Christmas Message 

This was the year that the world thought it had developed OCD because they had to wash their hands a little more frequently. For us, that was both frustrating and another eye opener that we still have so much work to do.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt and devastate our communities, Christmas will look so very different for everybody this year, for the young and old alike.

For some of us that suffer because of OCD, it will bring relief that no family gatherings are taking place. It will remove countless OCD triggers, which means when the OCD demons are bombarding us we won’t have to fake a festive smile in front of the glittering Christmas tree.

This year, Christmas will be about surviving with hope. Hope that the New Year will bring new opportunities to bounce back, both across society in a wider context and for many, not just us with OCD, with our mental wellbeing after a year of lockdown.

But despite vague recollections of OCD fuelled horrors of Christmas past, I also know that Christmas can offer hope, even in the darkest of moments.

In Love Actually, Billy Mack sang that ‘Christmas Is All Around’, well at this time of the year I like to believe that HOPE is all around us. For example, I once read that Christmas angels remind us of the active presence of angels in our lives. They sit atop of decorated trees as beacons of hope sending the message that we are not alone.

Unlike when God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth with a message for Mary, the angels may not be so vivid, but they are actually all around us filled with love. The friend we lean on for help and support, our families, our NHS or our support groups. I believe my colleagues Gemma, Kirstie and Zoe are the bright angels in a world of OCD darkness, and I know that many of you have called on them for guidance and assistance whenever needed. I know this simply by the fact that they along with our fantastic volunteers have helped hundreds of people this year

That's what I hope our charity is for, to offer a beacon of hope that even when things seem dark, we offer a glimmer of light akin to that Northern Star, that we illuminate a path that guides people to life shining bright again free from the darkness of OCD.

This year Christmas may be different, but the phrase I coined a few years ago, that OCD doesn't take time off for Christmas and neither will we, is needed more than ever this year.

But as long as there are stars shining bright in the sky, there is hope. As we head into 2021 and come out the other side of this pandemic, some of us will have to start challenging OCD all over again. I hope that OCD-UK can be your beacon of hope when you need it.

Stay safe and wishing you all a Happy Christmas that allows you to believe in the hope.

Wishing you good mental health.

Ashley Fulwood
Chief Executive of OCD-UK (and someone with lived experience of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).