Living with Me and My OCD By Claire Watkinson

I found out about ‘Living with Me and My OCD’ years ago. I was intrigued and excited to hear of a film exclusively about OCD and, even more excitingly, one that is directed and produced by someone who actually has the condition. I knew straight away after being in contact with Claire the producer that she would make sure that this film would give the best insight into OCD as possible. Recently the film came out and there was a screening event in Claire’s hometown of Sheffield. The film is now on OCD-UK’s youtube channel and has been praised by OCD Action.

The film includes interviews with people who suffer from OCD. It puts right the public perception that OCD is about ‘just being tidy’. It is shocking and eye opening in all the best ways, and truly shows the many forms this disorder can take. I’d really like to praise and thank all the contributors, as well as Claire of course, for being so honest in their accounts and allowing them to be shared. Some of the testimonies brought tears to my eyes because I could relate so strongly. If you have OCD this film will show you that you are not alone. If you don’t have OCD- this film will open your eyes and make you grateful you don’t. I seriously believe that this film is an epic step in the right direction for OCD Awareness and understanding.

Motivational Tattoos 

I’ve been trying out these temporary tattoos from

They are reasonably priced and once on skin can last four days! They include affirmations like: “be strong”, “I am enough” and “love yourself”. Great reminders for mindfulness, self care and a good tool to use instead of self harm. They are shaped like plasters and come in colourful, patterned or clear. They are a little fiddly to peel the plastic from- though well worth it! 

I got these as a gift, what a great way to remind someone, or yourself, that you care! 

Mental Health Communication Cards

A few months ago I did some work with Hannah Ensor of Stickman Communications to design some communication cards specifically to help people with mental health problems.

Hannah is amazing and one of my favourite people to throw ideas around with. She is very patient and willing to consider anything no matter how ‘Out There’ it may be. I was honoured to be consulted about these cards. 

The new cards in the Mental Health range include: 

  • “I think I need a hug”
  • “I don’t feel able to talk right now”
  • “I have depression…” (+description)
  • “I don’t feel safe right now”
  • “I have an anxiety disorder…” (+description)
  • “I have a condition which means I see the world differently…”
  • “I don’t feel able to talk right now”
  • “Please may I talk to you?”

Plus the poignant: “Cuppa Needed!”

These cards are incredibly handy and provide a quick way to indicate how you feel or what you need. I find that they are really useful if you want to discreetly make someone aware that you need some extra support. They are also great for explaining what would help on an ‘off’ day. I have a lot of cards from Stickman Communications split between two lanyards, one for home use and one for in public. Hannah has so many amazing cards in her shop that are helping people deal with a huge variety of different medical conditions.

I’m hoping that this could be the start of a great partnership between Stickman Communications and Upside Down Chronicles to get helpful products out there for people with mental health problems and other invisible illnesses.  

What would your ideal card say? 


Potential Trigger Warning:


“You are a person who feels the highest of highs and the lowest of lows”

This short film is absolutely beautiful. It represents perfectly experience of living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

As a condition it is talked about so little and is heavily stigmatized. This film stresses the complete turmoil the condition puts a person into rather than focusing on how it looks from the outside. I particularly like the positives that are mentioned: How ‘Borderlines’ are often resilient despite having endless experiences of pain and hurt. To live with this condition you become a survivor.

“You are resilient and you try again. You’ve suffered so deeply, so much of the time. You push on; searching for love, hope and compassion.”

Stickman Communications’ Pacing Pack Review

This post is a review of some awesome products from Stickman Communications– a fantastic company that supports disabled people through a range of quirky designs and sassy explanations.

I use their line of communication cards on a daily basis and was lucky enough to be sent a ‘Pacing Pack’ to review by the genius behind the designs, Hannah Ensor.

After a couple of months testing here are my thoughts…

Pacing Magnet Set

These magnets are really quite groovy. They cover all the days of the week, times of day, intensity levels of activities and also meal, snack, and exercise prompts.

I found being able to timetable my day really useful and the magnets acted as good reminders to add on easily forgotten essentials; like exercise and down time. There are enough magnets for you to either plan a day in detail or block out a full week. Included in the pack is a black dry-wipe pen and eraser. The magnets are quite small so can’t hold much detail, but I would suggest writing in the pen around the magnets if you want to add additional information. These magnets are really fantastic for seeing what a day or week will look like when you are planning. They stick really well to magnetic surfaces and are beautiful bright colours. They were originally intended for fridges but I like to stick mine on my whiteboard in my room so I can see them during the day.



Pacing Post-It Notes

The second part of the pack is this cute little post-it note stack.


They allow you to divide your day into three activity levels: ‘easy stuff’, ‘okay stuff’ and ‘challenging stuff’. I find these notes really useful because it encourages me to balance my day so that it is manageable. They stick really well to walls, boards, paper- anywhere you might need to be reminded about your plans.

Pacing Pack Crib Sheet

This is a handy little resource for people with fatigue problems and their friends and family. It is easy to understand, colourful and illustrated. Stickman Communications prides itself on its no-jargon resources, and this “Getting The Best Out of Life” sheet certainly follows that ethos.

I found this pacing pack really useful and I’d particularly recommend it to anyone who is newly diagnosed with a chronic condition or just learning to manage their illness. I’d also recommend it to any parents of disabled children who might need help with teaching their child how to plan around and for their condition. Good pacing and planning skills are vital for anyone with a chronic illness. I love the pack and would like to thank Hannah for allowing me to review it.

You can buy the pack here

For the whole range click here

BBC Three’s Defying The Label Season Awards


BBC Three recently ran a disability season called ‘Defying the Label’. They showed many programmes on the topic of disability and the content was massively diverse. I watched all of the episodes featured in the season, not all of which are mentioned below, and generally really enjoyed it. Many of the episodes are available on BBC Iplayer and a full list can be found here. I have made my own ‘awards’ for the programmes I felt stood out from the crowd, but please know that this is based on my own opinion and experience watching the programmes alone.

Most Entertaining: The Unbreakables

The Unbreakables was a fantastic three part look into the wonderful students at National Star College. Students there have multiple disabilities, many with some form of physical and learning disability. The episodes presented us with fantastic stereotype-busting characters such as Xenon the ladies man and Lewis the party animal. There were hilarious scenes and heartbreaking ones. I loved this series.

(I’ve also visited NSC and it really is that brilliant!!)

Most cringeworthy
: Find a Home for my Brother and Disabled in an Instant

Oh dear. These programmes really did not do it for me. The emphasis seemed to be on how being disabled makes you different in a bad way. At times I found the narrators squirm enduring with their attitudes. I was hoping for coverage of the major troubles disabled people find when looking for housing. Alas, instead we followed the sister of a disabled young man who has been asked to leave his specialist school. He has severe learning difficulties and features surprisingly little in the documentary. Instead it feels like we go on a magical mystery tour of people who have the burden of looking after disabled people. To me I was horrified when a potential cure begins to be explored as a way of fixing her brother. In ‘Disabled in An Instant’ we meet lots of disabled people talking about how awful it is to be disabled. Need I say more?

Most shocking
: The World’s Worst Place to be Disabled

This programme was stomach turning. Sophie Morgan goes to Ghana to see what Human Rights Watch describes as unimaginable for herself. Exploring prayer camps, fetish priests and huge discrimination- this is a truly horrifying watch as we learn how disabled children are killed in Ghana under the thin guise of a spiritual ceremony.


Most Informative: The Ugly Face Of Disability Hate Crime

I’m a big fan of Adam Pearson- he has raised the profile of facially disfigured people massively and has a fantastic sense of humour. This documentary was a great example of a disabled person kicking ass to fight discrimination. The documentary was following his personal battle against social media giants allowing threatening comments about his disfigurement to stay online and his wider fight to bring awareness of disfigurements to the public eye. The episode also raises awareness of how disability hate crime goes massively unreported to the police, suggesting it is being tolerated by disabled people rather than reported. Did you know that disability hate crime is even treated judicially less seriously than hate crimes against other minority demographics? It felt like a programme about disability for disabled people. Excellent.


Eye Opening: A Very Personal Assistant

Three part series following disabled young people who are looking to employ like minded carers of the same age. This was a really eye opening and interesting series with really positive disabled role models. I think it would really encourage unemployed young people to explore the possibility of becoming a carer.


Special Mention: The Boy Who Wanted His Leg Cut Off

A special mention must go to 11 year old Dillon Chapman and family who share the journey of trying to free Dillon from the agony of having a leg of tumours. I really thought this programme was beautiful, from the fact that Dillon is so sure of what he needs to the fact that his parents support him no matter what. This was the only programme about disabled children in the series but it definitely astounded viewers.


Overall Triumph: The Unbreakables

The Unbreakables was wit doubt my favourite series in the season. It will have done miracles for the learning difficulty community in the way of awareness raising and touched on so many wider issues like disability and sex, alcohol and housing. It had me crying with laughter and empathy. An amazing legacy to the disabled community.

My Thoughts on the Season Overall:

The Defying The Label season has been many things. Inspiring, educating, funny and frustrating. Why were sensory disabilities like sight and hearing impairments completely ignored? Why was the focus only on learning and physical disabilities? Why were children with disabilities not so prominent? What about mental illness? These are all questions I would love to ask. The season certainly hit the spot in the way of disabled narratives with many documentaries having a disabled person as the investigator but still sadly most being wheelchair users, which the public see as the ‘stereotype’ of disability. It would have been good to have some more  invisible disability representation to over come this. Overall I feel my hours were well spent on this season and I look forward to disability seasons in years to come.