Happy birthday Reality Check support group - 10 years old!

Reality Check Support Group in Macclesfield is 10 years old!

From left to right: Bev Nixon, Louise Coppack, Maureen Brotherston, Emma McNeely, Debbie Cox and Honor Simpson

Reality Check, the OCD, BDD and Hoarding Support Group in Macclesfield was set up 10 years ago by Emma, Honor and Debbie. It was in response to Emma dealing with her own OCD and realising that there was no provision for ongoing support in their local area.

She responded to an initial idea proposed by a therapist at Macclesfield hospital and a representative from ‘Making Space’. The group was set up with the aim to support people living with OCD, BDD and Hoarding issues and their family members, carers or friends. Emma recognises that living with these conditions can be lonely and isolating and the group wanted to help people to gain support and check in with other participants about their thoughts and feelings.

The name ‘Reality Check’ is a pertinent choice, as it was a term that Emma remembered from her own therapy sessions, when she would be asked to “do a quick reality check” on the thoughts that she was experiencing at the time. This name was then chosen for the group, highlighting the view that all participants can check their reality with each other during the sessions and realise that many of them experience the same thoughts and feelings and that this is their normality while living with the conditions

The group had 4 – 5 consistent members in the early stages, with these members still attending at the present time. They have shared life experiences with each other and kept the group running for these 10 years. It has evolved over time, but the core understanding, support and sharing with each other has remained. There are currently 16 – 20 people as an average at the monthly meeting, with members coming and going as necessary.

The group is now run by six fantastic facilitators Maureen, Honor, Bev, Louise, Debbie and Emma, some living with the condition, carers and health care professionals, who all offer their time voluntarily to ensure the group continues every month. The group “cares for each other”, providing a safe place to go, acceptance and understanding – along with a “cup of tea”.

Emma believes that attitudes have changed towards OCD during the last 10 years, although there is still a way to go until people fully understand the reality of living with these conditions.

They held a tea party on the 25th October to celebrate their amazing 10th birthday, to thank their members “who make the group”, to raise awareness of the support group and the help provided and raise some funds to keep the group running. There was raffles, stalls, refreshments and a chance to meet group members past and present.

During the next 10 years Emma is clear that the group will continue running and she is hopeful that there will be increased awareness and understanding of OCD, BDD and Hoarding issues. She would also like to see more local groups starting and eventually providing a full, effective network for each other and providing support to as many people as possible.

For more information on this amazing group please contact: realitycheckmacc@aol.co.uk