A blog about living with OCD
Shortlisted for the Who Cares Wins Award - Mental Health Hero
Hi, I'm Catherine and for the past 35 years I've experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For 32 of those years I couldn't bring myself to talk about it outside of my immediate circle and even then it was on a strictly need-to-know basis. That changed three years ago, when I'd had enough of hiding my symptoms and feeling bad about my condition and decided, instead, to scream my story from the rooftops. And that's what I'm doing here...
I spend my time divided between three amazing areas of OCD awareness and recovery:
The first is my work with Olivia. Taming Olivia was a concept that came to me when I was at my lowest point and it changed everything. It helped me to begin to externalise my condition, and to recognise the importance of self compassion and self acceptance in recovery. What started as a small blog has grown beyond my wildest dreams and the concept has travelled far and wide - it is now used by mental health professionals internationally and entered into school and houses world-wide. Taming Olivia has also started to enter into realms beyond those of the mental health community and is helping to educate those in the general public who may carry misconceptions about the condition. A BBC News article about Taming Olivia and perinatal OCD has just come out - the link is here.
The second area, and the area that I've spent most of the past few months on is perinatal OCD advocacy. It became clear very soon after sharing my story through the blog that very few parents were talking about OCD, especially OCD that involved intrusive thoughts. Myself and a few other awesome perinatal OCD advocates have been working hard to spread awareness of the condition. A big part of this has been helping other parents with OCD know they are not alone. I've just finished an article for The British Journal of Midwifery (BJM) - it's due to be published in their November edition. This opportunity means that the correct information about OCD will be reaching those professionally responsible for new parents during the perinatal period. It's a huge step in the right direction and I'm so, so grateful for the opportunity. UPDATE: - the BJM have very kindly made this article free to access, a subscription is no longer needed. This article is here.
The third and final part of my advocacy is my role as a volunteer for the Maternal OCD charity. The fantastic Kim French and myself run the charity's Instagram page and help parents with OCD access the support they need to start recovery.
So that's what's going on here!!
And just to end on...
I hope this site helps spread an awareness and knowledge of OCD to those living with it, friends and family of those living with it, and to those who may be struggling with OCD but have no idea they have the disorder. I hope this content helps destroy the stigma that surrounds this often debilitating and isolating illness so that it is easier for people with the condition to talk openly about it and feel confident enough to seek help.
I want those with OCD to know that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilling life even if some OCD symptoms are still present.
Right, that's it... oh yeah, and look out for Olivia. She'll pop up every now and again.
ps. There's a load of helpful information the whole way through this site but a great place to start would be my interview with the amazing Stuart Ralph of The OCD Stories. It's the most thorough interview I've given and has loads of details about recovery! You can find it here.
Due to the amazing, but sudden, increase in advocacy work, I don't always have time to update my website. I do have an Instagram account that I add loads of extra information to through a series of mini-blogs. You can keep up to date with everything there! Don't have Instagram? That's no problem at all. I also post to my Twitter page and Facebook group. You can find these by clicking on the icons at the top and bottom of each page!
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