OCD and CBT
Great news that David Beckham has revealed he's suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. Not great news for himself; it can be a horribly debilitating thing which can stain one's every waking existence. However great news for sufferers. Hopefully it should help more of the public to understand what clinical OCD is. And hopefully it should influence the simplistic press in this country who continue to describe it as some sort of "cleaning disease". That's like saying that all artists are "like Rolf Harris", or all musicians are "like the Beatles". Or all people are like me.
I remember one brave women interviewed on BBC Breakfast by a very-simplistic Natasha Kaplinsky, who described how the shame of one fleeting momentary thought about her strangling her much-loved children had grown into a terrible persistent preoccupation. She'd just have to see her dressing gown, and the unwanted irrational thought of it wrapped around her throat forced itself into her distraught mind.
She found help. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works. It might take certain antidepressants to help the brain rewire itself - after all, when you're fighting against irrational thoughts its only natural a lot of anxiety and depression can build up. However its the CBT that allows you to help yourself.
In the same way as you can learn to swim or learn to ride a bike, you can learn to think rationally. It just takes time to unlearn your obsessive compulsions, in the same way as it takes time to unlearn your inability to swim or to unlearn your inability to ride a bike.
And maybe a lot of you are suffering, albeit more mildly than some. I recommend anyone who's ever "touched wood", counted magpies, worn their lucky underwear before a football game, or in any way tried to control their lives (religion, astrology etc) or sought to recognise patterns within life (Noel Edmonds and the Cosmic Ordering Service take a bow), pretty much anyone that is, should read David Newnham's Guardian article from last year "Little Things That We Do".