The following blog posts are written by people with personal experience of OCD. By talking openly, our bloggers hope to increase understanding around mental health, break down stereotypes and take the taboo out of something that – like physical health – affects us all.

Why OCD isn’t about being a ‘neat freak’

For as long as I can remember, I have heard people say they are "so OCD" or "I definitely have OCD", a throw away comment because they had just spent an hour deep cleaning their house or they had to straighten a wonky picture on the wall. Comments that made me doubt and question myself for years. Why? Because all along I was suffering with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) yet I wasn't aware.

My family made me hide my OCD for years

I'm Dean, I'm 41, I work at a wholesaler. In my spare time I write comic strips, and help my wife with her Community Project. And I have OCD.

I'm pretty sure it came on at age 7, when my Dad left us. Before that, I was very open, full of jokes, but afterwards I went quiet.

My Mam noticed a little while later, when the mess had died down a bit. I'd sit down once, then again, then maybe again. I'd turn the door handle a few times before opening the door. This was because I thought I maybe hadn't done it right the first time.

7 mental health conversations from my relationship

1. “I’m actually a little obsessive compulsive myself.”

That’s the first time I mentioned my mental health to my boyfriend. I can’t remember it exactly but we were still getting to know each other on a dating app and he was telling me about his neat-freak flatmate.

It was a bit of a white lie because I’m actually very obsessive compulsive. So much so that I was given a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) along with the accompanying depression and anxiety.

Thanks to my understanding partner I am still here today

Having mental health problems has always been the most isolating and difficult part of my life. Most of my thoughts and feelings have been my secret, so as not to look ‘strange’, ‘weak’ or ‘self-obsessed’. I worried I would be judged and discriminated against. I worried I would become further isolated if I discussed it and on top of that, I did not want my family and friends to worry themselves or see me as a burden.

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