Cathartic Interview: Gemma Sarsfield, OCD, ADHD, Self Harm & Recovery.

 

Today at Cathartic, we are pleased to welcome Gemma Sarsfield, author of 'Me and My Bully'. Gemma has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and is a recovering self-harmer.

 

Having reached a point in my life where the conditions have become manageable, my goal is to share my story in the hope that I can inspire others to dig deep, continue their fight and never feel ashamed of the cards they have been dealt.

 

When did you realise you had OCD?

 

In hindsight, I have always had OCD but I was unaware that I had the condition until I started my first course of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy); as far as I was concerned everyone had the same distressing and intrusive thoughts that I had because that was the only thought process I knew.

 

What was the catalyst for you reaching out for help?

 

I initially reached out for help because I was becoming overwhelmed with day to day life; I was exhausted, unable to cope both physically and mentally but I had no idea why.

 

What challenges do you face on a day to day basis? How do you overcome them?

 

My OCD primarily revolves around cleaning, checking, washing and intrusive thoughts. For example, I will wash my hands frequently throughout the day, I will check doors before leaving the house and my car, I become concerned about breathing in germs and I worry about a number of things. My coping strategies include going to the gym, spending time with Bumper (my house rabbit) and ensuring I reflect daily on my progress because if I have conquered things before then I know I can do it again.

 

What motivated you to reach out to others through a creative medium to raise awareness of OCD?

 

I published a book as writing played a significant role in enabling my therapist to understand my OCD as I was able to write what I couldn't say; by promoting the strategy I feel I am providing others with the opportunity to feel hope. I also believe that a book offers a physical point of reference which can be read at a pace chosen by the individual. I chose the likes of Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter as my 'cyber platforms' as the internet is often a first choice for locating advice and guidance, and my desire is to reach as many people as I can.

 

How has the reaction been to your creative efforts to raise awareness of OCD? Has the reaction to your story helped your recovery on a personal level?

 

Extremely positive! I feel like I don't just speak on behalf of myself as an 'OCDer' anymore, I now provide the voice, and speak on behalf of those facing mental health battles and all those who have friends and family who are facing mental health battles.

 

Do you have any advice for those who think they may be suffering with OCD?

 

Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help because you are not alone; we are a community of individuals facing the battle as a team and together can strengthen one another.

 

Tough Times Don't Last but Tough People Do!

 

Having reached a point in my life where the conditions have become manageable, my goal is to share my story in the hope that I can inspire others to dig deep, continue their fight and never feel ashamed of the 'cards they have been dealt.'

 

If you would like to read more about Gemma, her recovery and her work to bring much needed awareness around her conditions, then you can find her in the following places:

Twitter:  @GemmaMamb  Facebook:  Gemma Mamb  YouTube:  Gemma Sarsfield

Gemma’s Book, 'Me and My Bully':  http://amzn.to/1PMDPZk

 

If Gemma’s story has helped you or inspired you, click on the “Share Your Story” on the left hand side of this page and tell us your story.  If you are suffering with OCD, feel free to check out our Charities page which has links to organisations that will be able to offer you support.