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To Sam


I think I may have OCD. When I was seven, I got a bad stomach bug and was almost hospitalized. Since then, I have developed a severe phobia of vomiting. So I have started up rituals like repeating actions and saying things to prevent vomiting. People think I'm a freak at school because I'm doing this and my mum dosen't belive me. What should I do?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

I’m really pleased that you’ve written to me as it sounds like you have been dealing with this for a long time now.

From what you’ve said it sounds like you’ve coped up to now by keeping your phobia of vomiting and rituals to yourself. However, it sounds like it’s now becoming a problem because your friends have started to notice and are making you feel bad about it. It’s wrong that your friends are doing this but it’s usually because they don’t understand. Often rituals can start off quite small but then as you come to rely on them they become bigger and then your reliance on them increases until they are negatively affecting your day-to-day activities and they do tend to continue to get worse without help.

I can hear that you’ve tried to talk to your mum but she doesn’t believe you. I’m sorry this has happened. Sometimes parents may think that if they dismiss something it will help it to go away. It can help to keep talking about it to them so that your parents know it hasn’t gone away. Keeping a diary listing what you do and how often you do it can help people to understand better what’s going on for you. It might help you to know that it’s probably more common than you think and you can get help for what you’re going through by talking to your doctor, your school nurse or maybe someone who deals with pastoral care in your school. You’ll find some more useful help and information on the Mental health page in the Explore section of our website, there’s also a link there to the Young Minds website which is also very useful.

You might also find it helpful to talk to one of the counsellors at ChildLine. You can do this whenever and as often as you need to. You can ring them on 0800-1111 (calls are free and won’t show up on your bills); you can take up an on-line 1-2-1 chat through the ChildLine website; or you can send an email (but it can take up to 24 hours to get a reply).

Take care,


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