Recovering From OCD While Working As A Model

Modeling has attracted many young men and women over the years to a fabulous, fashionable and trendy world outside of the norm. Expectations are high for any gender in the fashion world. Slim, trim, sexy and sultry are the necessary requirements for success. But at what cost?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can strike anyone, any age, any profession. As a model, this can be a seriously real problem, whether just diagnosed or actually recovering. Why?

As a model, you have strict guidelines and requirements that are demanded by your clients. Many models in the United States are considered private contractors or self-employed which means many rules just don’t apply, so whatever a client requires of a model, they can and often will do even if it is harmful to their well-being. As a result, an individual with OCD in the fashion world can suffer greatly if help isn’t found. Especially considering that OCD behavior can be anything from eating and drinking to becoming a perfectionist with the makeup artist.

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

OCD causes severe anxiety and stress. Often obsessions and compulsions are involved which cause serious issues with personal and professional lives.

How so? An obsession can be something, someone, images or otherwise that is real or perceived that a person thinks or dwells on continually. As a general rule, those experiencing OCD behavior find these feelings uncomfortable and extremely intense and associated with feelings of doubt, fear, perfection and fear. They feel that things have to be done just one certain way and no other, often realizing that these feelings are wrong, but still consuming them to point of personal value.

It is also important to understand the difference between an individual who may be ‘obsessed’ with something that causes intrusive thoughts for a short time but then moves on and an ‘obsession” which can actually trigger even worse intrusive thinking that causes extreme anxiety and gets in the way of everyday life. This is where the psychological disorder of OCD or an obsessive personality trait can be determined.

Once a person has the obsession, then they develop the compulsion which acts on the need to counteract or neutralize the obsession. Most with OCD realize that dealing with their problem with compulsion is only a temporary fix and the cycle continues. Without proper assistance, it will only progress, usually to the point to of seriously affecting one’s quality of life.

Common Problems Faced By Those In The Modelling Industry

Eating, or the lack thereof, is a common problem among models. Many feel that eating regular meals will result in too much weight, thus making them unappealing to the public eye, ruining their career and lifestyle. In many cases, this can lead to disorders such as bulimia or anorexia which both can be devastating and deadly. Additionally, many young people today view these models as the way women should look, so a seriously thin model becomes the norm for those adolescents as the reach out for adulthood.

As a result of the trend, as recent as December 2015 the United States government has now considered that any model with a Body Mass Index under 18.5 is considered underweight. Additionally, countries such as France established new rules regarding their fashion models. In April of 2015, a law passed in France requiring models to supply proof that they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at 18; otherwise agents and fashion house were subject to jail or fines for employing them.

In the United States, another problem with the OCD issue and eating in the fashion world is that in this country, most models are considered ‘self-employed’ and not held to the standards of the ruling governmental standards for employees which is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) which actually monitors the December 2015 ruling.

This represents just one facet of an OCD behavior for the runway model while it is the most daunting of the OCD patens, other such as:

Fears of being flawed

Fears of being too – tall, thin, short, awkward, etc.

Fears of failure

Fears of being too late

Fears of not being good enough

And any other real or imagined problem that can exist.

Healing Is Possible

One such common way suggested for self-treatment is ‘Exposure Ritual Prevention and Awareness (ERPA exercises. Ironically, this is the act of doing the opposite of your behavior.

If we review the OCD cycle, we find that first of all there is a spike, ironically called the “OCD Spike”. This is the trigger…then comes the thoughts, feeling and distressful feelings then finally the fear, guilt and other emotions

ERPA allows you to deal with each facet of the obsession. First select the trigger and practice your exposure to this trigger. Then, practice awareness of the distressful situations it causes; learning to be aware of this allows you to have more power over the distress until it fades away. And finally through trial and error you get a form of temporary relief until the next problem hits.

In Conclusion 

Don’t give up on your dream or yourself. Success is achievable in both areas, but diligence is needed as well as professional help. Pursue your dreams, but be aware of the traps of becoming OCD and learn to deal with it and the lifestyle it requires.   

Kelly Everson’s  Twitter: @kellyeverson12  & Facebook: Kelly Everson


Kelly Everson is an American author and having MA in English literature. After spending time as a wrier in some of Health
Industries best websites, she now works as an independent researcher and contributor for
health news related website like Consumer Health Digest. In her spare time, she does research work regarding Solvaderm Skincare and Women Health, Fitness and overall health issues, which acts as a fuel to her passion of writing. When she is not researching or writing, you can find Kelly staying active, whether it be practicing yoga or taking swimming classes. 

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