenty of unwarranted stigmatisation around mental health issues which stem from a mix of denial, ignorance and fear. Too many people suffer in silence because of the potential shaming they be- lieve may ensue, which negates the desire for honest self-reflection.
The culturally encouraged reticence in Britain of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ perpetuates the problem, passing on repressed suffering from one generation to the next. There are endless stories one can invent to frame a context for this intergenerational dynamic. Steve’s story is one of those. Charlie’s actions, if he doesn’t get a grip, will have disastrous consequences for him and his family.
This extreme story has abstract truths about taking mental health seriously and above all else not isolating oneself and not pretending it is possible to handle these or similar issues on one’s own.
‘No man is an island’. One tried and tested way of relieving the burden of emotional suffering is to share it. Art can have that function when an open conversation is hard to instigate, let alone navigate. This, along with my admiration for Steve’s openness and courage in facing his condition, sums up my motivation for wanting to make this film with him.
Through sharing and attempting to understand we find solace and a deeper connection with those around us, which is why telling the story of this misunderstood condition holds a certain allegorical truth for acknowledging the dark sides of every personality: An important step in personal development and maturing that Jung called ‘encountering and assimilating the shadow’.
Charlie’s compulsions arise from the well of his subconscious which is why a strong surrealist element, without tipping into the absurd, will run through this piece.
This surrealist-leaning aesthetic coupled with a social-realist vein aims to project Charlie’s emotional and psychological state onto the very every- day surroundings which torment him; whilst at the same time grounding the audience in a relatable, post-pandemic dystopian world.
Unlike physical impairments, psychological and emotional wounds are not easily perceived. They require other, more complex signs and signifiers to be adequately communicated. In other words; a means of signalling.
Hence the title of our film: Waving, not drowning. A fitting metaphor for being attentive to the welfare of our loved ones’ inner lives and compassionately enquiring if underneath their behaviour lies a covert cry for help.
BEHIND THE SCENES
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Statement
For as long as I live, I will look on this film with complete and utter awe, and a huge amount of pride. As someone who has spent a lifetime dealing with OCD, I have lived in hope for a moment like this one; a moment in which a light is shone boldly, and without shame, on a cruel and hugely misunderstood condition. If only OCD really was about enjoying a tidy home.
I have been an OCD advocate for six years now and can say with total confidence that nothing exists like Waving. The pure torture of the condition is etched into Charlie’s face throughout, the desperation… the pain…. it’s all there. OCD is a condition that impacts the whole family and seeing Sarah’s agonising response to Charlie’s condition is a perfect portrayal of how badly OCD can impact loved ones. OCD can run in families too, so very often people are juggling the management of their own condition with the care of a beloved child. And that beloved child can find themselves feeling confused and lost. This is depicted perfectly in Charlie’s daughter Sophie.
The surrealist nature of Waving has allowed us to showcase the hidden side of OCD; the side least known to the public and the side that causes the most fear in those experiencing it… intrusive thoughts. It is a hard hitting, powerful, film that will leave viewers in absolutely no doubt about how devastating and destructive OCD is.
Despite showing OCD in all of its crippling detail, Waving includes a focus on hope – the idea that there is always a route back from rock bottom is central to this piece. As someone who has walked that path, I know how important that is for everyone dealing with OCD or any other mental health condition.
Waving will educate, and it will help change lives.
Executive Producer and Founder of the OCD website TamingOlivia.com