Five years ago I came across an article in the Guardian by a very strong, inspiring woman called Rose Cartwright, a writer who was brave enough to speak openly about her experiences with OCD. Reading her words was like a lightning bolt of realisation and relief. I didn’t know until I read this deeply profound and honest article that I too had been suffering with OCD for many years, in fact she changed my life. Her bravery in sharing her experience led me to research this debilitating condition and it was like a wash of relief, I wasn’t strange, or bad or broken – I simply had a condition, a very common one at that and the best thing of all, it could be treated.
To think I lived for years and sometimes even felt suicidal, simply because I did not know and there is still so much stigma about mental health in our society, when all it takes is the simple knowledge that you are not alone. The trouble is there are so many myths around what OCD is or is not and all too often OCD is used as a trivial way to explain ‘over-tidiness’ when actually there is so much more to the condition and for some people has nothing to do with that at all. This can be dangerous, as this lack of knowledge about the condition can mean people don’t recognise this as something they relate to, which can prevent them seeking help for years. This is exactly why The Made of Millions Foundation is so great of which Rose is the co-founder and for me it is the first time I have ever come across a platform that is openly sharing the experiences of people suffering with all kinds of Mental Health experiences openly and without shame.
What a relief! Using the power of art, media and digital technology, they are on a mission to transform how the world perceives mental health. And in doing so, create a safer and more inclusive future for sufferers everywhere. Since my discovery I have had a formal diagnosis of OCD and ADHD (these commonly go together I now know) and I am receiving support not only from an amazing therapist but my friends, my wonderful co-workers at Sail, my family and for the first time I can be honest about my condition, although the stigma is still very much there and so this is never easy and why I want to speak openly about it today, maybe in doing so I might be someone else’s Rose Cartwright, who is quite frankly my hero.
If anyone needs to be signposted to receive support, or just reach out for a chat my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh and check out the Netflix series ‘Pure O’ based on the memoirs of Rose Cartwright, a daring and at times even funny portrayal of obsessive compulsive disorder.