Tired of people using OCD as a throwaway line to describe quirks in their personality, Laura Mcllveen is reminding others that it is a serious mental health condition with debilitating symptoms.
Her story was broadcast on UTV Live on Thursday 2nd October.
Diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder three years ago, the 20-year-old from Ballymoney, County Antrim aims to educate the public about the condition and also give hope to those who have it.
Experiencing a range of compulsions and anxieties, she says everyday tasks – like her work at a local supermarket – can become huge mental challenges.
‘My job is to keep the front of the store tidy, so with that, my ODC will come into play,’ explains Laura.
‘I could stand all day pulling things forward to make sure they are matching and symmetrical, balanced and colour-coordinated.
‘I want everything to be right all the time, and if it’s not perfect, I feel like a failure.
‘My Fixers project is about challenging misconceptions of OCD and the way some people use it as a badge or something they think is funny, often forgetting it’s a mental health condition.’
Thanks to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) Laura has learnt to manage her illness and has now made an animated film with Fixers, which illustrates the complex nature of the disorder.
Watch Laura’s Fixers film 'OCD Northern Ireland' by clicking the image below.
Cathy Temple, Assistant Psychologist at Coleraine Mental Health Resource Centre features in the broadcast piece in support of Laura’s project.
‘If you could imagine having a thought that’s constantly playing in your head, like a song that’s stuck on repeat, that’s what it’s like for someone with OCD,’ explains Cathy.
‘The compulsion is an act to try to stop that replaying over and over again.
‘I think Laura’s Fixers campaign is fantastic. She’s a very motivated individual, who can take this very far.’
Laura adds: ‘I’ve gone from existing to living. OCD doesn’t have to take over your life - you can change it.
‘My hope now is to help others.’
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Ali Lahrech is using his experience with OCD to help others better
understand the mental health condition. Watch his Fixers film.