The Vicious Cycle of Pure O (Purely Obsessional OCD)

The Vicious Cycle of Pure O | Purely Obsessional OCD & Mental Health in Turkey


“I started having these thoughts in my head and images that were really disturbing, and I couldn’t make sense of them because it just came suddenly and violently and intensely—and I had no idea what to do with myself.

“I thought I had lost my mind. Officially.”

Pinar Tarhan, a freelance writer who lives in Istanbul, Turkey, had not lost her mind. She was suffering from the effects of living with obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Her symptoms came on suddenly and surprisingly, in her early college years, and a diagnosis followed at age 19.

Pinar suffers from Pure O, Harm OCD. According to the website Intrusive Thoughts, Pure O is a type of OCD in which a sufferer engages in hidden compulsions. Instead of combating their intrusive thoughts with visible rituals such as hand-washing or counting, they perform repetitive, mental rituals to minimize stress.

Pinar has detailed her journey with safety related compulsions in the terrific OC87 Recovery Diaries essay she penned titled “The Trauma of Not Being Traumatized Enough: My Life with Pure OCD.”

This month, OC87 Recovery Diaries is pleased to present a video featuring Pinar, as she wrestles not only with her Pure O, but also the media’s portrayal of the condition.

According to Pinar, “the way media portrays mental illness is that you have to have suffered some big tragedy some big loss or you have to have fought in a war to be able to earn the right to have PTSD, or you should have really awful parents right?”

Pinar’s journey doesn’t fit any of these stereotypes. She is pleased to report that she suffered no great trauma, and she had a happy childhood. She does acknowledge that a series of small traumas may have contributed to her OCD.  Of that time in her life, she writes, “I was bullied a little, annoyed a lot, and in return, grew to love my own mind.” She’s a strong woman with a clear voice, and will surely correct the media’s inaccurate display of mental illness with her own writing. Pinar is a blogger and a screenwriter with “Hollywood dreams.”

She was one of five international guests at the 2019 Write on the Ocean Women Writers’ Retreat that OC87 Recovery Diaries hosted in Cape May, NJ.

We took the opportunity of this gathering to interview our international guests. The interviews resulted in a new OC87 Recovery Diaries video series titled “Writers Talk,” in which we meet people discussing the important relationship between writing and mental health recovery.

We will post interviews with each of the “fabulous five” writers featured in this special OC87 Recovery Diary series. They include Liza Brock (Australia), Claire Eastham (England), Florence Mukangenzi (Rwanda), Pinar Tarhan (Turkey), and Sanjukta Chauhan (India).

We hope you’ll enjoy getting this international perspective on writing and mental health. We know you’ll enjoy meeting these terrific, articulate women.

EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman

See Related Recovery Stories: Anxiety, Mental Health Short Films, OCD

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.