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Ash shares his story of living with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and how talking therapies helped him to overcome it.

Video Transcription

Ash: Hi, I’m Ash Curry. I’m a 52 year-old married man with two older children now. I was first diagnosed with OCD 17 years ago, when I was 35. My OCD started around the age of 6, where I used to think that I’d smashed my face on the wall in the night, so I’d end up sleeping on the floor most nights. My mum was concerned but I used to say that’s the way I preferred to sleep, which is obviously what can happen with people with OCD, they tend to hide what’s actually wrong with them and pretend that everything’s okay.

As I entered my teens, I suffered with health anxiety; every mole was cancer, every lump was cancer I had on my face. I used to return quite repetitively to my GP, which realistically looking back was a great opportunity for him, who could’ve actually picked up that I was suffering from OCD at the time. Then when I went into my early twenties, I had OCD about whether I was doing the right thing marrying my wife, I used to have pathological doubts and intrusive thoughts that she might have been seeing somebody else, so it was attacking the relationship at the time.

I then went on to have two children and during the early stages of their lives, I used to have intrusive thoughts that they would be harmed by someone else; if they were out of my sight then I would fear that someone was sexually abusing them, sexually harming them. I used to have intrusive thoughts that when my wife was breastfeeding them that she was actually getting sexual pleasure and gratification from it, OCD was attacking it from every angle. I continued to function well until I had OCD that I had thoughts I may have harmed the children in the past. At the time they were aged five and two, and however hard I tried to work out whether the thoughts were real or not, I couldn’t get clarity on whether I had harmed them or not and this can then lead on to a confession like I did, which actually meant I confessed to thing I hadn’t done. Technically, I hadn’t done them at all, but the confession is a way of finding out a hundred percent certainty, which I never would get with OCD.

I then went into crisis point where I lost two stone in weight over the space of three months. I was gone from eight hours function down to one hour a day at work. I ended up leaving my wife and then asking to speak to a psychiatrist because I was desperate to be locked away so I couldn’t harm anyone else. Once I spoke to a psychiatrist, he confirmed that I had a diagnosis of OCD and that’s what I’d been suffering through my life, from the age of 5 to the age of 35.

Once diagnosed, I was offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is the correct treatment for OCD. I walked away and then was determined to go and try CBT, but then OCD convinced me that if I went to see a therapist, they wouldn’t believe me and lock me away. I then looked into CBT online and realised that is the way forward to get better from it and I implemented it over eight months, doing hierarchy systems, doing exposures, and after about eight months I’d fully recovered from OCD. Since then, over the last seventeen years I’ve remained OCD free. I believe that with the correct help and support for many people with OCD life can and does get better.