Hi everyone! I'm Catherine, I live in London with my husband, son and two cats and I have OCD. That’s not how I usually introduce myself but it’s important here. I’ve had OCD since early childhood but didn’t receive a diagnosis or treatment until 2013 - I was 33 – and by that point OCD had impacted every part of my life and had cost me an unimaginable amount. But enough about that because 2013 was also the year I entered treatment - my life started again. I’m well most of the time now, and I’m living life according to my values.
I love music, my community, and most of the time now, my life. I’m a qualified primary school teacher although not currently in based in the classroom. I enjoy drumming, I coach football to a group of awesome young people and after a lifetime of hiding in the shadows, I love new adventures – I’ve got some serious catching up to do. I’m really starting to build up a life I love in spite of my condition.
In 2017, my recovery hit a wall. I was working hard at CBT, and completing my exposures. I was doing everything I was told to but I just couldn’t shift this idea that there was something ‘bad’ about me. After the birth of my son, I’d started experiencing really upsetting intrusive thoughts and I just couldn’t get myself to believe that that wasn’t who I was as a person. I thought I was a monster. To overcome this hurdle, necessity become the mother of invention and Olivia was born. It worked so well for me as a concept that I started Taming Olivia as a way of sharing the idea with others.
Taming Olivia is about using creativity to help us view our condition as a separate entity. It’s about using self-love and treating ourselves with kindness and compassion even when our brains are telling us that we don’t deserve it. It’s about using acceptance to help us recognise where we currently are in recovery and where we want to be. It’s about learning to accept what we can’t control and working on what we can. OCD can be a very painful condition and it’s enough that we have to deal with it the first place without being hard on ourselves. Taming Olivia is about kindness, community, creativity, hope and, what is hopefully, an appropriate amount of humour.
Over the years, Taming Olivia has grown beyond belief. I’ve worked with international press, I’m now executive producer of a short film that’s coming your way later this year which will hopefully bring the reality of living with upsetting intrusive thoughts to the mainstream. It's already won multiple awards (including Best Short and Best Actor) as it travels around on the international film festival circuit. We’ve got an amazing cast and crew and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
My work with Taming Olivia has also allowed me to work with some pretty incredible people, and on some pretty incredible projects, away from my own work. Here's a brief list of some of them.
I am currently co-developing an OCD prevention app with the University of Bath. This will be produced alongside the NHS and will be the first app of its kind internationally!
I am busy creating resources that can be given out free to people dealing with OCD and other mental health disorders.
Supporting the 'For Want of A Nail' team with an exciting new development of their ten part series about OCD.
Volunteering for a range of UK and international OCD charities including the wonderful
OCD Action, Maternal OCD and the International OCD Foundation
Speaking at conferences and writing about OCD for international organisations, charities
and the media.
Continuing to share my story and the reality of OCD with national and international press.
Taming Olivia will always be my main love and priority. It's where everything started and I’ve got big plans for it in the future too – I want to get her Olivia into schools to help children learn about self-compassion and kindness.
It's a really busy old time at the moment, please revisit the site and check on my socials to keep up to date!
It’s really lovely to met you all.
Please drop by to say hi.
You can read more about my history with OCD in this post here.
And more about the creation of Olivia here.