Duplicity and OCD

2 min readOct 28, 2023

Hiding OCD is practice for duplicity

If you hide your obsessive-compulsive disorder, over time you can become a master of deception. I had about fifty years of practice at appearing normal. I worked really hard at it and for the most part I pulled it off. I went to school, got advanced degrees, got married and successfully raised a child. I ran a business. As Midwest musical masters DEVO muse in Mongoloid:

And he wore a hat
And he had a job
And he brought home the bacon
So that no one knew

I’m a vegetarian, so I brought home the tofu. But you get the idea. I thought I had to hide my condition. It was too embarrassing not to. After all, I suffered with OCD for half my life before I was ever diagnosed; I thought I was the only person with these irrational behavioral compulsions.

When you get to be an expert at hiding parts of your life, you become adept at keeping other secrets. I developed a serious and destructive addiction that I kept from my family until it nearly destroyed us.

In the United States, it is now much easier to talk about mental illness than when I was growing up. Seeing a therapist is fairly commonplace. Yes, pockets of American culture still consider mental illness a taboo subject, but by and large people are more open than ever before in discussing their brain conditions. That is why I urge you to be more open and honest about your own OCD.

Instead of becoming an expert at deception, become an expert at self-compassion and compassion for others.

Suggested practice:

Start with the people you are closest to and share the truth about your obsessive-compulsive disorder. They may dismiss it, freak out, share their own stories … the import thing is that you get it off your chest so that 1) It has less hold over you and 2) you don’t have to spend so much energy hiding the truth.




Essays, stories & poetry about OCD, culture and society, by Eric. OCD-Free the book: https://shorturl.at/nGR59