Television presenter David Bass speaks to ADAM THOMPSON and opens up about his battle with OCD in a bid to quash the myths that surround the disorder.
When David Bass, from Ampthill, sat beside me he was preparing himself for arguably one of the most important interviews of his 25 years.
David, a host on ITV’s ‘At The Movies’ and part of the cult Channel 4 show ‘Rude Tube’ has a CV that includes interviews with Hollywood A-listers Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts and James Cameron - to name a few.
But our discussion was far from the glitz and glamour of the silver screen as he opened up for the first time about his battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) something that led David to attempt to take his own life six months ago.
He tells me: “People think that OCD is simply about washing your hands a lot or turning a light switch on and off but I can assure you it’s much more than that.” The Ampthillian’s compulsion is a fear of going to prison.
And it has such a hold over him that he has confessed to the police about crimes he hasn’t committed and admits to repeatedly driving his route home through fear that he may have caused an accident.
He said: “I have played out in my mind what I’d say to the judge and even thought I haven’t done anything wrong at all.
“They call OCD ‘the doubting disease’ - people get a compulsion where they’re scared of harming their children.
“It’s not that they believe they’re going to do it, it is a fear that others may think they will.
“This has affected me. I have been out with friends at a pub and simply glanced at a girl. I have then thought ‘what if she thinks I may rape her?’ “Sometimes I have pulled up in the drive of my house and thought ‘did I hit someone with my car?’ then driven the same route three or four times to make sure I haven’t.” Next Wednesday is World Mental Health Day and it’s estimated that two per cent of the UK’s populations has OCD and can develop from early childhood to adulthood.
It was during his teens that David suffered dramatic weight loss after he saw a classmate vomit in his school’s corridor.
He said: “After that I became scared of being sick.
“To prevent this I just stopped eating because I felt every time I went to eat I was scared of throwing up.” Eventually David overcame this compulsion but his fear of going to prison remains. He says he is not aware where it stemmed from but admits that seeing his friend in a court room played its part in the compulsion.
“I’d see a crime on television or read it in the paper and think I had done it - that I had committed the crime.
“I would contact the police to admit to it even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“They were fine when I calmed down and told them I hadn’t actually committed the crime but I wasn’t fine about it.” The turning point for David was when he drove to his parent’s house earlier this year, as he describes it, ‘in hysterics’ and was laying on their floor crying.
He said: “They admitted me to hospital and they knew I needed help.
“I was waking up 4-5am everyday for about two weeks and going to their house telling them I couldn’t go on anymore.
“I was spending hours on end in bed because it was my only safe place and I was constantly asking people for reassurance when it wasn’t needed.
David says he is feeling better and part of this journey is opening people’s eyes to the effect OCD has had on him.
He added: “I wanted to tell people of my ordeal and to crush the stereotype of OCD.
“It’s not a quirk that people have and I don’t think it’s taken seriously enough.”
FAMOUS PEOPLE BELIEVED TO HAVE OCD:
Leonardo Di Caprio