My name is Tom; I am 34 and living in London. I was signed off work due to suffering with Severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but have since then worked on gaining confidence and am now doing volunteer work.

My OCD is all about moral obsessions. I am constantly obsessed that I have done something wrong and people are judging me thinking I am a criminal when I am not. I am constantly ritualizing in my head desperate trying to cancel out the bad thoughts. It takes up so much of my time as I have to make sure everything is done perfectly. It affects me in the sense that I wanted desperately to become a teacher, I was working hard but sadly my OCD got the better of me and I had to drop out of my studies.

I was first diagnosed with OCD at the age of 12. At the time my OCD took on the form of contamination, I had a fear that if I touched the colour red I would get HIV. Even though I knew the thoughts were not logical I associated the colour red with blood and subsequently then linking it to HIV. This fear lasted around three years before my OCD adapted and became more about moral thoughts.

The therapies I have tried so far have not been successful. I have been in hospitals and tried an array of other things, however I find it very difficult to open up and talk about my thoughts as I always worry people will think badly of me.

At one point in my life I never thought I would be able to do anything normally, looking back now to where I have been and where I am now things are slowly improving. I’ve made small steps such as moving out and starting in interact more with people as well as doing volunteering. Things are still very stressful but I continue to persist and not let OCD take away what I have so far achieved.

 To those thinking about getting help, do not feel ashamed to ask for help. Go to your GP or check out help lines, they are never there to judge, only to help you.