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Reflecting on 2012

My Mind Outlined

Blog written by 'My Mind Outlined' ‏@mymindoutlined, December 2012.

Reflecting on 2012
It is at this time of year that I start to reflect on the last year and plan for the one ahead. One of the key things that has featured in my life over the past 12 months is OCD, both in a positive and a negative way. I won’t focus on the negatives as most of you will be aware of the daily struggles that sufferers face and I have written about these in previous blog articles. Looking at the positives, I feel that the OCD awareness campaign has made significant progress thanks to the hard work and perseverance of many determined and brave people out there.

It was during that week that I felt like I was part of something really special, a strong community all working together towards the same goal.

The ‘Living With Me and My OCD’ campaign led by Claire Watkinson has gone from strength to strength and has inspired and helped so many people. Claire has supported me in many ways with my decision to go public about my OCD and has continued to support me since then and I cannot thank her enough for her help. For those of you who have not come across her fantastic campaign you can read about it at: http://livingwithmeandmyocd.wordpress.com/

OCD-UK has continued their much-needed and valued work in supporting individuals and raising understanding. For me, this was highlighted during OCD Awareness Week when they encouraged both celebrities and OCD sufferers to get involved and help spread the word. I know I have said this before, but it was during that week that I felt like I was part of something really special, a strong community all working together towards the same goal. It was one of the highlights of this year for me and something I will remember for a long time. In fact, their work also impacted me on a personal level because their annual conference inspired me to see my GP about accessing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and I will be starting this next year.

Earlier this year, the Channel 4 series '4 Goes Mad’ aired and OCD was covered in some depth. Before watching it, I was worried about how OCD would be portrayed but in my opinion, it was covered accurately, sensitively and informatively and helped towards changing the stereotypical perception of OCD. I’m pleased to say that even I learnt a few new things about OCD so a personal thank you goes to all those who participated.

In June, Charles Walker MP spoke openly about his experiences of OCD in a Commons debate on mental health. Being a public figure, I don’t think anyone can doubt the bravery this involved and its powerful impact and I am personally very grateful that he did this.

There are so many other inspirational stories, too many to mention all of them in this article but I certainly don’t want them to go unrecognised. Together they show that real change and progress can occur. All of these events have helped me enormously and given me the courage to be more open about my OCD and I am sure they have helped many others too. This year I made the decision to become more open about my OCD after 20 years of virtual silence. This was a scary move for me as OCD has affected me quite badly and I had gone to great lengths to hide it from those around me. I had huge concerns about how people would perceive me. Since making this decision, I have told my extended family, my closest friends and my colleagues. Some have been amazingly supportive whilst other reactions have highlighted that there is more work to be done.

The letter I wrote to my family and friends has been made public on my blog . It goes into detail about my reasons for telling people, and for those of you who haven’t read it, you can find it by clicking on the following link:

http://mymindmythoughtsmywords.wordpress.com/2012/08/

Around the same time, I set up a twitter account (@mymindoutlined) to improve understanding of OCD which has now reached 112 followers. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed my account. You really don’t know how much it means to me, and it makes me realise that my decision to be open about my OCD was the right one for me. When I started this, I never thought that I would get more than a handful of followers and I remember writing to my friends and family to ask them to follow me and help kick off my campaign! Next year, I would like to focus on how I can expand this even further so I can spread the word to more people.

The many initiatives I have written about in this article show that together we can make a difference.

In the coming months, I would also like to see how we can increase awareness and understanding of OCD in the workplace. If anyone has any ideas on how this could be done, then I would be really grateful to hear them.

The many initiatives I have written about in this article (and all those I was not able to mention individually) show that together we can make a difference. These actions have a ripple effect, and I hope I can play my own part in extending that ripple further in 2013. By getting involved, I am hoping that we can soon turn the ripple into a giant wave that people cannot help but notice. Together we can improve understanding of OCD.

Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead.

 

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