I had the pleasure of speaking with the very talented, Jordan Cooper. Jordan trained at the Oxford School of Speech and Drama and is now training with the Fourth Monkey acting school. Jordan recently acted at The Edinburgh Fringe and in London with The Swell Mob.
Jordan very kindly helped me understand and clarify a few questions I had about OCD...
“I have lived with OCD since I was 15. A statement I would once be ashamed to say but I’ve learnt that is far from how I should feel.
I think it’s so important that we all find time to have a look into OCD so that we aren’t accidentally offending people who are suffering."
Perhaps a common misconception with OCD is that it is basically the same for everyone?
"I’m no doctor or therapist but what I have been told is that there are two main strands to OCD, easiest to explain...
1. The first is that of hygiene, fear and compulsive actions; People will go to all lengths to keep things clean. When leaving the house they might go back several times out of fear that they haven’t locked the door and in general, actions that are repetitive and form into rituals.
2. The above + obsessive thoughts; This is the strand I would say I fall into. Not only do I want to check the door but my rituals are heavily in my mind and aren’t visible. Whilst I do touch items, I more so count in my head and escalate fears and imagine the worst."
Is there a way we could help people to realise that using the term 'OCD' flippantly, can be rather debilitating for people such as yourself?
“We often hear the saying ‘I’m so OCD. I must have my cushions symmetrical’. Of course, this might be the case and people truly have the urge to line things up and be organised but I think there’s a massive difference between wanting things to look aesthetically pleasing and mentally struggling and being dictated (as it can sometimes feel).
I’m the worst when it comes to laying the table... table mats are wonky and cutlery is all over the shop but that’s because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to aesthetics, but attach a compulsive thought, I’m sure the table would look beautiful, hehe!"
Have you had to adjust anything in your lifestyle whilst in isolation in order to sustain your mental health?
“Whilst in lockdown, I haven’t noticed any major changes. I’ve learnt to control my actions in the past two years after seven years of therapy, hypnosis and medication, eek!
I really benefit from being allowed outside in the fresh air. I try to walk and exercise as a way of clearing my mind and focussing my attention elsewhere. When I stop and have time to think, that’s when my compulsions become more apparent and I’m more aware of them.”
Jordan also said...
"I recently listened to a podcast called ‘The Anxiety Podcast OWNING IT’ the OCD episode. Whilst I feel I know loads about the illness, it educated me but also it was a relief to hear someone speak about a subject that I struggle to put into words. Give it a listen!"
- Paris Hoxton
(Click on the photo below to listen on Spotify)