Telling people’s stories through theatre comes naturally to Anthony Richardson. With a Masters in Creative practice he’s writer, director and cast member – the one story he’s never told was his own.
Until now. His struggle with OCD has been played out before a theatre audience in Chester and he hopes to show it further afield to give people hope.
"My parents brought me up to be a good person, but I took rules and regulations too literally. I started dwelling on things and developing rituals. I became obsessed with checking and cleaning, and worrying what people thought of me. I felt stuck.”
After graduating, taking a job and signing up for a Master's degree Anthony found his symptoms intolerable. I went back to my parents and signed up for therapy with Talk Liverpool. Alison was great. She said ‘prepare yourself go into the kitchen, do what you would normally do, feel the anxiety but put up with it and let the thoughts happen. It works, I rate how I feel – I’m on 8/10 – you can see how much control you have. I held down a job for two years and I’ve just completed my Masters. I’ve got my life back.”
The play is semi biographical but with some twists. “It’s harsh at times – it shows the trauma of fighting battles, finding someone who understands you, and learning to be your own therapist. Alison has taught me these thoughts aren’t real, they don’t mean anything – it’s not what I’ve got it’s who I am that matters.”
It is quite common for people to have such thoughts and to carry out checking actions, but if it is becoming a major part of your daily life then you may be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, take a look at our OCD self help guide.