Get to know anxiety: Obsessive compulsive

I went away to uni, I was away from home and I started to become very worried about things like door knobs, and stoves, and power points, then also even walking around in public. I was obsessed with the thought that I would harm someone, inadvertently, it would be accidentally, obviously.

And to relieve the anxiety that I felt about that, I started a checking process where I would check the door handle a number of times to check that it was locked before I could walk away. If I didn't do that checking process, the anxiety would obviously get worse and become heightened. At the time I didn't really understand what was going on. I was hiding the fact that I was constantly in a very worried kind of anxious state.

I think I let it kind of take over. It got to a point where I got very depressed and I also seemed to kind of rely on alcohol to a certain extent to calm myself down or stop myself thinking. My mother, she kind of stepped in. She travelled to where I was and we went to the Anxiety Clinic which is in Sydney and the doctor told me he thought I was possibly was experiencing OCD, or definitely. And that was it.

That was the first time I actually knew what it was and that actually, there was a name for it. I started out with CBT, so Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which at that stage entailed a lot of exposure therapy. So, I was required to do a lot of homework and expose myself to the things that I was scared of that really made me feel anxious.

I'd say if you think you have OCD, and you know when you've got it, you do know, I think the best thing you can do is you have to seek out help and you can either go to your GP or talk to someone who you respect and will take you seriously.

It's really important that the sooner you get help, the sooner you can start breaking down those rituals and stopping that whole cycle. Today, I'm back driving, and I can run across the street, and I've got my freedom back and my life back. I just wish maybe I hadn't waited so long to get help.