India

My name is India; I am 17 years old living in Suffolk. I am currently studying for my A levels with the hopes of going to university to study psychology. Alongside this I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

The OCD I am currently struggling with is very similar to what I first dealt with as a child. When I was younger, my OCD was predominantly contamination. I was excessively washing my hands but always refusing to dry them. As well as contamination, my OCD was also about intrusive thoughts. I would feel guilty if I thought about anyone else, especially if the thought was offensive. With these intrusive thoughts I felt I needed a lot of reassurance, I would get upset and need to tell my parents, asking them for reassurance there was no way the person was going to find out about my thoughts. Although tackled before, these thoughts and obsessions have started to reoccur. As this is a difficult time for me with my A levels, I feel this could be linked to stress.

I first noticed I was overly obsessive at the age of 10/11. My parents noticed it around the same time as I did. I didn’t go to the doctors straight away as I was embarrassed, however eventually my parents and I felt we needed something and I was persuaded to go. The help I received from the doctors was very positive; I was referred to a psychologist who diagnosed me with OCD and began treating it with CBT.

When it comes to treatment I have only ever received CBT. The first time my OCD manifested this therapy was very successful and I was able to notice vast improvements in a short amount of time. However now my OCD has returned, I have gone back to CBT, although it's working, the improvements are only small and it seems to be taking longer. However I have confidence that it has worked before and it will work again, I will be back in control soon.

I never thought I would be free from intrusive thoughts and the constant hand washing. Even though my OCD has come back, I will not allow it to take over my life or try to control me again. When I look back I could never have imagined I’d have the confidence to share my story, all I can hope is that someone gets help from it.

Anyone thinking about getting help, please do it. Don’t suffer in silence, there is so much help available. The best thing to do first, in my opinion, is to confide in a close friend, family member or teacher. It can be difficult to pluck up the courage and actually speak to someone, but I have found it really helps. If you’re not at the stage where you feel you are ready to talk to a friend or someone face to face, there are always charities set up to support people, even if you’re not 100% sure that what you're struggling with, really is OCD, people are there to listen and guide you; don’t feel alone.