People With A 'Secret IIlness' Are Sharing Their Innermost Thoughts Online

'I am scared of my husband touching me because it doesn’t feel right.'

"I am scared of my husband touching me because it doesn’t feel right," writes Gwen, from Kansas USA, on a website called 'The Secret Illness.'

She joins several others seeking to change the perception of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) within society.

"I have struggled with OCD since I was 10," she continues.

The Secret Illness

"Now 32, I know that the only thing this disorder has ever done is lie, distort the truth, and set off false alarms in my head."

Gwen is one among several sufferers bold enough to post their experiences on 'The Wall' - a "creative arts project that explores the realities of living with obsessive compulsive disorder."

To give users the freedom to share their thoughts freely, the site pixilates head shots and offers people the opportunity to submit experiences anonymously.

Example of a wall post on The Secret Illness
Example of a wall post on The Secret Illness

The forum's creators, Liz Smith and Becca Laidler, wanted to change the trivial manner in which OCD is treated.

Laidler explained to Science.Mic how the three letters are at times used to describe "an organized drawer or a display in a shop window."

However, she added: "It's not about being organised."

"We want to lift the lid on the true debilitating reality of OCD."

Here are a few examples of posts from 'The Wall':

Around 12 in every 1,000 people in the UK are affected by OCD.

It is defined by NHS as "a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive activity."

In September, a similar "wall" in Brighton Station gave commuters the opportunity to air their deepest and darkest thoughts without giving away their identity.

Causing Harm

9 Signs Of OCD

Useful websites and helplines:
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:
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