OCD Awareness Week 2016

This week (9th-15th October) is OCD awareness week so I thought I’d use the opportunity to speak out about probably the most misunderstood mental health condition there is. I’ve suffered with obsessive complulsive disorder for about five years now and I still haven’t seen a change in how it’s talked about and that is something I’m determined to change.

Every time someone makes a joke or comment about OCD they are trivialising a condition that makes people’s lives a misery. You wouldn’t make jokes about cancer and so why is it okay to make jokes about this? (Clue – it’s not.) Stigmatizing or being flippant about any mental health condition could prevent someone from seeking the support they so desperately need and deserve because they are frightened of people’s response or fear that they’re over-reacting.
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Many people still believe that OCD is all about cleanliness and order and, don’t get me wrong, this is one form it can take but there are so many others as well that just aren’t portrayed in the media.
If you feel like learning more about this disorder then I wrote another post last OCD awareness week that explains more about how it can manifest, the different forms it can take and debunks a couple of the common myths surrounding it  (link here)

Examples of OCD anxieties (although perhaps the most cliched one I might add – rituals and anxieties can be infinitely more complex than just flicking the light on and off.)

I’ve also found a couple of videos that you could check out if you wanted to – the first video is by man called Neil Hilborn who suffers with severe OCD and uses the media of poetry to describe the effects it’s had on his daily life (focusing particularly on a relationship he had and the part OCD played in its deterioration). It is a heart wrenching poem and it may make you cry but Neil has said that he’s had relationships since writing the poem and that they haven’t been terrible so it’s not all bad!

“There’s a happy ending to everyone’s story out there, you just have to keep looking and believing.”

The second video is a quick (11 minute) crash course in OCD as well as other anxiety disorders by the Vlogbrothers. The Vlogbrothers are a youtube channel run by Hank and John Green (the writer of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’, ‘Paper Towns’ etc.) and they’ve done quite a few crash course videos about various mental health conditions amongst other things if you’re interested 🙂 (they’re both really funny and intelligent and so please don’t blame me if you fall into a Youtube rabbit hole and can’t get out if you start watching them!).

An update with my OCD story: (original story part of this post)

At the minute my OCD mainly manifests itself in the form of cleanliness and tidiness – I can become really anxious if things aren’t where they should be or there’s lots of clutter and mess. I also have to make all my food myself to make sure everything’s clean (utensils, actual food, hands etc. – my hands are a completely different colour to my arms because of how much I wash them.) Thankfully I very rarely have intrusive thoughts anymore, or at least not to the extent I did when I was 11 for example, and I’ve learnt how to deal with them when they do come which is to 1) Acknowledge them, 2) Tell myself they’re not real and can’t hurt me 3) Remind myself of how I beat them last time and 4) distract and move on.

To all other OCD sufferers, you are awesome, you’re fighters, you’re strong and you will get through this and come out the other side smiling 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe watching the videos,

“Together we will bring about change.”

See you all very soon…
Love and hugs,
Anna x

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