'How I cope with OCD'

Diana's obsessive compulsive disorder started when she was 8 and she didn't like to step on the cracks in the pavement - she shares her story of how she overcame the illness

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder

My OCD started when I was about 8. I felt physically uncomfortable stepping on pavement cracks, and then started to have obsessional thoughts that if I failed to say my prayers at night, something awful would happen to my mum. After I had my fourth child, the OCD started to get more and more intense. I was exhausted, and from the moment I got up unwanted thoughts such as, 'Oh my God, it must have been me who caused that plane crash in Holland,' would run round my head.

My day always ended with me putting the children's dressing gown cords into a sealed bag, because my obsessional thinking told me I might possibly use them to strangle the children. Eventually I saw my GP, who referred me to a consultant psychiatrist. He diagnosed OCD and prescribed antidepressants. I also had five sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy, which helped me to understand that I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility towards other people, and that I wouldn't actually harm anyone because of these thoughts. I've been 99% free of intrusive thoughts for about six years now.

If you think you're suffering from OCD, the most important thing to do is tell your GP, who will be able to refer you to a specialist. And, if possible, tell a friend or partner you trust. It was wonderful how much support and love my family and friends gave me when they found out. The trick is not to get too tired, and learn to be kind to yourself. Therapy is not easy, so be prepared to work hard. But it's worth it. I'm proof of how well it can work. Diana Wilson, 42, Kent

For more information and advice, visit www.ocduk.org.

Where to next?

- More information on OCD - Help with depression - Chat: Talk about your health problems and worries