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  • Catherine Benfield

Meet me!

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 and 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 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 slowly building up my life in spite of the condition.

In 2017, my recovery hit a wall. I was working hard at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 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 a not for profit passion project and its already ready winning awards as part of international film festival circuit. We’ve got an amazing cast and crew and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I’ve got big plans for Olivia too – I want to get her into schools to help children learn about self-compassion and kindness.

It’s really lovely to met you all.

Please drop by to say hi.

Catherine x

You can read a more detailed account of my OCD history in this post here, you can meet Olivia here and learn more about the creation of Olivia here.

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