As promised my follow-up post from yesterday.
I am doing this post to illustrate why I would never even think to list OCD or ADD as a condition that Alex suffers from, or even suffered from in his youth. This post is about old articles and interviews with Alex, that refer to OCD and ADD.
I have looked at all the old articles that I could find about Alex and these subjects and will list them here in the order of when they were posted over the years. It should give a better understanding of how they fit, and then they are not just random quotes taken out of context and time.
Once again I want to mention, that direct quotes from Alex in these interviews are marked with blue writing.
(And remember you can click on the source name to read the full article from which it was quoted.)
References from Old Articles
28 June 2005
O’Lachlan says he grew up moving between his mother in Canberra and father in Sydney. “Canberra was a strange experience for me,” he says.“I never felt at home in Canberra.” He says there was no possibility of anonymity and he felt more at home in Sydney: “You could disappear.”
He struggled at school, leaving before he was 15. He had trouble reading and later discovered he had been suffering from an undiagnosed case of ADD, or attention deficit disorder.
Academia was not where he his life was at the time. “As a young’un, I just wanted to run to the world,” he says.
Here Alex talks about ADD and no mention of OCD at all. He uses the words later discovered. To me, that would suggest that he either read up on ADD, or talked to somebody about it, and found himself in the symptoms of it.
Maybe giving himself an explanation about his troubled childhood and something that might have been the reasons for his lack of interest in school etc.
Cleo: How would your friends describe you?
Alex: My friends would say I’m dependable, a joker, intelligent. I’m multi-talented, probably because I’m so ADD. I can also be quiet.
Again, he is just saying – I’m so ADD. He is not specifying it as a diagnosed or a treated medical condition here.
Alex in an audio interview with by Pam N
Pam: Are you obsessive about anything?
Alex: Most things. [Laughs]
Pam: Really, are you really?
Alex: You see, it’s the only way I get things done, you know. I kind of ….
Pam: In both …
Alex: I’m a little ADD, and so I have to be a little OCD to get … to focus on things long and hard enough to get them done, in my busy life. So yeah, I am definitely obsessive.
Pam: So you’re definitely obsessive, both in your work and your private life?
Alex: Yeah, more so in my work.
I’m a little ADD and have to be a little OCD to get things done – also this is just the way a lot of people talk and does not refer to a diagnosed or treated medical condition. And he also mentions it as more part of his work ethic, than a part of his personal life.
Then in early 2009, Alex got a role as the character Vincent in the TV Series Criminal Minds. The character suffers from a severe case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Promoting the broadcast of the episode, Alex gave a number of interviews about it and explains his preparation for this character.
28 April 2009
Question: Did you study the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder before taking on this role?
Alex: Yeah, I actually had it. I think a lot of us have a certain degree of it. I know I do, but I’m not crippled by it. When I was a young boy in elementary school I was quite a blatant example of a child with OCD, and I remember how it used to make me feel and how difficult it was.
I also did a lot of reading and I studied the effects of OCD on children and how it continues from childhood to adulthood if left untreated.
Here Alex mentions that he used to have symptoms of OCD himself – There is no talk of professional diagnoses or treatment for it. He just adds that he thinks a lot of us have those symptoms to a certain degree.
I guess during his research, he found himself in some of the symptoms of it. I make that assumption from the words he uses, “I was a blatant example of a child with OCD”. Alex is doing some sort of self-diagnoses here, it seems.
But then he also talks of how it continues from childhood to adulthood, if not treated ….
29 April 2009
My main preparation was of course looking at the condition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I have little tiny elements of in my life anyway, but I’m certainly far from ruled by it. I think a lot of us have little things – some people don’t step on the cracks, a lot of us don’t even realize we’re doing it, we tie our shoes certain ways and we feel uncomfortable if we do it a different way, and there’s an anxiety within us.
It’s a very interesting condition. There’s an anxiety within us that gets quelled when we do that pattern, every time we do that behavior, it settles an anxiety within us. And a lot of it’s subconscious because it seems so minor because they’re day to day things that we have to do like tie our shoes or brush our teeth.
This was an exaggerated form, and it happens to certain people, it’s so unfortunate. The condition gets ramped up to a certain point where their entire life is taken over by these behaviors that they have to go through to stop the anxiety that they’re experiencing. Their whole life is catered to dealing with anxiety. So, I made some choices for the character, all my choices were based around this condition he suffers from.
Alex says: “My main preparation was of course looking at the condition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I have little tiny elements of in my life anyway, but I’m certainly far from ruled by it.” <<< And again this is far from claiming any sort of professional diagnoses of the condition of OCD here.
∗ And remember his words here: “some people don’t step on the cracks” and “we tie our shoes certain ways”
29 April 2009
My main preparation with this character was the obsessive-compulsive stuff because that’s the thing that rules his life and keeps him doing what he does time and time again. His OCD is at the core of his physical being.
Here he just talks about Vincent and his condition.
I did a lot of research on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is more to it than that. OCD is an anxiety disorder. The patterns that people have … you yourself might have some patterns that you are not aware of. A lot of us do.
The patterns that people have in their daily life, such as putting their sunglasses on with both hands, or the way they tie their shoes. There are patterns that we have in real life that ease an anxiety that is inside of us. This is an extreme case of it.
Again, Alex just talks about his research on the subject of OCD and how we all have signs of it in our lives.
30 August 2009
I hated school as a kid. I just wanted to run through forests and not be inside, but now I read a lot. My bed stand has about 10 books and I’ve been reading a lot of medical journals and scripts.
Okay, in this article there was no talk about ADD or OCD, but Alex mentions his hate for school and how he is so different now.
30 September 2009
I have an ultimate goal: I want long-term health. I want to be fit when I’m in my seventies. The work I do now and the seeds I sow now will pay off later. So when I take vacations, I’m not a slovenly person. I’ll really enjoy take a nice long walk on the beach or do surfing.
Plus, I’m all ADD, I’m fidgeting all the time, which must burn a few calories.
Another casual mention of his ADD personality – fidgeting all the time. Again, no talk of diagnoses or treatment.
8 October 2009
I had a bit of OCD as a kid, quite a bit, actually. I wouldn’t step on a crack. It would take me an hour to get my shoes tied, because I had this weird OCD thing.
Please note that this article was compiled for Zap2it . It does not look like an interview where the person who wrote the article actually quotes what Alex said to her directly. We have no evidence of the original article where they got this quote from. Or maybe she did in fact get the words from Alex during an interview.
∗ The words that were used here, only remind me of something that Alex said in the earlier interview, but differently – remember – “some people don’t step on the cracks” and “we tie our shoes certain ways”
But even if it was a real direct quote of what he said – there is nothing mentioned here other than, “had a bit of OCD as a kid”. And also, not stepping on cracks and taking time to tie shoes, do not really constitute a professional diagnosis of OCD at all.
Of course, 2009 and 2010 were some of the busiest years for Alex. Soon after the Criminal Minds interviews in 2009, he filmed the pilot episode for Three Rivers. Then immediately he went on to film The Back-Up Plan. Once finished with that, he started filming Three Rivers and did a lot of promotion for it and the movie Whiteout.
Then Three Rivers got canceled, but Alex immediately got the part in Hawaii Five-0. Soon after filming the pilot for Hawaii Five-0, he started promotion for The Back-Up Plan. Then it was the move back to Hawaii and filming of the show, until January 2011 and time for a new interview.
In March 2011, the GQ interview was published and with it, it got fans and sites eagerly quoting it. Everybody now suddenly states that Alex suffered from OCD and ADD as a child or still suffer from it now. Let’s have a look at why ….
He may not suffer depression, but O’Loughlin has struggled with other issues. As an adult, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But when I ask how these have affected his life, he grows cagey. Once again I am forced to reassure him, but he eventually answers the question with candour.
“I still have ADD. It’s something I’ve learned to live with. It affects people in different ways. It affected my learning when I was younger and I was never medicated for it. It was something that did make me feel like I was different and apart from everyone, made me feel isolated.
Every girlfriend I’ve ever had has had a moment when they’ve gone crazy at me because they’ll say something and, literally, two or three minutes later I’ll respond. People think I’m rude or ignoring them but I’m not at all. I retain everything. It’s just the way my brain chemistry works. I’m actually a really loving, attentive person.”
The OCD, says O’Loughlin, is now mostly a thing of the past. In the calming atmosphere of Hawaii, his childhood days of taking hours to tie his shoes just right are a fading memory. However, he does admit to having occasional obsessive urges.
“If I get OCD about something, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I have to do it.’” He pauses, laughs and adds, “So you’ve just ascertained that I should be imprisoned and medicated.”
The divorce of O’Loughlin’s parents at a young age undoubtedly contributed to his difficult childhood. Born in Canberra, O’Loughlin spent his younger years shuttling between his mother’s home in the capital and his father’s in Sydney.
During high school, he admits he was a tearaway. I ask whether his undiagnosed ADD may have contributed to him playing truant, getting expelled and dropping out in his mid-teens.
“I dunno, probably. I suppose everything contributes to everything, doesn’t it? I was like, ‘I don’t like it here because I’m not really learning very much because you don’t know how to teach me. So fuck off.’ That was my anxious condition speaking back then, and it just didn’t make sense for me to stay there.”
And here we have the journalist claiming that Alex was diagnosed with ADD and OCD as an adult. Something that was never said in any of the interviews we mentioned before of anything that Alex said himself. You can go back and read them all again. He always talked about discovered, undiagnosed, and not treated. And even here in this article, those are his words that he used.
I, therefore, take this “adult diagnosis” as not reliable at all and just some assumption that the journalist made from somewhere. There was no firm question from him given here and also why does he say Alex was cagey about it. Most probably because he was annoyed that the subject was being brought up and exaggerated and out of context?
Alex mentions here that he feels he still suffers from ADD – but that he learned to live with it. And again, no talk about a diagnosis or treatment from him. And when he talks about OCD he says: “I get OCD about something”. That is hardly claiming a diagnosed or a treated condition. It is again just general talk about being OCD about things.
This is particularly impressive for a guy plagued by attention deficit disorder growing up in Australia. “It went undiagnosed and I managed to keep it hidden, but it caused a lot of frustration,” he says.
Yet, whenever he did martial arts or any form of exercise, the problem seem to disappear. “When I stopped being cerebral and became physical, my mind cleared. That’s probably why I like to be so active [today]. It’s a huge part of the balance of who I am.”
Again, the ADD is mentioned here as undiagnosed and never treated, other than getting better with physical activity. No mention of OCD.
I think my career is still a work in progress. There are many things I want to do, so many people I want to work with, so many different opportunities out there as an actor. It’s a really good question. Fundamentally, on this show, it took me years and years and years to get my workload down to a point where I could even conceptualize doing something like directing, because it takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.
I know myself — I don’t do anything half-a**ed — so I think I did a hundred prep hours on this thing, almost like a bit of a psycho; I was a little OCD with it.
Again Alex just a mention being a little OCD about his job as director on the episode. No diagnosed medical condition or treatment.
These are then ALL the articles of interviews with Alex that I could find on the subjects of OCD and ADD. And I hope you get the drift of my reasoning of why I would never say that Alex suffers from these conditions now, or as a child.
In my opinion, only a diagnosis by a professional should be used as a reference for any such claims.
Some basic explanations for OCD and ADD:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which you have thoughts (obsessions) and rituals (compulsions) over and over. They interfere with your life, but you cannot control or stop them.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a problem caused by the presence of one or more of these findings: not being able to focus, being overactive, or not being able to control behavior.
And what do the experts say:
Self–diagnosing your mental illness may lead to trivializing the mental illness or magnifying it, both of which can be dangerous.
Diagnosis can only be given by a qualified expert because self–diagnosis lacks credibility. Self–diagnosis can turn serious psychiatric disorders into mere fashion labels, in such a way that trivializes them. A clear example of a diagnosis being trivialized is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While OCD can be highly debilitating, it isn’t rare to hear people say “I’m so OCD!” in relation to everyday things like being clean and tidy—thus trivializing the condition.
Once again I want to emphasize that I do not say Alex does or doesn’t suffer from these conditions. Or that he never suffered from it in his youth. And from the evidence that I can see in these interviews, I can not conclude that he was ever professionally diagnosed with it. And he actually confirmed that he was never treated for either ADD or OCD.
Only if there is any other old interview that I have not seen yet, that clearly confirms it, or if in future he would personally actually confirm that such a professional diagnosis was ever made, will I take it as a true fact or post it anywhere.
And even with this latest podcast where Alex talks a lot about his troubled youth, yet there is no mention of either ADD or OCD as conditions he suffered from.
I just feel that to make claims about mental conditions that were never formally and professionally diagnosed or treated, is risky. Even professionals sometimes struggle to make the correct diagnosis and a lot of symptoms can overlap in different conditions.
So many people have serious debilitating problems connected to metal issues and it should not be diminished. We can all see ourselves in the symptoms of many mental disorders or conditions, but that does not mean that we actually suffer from it or should list it as part of our lives …..