Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Student Shares Her OCD Story

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Student Shares Her OCD Story

Article excerpt

Byline: Amanda Cashmore Reporter amanda.cashmore@ncjmedia.co.uk

INDIA George is a bright and bubbly Masters student - and you'd never know she struggled with anxiety order Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) awareness week and, although the vast majority of people know the term, very few know what it is truly like to live with the mental disorder.

Nicknamed 'the doubting disease', sufferers find themselves in a repetitive pattern of worrying and taking an action to prevent the anxiety, such as checking that the oven is off. Doubt then creeps in as to whether the oven is really off, and they check it again - or find something new to worry about.

Newcastle University student India first became aware that she had OCD when she was 11 years old, and she felt a huge sense of responsibility to make sure everyone around her would be OK.

She said: "I was very concerned about the safety of my family and the safety of myself. I was checking locks a lot, and checking things were switched off.

"I had pets, so I was always checking they wouldn't escape - if something happened to them it would be my fault."

Because India was so young when she first had symptoms of the disorder, her parents spotted it easily and she was referred to a psychiatrist early on.

After two years of therapy, India had more freedom from her compulsions.

However, the 21-year-old still has flareups, and says one of her most notable was during her final exams last year at Durham University, where she previously studied.

She was terrified she would make a mistake, or accidentally commit plagiarism, so checked over her essays obsessively.

The constant rituals and worrying uses up a lot of brainpower.

India says keeping up with the thoughts is the hardest part: "You feel like your brain is always that one step ahead of you. It will always find something new for you to worry about. You've finally got over something and you're on to the next thing. It's very pernickety.

"The main thing with OCD is that it's trying to protect you, and it thinks it's doing a good job - it thinks it's doing the right thing by making me check things over and over again. …

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