It all begins, at the moment I'm 28 years old I was born in 92. I was born and raised in a place called Liverpool in Sydney not Liverpool in England. My dad's Sameon heritage and my dad's from New Zealand. Both parents were immigrants. Why I brought that up is because how it all started is was that I was brought up in a very Celtic household. My dad was a chronic gambler, obviously that brought pressure on the family and my mum developed a drinking problem from that. So it was a house full of addiction. When there's a house full of addiction as a kid you sort of don't know whats normal and what's not. For me what was normal was mum yelling and swearing, dad spending all the money and us having nothing, then mum getting on the drink. For me that was our normal. And then there was an incident when I was 10 years old where this was the first time I really felt the hopelessness. I knew something was different with me I knew something was wrong. I had a 10th birthday party. For the Sameon background family is a big thing for us and we're all very close and it's a very big community. So I had this 10th birthday party, it was supposed to be the first birthday party I ever had it's supposed to be massive and big. I remember the party was supposed to be at 5 in the evening. Everything was set. But then my dad didn't come home. I knew something wasn't right because no one was turning up to the birthday party. Then my dad came home and all I heard was my mum started yelling and swearing. My old man called me out and said that all the money for the food and everything for your birthday I spent that money gambling and I went to all your family and friends and told them the party was cancelled. So if you put yourself as a ten year old hearing that it completely shattered my world and that's the first time that my view on life and my emotions and my trust for people when out of the window. That's where it first started. I didn't really trust people. Life carried on. Growing up I was very good at sport and I got like scholarships for schools, so I went away for school's. I played professional rugby for a few years. As I was playing rugby thats when my mental health started to decline. The whole time I was looking for love and affection but it was always in the wrong places. I thought I'd find it in my sporting career but I didn't find happiness in that. I turned to women and sex and drugs and alcohol and partying and travelling everything you could want as a young man. Still nothing fulfilled that hole I was looking for. That's when the downward spiral started from there. I found my wife now, we got married in 2015. I had a 2 year old daughter at the time. We got married in the Islands. It was a really stressful period in life because I was living overseas. We got married and came home and then this one time I had this complete mental snap. I think it was my brain saying something has to give. I was laying in bed, I can remember this so vividly. I was laying in bed on my stomach I was hugging my pillow but looking at my daughter and all of a sudden I had this thought in my head to kill my daughter. This overwhelming anxiety took over my body and I was thinking why the hell am I thinking this thought right now. I thought I'll sleep on it and it's all going to go away . We know that didn't happen I woke up the next morning and continuously non stop all I could think about was killing my daughter. Harm OCD is a form of OCD. It's an anxiety disorder but it can manifest in many different ways, you can have harm OCD where you visualise killing people that you love or just random people and you have urges to do it. But the reason it causes anxiety is because you no it's not you and it's really not what you want to do. This obviously makes you super anxious. There's other forms of OCD like sexualised OCD when people think that they are gay when they're not gay and that causes stress on them. There's religious OCD where people have visions of them cursing or having sex with their God and that will make them anxious. The cruel thing about OCD is it attacks the things you love the most. So OCD in your brain knows what you love the most and it attacks it. That's why it's one of the worst disorders you can have because it really attacks your values and beliefs. It really hits it hard. So what happened is I had these continuous thoughts to kill my daughter and then it manifested to thoughts of killing my wife and my daughter. I kept this a secret for about 2 months. My wife knew something was wrong because I kept avoiding things. This one time I was going to commit suicide I thoughtI was going crazy. So I thought instead of me hurting my family I might aswell kill myself so that everyones safe and I'm dead. Obviously that was not my calling. The first step to my recovery was opening up to my wife. I have a mate who is a pastor of a church. I told him. He embraced me with love and empathy. During this time just to let you know I was operating on the highest anxiety I could not breathe. It overtook my life. I was shaking and had a heavy feeling in my chest. It was crippling. I went with him to the doctor. People listening go and see multiple doctors and reputable doctors. There are some doctors who don't know what they are talking about. One doctor put me on an anti-pyschotic and it literally put me to sleep for 48 hours and I woke up feeling 50x more anxious and I was like no this isn't it. I finally found one doctor who recommended me to a psychologist in the city that does cognitive behavioural practices I'll send you there. I went to this man and that's when I got my diagnosis. He said 'Oh mate you have this very common disorder, you've got harm OCD'. For me to be told that I'm not actually crazy and I have a disorder took half my anxiety away. But for the time this was 4 to 5 months too long that's why I'm so passionate about telling people to get help straight away. Because even though it was a 5 year recovery for me to get better the 5 months of suffering could have been cut way shorter. It would have saved me that horrific time in my life. I saw this man for about 3 years he had to completely rewire my brain. OCD is obsessive compulsion disorder . For me mine was pure O. So I would have the thought of killing my family and my compulsion was trying to suppress that thought. In therapy I had to rewire my brain using the real me. That's what they teach you in therapy. So even though that thought was there I didn't give it my attention. That takes years of practice to get to that point. Over years the thought disappears. Your brain recognises it as not important so once the thought goes away the anxiety goes away. People have to realise when you're in this fight with anxiety disorders and depression don't give yourself a time limit. Just fight the fight and have the right people with you and just chip away and you will get through it. An OCD spike is when the thoughts come back up. But because I had the tools and the discipline and the rewiring of my brain I can go back to my therapy and understand it and know that it won't be with me forever. One thing that sucks about OCD is you have it for life. But it's just about managing it and then you can live a normal life. I live a completely happy life but I understand that I have this condition that will spike sometimes. I have a real good support network. It's all about having the right people who accept you who are and will help you through it. My wife would help me with exposure. She would make me chop up all the veggies for dinner because she knew that a knife was a trigger. So she would put me in situations that would help me recover, so these little support techniques. Exposure therapy was a big one. The advice I would give for anyone seeking support with harm OCD is to go to an OCD therapist that deals with OCD. These therapists specifically know how to help you. Get rid of any negative people. Quit smoking, quit drinking and eat properly. It makes a difference. Get a bit of sunshine, go for walks, get exercise. My outlet is going to the gym and going to play basketball. every few months I go to a bar with friends, have a few beers at home and watch the rugby and smoke Shisha. It's important to have an outlet. Zoning away. If you're going through things don't go it alone. Go and see people go and get help. As dark as it may seem sometimes there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you help yourself. Your recovery is on you. But it will be totally worth it. Jack LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST ON SPOTIFY:
If you feel that you are experiencing any of what Jack has spoken about please seek help from your nearest GP. There are also other sources which provide help and advice for example:
Mind 0300 123 3011
Rethink 0300 5000 927
Support Line 01708 765200
Also if you feel that you have an experience with regards to mental health that you believe others could relate to then please get in touch.