"It started without me really noticing it. I got anxious about someone in my family dying – so I began to tap three times, when I got worried, for good luck and that would calm me down. Then I had to do it before I could go to sleep at night –not once but 3 x 3.
When I watched the programme on TV about those germs in hospital it began to get worse. I couldn’t tell my Mum or Dad about it because it sounded so silly. I had to wash my hands all the time because I thought I would pass on an infection and someone would die. It was mainly at home, but then I began to worry that I would catch something at school.
I made my Mum wash my school uniform every day. She tried to say no, but I would get so worked up that she would give in. It came to a head when I couldn’t get to school on time because I was spending hours in the bathroom in the morning. I had to wash my hair three times as well as going through washing in a set order. If I was interrupted because someone needed the bathroom, I had to start again.
Mum got me some help. I didn’t want to be seen as some psycho person, but Dr Roberts was really nice and understood why I was so worked up about everything. That was when I was 14. Now I am 18. It was hard work doing the therapy. It is called CBT. You have to try and work out why you are so anxious and try and control it. Now I am at college and doing a course that I like. I still do some counting, but I can keep it under control."