Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

After watching Jon Richardson’s programme on channel 4 about living with OCD I wondered how common it is. I mean, sometimes little things annoy me or something has to be done in a particular way. For instance, if the teaspoons aren’t all facing the same way in the drawer and I have to eat all the foam off the top of a mocha or cappuccino before drinking it (do you eat or drink foam?). But this isn’t OCD, sure I get annoyed if my morning routine is interrupted but I move on, I can forget about it and enjoy the rest of my day. For others though, this isn’t an option. It’s either their way or no way.

What surprised me is how much of an effect this has on people’s lives. Missing all the cracks on a pavement is livable, might slow you down a bit but that’s all. One teenager has to tap the door frame twice on both sides when he walks through a doorway. What does he do for lifts? Automatic doors? He’s 16, been doing this since he was six and it’s only getting worse with little habits appearing for every action most people would do without thinking, like pouring a drink.

Why doesn’t he just stop? I hear you ask. It has no real influence and he knows it’s irrational, but it has to be done.

Another woman is practically housebound due to an obsession with cleaning, when she’s not cleaning she’s planning on what to clean, how to clean it etc by making extensive, detailed lists.

OCD is ruining people’s lives, it’s a killer. It’s a real issue, not a joke or something to be taken lightly. Lots of people say “I have OCD about this”; “I have OCD about that”, when really it’s not OCD at all, not in the real sense.

People with OCD can move up and down the scale, usually it’s triggered by stress. Anxiety over career, bullying or other uncontrollable health issues. However, some believe it can be genetic. This could be both nature (biology) or nurture (growing up around it and developing you own ‘tics’ or ‘quirks’). One mother, unable to bring up her son due to OCD, has to live with the knowledge that OCD was passed onto her son, who committed suicide as he impulses stopped him from doing anything, all he could do was pace backwards and forwards.

Jon Richardson was told he does not have OCD by an expert at Bath University. For this he feels extremely lucky, he has obsessive compulsive order, not disorder. He knows his ‘quirks’ reassure him, give him a little control, but he does not become too distressed if things aren’t ‘right’.

Living with OCD must be hard, it affects people’s lives and those around them, just as much as any other illness. If someone has OCD telling them to stop won’t help, it might even make it worse as they worry about their compulsions and impulses. OCD is treatable and people can move down the scale as well as up, all is needed is support and guidance, and the end to the stigma this very real illness holds.


11 thoughts on “Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  1. I think that this a fantastic article. As an ex OCD sufferer, I can see that you’ve really hit the nail on the head with describing OCD. It is all about the anxiety that is associated with compulsions or rituals, not just that somebody might like something done a certain way. Thank you for spreading the word!

  2. Hi. I am the mother of the 16 year old featured in the show. In my darkest moments when he is having his, my friends cannot comprehend why I just don’t tell him to stop. When his compulsions made him late and I didn’t know about OCD I shouted at him. When he was late home because he couldn’t close a conversation or because he had to detour so that his shadow didn’t cross a grid, I shouted at him and grounded him. I made things worse. I didn’t understand, and neither do they. This is why John spoke out on the show. He faced his demons and told the world in the hope that he might begin to help people understand. Great blog. I have just started one inspired by the response to the show.
    Changing the world one blog at a time eh? πŸ™‚

  3. I read the post and you may not like it, but I am going to give out my opinion anyway:

    1. What made you want to write this post?
    2. What is the thesis of this post?
    3. I felt as though you were leaving a personal experience out of the post. What was it?
    4. What are your questions for your readers, to start a discussion at the end of the post? Perhaps, write (3) questions at the end. The questions will lead to a discussion.
    5. Who is your audience?
    6. What is the purpose of this post? Is it a “how to?” Is it informational? Does OCD affect you on a personal level?

    There is something missing. What is it?

    I have OCD issues myself, so I find the post interesting. However, I feel that you are strong enough and we have chatted enough for me to ask the above questions. I know you that my opinions will not hurt your feelings.

    You are a stronger writer than I am. Be that writer. You are so smart, passionate, and your writing skills are at an advanced level. The above post could be edited to be fantastic and make your mark here at Nike says, “Just Do It.” I agree with Nike regarding the above post.

    Feel free to delete this entire comment, upon reading.


    • I’m not going to delete this comment because I enjoy constructive criticism, how am I ever going to improve if no one points out where I could do better? To answer your questions:
      1. I wrote this post as a response to the TV show, it made me think and I thought more people could benefit from considering the illness as an illness, rather than dismissing it.
      3. I don’t have any experiences with OCD so I’m not sure how I gave that impression. No one I know has it as far as I know.
      4. I though about adding questions at the end but OCD can be a very personal, difficult issue – maybe I need to learn not be so cautious.
      5. My audience? Not sure really, it’s the sort of thing everyone should think about as the stigma against OCD needs to be addressed. In a way I’m still finding my niche in the blogosphere, just settling in.
      6. A little informational, however, I don’t claim to be an expert.

      I’m glad you feel comfortable enough to bring up these questions. I’m not sure about being a stronger writer than you, I admire your ability to say what you think without worrying too much about people’s responses. I definitely aim to improve my writing through this blog and I’m happy I’m not delusional as I thought I was pretty good, certainly not advanced though (not yet anyway πŸ˜€ )
      Thank you again, I’ll take your suggestions on board.

      • I am getting ready to write a post. Would you mind taking a look when it is finished and point out complicated wording, sentences, and anything that sounds bossy. I tend to sound too bossy in my writing because that is my natural personality and training as in my career. I should be finished shortly.
        It is nice to have a person take a look and tell me if it is too wordy, bossy, or if it makes sense to people in other countries. Most of my followers are from the UK, Russia, and other countries. I do not have many American followers. So, my writing has to be altered not to make any faux pas with other cultures. It is difficult at times, because I do not always understand the culture of my followers, so I have to study their culture, then edit and re-edit my work, as not to offend any other culture.

        • Sure, I’ll be honoured to have a read through – though I warn you, I’ve never edited someone else’s work before (tbh I’m rubbish remembering to proof-read my own work on many occassions)

  4. @mystudentstruggles – Feel free to take a look at any of my posts, and let me know if any could be improved. Not blogging today – too much to do.

    I am glad you are not offended by my feedback.

    Best Regards,


  5. Aside from being mega-rich and famous, what do David Beckham and Leonardo di Caprio have in common? Both suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by an obsessive or distressing thought. It may also involve compulsions or β€œrituals.” It is such a serious concern that event the World Health Organization has labeled OCD as among the top 10 most disabling illnesses faced by society today. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 3.3 million people are suffering from OCD.`

    View all of the most recent posting on our very own web blog

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