On Sunday, Richard Taylor achieved the impossible.
For someone with OCD related to contamination issues, what could be a more seemingly impossible task than crawling through five miles of mud, dirt and water, not to mention having to navigate a series of ridiculously tough obstacles in the process?
But Rich has done just that. On Sunday 7th August, he went and conquered the infamous Tough Mudder Half!
This was an amazing feat for Rich. Only a few years ago his OCD was so crippling that he spent 9 months of his life literally confined to his bed. To now at the stage where he is able to do something as physically and mentally draining (not to mention filthy!) as the Tough Mudder is incredible, and something he'd have scarcely been able to imagine.
As Rich himself said:
I’m so proud of myself because a couple of months ago, the thought of doing this alone was terrifying but to have ended the day with smiles and no regrets is more than I could’ve asked for.
It did not come easy for him. As he describes in this video, his apprehension about the Tough Mudder gave him a really trying couple of weeks in terms of his mental health. He found it difficult to concentrate on anything else, barely slept the night before and woke up incredibly nervous.
And the course was hard. Very hard. As he chronicles in his blog (warning: the article includes one instance of strong language), one particular challenge nearly stopped Rich in his tracks. But using the techniques he’s learnt from CBT for dealing with his OCD, he managed to turn this into a positive:
I froze at the third obstacle, aptly named ‘Kiss the Mud’ in which you had to army crawl under barbed wire through wet mud. Fight or flight kicked in and I hesitated for about 5-10 seconds and then […] I got straight down in the mud and crawled like the best of them! After that, my OCD went away and for the first time in forever, my mind was quiet and I could take everything in without worrying all the time. You are capable of fighting whatever mental health issues you have and fear can be overcome with hard work, determination and bravery.
So congratulations to Rich for overcoming such a tough challenge, for using it as effective exposure and for coming such a long way in dealing with his OCD.
And on top of all of this he managed to raise an absolutely incredible £554.13 (over £600 including Gift Aid)! Not only has Rich set a wonderfully inspiring example for how OCD can be overcome, but he’s also managed to raise a lot of money which will go directly to helping other people who live with the debilitating condition.
It’s not too late to help him raise more! Just visit his JustGiving page, where donating only takes a few clicks.
Also check out his Youtube channel which has some very open, honest and informative videos about his experience with OCD.
Thank you so much Rich! We’re over the moon that you’ve come such a long way, and we hope that the funds you’ve raised will go to helping other people make similar transformations.
If your interest has been piqued and you’d like to take on your own challenge, be it a behemoth like the Tough Mudder or something lighter (but equally valued), then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office on 020 7253 5272 and we’ll be able to give you advice and support for your activities.