Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a widely misunderstood, miscommunicated mental health condition. Victims of OCD may be too scared to talk, confused about what they are going through, or even unaware of what they are suffering from. I want to change this.
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit this website. I’m Tom Clancy, 31, and unfortunately and regrettably, the mental illness OCD has defined & shaped my life for the last 11 years. My twenties – supposedly the best time of a persons life – characterised by fear, perpetual anxiety, stress, self-doubt, self-hatred, depression. Living with OCD is terrifying. It has made me feel as though I do not know who I am anymore. It has made me realise how your mind can turn on you. At my lowest, OCD made me question whether life was even worth living. In took my world falling apart for me to realise that I couldn’t do this alone anymore and that I needed help.
11 years may sound like a very long time, but worryingly this actually falls within the average. Sufferers may be unaware that the mental torture going on inside their head – caused by intrusive thoughts and images – is actually OCD; that it is diagnosable, that other people are experiencing it and that there is help. Sufferers may also be scared to speak out because of the subject matter of their thoughts or because they are afraid what other people may think of them. As someone who suffers from OCD every day, I am concerned about the number of people out there who are suffering alone, in silence. People do not know the truth about OCD.
Ask someone ‘What is OCD?’ and they will likely comment on people who like things to be clean, tidy, organised – maybe obsessive hand washing. In fact in today’s society, the term OCD doesn’t even seem to need the word ‘obsessive’ tied to it. The acronym seems to have taken on a whole new meaning, whereby phrases such as… ‘oh that’s just my OCD’… or… ‘I’m very OCD about it’ are being used by people daily to describe situations such as liking something done a particular way, or even feeling the need to collect every item in a video game! The true meaning behind OCD has been lost, the severe mental illness no longer a necessary factor in its use.
Katy may well have OCD tendencies, but the reality of being “so” OCD is very different.
Trivialising or joking about OCD only serves to fuel societies misunderstanding. As someone who knows just how deeply upsetting and scary living with the reality of OCD can be, seeing the acronym misused is extremely frustrating and disconcerting. It leads to people not grasping the severity of the condition, OCD sufferers not being taken seriously and the undiagnosed not even realising they have it!
I’ve also lost faith in the government ever giving mental health the support, attention and changes that the sector so drastically needs. When was the last time you saw an advert for mental health, the signs to look out for in someone, or directing sufferers to help? I genuinely cannot remember ever having seen one. Because you can’t see mental health it seems to be swept under the carpet. In fact nowadays the word ‘mental’, is more commonly used as a derogatory term; another factor that makes it hard for people to talk about it, as they think they will be perceived as crazy. Would mind health, psychological health, or cognitive health, not be a term better used for today’s society? There is so much wrong with the state of mental health in this country and the way it is perceived. It’s time for change.
For this reason I have decided to undertake the OCDwalk. I’m not going to lie, I’m terrified, but things can’t stay as they are. So I’m walking the length of the UK – from John O’Groats to Lands End, via the Three Peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – to change the perception of OCD and to help those suffering from the mental illness. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I am determined.
I would love you to get involved in any way you can. Please spread the word! If you are suffering from OCD, know someone who is, or would just like to support the cause please come and walk with me; it would be great to have your company. I would love to turn the Three Peaks into bigger group events, where sufferers can meet others and realise they are not alone in this, and that help and support is available. Explore the links, visit the charity partner websites, contact me, follow me on social media to find out the latest, sponsor the walk – whatever you do, please get involved.
If I manage to help one person then this will have been worthwhile; but I want this to be as big as it possibly can! The most important aspect to this is getting the message out to people. Please spread the word and share this infirmation in any way you can; as much as you can. Let’s end the miscommunication surrounding OCD. Let’s stop the stigma against mental health. Let’s do this.
Thank you! #OCDwalk.