It seems that Charles Dickens himself suffered from a form of OCD according to research on his writings.
It has been determined that he used a routine that was in many ways ritualistic in his domestic life, as well as taking an obsessive approach to his work.
Both of these activities are consistent with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.)
A new biography has provided the revelation, and in this biography many of the characters which he developed it is believed show that the OCD symptoms manifested themselves onto his written page.
It had been noted already that Dickens went through a process of rearranging the furniture in any hotel room he stayed in. He would also perform an inspection on his children’s bedrooms each morning. The evidence is in notes which he left remarking on their untidy state, a state which seemed to leave him deeply unsatisfied.
Emeritus professor of Victorian literature in Birbeck College London Michael Slater is the author of the new biography. It is entitled Charles Dickens the Genius.
It was found that this genius behaviour can indeed be traced back, right to his childhood. A childhood which frequently saw him and his family being forced to move due to the poverty they experienced.
This author has stated that the desire of Dickens to be in control may have been effected by these moves, a wanting to control his life a recurrent thought that forced his OCD tendencies to show their-selves in his life and in his work.
Slater also believes that one of Dickens’ chief characters Little Dorrit was a reflection of the character of Dickens himself. Little Dorrit was the main character in his book by the same name.
He quotes from the book as evidence stating that the lines: There she is the epitome of neatness, in the squalid atmosphere of the Marshalsea prison, making order and making her father comfortable and sweeping and cleaning and tidying all the time.
The semi autobiographical David Copperfield written by Dickens he believes also contains irrefutable evidence of an underlying OCD condition.
Governed by Neatness
Slater has many reasons behind his belief, in particular Dickens’ attitude to women where all doings in relation to the opposite sex were controlled and governed by neatness.
OCD is an anxiety disorder that is experienced by many living and past famous people. It can in fact lead a person to perform above and beyond the abilities of regular individuals just like Charles Dickens did in his life.
Other Famous Sufferers
Other performers of note who rose to notoriety despite the disability are Charles Darwin, whose illness has been the subject of many studies. His affliction in this regards was very severe resulting in his incapacitation at the age of 28. It is speculated that is condition was in fact OCD.
American aviator Howard Hughes who became one of the worlds’ greatest industrialists, film directors and indeed one of the worlds’ richest persons, also suffered from the psychiatric condition. He showed in his life many of the symptoms in spite of his fame, and this included behaviour pertaining to an avoidance of the public.
Academy award winner Billy Bob Thornton is one of the most famous living sufferers of the condition. Whilst he admits that even he would have difficulty in explaining some of the worst effects of the condition on his life, it actually aided him in finding a solid friendship when he fell for fellow OCD sufferer Rocker Warren Zevon.
The condition is prevalent in women too and it can be seen that it can also affect the beautiful. Both Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba have mild forms of OCD, and the pair actually look on the condition as helping them perform better. This is as the condition itself makes one more detail specific where perfection is a must.
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