a little bit OCD


a little bit OCD

It’s loon week on channel 4,and following on from Ruby Wax’s excellent documentary on mental health and people having the courage to come out about their disorders and mental health issues to work colleagues, was the very good A Little Bit OCD  with Jon Richardson.

Jon Richardson was trying to discover whether he also had OCD – the conclusion being that he had some OCD behaviours but they weren’t causing him distress,which seems to be the major factor in determining a diagnosis.  Because he is a very personable and nice young man his eccentricities were rather charming though it’s obvious that in earlier years he’d found them much more distressing,causing him to sleep in his car rather than face the chaos of his shared flat.  Interestingly the woman who feared germs and contamination seemed freer and happier outside the house with her rescued animals, unlike Gemma who seemed to be trapped in her flat by a relentless cycle of list making about cleaning.  Saddest was the animal lady’s son who despite being academically hugely successful was unable to deal with his OCD and killed himself with ground up yew.

I hope the 16 year old featured gets treatment before he wears himself out with compulsions and rituals – good treatment including CBT can save him I’m sure.

As I’ve said before I feel I now live fairly normally – thanks to treatment and coping techniques. A few very deeply entrenched anxieties make life difficult but I am not ‘stuck’ in the depths of crippling rituals as I have been in the past. At it’s very worst I could imagine dying because it would be a relief to no longer have to wash and check, so the yew tree poisoned man touched me. I’m ashamed to say too that the thought of having breast cancer also seemed preferable to having OCD.

Click on the title of this post to watch the documentary.

6 thoughts on “a little bit OCD

  1. we watched that too – although it was decided John didn’t have a disorder i still felt his compulsions were controlling his life. I felt he was very brave doing the toilet seat thing – i’m not sure i could have done that even though it did look very clean.
    I felt so sorry for all of those featured who were suffering and the families of them too.

  2. I started watching this, didn’t think I’d watch it all, but was then hypnotised.

    It made me think about how we all have ways that we ‘like’ things. Some of it is to make out homes aestetically (spelling?) pleasing (i.e. symmetrical pictures, matching lights each side of the bed), some of it is to avoid risks (checking the door’s locked before bed, but if I wasn’t concentrating when I did it, I have to do it again as I can’t remember). So I was unsure at what point that turns into a problem… or a disorder. The programme helped answer that, talking as it did about the effect on the individual and whether they are happy or not and the time they compulsions eat up.

    But saying all that, there is no way; NO WAY; I could have ran my hands over that toilet seat and rubbed them in my hair. That isn’t because of OCD, it’s because I don’t trust that someone would have cleaned it properly, and what’s the point of risking getting ill from the germs? I can understand why it’s a used technique as it does demonstrate that ‘the worst that can happen’ isn’t actually that bad and probably won’t happen anyway, but I was cringing and shouting at the TV “So why do we insist our children wash their hands after going to the toilet if not to avoid transferring wee onto the food that they then eat!”

    Ooppss… sorry, turned into an essay. Too much sharing I’m sure… sorry.

    I’m glad you are able to cope with yours now. It sounds like you’ve been very strong. It’s good that treatment works.

    • I cringed at the loo thing- but the exposure thing does work-a patient would be gradually brought up to the most anxt making exercises so they’ll have acquired a bit of tolerance to it along the way. Though of course part of me thinks that no sane person would do that or rummage in hospital bins (this was my treatment).

  3. Thanks for the good wishes for John (16 year old featured). His first CAMHS appointment is next Wednesday (9 months after he was referred). I really hope he gets the right treatment. I have started a blog inspired by the response to the show.
    Jane (John’s Mum).

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