Lucy is a writer from Manchester who writes for the theatre, internet and whatever other medium she can blag her way into. Her work has been performed at The Bunker Theatre (London), The Kings Head Theatre (London), The Royal Exchange Studio (Manchester) as well as having had two critically acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her last play ‘Glitter Punch’ was shortlisted for the Bolton Octagon Top 5 Season and she was recently awarded a place on the Soho Theatre Young Writers Lab to develop a new piece for early 2018.
Lucy has had OCD since childhood. To manage the anxiety disorder, she takes SSRI medication, attends CBT therapy and does her best to maintain a healthy and balanced life style. This is all working wonderfully and the OCD is currently under control meaning she can do lots of fun things like order pizza, have a “normal” person job and enjoy lovely, healthy relationships.
Lucy is currently developing a new play called ‘Weird’ which is all about OCD.
It Gets Better… The Road to Recovery
Ten years ago, if I would have imagined what my life would be like when I was in my mid-twenties, it would probably have looked like a cross between a particularly optimistic episode of Friends, and an advert for tampons (you know the ones where the subject of the advert is like a feisty and fearless young woman who laughs a lot and can take on any of life’s challenges with merely a smile and a super absorbent vagina pad?) I’d be married, most probably to Dougie Pointer (the incredibly attractive bass player of pop rock band McFly, for all you non-nineties kids out there) and I’d, of course, have amazing hair.
What I did not imagine for myself, when looking into my bright, shiny future all those years ago is that I would be 24 and living with my parents, my relationship on the brink because I had grown too fearful to let my boyfriend ever touch me, and disallowed to drive because I was too heavily medicated.
When I was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) earlier this year, the diagnosis was a relief for everyone involved. “Surely not?!” I hear you cry, “Surely being diagnosed with a chronic illness would be most people’s idea of hell?” Don’t get me wrong, this is not an ideal situation, I’m not running through the fields of wheat singing celebratory songs and dancing in gingham, as if my life is some jaunty adolescent film with every promise of a happy ending. BUT, the idea that there was a reason as to why I’d been troubled with intrusive and scary thoughts all my life, that there were other people, other families going through similar experiences and that hallelujah, there was some sort of tangible way to manage the illness, was the best news I’d had in a while. Even better than the time I found out they were making Pitch Perfect 3. Which for the record, was also a phenomenal day.
OCD can be an illness which sufferers have, to some degree, all of their lives. For me, it can become worse during times of stress, tiredness or lifestyle change and although there are many ways to manage the illness and live a happy and healthy life, when the OCD bully is bad, he is really, really bad. He will floor you. He will conjure up all of your greatest fears and convince you of their reality. He will take the worst things that you think of yourself and blow them up so that you can’t see any way out of his damning character assassination. He will torment you and your family 24/7.
APOLOGIES the article appears to have briefly taken a bleak turn, please take a ten second break from reading this to picture some dancing unicorns doing a poo made out of glitter and frolicking together in a golden field. Done? Okay great, back to it.
And so, in order to properly start recovery, I did what every self-respecting adult would do, I moved back into my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house. Complete with painted pink walls and shelf of teddy bears.
Here comes the vaguely happy resolution that you were surely hoping for!
Over the next few months at home, with the help of my parents’ and a lovely, homely looking CBT therapist, I was able to not only ride out the storm of anxiety that came with switching to an appropriate medication but also to start to deal with the worries, doubts and intense fears that an OCD sufferer has to deal with on a day to day basis. I was, and still am, recovering.
OCD will not bully you and your family forever, and my story is living proof. Recovery is possible, and what’s more, maintaining recovery is also possible. I am now living in my own flat (my parents are still celebrating) with an actual grown up job (okay I am a writer working from home but still) and I may not be married to Dougie Pointer YET but I do have a very lovely boyfriend who has stuck with me throughout my diagnosis and recovery and somehow seems to want to be with me forever. I was surprised too.
OCD is a part of me but it is not the sum of me. And as long as I manage to keep it that way then I am happy and will continue in my pursuit of trying to convince noughties boyband members to marry me. If you’re out there Dougie, call me.
For more from Lucy, you can find her on the internet:
Lucy is represented by Janet Fillingham Associates, for writing enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org