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OCD—the answer to the ultimate question ?

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 25 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:287

Looking back, it must all have started at the age of 14 while I was at boarding school. I know this because I stopped writing my diary. The thoughts I was having were too painful or embarrassing to put down on paper, even in private.

Nearly 20 years later, I've reached another watershed. I've finally received a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and have just started taking drugs for it.

Mostly it has been obsessional: unwanted thoughts—mainly rumination—and imagery, but I have also had some compulsive behaviour. A lot of it has centred on ideas of losing control of myself and the consequences of this to others and myself.

The years as a teenager were definitely the worst. One type of thought would last around a year before being replaced by another. I told no one and consequently had the feeling of being the only person in the world with the problem. At school I seemed happy and gregarious and I performed well in most areas of life. People often remarked to me what a well balanced youth I was and in many ways this was, and remains, true. At one stage I …

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