Why I am going to Ride4OCD

Why am I doing a 19-day ride for an OCD charity? Well let me tell you a little story first, go on, indulge me and read on.

Having suffered with OCD since my late teens, for the majority of my 20s and much of my 30s OCD has completely dictated and dominated my life for much of that time. I would not be able to use the toilet without an overwhelming fear of germs and contamination from my own bodily fluids, which would be so strong I would have to wash and shower my entire body until I ‘felt’ clean, and the more you try and ‘feel’ something, the less certain you become so those washing rituals (or compulsions) would take a long time, on average 60-90 minutes, at times multiple hours, sometimes more than once a day. Because of that my entire day was regimented so not to eat when out so not to have to use the toilet until I was home and even when home I could not use the toilet without immediately going straight into a bath. So planning days out was a military operation, and often avoided much of the time.

Fast forward a few years to my late 30s and OCD was still with me I as controlling it better and I described it ‘that I control the OCD rather than it controlling me’. I was now able to use public toilets, and be out for a day, but the OCD was still ever-present, and showering although not long in terms of time, there were still too many. The first time I chose to use a public toilet without needing to shower I was working in London at Bloomberg’s, it was the most liberating experience ever, not many people go to use the toilet at work and come out smiling and laughing! Ok, I over washed my hands then, but I did it, I used a public toilet!!!! Of course my colleagues had no idea I had just climbed mount Everest.

My OCD stagnated for a few years then, not getting worse, but not getting better until the last three or four years when I have made much more progress. I still have a fear of bodily fluids, I still wash myself if I think I have any urine on me, so I still have some work to do.

Being out all day still represents a challenge (that it shouldn’t, I should not have to worry about where I go to the loo), so that is exactly why I want to do another Ride4OCD. Cycling is something I enjoy and I want to spend 19-days cycling to be able to stick two fingers up at OCD and say, ‘I am doing something I love, you will not stop me’. Equally, it also represents a great opportunity to challenge myself OCD therapy wise, to have to use the backs of tree’s to relieve myself, to not to be able to wash my hands, to face the risk of urine splashing on my legs, to have to apply lube to the nether regions (to prevent saddle sores) without washing my hands, to have dead bugs stuck to my sun-creamed arms and legs and at the end of each day to get to shake Paul’s hand knowing his hands would be equally as gross as mine!

If I can do all that then I will be taking another step towards reclaiming all my life back from OCD. I don’t want to tell people I am controlling my OCD, I want to tell people that I no longer suffer with OCD, and one day I WILL be able to say that, I am determined to make that a reality.

That is why I will Ride4OCD this August.

Ashley Fulwood is an OCD sufferer fighting back. He is also the chief executive of the national charity, OCD-UK.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Muhammad Murad Ali

    I am suffering from ocd since birth. I really want to do something for my OCD mates. I want to take a part in “Ride4OCD”. Kindly tell me where should I register myself.

    Thank you!

    1. Ashley


      We absolutely welcome people riding with us for a day or so, do let us know which days/locations you wish to ride with us and we can let you know our start and end points. Shoot me an email ashley AT ocduk DOT org


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