Love in the Time of Mental Illness: OCD, DID, and the Trials of Romance in New Australian Feature

Falling in love can sometimes make you feel mentally imbalanced.

romantic gesture

                                      What sane person would willingly share chicken nuggets?!

Love is mysterious and strange. Romance is even stranger. And when you tackle both of them while living with mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder and dissociative identity disorder, things get quite tricky. But tricky is not impossible, and who knows — it just might work.

That’s what Adrian and Grace learn in Australian filmmaker Romi Trower’s new independent feature What If It WorksAdrian lives with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and Grace with dissociative identity disorder (DID) — also known as multiple personality disorder. The two grow to find the beauty in themselves, their connection, and yes, even their mental illnesses.

“I wanted to present a story that, despite the obstacles and the challenges, connection and love is possible for these people,” Trower tells ABC. “There’s actually a lot of beauty and a lot of comedy in all of that.”

Trower didn’t have to look far for inspiration when it came to crafting the story. Her brother has a “severe case” of OCD, and her aunt, Dr. Sylvia Solinski, is a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder. Trower is all too familiar with how the media tends to portray these incredibly misunderstood conditions — especially when it comes to dissociative identity disorder. Dr. Solinski shares that the condition is even misunderstood amongst those in the medical community.

“I think it’s extraordinarily misunderstood,” says Dr. Solinski to ABC, “And attesting to that is people that do present to a range of mental health professionals for treatment, get misdiagnosed and treated for something else. It’s a very common story that someone whose attempted to find treatment doesn’t get the proper treatment, if at all, for three to eight years.”

Trower hopes that the touching and genuine love story in What If It Works? helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding these mental illnesses, as well as give a voice to people like her brother, who live and love and fall in love just as we all do.

What If It Works? will be released on iTunes November 9th.

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