What I want people to know about OCD

OCD awareness

“They laughed in my face and told me that OCD isn’t a real disorder and not comparable to other mental health conditions.”


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).

According to Beyond Blue, close to 3% of people in Australia will experience OCD in their lifetime. OCD can occur at any time during your life and children as young as six or seven may have symptoms, although symptoms seem to develop fully for the first time in adolescence.

When I first got a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I was in high school. It was taking up numerous hours of my day and was dramatically impacting my life. My father also has OCD, so it wasn’t something I was completely unfamiliar with, however it still was an adjusted period to understand how to cope with it.

Aside from my parents, no one could tell I had OCD. I kept it very hidden and it wasn’t something that was obvious to those around me. I didn’t feel the need to tell my friends, and even to this day I haven’t really spoken about it much with my extended family. I was coping with it alone for many years early on, until I slowly opened up to a psychologist.

I knew that [OCD] wasn’t something that would just be ‘grown’ out of.

I have worked with psychologists on and off throughout the last 10 years, using exposure therapy and CBT. However, I found for me personally the most progress I made, was when I worked on my personal growth in conjunction with my therapy. Working with life coaches around my fears, working through trauma and truly learning to understand my emotions and building self-acceptance has been something so powerful for me in combating the additional anxieties that come with OCD, so much so that I ended up in the profession myself.

Compulsions can take a very long time, if they are interrupted then it can sometimes take upwards of an hour of my time to complete. My compulsions can look like something as simple as flicking a light switch on and off, or locking and checking the door to my car excessively. But it can also look like repeating the same words over and over again or doing numerous rituals before I can sleep, shower, or leave the house. Sometimes it would even take over an hour just to get into the shower because of all the compulsions I had to do beforehand. Compulsions can be different for everyone, and for some people they are not even visible.

It can make a lot of activities quite difficult because my compulsions require me to repeat a lot of movements or rituals, and this disrupts not only my own mind, but it also takes a toll on my family and how our lives function around my compulsions.

When I first had the courage to start telling people of my diagnosis a lot of people would just say “haha me too”, “everyone is a bit OCD”, “don’t worry, I’m a total clean freak too”, not realising that they were actually offending me.

It made it very clear to me that no one truly understood OCD, and that it is far more than liking things to be neat and done in a certain way. Even to this day, there is very little awareness. Such little awareness in fact that some people have told me that it isn’t on the “same level” as other mental health conditions such as bipolar or depression.

People have such little knowledge about the pain, suffering and torture we essentially go through each and every moment.

I once brought up the conversation of my disorder to a co-worker. They used the sentence “omg you’re so OCD” to another co-worker who doesn’t have OCD  but likes things to be neat and orderly. I sat them aside and let them know of my condition, and how things like that are hurtful to hear because I am suffering and you wouldn’t just use the word depression or bipolar in the same context. They laughed in my face and told me that OCD isn’t a real disorder and not comparable to other mental health conditions.

For me (and I’m sure many others suffering out there) I can tell you that it is a very serious disorder, that takes a massive impact of the sufferers everyday life. Just because you are not within my mind or do not experience the fears or thoughts that I do doesn’t mean they aren’t a very real fear to me. What comes across as irrational to one, is completely rational to another.

“it’s not always about contamination, order or symmetry”

I want people to understand that OCD is a very real and debilitating disorder. It’s not just about being clean, organised or liking things done a certain way or in a certain order. There are many OCD themes and subtypes, it’s not always about contamination, order, and symmetry. It includes themes of harm, suicide, sexual thoughts, relationship, and religious focused themes.  

Although I still suffer from this, I have been able to grow and work with my OCD rather than against it. As time has gone on, new themes will show up, there are consistently moments where it becomes unbearable again but doing the therapy and work on myself has helped immensely.

It is an invisible health condition that a lot of people suffer with in complete silence, but no matter what type you are experiencing know that you are not alone and that with the right therapy things can become easier.


Written by Elle Tiganis. Elle is a mindset coach at EMT Coaching and co-host of the Daydream Believers Podcast. She loves listening to music, photography and doing yoga and also happens to live with OCD.

Tune Into Stigma this Mental Health Month

1 in 5 Australians experience mental illness every year, and 45 percent of Australian adults will be affected by mental illness at some time in their life, but even with a high proportion of the population experiencing it, mental health is still something that’s shrouded in secrecy, shame, misunderstandings and assumptions. 


This mental health month tune in to stigma by becoming aware of the biases, prejudice and stereotypes that still surround mental health so that we can challenge it. Until we talk about it- nothing changes.  

So, how exactly can you tune in to stigma? Here are our top tips.

1: Challenge negative ideas around mental health

You might have heard (or even been on the receiving end) of one of these statements:

“People who need therapy are weak”

 “You can’t work if you have a mental illness”

“It’s all about attitude, you just need to be more positive!”

“They’re not sick, they’re just being lazy”

Sound familiar? You never know what someone is going through, and statements like these, (however casually said) send the message to people who are struggling that they’re on their own, the way their feeling is their own fault, their feelings don’t matter or that the person who has said something like this can’t be trusted to listen or doesn’t care.

Therapy is an important tool that even people without a diagnosed condition can benefit from. It’s possible to lead a happy and fulfilling life with a mental illness including keeping a job and it’s not just about having a positive attitude. By standing up and challenging these assumptions (or even considering our own internal biases) we can help create a more accepting space to talk openly about our struggles and potentially save a life.

2: Address the stereotypes around mental health

Think about some of the common stereotypes about mental illness and find different ways of looking at things.

For example, one stereotype about people with a mental health condition is that they are lazy. Instead of this negative stereotype, think about the different things someone might be experiencing that could lead to them feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.

Often dealing with the symptoms of mental ill-health takes a lot of internal energy, making it difficult to do everyday tasks. Whilst this may be perceived as laziness from the outside, what we don’t see is that an individual is doing a lot of hard work that is invisible to the outside. 

Check out this video for some helpful tips (link to spell check yourself)

2: Get talking about mental health and wellbeing

We’re all leading busy and sometimes stressful lives which means we need to look after our own mental health and wellbeing.  So talking to someone you trust is a great way to let off some steam, let go of your anxiousness or sadness and build a connection.

Make it a habit to ask those around you how they’re doing and be honest with others about your own situation. It might feel awkward or even scary, but the more we discuss our feelings – good and bad – the less they’re likely to overwhelm us. When you share you’re experience it can encourage others to do the same.

Not sure how to have the conversation? Check out RUOK? Day for some great tips.

3: Change the language you use

The words we use matter. Describing something as “crazy” or “mad” or using condition specific phrases like “I’m so OCD” can be harmful to someone without you even realising it.

Be aware of the language you use, especially around mental health, and try and challenge yourself not to use stigmatising language and encourage others not to use it too. 

4: Listen to people with lived experience

There’s lots to learn about mental health. So a great place to start is learning from people who have a lived experience with a mental health condition. It doesn’t have to be a formal sit down and you don’t have to look far.

You can find peoples experiences through podcasts, YouTube, TikToks, blogs and more. The key here is going in with the willingness to learn and empathise. Not sure where to start? Check out Abi’s experience with Depression.


If you are living with a mental health condition and need support to find work (and keep it), Campbell Page is here to help.

We’ve got your back through every step of the job search process and can connect you to the support services you need to manage your health condition.

Send us a message and we’ll will be in touch shortly, or better yet, call us now on 1300 139 920

Image sources: GMF Designs, R U OK.

The best jobs for people living with Anxiety and/or Depression

Living with a mental health condition like anxiety or depression can make it hard to find a job that fits. You might have concerns about finding a supportive and understanding employer, maybe you’re worried the pressure of a certain industry could be “too much” to achieve a healthy work- life balance or it might just be tough finding the right job for your skills and experience.


We KNOW you’re more than your mental health condition. A mental health condition won’t stand in the way of you finding a job, but everyone needs a little support every now and again.  So we’ve taken the pressure off your job search by rounding up the 5 best jobs for people living with depression and/or anxiety.

1: Librarian

If a calming, quiet work environment paired with methodical tasks is what you’re looking for, working in a library or as a librarian may be a great fit for you. And while some full-time librarian positions require a degree, many libraries also hire library technicians/assistants. They help with organising books, working the circulation desk, scanning and uploading documents and helping customers find books and resources.

Libraries are an important part of any community, so you’ll not only have the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, but also knowing you’re making a difference in the world. What’s not to love about that!

Library jobs for people with anxiety and depression

2: Gardener & Landscaper

These jobs can be great for people with depression and anxiety. They give you the opportunity to work outdoors and allow you to get active, a great combination! Tasks may include grounds maintenance, watering and feeding plants, trimming trees/shrubs, weeding gardens and keeping spaces clean. You may be able to work by yourself or as part of a team, and there’s often flexibility to suit your lifestyle or management of your mental health condition.

Gardening jobs for someone with anxiety and depression

3: Data Entry

Data entry is a type of clerical work that involves using processes like typing and voice recording for entering information (like numbers and names) into computer systems. This work can be done in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, finance, retail and transport/logistics.

So if you’re analytical and like routine work, data entry could be a great fit. There is often the possibility of working remotely or from home if that suits your condition better. There are lots of different positions, starting with internships/entry level, all the way up to jobs that require degrees. So there is something for everyone no matter your skill set.  

Best jobs for someone with anxiety or depression

4: Courier/Delivery Driver

People are shopping online more than ever – so the need for delivery drivers is also greater! This could include working for a postal service, local freight company, or you could even work for yourself! You’ll spend most of your time out and about, won’t have to deal with crowds of people or customer service. And you get to listen to whatever music you want so that’s always a bonus!

Jobs for people with anxiety and depression

5: Be your own Boss

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right fit for you, or you want to build in the flexibility you know you’ll need to keep yourself healthy. Becoming your own boss is a great option and the range of business opportunities are endless including:

  • Dog walking
  • Lawn mowing
  • Virtual Assistant/Administration
  • Home cleaning/maintenance
  • Or if you have a hobby, try selling your crafts online using platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or Etsy!

If you’re still not sure what kind of work is best suited to your needs, think about what you want out of a job or what you need to succeed. Whether it’s helping people, being active or outdoors, working alone or in a big group, identifying some of these can help steer you in the right direction and find a career you really love!

If you’re looking for help or not sure where to begin, our friendly team can help you with whatever stage you’re at. Get in touch to get started with Disability Employment Services and #CreateYourPossible.

Images: Pexel

READY TO FIND WORK?

We’ve got your back through every step of the job search process. Send us a message and we’ll will be in touch shortly, or better yet, call us now on 1300 139 920