NHS Choices Condition
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Diana Wilson suffered with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for 26 years. She now works for OCD UK and shares her story of how she finally overcame the disorder.
Â âMy earliest memory of the illness was probably when I was about eight years old. The symptoms then were a fear of stepping on the pavement cracks. I donât know why this was, but it made me feel physically uncomfortable if I did it.
âThat was one ritual; another ritual, which was a compulsion, was the fear that if I didnât say my prayers so respectfully and sincerely my mother might be killed in a car accident. I took on this huge responsibility as a child for another personâs life.
âA lot of people know about the hand washing and the checking of things, but many people are unaware that OCD can also take a rather sinister angle, where you can have a fear that you may harm, very violently, your own children.
âWhen I had my fourth child I used to have intrusive thoughts when I went to bed that I would go to the childrenâs bedrooms and in my sleep, take out their dressing gown cords and strangle each one. This was horrendous to go through, because I didnât know whether I was going to do it or not.
âPeople with OCD are not dangerous and they do not harm, but I was permanently exhausted.
âThat was the obsession: the compulsion was to try to relieve some of the pain and terror that I was going through because of the thoughts. I would get out of bed, find their dressing gowns, take the cords out of the dressing gowns and tie them into as many knots as possible, thinking I wonât actually be able to put the cords around their necks.
âThen Iâd go back to bed, but I still couldnât sleep. So I would get out of bed again, get the cords, put them in a bag, seal the bag, and put the bag in a high cupboard. This would give a little bit of relief, but it was still terrifying.
âAfter I saw my doctor I saw a consultant psychiatrist. I was put on antidepressants, which helped me enormously. Medication gave me the strength to sleep and eat well so that I could then have cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a psychological treatment that deals with the here and now. I was able to put my heart and soul into my own recovery.
âI often used to ask myself what was wrong with my memory and why I couldn't remember whether the gas has been turned off, because I would have checked 13 times and I only checked 10 seconds ago. In fact, people with OCD have a perfectly accurate memory, but what we donât have is a confident memory. This is where CBT can come in and help restore that."Back to the Embarrassing Bodies Condition Guide or view information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on www.nhs.co.uk »
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