There was a time when I was so ashamed and even scared for my own doctor to know what was going on in my head.
Twice in my life I have majorly broken down and twice I have stood back up again.
The first time I had such severe OCD that I wanted to tie my arms to my bed at night. I had terrifying thoughts that I could lose control and hurt my family. My compulsions were never ending trying to control the fears. I’d tirelessly do whatever I needed to do over and over until it felt just right … for only a few seconds later the terrifying thoughts to plague me all over again.
But the stereotype is that OCD is only about tidying and being clean, right?
I thought I was going to die
The second time I broke down I appeared to have it all, travelling across the world for my job. I was serving A-list celebrities, a face painted confident with red lipstick.
I had a terrifying experience whilst halfway across the world on one of these trips. My head told me I was going to die, that I was being filmed – all the fire alarms were cameras – spies were going to get me. I rang someone I loved to say goodbye.
But I appeared so confident.
I looked like I had it all together with a face full of make-up. But the reality was it took months to recover from that one night.
No longer ashamed
Today, as I write, is World Mental Health Day and I wanted to share my story to show I am no longer ashamed.
I am very lucky to have recovered and work in mental health now. I am so inspired by the stories of the young people I work with.
Let’s stop judging each other and making stereotypes of what we think illness looks like.
To anyone suffering from mental health issues, I am sending you strength and a virtual hug: ‘This too will pass.’