Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) turned a young photographer’s life into a living hell by convincing him he had sold his soul to the devil. While most people associate OCD with tics like hand-washing or turning the light switch on and off a set number of times, Brandon Petulla, 22, from Brooklyn, New York, experienced a very specific form of the condition known as ‘Scrupulosity', which focuses on religious or moral perfectionism.
Plagued by thoughts of the devil, and terrified of the color red and the number six, Brandon’s family described watching him ‘blessing' objects at home and muttering prayers under his breath. His OCD quickly spiraled to the point he had more than 5,000 compulsions a day, forcing him at age 17 to temporarily drop out of high school, and seek treatment with Dr Eda Gorbis at the Westwood Institute of Anxiety Disorders in Westwood, California. Dr Gorbis helped him get his compulsions under control by forcing him to confront his fears, doing exercises like covering a room with sticky notes saying “Satan” and “666” - and getting Brandon to sign a fake contract selling his soul to Satan.