15 October 2016

As OCD Week draws to a close, I thought it would be beneficial to remind everyone that, as great as this week is for raising awareness, OCD doesn't just suddenly depart after the 15th of October. For the millions of people around the world who endure the pain, sadness and isolation that accompanies living with this mental illness, life with OCD is a daily struggle, year after year. It isn't a quirk, it's not a desirable trait to help you enjoy cleaning the house or a behaviour that's beneficial for being tidy. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder feels like your brain is sending you strikingly vivid and intrusive thoughts that are like a plague in the mind, feeding off your fear and vulnerability and forcing you into believing that carrying out compulsions, either physical, mental or both, will alleviate those worries.
Raising awareness for invisible illnesses like, OCD.
If you want to know the correct medical definition of OCD, please head on over to OCD Action, OCD-UK or Mind because they'll be able to explain it far better than I ever could. However, what I can tell you is how OCD has affected me throughout my life. Hopefully, after reading what it's really like to live with such a varied, ever changing and severely debilitating mental illness (listed in the top 10 by the World Health Organisation of debilitating illnesses both physical and mental), you'll be able to see that it really isn't something that should be trivialised and that the stigma attached to speaking out about your suffering still exists, even if you're comfortable talking about your mental health.

My first memory of carrying out a behaviour that could be attributed to OCD takes me back to being about 7 years old. I remember having the Tarzan story book when the film was released and, whenever I got a book, video game or CD, in fact whenever I got anything that had a sticky label, the label had to come off perfectly otherwise I would feel what can only be described as incredible discomfort and distress. Unfortunately, with this particular label, it peeled off halfway then ripped across the label leaving a white scar across the surface of the green book. I think I cried, had a strop and made such a fuss until either my mum or dad got a green crayon that was a close match to the colour on the back of the book so I could colour it in. It wasn't perfect, but it helped and calmed me down. Now you could look at that and say I was being a fussy child, or you could see it as an early indication that I would go on to develop more serious and time-consuming behaviours.
After having therapy last year, I think I have finally been able to place where my OCD stems from. It's a torrid little cocktail of intense feelings of disgust and discomfort within myself, overriding fear and not being able to properly process or express my emotions. All of this emanates from my mum and dad separating (I know they'll be reading this and feeling awful but Mum, Dad, I love you and I don't blame you at all) and being sexually curious/active in my childhood. These are both partly at fault for different behaviours that developed throughout my mid-teens and are still with me today. I've been in positions where I've been bed bound for months on end, lost weight to the point of nearly having to be admitted to hospital and suffered through shame, guilt and stigma for years and years.
OCD is no laughing matter. If cancer patients were treated with the same level of humiliation, stigma, discrimination and lack of support as people with OCD have to deal with I'm sure there would be a worldwide outcry. So take the time to educate yourself about OCD not just this week, but every day. Share your story if you're affected by OCD, listen to someone if they're having a hard time and help break down the stigma attached to OCD and all mental illnesses alike.
I don't want to go to much into detail because the post would go on forever so if you want to know more about my story, you can watch my video about my life with OCD over on my YouTube channel at and it will be in my 'Inside The Biscuit Tin' playlist.

We'd love to know...
If you or someone you know suffers from OCD, we'd love to hear your story.
We're here to talk and support.
[Leave a comment]

Written by Rich Taylor
for Daily Focal

1 comment

  1. This was such an open and honest post. Compared to other Mental Illnesses OCD is the one I know the least about so thank you for sharing your story <3



© DAILY FOCAL. Design by Fearne.