Four years after being diagnosed with OCD, Ali Lahrech is showing there’s more to the mental health condition than constant handwashing.
The 19-year-old from Forest Hill in South East London is using his experiences of obsessive compulsive disorder to highlight its different forms and dispel the myths surrounding its symptoms.
‘My aim is to improve understanding of OCD,’ explains Ali.
‘I have the condition and found that at first nobody understood – even I didn’t understand!
‘Most people think it’s just about cleaning. I want to show that it’s to do with having intrusive thoughts and then feeling that you have to act on them.’
With Fixers, Ali has created a film to demonstrate that a person can be ‘tortured’ by OCD.
It shows an actress in chains compulsively repeating actions such as flicking a light switch.
A haunting voiceover is used to represent the obsessional thoughts that cause her to behave in this way.
Watch Ali’s film ‘OCD’ at the top of this page.
‘I think the film is great. It really gets the message across,’ Ali says.
‘I want to open people’s eyes by showing that this is what those with the disorder have to go through.’
Ali wants to hold a screening event to ensure his film is seen by as many people as possible. He hopes it will raise awareness of OCD - a condition that affects around twelve in every 1,000 people in the UK.
He adds: ‘I’ve been given the chance to express myself through this video.
‘Initially, I found it hard to get help for my OCD due to a lack of understanding. That’s the reason it took so long for me to get support as I didn’t realise it was a problem.
‘If I’d known more about the condition, I would have been able to get help sooner.'
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Emma Simonsen is also raising awareness of a compulsive condition.
Find out how Trichotillomania causes her to pull out her own hair.