Living with me and my OCD
Posted Tuesday 24 July 2012
My name is Claire Watkinson. I am a freelance filmmaker and I have OCD. I have suffered from OCD since I was about 7 years old. It has taken many forms. I remember how it started. A group of girls at school developed ‘The Lergy’; this made me so worried about becoming ill, especially being sick. But I didn’t understand why I was so worried and thought the way I did. This has stuck with me since.
I hate going food shopping. I examine every packet to see whether it is open, how it looks inside. I ask myself: is it cold enough? Is it too spicy? Picking a sandwich for my lunch is extremely challenging and sometimes the easiest way is to throw it away, which I have done many times. Contamination worries me a lot. I don’t like dirt, touching dirty things, the rubbish bins, washing from the previous day, raw meat, and the list goes on. I have had times where I have touched these, washed my hands about 10 times and still felt dirty.
The main part of my OCD is having intrusive thoughts, which also started when I was young. I used to count numbers, I wasn't able to stand on cracks in the pavement and I often made people repeat sentences and words. These rituals developed into more hateful thoughts and worries, so bad I can’t even bring myself to write them down.
I also have to carry out rituals and routines – when I am going to bed, for instance, to ensure it feels right and that in my own mind I have successfully banished intrusive thoughts from my mind. The thoughts are so draining and frustrating, people talking to me day-to-day do not know I am having a battling conversation in my head, trying to outweigh the negativity.
These thoughts have left me with anxiety issues; I have terrible panic attacks when I worry too much about things. OCD dictates my life, including how I communicate, what I do, what I wear and what I eat. This leads me onto why I decided to create this documentary: ‘Living With Me And My OCD’.
Personally, I believe there is not enough awareness out there regarding OCD. It is such a debilitating illness which, has too many stereotypical stigmas attached. My twin sister suffers from it too and she was bedridden at 18 years old with the fear she would stab my mum and I. It’s these memories and thoughts that make me realise more attention and awareness needs to be raised regarding how debilitating and impacting OCD can be on the life of a person and those around them.
I started filming my documentary in January, when I started CBT and was going through a serious rough patch. I decided to keep diary interviews (which I am still filming) to show my progress through CBT and my experiences with OCD in daily life. I have hours of footage, which will be edited and shown in the feature length documentary I am releasing next year. I have also interviewed sufferers of OCD from around the country, which will also feature in the documentary.
I am so amazed by the brilliant response to the documentary. I have been in contact with people all around the world – including from America and Spain! I have had so much positive feedback from OCD sufferers and individuals who live with loved ones who suffer from OCD. People have even written to me about how the trailer has made them more aware of OCD.
I want to use this blog entry to thank every single one of you out there who has been involved in the documentary so far, I am absolutely ecstatic and it means so much. I hope the documentary continues to spread more awareness.
I am also really excited about Channel 4’s documentary ‘Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD’, and its potential for raising awareness regarding OCD.
OCD UK are amazing and are set to show an extended trailer of ‘Living With Me And My OCD’ at the OCD awareness week in October, which is absolutely incredible.
I am still looking for people to be involved in the documentary. If you are a sufferer of OCD, know someone with OCD, a scientist, a CBT therapist, a filmmaker, a graphics designer or you just want to chat, please get in contact.
Also, a special thanks to OCD UK, Mind, Time To Change and you guys for supporting me in this journey. I couldn’t do it without you.
Commenting is now closed.