OCD: ‘I thought I’d killed someone’ BBC Stories

I lie on my bed and think I’ve killed
someone, and I can lie on my bed for three months at a time,
four months at a time. The realisation that I actually
haven’t done anything can come up to six,
seven months later. Connor has battled for a long time with his condition. And there comes a point where how long can you battle, you know, how long can you fight these intrusive thoughts. Well the outcome of OCD if
it’s left untreated varies. But for most people it will
become a chronic condition and it could go on for many years to come if you don’t do anything about it. The feedback that we’ve had from patients is that it has changed their life. It is available in the NHS as well as private, but this is for only depression disorder. I’m doing this film primarily to raise
awareness for people with OCD especially men, that may think talking
out makes them less of a man and I think that’s completely the opposite.
I think talking out makes you stronger. I feel like this is the only option I’ve got left. I’m just living, just living an existence. It’s not a life to live. As a child, very… to me he was unique. A little different to the others. I revert to the occasion when
he was going to get confirmed and he wouldn’t because he said “I’m a bad person, I’m not good enough to be confirmed” so he knew at that time perhaps the
intrusive thoughts he was experiencing. The first time I remember having it
I was about four years old. It’s just progressively got
worse as I’ve got older to the point now where
it’s just unbearable really. Obsessive compulsive disorder
is an anxiety disorder and that means it consists of
both obsessions and compulsions. So an obsession is an intrusive
thought or image or sensation, urge which is extremely
distressing to the individual. They reflect usually the person’s values. So if you’re a person who is generally peace loving and want to be able to help people in the world, then you tend to get intrusive violent thoughts. I get these thoughts every minute of every day. So they primarily revolve around death or they could be sexual, or
they could be violent. It’s about me being a bad person, and how much I don’t want be a bad person. In this picture here this is sort
of around the age I think that the OCD was
taking a hold of his life. He’d come into my room and he’d talk about this incident that he thought had happened which obviously hadn’t happened, and it was no matter how I reassured him in his head it had escalated and
become something that it wasn’t. So my first girlfriend, I remember we
were waiting for the bus and there were some bushes at
the back of the bus stop and I remember I got this intrusive thought about people getting sexually assaulted in bushes and stuff like that. And then obviously my girlfriend was next to me so I started panicking thinking like “why would I think that when I’m with my girlfriend?” kind of thing and I just burst out crying. These sorts of thoughts are of course extremely shameful to the individual with OCD. And it’s the things that they would hate to happen worst of all. People hopefully will not take Connor’s intrusive thoughts as Connor. They are something that he
doesn’t want in his life. Otherwise he wouldn’t
be striving to erase them. When I get the thoughts
the anxiety makes me panic. I’ll get headaches, I’ll get dizzy. Every time I bat off a thought it’ll come back and the intensity will be a little bit higher and then I’ll bat that off and it’ll get a little bit higher, and I’ll bat that one off and the intensity just goes up and up and up, to the point where I just can’t cope with it. The other flipside to obsessions is the compulsions and these are things which have to be
done over and over again. they know that this is senseless and absurd. But because they are full of doubts they believe well it could happen and
I’ve got a sense of responsibility that I do not want it to happen. The key compulsions for me are, I get my phone out and I’ll record my every move. So in my car I’ve got a dash camera
in the front which records a 180 degrees so it gets pretty
much both sides of the car. When I’ve got my phone camera I’m always recording my other hand so when I leave the house I know I haven’t hit anyone with this hand. So what have you been up to today lad? Not much, just making some tunes. That’s the bottom melody, that’s the middle melody, that’s the top melody. When do you reckon your
first track will be released? Soon hopefully. Ahh, man. The last family holiday we went
on all together I think it was about three or four years ago. We all went on this night out and he was convinced something bad happened We were all sitting outside the nightclub and one of the reps said to me that I’d done some sexual stuff
with him in the toilets. And then he said “I’m only joking”. After that, once we’d flown home, and then my girlfriend came to visit me. She could tell something wasn’t right. then about 10, 20 minutes later I just
cracked, burst out crying. Although I was there on the night out with him and I reassured him that nothing bad happened, he genuinely believed, there was no telling him otherwise. So I flew to Spain unfortunately when I got to the nightclub the owner said they don’t have CCTV. I went to the hotel where the reps were staying and they were all like “Connor, he’s just joking” and the guy himself said he’s just joking then I just went to sleep on a bench that night slept for about six or seven hours and then flew back home the next day. My girlfriend left me. I’d only been told about this sort of level of depression that you can get to through my mum, but this time
I witnessed it for myself. Yeah I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone
really to be honest. He can’t live a normal life. He’s our son, we support him, but he feels guilt for that. That he can’t pay his own way. But he can’t, he physically can’t. You know he’s had jobs over the years but he can’t get himself to work and he can’t get himself home from work. I’d be driving there and then I think I’d hit someone, and hit a pothole and then my mind would think that’s a person so I’d have to drive back to that pothole, check and I’d just be doing that for two or three hours, two or three hours and I’d be knackered and I’d have to fill my petrol up in the car. For the past year that I haven’t
been able to leave the house just living an existence really in my bedroom. Connor is a very caring soul, heart of gold, cares a lot about his family. At every assessment Connor has we go through the questions: “Have you thought about suicide?” “Yes” “Have you thought about how
you would take your life?” “Yes” “Would you ever carry out that act?” and his answer’s always been “no” because of the impact on the rest of his family. I’m very, very proud of the way he’s coped with his condition because as a mum you’re supposed to be able to like kiss it better or put a plaster on it,
but you can’t. You can’t see it. So I have 200mg of Sertraline every morning when I get up and they’re supposed to lessen the compulsions of OCD, but to me I don’t think they really work. In the evening at about 10 o’clock before I go to bed I’ll have Olanzapine just a small amount of anti-psychotics. They help me sleep and they’re supposed to lessen the symptoms of OCD as well but I don’t really notice any difference, they just make me really docile. He had an assessment with the early intervention psychosis team. They commented on the extent of
Connor’s OCD that really he was one of the worst cases that they had. How are you today? I’m good, thank you. Great, would you like to come in? TMS is also known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and it’s a non-invasive procedure where electrical magnet is stimulating nerve cells in the brain which can either inhibit or
exhibit neuron activity Are you relaxed? Brilliant. So because of the overthinking and intrusive thoughts that OCD patients experience the TMS machine dampens down those thoughts and those feelings so it inhibits and it decreases
the overactive communication with the neurons in that region of the brain. I just searched into Google: ‘I cured my OCD’ and it came up with an article of a guy who had TMS and he had severe intrusive OCD thoughts and
he said that his head was empty. TMS is available on the NHS as well as private. But this is for only depression disorder. So with OCD when people do come in they start off firstly with a prescribed session for up to 10 sessions, and that’s when you would know if you are responding to TMS. Each session costs £200 and
a standard OCD patient can go up to 30 sessions. I worry about what he’s going to do when mum and dad can’t look after him. What path this OCD and this condition is going to take him down. At the moment I’m just living just living an existence, it’s not a life to live and if this doesn’t work I’ve always said to mum, I’ve said there’s not really any point in me being on the Earth
because I’m not living a life I’d rather be asleep kind of thing. If Connor could have this treatment, I would hope for a joyful future. One where he can feel the happiness that I do. What would be the first thing you did? Go surfing. Go surfing? Yeah. Where? Go to Asia and just go surfing I think yeah. That freedom to live and to not constantly have to check everything that you’ve done. Not have to film every movement you make, you know it will be liberating, won’t it? It would mean the world to me if it works. I’ be able to travel the world work full time, make my own money.
Get my own place. Maybe be able to get a girlfriend
again and not lose her because of the negative thoughts. Just live a normal life
like everyone else really. That would be a miracle.