Hayley Leitch was just four years old when she had a compulsion to jump over her father’s fishpond. Small for her age and unable to swim, Hayley almost drowned but she couldn’t stop. One compulsion followed another until soon Hayley was performing exhausting rituals and was plagued with intrusive thoughts every day. As she grew into a beautiful young woman, Hayley became so obsessed with germs that she couldn’t get clean enough. In sheer desperation she washed her hands with neat bleach until her skin peeled and cracked, and scrubbed her house from dusk until dawn when exhaustion finally set in. Her fear of contamination became so bad it prevented Hayley from holding each of her three children at birth.
Hayley’s story is heart-rending but it’s one she tells with brutal honesty because only by talking so openly can she ever hope to deal with it.
With her husband’s support, Hayley found professional help and, slowly, she learned how to manage her cleaning compulsions and intrusive thoughts and, by speaking so frankly, this remarkable young woman has brought the taboo subject of OCD into the public arena.
It is Hayley’s wish that her story will give hope to other sufferers and allow them to find their own path to a much happier and more peaceful way of life.