OCD Awareness Week 2016
Elise looks at some of experiences people have living with OCD
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OCD Ireland, a national charity working to support people whose lives are affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is partnering up with OCD-UK and other organisations across the world to promote OCD Awareness Week.
OCD Awareness Week works to change the understanding of what OCD is. Commonly deemed as being very organised, OCD is actually a serious disorder that inhibits people from having a normal life. In reality, those who suffer from OCD frequently have unwanted debilitating intrusive thoughts, rendering day-to-day living an absolute nightmare.
Sounds a bit different from being tidy, isn’t it?
Many sufferers feel that they have to carry out a compulsion because of distress and anxiety. This doesn’t necessarily mean washing your hands for a number of minutes; it could be stepping out of bed with the right foot but not the left, checking the door a number of times before being able to leave the house, or the need to touch specific objects a number of times. If they don’t, people often experience the feeling something terrible might happen.
OCD goes further, causing people to experience intense urges to act drastically and dangerously. These urges are called intrusive thoughts. In an interview with OCD-UK, Adam Shaw, founder of the mental health charity The Shaw Mind Foundation, said that he had completed his training to become a commercial airline pilot and had set off to work when he saw a receptionist at the airport. He felt an insatiable urge to strangle her.
“It came right out of the blue, and no sooner had it done so than it lodged in my brain, gripped tight and wouldn’t let go,” he said. “The thought horrified me and my anxiety went sky high. I didn’t fly that day, or any day after that. I just turned around, went back to my room, and lay in bed for two days. I begged my brain to remove the thought, but it wouldn’t go.”
“In the past I’d kept my thoughts at bay with distractions, avoidance and rituals, but this time it had completely bypassed everything,” he added. “My life was over, it felt like I had no say in the matter. OCD was in control.”
OCD Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of the disorder and its effects on people, globally reaching out with the goal to educate and work towards removing the stigma that often misrepresents OCD. YouTuber Kat Napiórkowska from Gdynia, Poland said in her video, LIVING WITH OCD (OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER), explains how she deals with OCD and what it’s like to have intrusive thoughts.
OCD Ireland is a non-profit established by sufferers, family members, and individuals who have an interest in OCD, as well as the related disorders of Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Trichotillomania. It aims to provide assistance to people with OCD, along with others around them through support groups and free public lectures about these disorders. You can find more information through their website, www.ocdireland.org.
To celebrate OCD Awareness Week, you can publish facts and myths busted on OCD-UK’s website www.ocduk.org through your social media accounts, showing what OCD is and how it affects people. Whenever using social media, don't forget to use the hashtag #OCDweek. By participating in OCD Awareness Week, even individually you can help spread awareness, one conversation at a time.