Bud Clayman: focus of a new film
(A New Film)
87: the year the obsessive-compulsive disorder of Bud Clayman led to a total retreat from others
The Rest: his other diagnoses
“OC87” became the nickname for the “altered state of mind” Bud Clayman experienced during that particularly challenging year—Clayman and his therapist came up with that. The specific disorder in question is known as “harm OCD“—when the intrusive thoughts have to do with causing harm.
A definition of harm OCD by The Gateway Institute: “Harm OCD is a type of OCD that causes a person to have doubts and fears about whether they are in control of themselves and if they could become violent towards themselves or others.”
Clayman explains some of his issues to Robert Siegel, NPR: “OC87 stands for the year 1987, when I decided to literally control the whole universe – or at least, attempt to try and control the whole universe. I wouldn’t allow any spontaneity with people. I wouldn’t small-talk with people. Basically, it was just something that totally existed inside of my head, that I created.”
States psychiatrist Larry Real, M.D, about the film: “An engaging strength of this entertaining documentary is that we see how a person with severe mental illness needn’t be a genius or a virtuoso to be worthy of our respect, admiration, and love. Instead, the person can be a teacher, a waiter, a student, or Bud Clayman – a late-blooming filmmaker with a great sense of humor who’s doing his best to get by.”
Kalvin Henely, writing for Slant:
As Clayman lets us in on the obtrusive and uncontrollable thoughts that stifle his efforts toward functioning normally, we witness the degree to which the quality of his life—his job, the film’s financing, his emotional support—is owed to others, especially his father. Because of this, it’s obvious that, while Clayman’s life has been stymied, he’s luckier than most people, a fact of privilege that’s never acknowledged in the film, but would probably be healthy to realize.
At one point, Clayman’s psychologist mentions to him that if he actually looked as anxious as he felt on the inside, everyone would be freaked out. That seems obvious to us, but to Clayman it’s news he needs to be reminded of…(I)t’s in this rather dry and ordinary portrait of Clayman that it’s possible to realize how internalized real mental illness is; it can seem almost unnoticeable to others, silently isolating the sufferer from those who might be able to help.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: “Clayman, who co-directed with filmmaker friends, is fascinating company. The camera allows a necessary distance for him, as evidenced by the ladies who sit with him at a speed-dating session. They don’t get him, but he’s not the one missing out.”