Understanding OCD – Part 3 (Instrumental Health – A Mental Health Documentary Series)

[Music] People with OCD often do live with it in silence, and I lived with it for years and years without talking about it because I was too embarrassed about the things I was doing, you know, the behaviour I was doing were really strange, they were unusual. I didn’t think anybody else did them. I always wondered how everybody else managed to go about their day-to-day life normally, and yeah, I was quite ashamed of the things that I was doing because they are quite embarrassing, and I didn’t realise until I sought professional help and started to work here actually how many people are affected by it, and then when I started to talk about my own experiences, I would have people come to me and say “Oh, well, I’ve had those intrusive thoughts before” or “I’ve got a friend who’s actually affected by this” And it actually starts to feel okay to talk about it and that’s why I now feel comfortable talking about it because then other people kind of reach out to you, and that’s really nice, but also, you know, 15, however many years ago, when I was first affected by OCD, no one spoke about it really, or not that I saw anyway, and that’s a really difficult thing growing up as a teenager and kind of comparing yourself to every everybody else anyway. Not seeing anybody speak about these experiences just makes you feel way more alone. I would get periods of physical sobriety where I wouldn’t pick up a drink, and then my OCD would be so bad that I just kept going back, reaching out for the alcohol because that’s what I knew, that’s how I would cope. But I knew that I had to give up drinking if my OCD was ever going to get better and I knew that drink – to the rest of the world, to my family and the rest of the world, they could only see the alcohol because my OCD was in the form of intrusive thoughts, sometimes you hear it called Pure-O, and there was no physical compulsions to my OCD. I guess the only physical compulsion was the fact that I actually kept picking up alcohol, but all of my compulsions were mental compulsions, and it was such a burden and I was so petrified from it that I just didn’t tell anybody. I couldn’t even tell my mum. I didn’t even know how to explain it to my mum. So I just kept it to myself and suffered in silence. I developed clinical depression because of it, you know, very much thoughts of not wanting to be around because it was just too hard to live with. But I’ve had very successful treatment since then, a number of times. If I’m not feeling 100% then I know that I need to do something about it, and I know how bad OCD can get and that’s the point that I don’t want to get back to, so I think it’s just being comfortable saying ‘Okay, I’m not 100 percent. I’m gonna go and get some help’ You know, I know I can get that. I can get it with the support of the charity. And just really fighting for that as well, you know, not letting anything get in the way or not letting people tell you that “Oh, you’ve done it before, you don’t need it again” Because we’re all entitled to as much support as we need.

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