Real Families - Tuesday Night

The life of Hugh Turner, an obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer fixated with the number 12. Most provisions in his home are bought by the dozen - even socks and trainers - and he has been hospitalised several times after taking tablets in batches of 12. Simple everyday tasks become major hurdles, but he maintains good humour, despite concerns that his son is also displaying symptoms

This programme is on again Thursday on ITV2 8pm

How can somebody live with that illness for 40 years???

Raised some serious questions in my mind about mental illness and how it has been handled in the past!


  • did not see it but will look out for. sounds interesting.
  • I was doing an OU course in psychology and went to an extra lecture one evening. The lecturer suffered from ocd and he told us about it in a really funny way although the undertone was serious. His manifested itself in all sorts of ways - excessive handwashing, rituals etc etc. He was still battling with it years later.

    A friend also suffered from ocd which came about at a time in her life when her last child married and left home and then she had a hysterectomy almost straight after. The doctors reckoned that it all was just too much. She was hospitalized - hers was a cleanliness thing. She refused to eat her dinner one night as one of her other daughters had breathed on it. She also made her hands sore from overwashing.

    I think it is more common than we really realise.
  • We watched this (we have a sneaky suspicion that Mr S suffers very slightly with this) it was most distressing. I don't know how he - or his family - have made it this far. I was exhausted by the end of the programme.

    Roobarb - I think you're right about it being more common than we realize.....
  • Yes I'd agree it was very distressing.

    I only watched the last 3/4 (Mrs G saw teh whole thing) but the one question I felt was not answered was why the wife or children had not sought proper advice and help before?
  • I wondered the same, Gumpity. Has ocd only recntly been "recognized" as a treatable problem? Also, I do think the whole "stigma" thing is a big problem with ocd.
  • It would appear that is has only recently been recognised as a treatable problem and I too was shocked that the family hadn't sought professional help before.

    I was amazed at the wifes ability to laugh it off as it must be very, very difficult to live with somebody like that full time.

    Hi Shambs, like you I think my daughter suffered a mild form of this during the period that she was doing her GCSE's. She'd refuse to eat whilst out shopping etc unless she'd washed her hands and if she went on the bus and held onto the pole whilst getting off she'd insist on finding a washroom to clean off the germs!

    She's a bit better now but is still a little like that.
  • apparrently, we all suffer from it to a certain degree. Mine manifests itself with checking and rechecking the passports and tickets on the way to the airport. That, they say is a mild form of OCD.
  • Hi OB. Interesting! I do a funny thing when I'm out running. If I don't salute every lone magpie I see or remember the car registration of a particular passing car for a certain distance I tell myself that I'm going to have a bad run!

    So I chant, quietly of course, the same reg number for c.2 miles! LOL!
  • I also have a habit of trying to come to different totals using the numbers on a reg plate whilst running ;-) Hope that makes sense!
  • OB - am the same about passports etc. And a friend also checks and rechecks that she has unplugged everything before she goes out - that was one of the milder symptoms that the psychologist at the OU summer camp suffered from.

    I think that as you say we all suffer from it and it just takes some really stressful situation, eg Wolfy's daughter and her GCSEs, to really let it get out of control.

    I've seen programmes on tv before where a young lady had to follow a certain ritual before she left the house - touched this thing three times, that thing twice etc etc etc. If she did something wrong, no matter how far into the ritual she was, she had to start again.

    Must be very distressing at times.
  • Wolfy - the lone magpie thing is common! We have to say 'good morning mr magpie' three times or its unlucky.
  • I'm glad i'm not alone on the magpie thing Roobarb!!!

    I was also surprised how the chap in the prog last night seemed to be OK for a very short time then change back to being seriously stressed again. When he went up the tower, I have some sympathy here as I went up the CN tower a couple of years ago and didn't walk across the glass floor like he did up the Blackpool tower, but he seemed to sort himself out when he got to the top of it.

    Then when he returned home he was poorly again. Very strange.
  • Did make me wonder about a couple of things that I do. Only little things like turning the iron off, going out of the door, then just as I'm about to pull it to, I check to see if the iron is on! Every bloody morning!
  • serves you right for ironing
  • Not a "recently recognised" problem peeps. I trained as a Psychiatric Nurse in the early 80's and it was a long recognised disorder at that time. What's been recognised only recently is the specious "infotainment" value of parading such people on TV in tasteless "experiments" like the recent "House of Obsessive Compulsives".

    Psychiatry has come full circle, and we're now back at the stage of paying to watch the funny lunatics as the gentry used to do in 19th Century Bedlam.
  • Hmmm

    Been lurking

    Didn't see prog but what you describe is something I often see with Mrs - most recently when we were in London.

    She effectively says she has a "Mind" and a "Brain". The Mind is the bit that does the thinking - the Brain is the bit that controls her body. The problem with the Mind is it gets over stimulated (ie she gets fixated with something) so the Brain can't operate properly. In extremis The "Brain" can overide the "Mind" and shut it down - whilst retaining motor skills. When the danger is past the Mind just starts rabbiting away again, and thats when Sensory Overload kicks in.

    I suspect this guy was experiencing the same sort of thing. The bit of his Brain that effectively controlled his motor centre could overide the obsessive fixation whilst it felt there was a threat to his well being (ie being on top of a tall building). But as soon as he was "safe" the obsessive bit of his "Mind" started jabbering away again. So he got poorly again.
  • we have a guy who lives in the Mess with us who will:

    1. Not come into the dinning room if somebody is sitting in 'his' chair. He will not come back later and will miss that meal
    2. Walks round the dinning room twice before sitting.
    3. Only drinks out of a certain glass.
    4. Sit in his car until a particular space ('his' space) comes available. He will not get out of his car and will wait until someone passes then asks them to find out who is parked in 'his' space and ask them to move.

    These are only a few of the things he does and he calls them "Musts". He has had a few disciplinarily charges for being late etc but will not seek any help. He was telling us that it is getting worse but just laughs at himself for being daft.
  • You've made me feel a bit uncomfortable there BB as I watched 'the house' prgramme. I suppose the difference is, the people are volunteers, (after their 15 mins of fame) knowing exactly what they're getting into, whereas those in Bedlam hadn't signed up to be gawped at.
  • Oh yes - and repetitive riualistic behaviour is just one of the many "Optional" extras that Autism comes with.

    Prefer the big foglamps meself - but there you go.....
  • Yep, everyone has it to a certain degree.

    I always check the sink plugs are out and the taps are off.

    There was a guy who had it, and was worried he'd confess to a murder he hadn't committed, so he held water in his mouth so he couldn't speak. The water kept turning rotten and his teeth fell out in the end.
  • Small has it :0((
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