St Albans teenager with OCD features on Channel 5 documentary tonight

PUBLISHED: 20:00 22 August 2017

Annie Lawrence.

Annie Lawrence.

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Annie Lawrence.Annie Lawrence.

A St Albans teenager with OCD is appearing on a Channel 5 documentary to help combat the stigma surrounding the condition.

Annie Lawrence, 18, from London Colney, was filmed for three days in June while she took her A-Level exams, for the documentary ‘My Extreme OCD Life’. She has suffered from symptoms since she was six, but was diagnosed within the last year after taking a turn for the worse during her A-levels.

Her symptoms include anything she touches having to be parallel to something else, and having to tap 15 times on each finger, both of which are very time-consuming and make up a significant part of her daily life.

Annie, who goes to St Albans Girls School, told the Herts Ad: “I wrote a blog post for OCD UK during Mental Health Awareness Week and one of the production company’s journalists got in touch and wanted to find out more about the OCD that I was experiencing. They explained what they were trying to do with the documentary in terms of demystifying the stigma around it.

Fitol, a character Annie uses to explain her OCD. Photo: CHANNEL 5/CRACKIT PRODUCTIONSFitol, a character Annie uses to explain her OCD. Photo: CHANNEL 5/CRACKIT PRODUCTIONS

“For three days during my exams I was followed by a film crew so they could capture some of the rituals and the reality of OCD.”

The documentary series will follow eight young people with the condition, showing how they feel there will be terrible consequences if they don’t complete certain routines and rituals.

Annie said: “I struggled a lot with my OCD at school so I was taking a lot of time to ensure that I was revising. I was quite reserved so it would be the first time that someone had seen my rituals, because I tried to cover them as much as I could at school. It was very weird having people filming it.

“It’s something that I do as part of my day - for other people to see it as being interesting was very weird for me.

Annie Lawrence as a young girl.Annie Lawrence as a young girl.

“A couple of the rituals filmed I hadn’t even shown my parents or discussed with my family.”

When Annie was six, her symptoms included trying to get to school 10 minutes early, and panicking that she was late if she was only nine minutes early, and excessive hand-washing. Her symptoms have since evolved to how they are today.

The programme airs on Channel 5 at 10pm on Tuesday, August 22.

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