Why I am running for OCD

‘An OCD charity?! There’s a charity for THEM?!’ That is a real reaction from someone after I told them I was running to raise money for OCD-UK. And there are probably others who will have similar reactions as they start reading this, even if they don’t say it out loud. If I’m honest, I’m not surprised. The condition is greatly misunderstood. The term ‘OCD’ is now being used in everyday language to describe someone who is fussy or likes things in order (for example). How many times have you heard someone say ‘I’m a little bit OCD about that’. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) sufferers don’t like doing the things they do. That is one of the key differences between little quirks and the actual disorder – with OCD the obsessions and compulsions are so distressing and unwanted that they significantly impact upon a person’s everyday functioning.

OCD is a serious anxiety-related condition which affects as many as 12 in every 1000 people (1.2% of the population) from young children to adults, regardless of gender or social or cultural background. In fact, it can be so debilitating and disabling that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has actually ranked OCD in the top ten of the most disabling illnesses of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life. Think of the worst thought imaginable to you, and then imagine that thought being there all day, every day forcing you to carry out certain actions to counteract that thought.The reason I am running the London Marathon is not just to raise money, but to change perceptions. I want people to understand the realities of OCD so that sufferers feel able to seek help and access the right treatment. So if you are unable to donate, then please don’t worry. I would just really appreciate it if you took a few minutes to have a look at the following website: http://www.thatsocd.info.

For twenty years, I felt I couldn’t speak about my own experiences because of the stigma and misunderstanding attached. I’ve often said that OCD sufferers face two daily battles – the first is the constant fight against their condition, and the second is to get others to understand it. Hopefully this will make a little bit of difference towards this.

For more information and support on OCD please visit http://www.ocduk.org.

Thank you for all your support and for any donations.

To sponsor me please visit my fundraising page at Virgin Money Giving.

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