Scott Draper was a former professional tennis and golf player. At the age of 19, he noticed some changes. It would take him three hours to go to bed because he felt compelled to perform a series of rituals like tapping things in multiples of three. Although he no longer does these time consuming rituals, he says still occasionally feels the urge to revert to his old ways.
Sandra Pritchard is living proof that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a serious, debilitating illness. An obsession with contamination leaves Sandra washing her hands every few minutes of the day. Simple tasks like cooking or making a cup of tea can be impossible. 'I get a lot of misconceptions about what people think OCD is, and they say 'oh, I've got a touch of that’," she says. 'I just think, 'no, it's all consuming and there is a difference’."
Sixteen year old Ellie says OCD has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. As a young child she would retrace her steps if they weren’t in perfect symmetry. And these days her OCD has taken a disturbing turn – Ellie is haunted by persistent, intrusive thoughts involving violence against loved ones. 'It makes you feel like a pretty horrible person," she says.
Lucie Swinkels is very particular. Pegs are colour-coded on the washing line. Handwriting must be meticulously consistent. 'I'm also a bit obsessive about the order in which I do things," Lucie says. 'So my dish washing, I do that in a certain order." She says it makes her feel at ease.
Clinical Psychologist Jessica Grisham says that an obsessions becomes a problem when they’re 'interfering, distressing, repugnant - they conflict with your sense of yourself," she says. 'People experience them as very, very upsetting."