UOKM8? - From My Experience: OCD
We've all met someone who's said they're a little bit OCD because they like to keep their desk tidy. In truth, living with OCD can have a massive impact on the daily lives of sufferers.
James, a 29-year-old student, and Rich, a 27-year-old operations coordinator, told LADbible what it's like living with the condition.
Mental health charity Mind defines obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as having two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. And compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession.
James doesn't think people realise how relentless and exhausting having OCD is. He said: "It dominates your whole experience of life."
For him, one of the biggest obstacles of OCD is people not understanding the gravity of the disorder: "People think OCD is not really serious."
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, which campaigns to end the stigma of mental health, highlights how many people trivialise OCD.
Rich confirmed: "If you do it and you say it's OCD and you like it - it's not OCD."
OCD can be extremely debilitating and it's important for people to realise that just because someone with OCD is experiencing a day with no symptoms, it doesn't mean their OCD is gone forever.
Rich said: "When you're at a point where you can function, and work, and sort of live a 'normal life' people assume that you've got better and it's gone away.
"What's really hard for me to express to people is the unpredictability."
Jo said: "One of the most helpful things you can do is to assure them you believe that they are struggling and they can share how they are feeling without judgement."
James said that because he has OCD, if he ever has relationship issues, friends assume that he's the problem. When due to his struggles, he actually has a lot more empathy and patience than people realise.
Rich also explained that OCD can make it harder to let someone else in.
He said: "My OCD can be quite visible and I carry a lot of shame about some of the stuff I have to do. And I think that's really hard when you have to let someone else be present and see that."
It can also lead to feeling isolated. In fact, James stopped getting invited to social events because friends knew he couldn't cope as well as everyone else despite wanting to get involved.
Jo explained how you can support someone diagnosed with OCD. She said: "They don't want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you'd normally do."
So, if you've got a mate with OCD, don't be THAT guy.
UOKM8? is a campaign by LADbible, featuring films and stories that provide advice and inspiration on mental health. Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Let's talk mental health.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
OCD Action 0845 390 6232
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.