A two-day ‘mini-festival’ took place in Salford last weekend in support of OCD Action, a charity for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Local musicians took to the stage on Friday and Saturday at the Old Pint Pot as part of the Artists Take Action event, which raised £400 for OCD Action.
Also performing was Heidi Dewhirst, who has OCD and said it was important that so many people got involved in the event.
She explained: “We want to spread awareness so that one day soon, everyone will understand the truth about what OCD actually is, and how it affects people.
“We want to dispel the myths which circulate about the condition. The fact that so many people are getting involved goes to prove how caring our society is and how they are willing to learn.”
Speaking about the common misconceptions around the disorder, Heidi said: “I would like people to understand just how serious this condition is.
”It may sound like something relatively minor that we have to deal with, but over the years I have been driven to distraction by this illness.
“At my worst I even stopped eating and drinking properly and lost a lot of weight. I could barely leave my bed and even being in bed was distressing too. With severe OCD you can get into such a state that you don’t even want to risk moving at all so that nothing can go wrong for you.”
She also praised the support and understanding from the music community at the event.
“It felt as though I was walking into a room full of people who were there for me and truly understood, or at least were fully prepared to learn about [OCD]. It was a special night and I felt very happy to have my condition recognised in the community.
“The whole thing was a big celebration of life and a positive representation of how despite mental illness; we can still be happy, creative and enthusiastic people.”
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects between 1 and 2% of the population – around 750,000 people – in the UK. The condition can impact a person’s thoughts and behaviour in a number of ways.
The disorder causes obsessions – involuntary thoughts, urges and worries that are automatic and difficult to control.
These are often accompanied by compulsions, which are repetitive actions or rituals performed to reduce anxiety; although the two can sometimes occur separately.
The effects of OCD can be completely different from one person to another; whatever the impact, it is shown that the condition can be controlled with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and medical treatments.
OCD Action was formed in 1994 and provides support and information to those who are, or may be affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
The charity also strives to spread awareness of the condition and its impacts, refuting common myths and creating a broader sense of understanding.
If you, or someone you know, may be affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, see the NHS guidance on the condition.
For more information on OCD Action, visit their website.