Coronation Street Actor, Ian Puleston-Davies talks about his OCD
OCD-UK patron, the writer and actor, Ian Puleston-Davies (pictured 4th from the left) and members of the Coronation Street cast are supporting OCD Awareness Week, are you?
Ian, has suffered with OCD since childhood, but for Ian, OCD goes far beyond the stereo-typical hand washing, instead Ian sufferers with a form of intrusive thought OCD, and it is so severe he has to go through a draining mental checklist to help him cope before he sets foot on set. Last year he spoke to the Mirror and told them, "I worry I'm going to cut my lip or chip my teeth on the glass, so that damn pint glass in the Rovers is always going to leave me susceptible to an OCD attack.
"I have to check the lip of the glass with my finger first to make sure that it's not chipped and then practise taking a sip and a swallow before we even rehearse. If I waited until we began filming, my OCD - my little evil voice in my head - would say 'it's stained' or 'you've just chipped your teeth'.
"There are little minefields everywhere - there could easily be 20 in a scene. But I have a quick, well-rehearsed mental tick-list where I scan a scene beforehand and know the potential pitfalls.
"Recently I did a scene with Ryan Thomas who plays Jason Grimshaw where we had to jump into my van. Without anyone knowing I had to get into the van before we filmed and practise sitting down to convince myself I wouldn't crack my coccyx by sitting down too quickly.
"In another scene I had to lean against the van to say lines to Peter Armitage who plays Bill Webster. It was the front bumper so I knew it could be covered in dead flies and dust, so I had a little check first."
Ian, 51, admits that his OCD can also affect him socially, with everyday activities fraught with difficulties.
He says: "A couple of the Corrie cast have suggested we go for lunch and I've had to make an excuse, because I prefer to eat on my own. I'm worried about sitting down, because I'm worried that I'll crack my coccyx. Then I'll examine the knives and forks to see if they're clean and I'll check my jaw to see if I can open it freely without breaking it. It can be exhausting."
The signs have been there from a young age, but like many people of his generation, Ian was only diagnosed with OCD only 16 years ago.
However, despite OCD, it has not stopped him from having a successful career as an actor and a writer, made even more remarkable by the fact he achieved this with the added daily strains that OCD can bring. He's starred with Ray Winstone in TV's Vincent, and was in Ghostboat with David Jason. Other credits include Silent Witness, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Waking the Dead.
Ian will be speaking about his OCD at the OCD-UK annual conference in Cardiff in November.