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My Name is Amy and I have OCD. It was approximately five years of suffering before I was diagnosed. I had no idea what was wrong with me. For me OCD typically was about being clean and tidy and I am not particularly tidy. I never in a million years would have thought what I was suffering chronically from was OCD.  I genuinely thought I was a bad person for having such thoughts. I thought I was insane and was going to be locked up forever. This is my story.
I’ve had several different sub-types of OCD but when I finally got to college things took a turn for the worse. I’ve always had a strong sense of self, I know that I am a kind and loving person so when I started having intrusive thoughts about harming people, intentionally or un-intentionally I was alarmed. I was completely confused as to why I was having such thoughts when the nature of myself was the complete opposite. I couldn’t think of anything worse and my life spiralled out of control. I lost friends, jobs, my education as I continued to isolate myself in shame. The chronic anxiety that I had from this was unbearable at the time. I adopted compulsions in conjunction with these thoughts and I didn’t realise I was doing it. I would constantly be checking that my family were ok, I’d be phoning people to see if they were ok in case I had done something bad to them if I’d seen them earlier that day, I’d taken a sip from my sisters drink just in case I poisoned it, I hid all the kitchen knives and would never use them, I’d do things in 5's because that was a ‘good number’. My biggest compulsion that I had was reassurance seeking, from anyone and everyone. I also then developed a fear of serious mental health illnesses. I was obsessed with my thoughts that I could no longer function daily. This also took a toll on my family who were also suffering looking after my inconsolable self. I took myself to the hospital because I was convinced that I needed to be locked up to keep everyone in this world safe, including my dog!  This is the point where my life started to change. I was diagnosed with OCD. Completely bewildered by this diagnoses but incredibly relieved I could now begin a path to recovery and understanding.

Although I have had this condition for many years now I would say I have had 3 relapses where my anxiety has become so chronic that I’ve needed help. The past two times it has happened in three years I have contacted India. Going through a 5 day intensive with India Haylor was without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever done. I have also done group therapy with her as well as another intensive.

 In therapy with India I felt like I could tell her anything, all that was going through my mind. I felt that I wouldn’t be judged or felt frightened. We started from the beginning back to the foundations and then we started to build in a productive and effective way into the managing my OCD and recovery. I was educated on what OCD is and learnt coping mechanisms to manage my life long condition. I was taught how to face my problems head on. Although I have this condition I have lived years of happiness and contentment. I have worked and traveled. I have even moved country and have a great job. I’ve done all this and at the same time functionally managed my OCD.

 India has taught me life skills that I can also apply to everyday situations. These skills that she has taught me are of utmost importance to the quality of my life now and I will be eternally grateful for her help and also my family who helped look after me. My name is Amy and I have OCD and I live a rich, full, and meaningful life.

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