VOICES FROM THE FRONT LINE

VOICES FROM THE FRONT LINE

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‘Helena’, 24, recalls her days at Upper Secondary School

“If I brushed against someone in the corridor, straightaway I’d feel dirty and scared. The minute I got home I’d throw away those clothes, jump in the shower and scrub. Sometimes until I was raw. It’s better now, but it’s still there. I know how to manage it, but I have to be vigilant.”

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Mike’, 31, on his childhood and adolescence

“It was like my own mind was torturing me. From the moment I woke up, violent, graphic thoughts and images just kept popping up in my head. I was only 9 when it started. I didn’t dare tell a soul. I was terrified. Of myself. Of what I might do. I hid it all the time. People around me just thought ‘oh, he’s a bit of a perfectionist’. Eventually I was diagnosed at 26, after 17 years. When my therapist first said, “they’re just thoughts, they’re not really you” I wept. I can laugh at the compulsions now and just push them away. But I’m still figuring the best ways to manage it, OCD’s different for everyone.”

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‘Åsa’, 26, on her ongoing therapeutic journey

“I was diagnosed with OCD at 21 when I was in hospital receiving treatment for an eating disorder. I was screened and diagnosed with OCD and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). I’d always just thought everyone was as terrified of germs as I was. I’ve tried a few clinical programs for OCD, none have been a total success, and different clinicians tend to focus on one disorder. I’m not a big fan of pharmaceutical treatments, but if there was one that worked for OCD I’d definitely try it.”