A 27-year-old British man with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) recently revealed the extremes he must go through to manage his mental illness.
In an interview with BBC, the man, identified as Connor, said he constantly struggles with dark thoughts and films himself throughout the day in order to make sure he hasn’t done anything out of place.
“I get these thoughts every minute of every day,” he said. “They primarily revolve around death or it could be sexual or it could be violence. It’s about me being a bad persona and how much I don’t want to be a bad person.”
Connor, who lives with his parents and has reportedly lost a girlfriend due to his disorder, added that he often experiences anxiety.
“The anxiety makes me panic,” he said. “I’ll get headaches. I’ll get dizzy.”
The 27-year-old said his main compulsion is recording his every move with his phone. He also has a separate camera that he uses when he’s on his phone — just to confirm that he hasn’t done anything with his free hand.
Connor’s OCD is so severe that he has allegedly gone to great lengths to retrace his steps when he doesn’t have a camera.
In one instance, Connor’s brother, Cameron, recalled a time when the family went on a holiday trip to Spain about three years ago and they were all sitting outside a nightclub. One of the nightclub’s patrons jokingly told Connor that he had done something sexual to him in the bathroom.
“After that, once we had flown home, and my [then] girlfriend came to me, she could tell something wasn’t right,” Connor recalled. “Ten, 20 minutes later, I started crying.”
Connor said he flew back to Spain just to confirm that he hadn’t done anything wrong. He revisited the nightclub, which unfortunately didn’t have any security cameras that could have proved his innocence. The Briton said he then visited the hotel where the patron stayed and was told that nothing had happened that night. He ended up sleeping on an outdoor bench before flying back home.
The disorder has purportedly prevented Connor from holding a steady job. It’s also made him think that he’s murdered someone.
“I’ll be driving and then I’ll think I’ve hit someone, hit a pothole,” he told BBC. “My mind will think that’s a person. I’ll have to drive back to the pothole to check. I’ll just be doing that for two, three hours.”
For years, Connor said he has taken medication, received cognitive behavioral therapy and gone through an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing trial. Now, he hopes to ease his condition through an innovative technique called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) — a noninvasive brain procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain via magnetic fields. According to the BBC, at least 30 percent of OCD patients have experienced remission through TMS.
“I feel like this is the only option I’ve got left,” Connor said. ” I’m just living in existence, it’s not a life to live.”