By the time she was 7-years-old, Serin Rayner-Davies knew things needed to be done a certain way, so she created patterns she needed to stick with daily. She wasn’t just an organized child, she was an obsessed child.
According to the Daily Mirror, Rayner-Davies was already showing signs of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) when she was a child. She was paranoid her parents were going to die and believed her mom’s and dad’s lives were in her hands — if she failed to follow her rituals, they would die.Screenshot/YouTube
Rayner-Davies recalled Tuesday on “This Morning”:
“I would take ages to come out of the house when we were leaving for school, because I would have to go in and out of the doorway. If I didn’t do that, I thought my parents would die.”
Even though her parents told her she didn’t have to do things to keep them safe, she kept repeating her actions. As time went on, her obsessions became increasingly worse. Eventually, when she was 18, she was diagnosed with OCD.
The Mayo Clinic describes OCD as a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions), leading you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions), causing distress and interference with daily activities.
According to Metro, Rayner-Davies’s father, Denys, explained that his daughter wasn’t the only one suffering through her damaging behavior — it was taking its toll on the family and his marriage.Screenshot/YouTube
“It’s very often we look at the poor person who is the victim of this, but the family is treading on eggshells. From a relationship point of view, it puts huge pressures on. It’s a living hell, actually.”
The now-23-year-old woman became so overwhelmed by her frightening disorder that she fought to stay inside her house, as she found it difficult to go outside. It got so bad she thought about ending her life at the age of 21.
She didn’t end her life, but her extreme OCD continued to extend into her life in different forms.
Rayner-Davies soon became obsessed with germs; she feared contamination, and fighting to stay “clean” was her new battle in life. She began washing her hair over and over — up to 72 times a day — and washed the same load of clean laundry 15 times in a row.
She said OCD sufferers believe in “magical thinking,” meaning everything needs to be clean around them.
Rayner-Davies described the cause of her disorder, per the Daily Mirror:
“It’s triggered by stress. Some people have a pre-disposition for anxiety, and when something awful or stressful happens, it comes out as a way of coping.”
She also pointed out the difference between organized people and people actually suffering from OCD, per Metro:
“There is a spectrum, a lot of people have tendencies or personality traits where they like things to be a certain way or they have to order things in a certain way, and that makes them happy. But I think that’s a preference as opposed to a demand. So when you have severe OCD, you absolutely have to do it or the world will cave in.”
Luckily, with the help of therapy and with her new husband by her side, Rayner-Davies has been able to work through her disorder.Screenshot/YouTube
She said of her husband:
“He doesn’t enable my OCD, he knows it’s not a good way to live. He checks through everything with me to make sure I’m OK, but he doesn’t help me, or enable me.”
Now, she is urging others who have the same difficult disorder to fight against it; she recommends people get tested if they suspect they may also suffer from OCD.
Watch Rayner-Davies discuss her illness here: