Helping you get through tough times

Learning to control OCD

Maser, a Dublin-based graffiti artist, has blogged for us before and we’re chuffed to have such an honest and revealing blog post from him again.

I was speakin’ with the Reach Out heads there a few months ago, tellin’ them about a project I did a good few years ago now, thought I might as well share it with yas. It was based on my mental health as a teenager. I called it “It made me do it”.

“Crazy” things

In my early teens I had some quirky habits, to say the least. Now, ya have to understand that I thought I was the only person who did this, so I kept it a secret. Later in my life I discovered that what I had was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and that I wasn’t the only one who did these “crazy” things.


I had OCD because of stress, chronic stress from shit I had to deal with when I was younger. As a result of the stress I found myself doin’ these strange things and being very superstitious. It was all based on fear, if I didn’t do these things, something terrible was going to happen, I’d be full of anxiety; stressin’ big time.

Repetitive behaviour

It began to take over. It dictated my day-to-day living. Here’s an example of my repetitive behaviors; everything I did had to be done in even numbers twos, fours, eights, 20s. Closing, opening the door, bottles, flickin’ light switches. I’d blow lights in the kitchen from turning the things on and off so much!


I’d have ritual routines that I’d have to obey by to get through the day. I became even more stressed knowing that what I was doing wasn’t the norm. I couldn’t leave the gaff without double checkin’ everything, even after doin’ it, I’d still convince myself otherwise and have to go back.

Others experienced the same

Anyway, after drivin’ meself mad for a long time, I came to teach myself to control these compulsions. I realised that there was a reason for my actions and that other people suffered from this too. I learned that there are many different forms of OCD, so I started reading case studies on how it has effected and effectively destroyed peoples’ lives and relationships.


I started emailing some university professors from the states who wrote papers on the topic, asking them could they help me with written content of a condensed self-help book.

Four sections

After receiving the information I needed, I then went onto making a book that consisted of four sections. The first section was the self-help book. The second was a DVD stop motion about repetitive behaviours. The third was a folded poster illustrating the compulsion of hoarding objects, and fourthly, was a book of photography based on my need to align objects.

Elements of project

The four elements were encased in a black sleeve, 28cm x 14cm x 8cm, with four dividing sections measuring 14cm x 14 cm x 4cm. Following on from that, I designed and built a piece about ‘”extensive hoarding”.

Visual representation of OCD

The idea was a visual representation of a person’s mind that suffered from OCD. I created a protective space for these valuable objects that are important to the person, but really the objects are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. This piece is now hung in Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) and the book is in their library. These were the first design pieces ever purchased by IADT, all previous work purchased are paintings and photography.

Images of this project are on our Flickr photostream.

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