Compulsive behaviour cost woman her job and home

Oxford Mail: Jacqui Vincent-Potter is overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder thanks to help from mental health charity Restore, and now works in the organisation’s Banbury shop Jacqui Vincent-Potter is overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder thanks to help from mental health charity Restore, and now works in the organisation’s Banbury shop

MAKING sure you haven’t made a mistake is an admirable quality, but for one woman it turned to obsession.

As Jacqui Vincent-Potter struggled to get to grips with a new job, she took to checking and double-checking her work.

Eventually this behaviour spread to her home life and would go on to cost her a job and her house.

Now, though, she is putting her life back together, with the help of mental health charity Restore.

And she hopes that others who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can find light at the end of the tunnel.

The 55-year-old, of Chipping Norton, said: “I didn’t realise at the time that I was having a breakdown.

“I was worrying about everything. I was making sure, for instance, that I had not left a cigarette in the ashtray, I came home to check it.”

Soon after it was whether she had closed the front door or not.

She added: “It was sheer panic and anxiety. When I was at home I had to make sure everything was right.

“I couldn’t leave anything in the oven for five minutes without checking it.

“It was a total lack of confidence in everything I did. It was the pressure of doing something new. I am not young any more, when you get a bit older it does take a little bit longer to get into things. It took the wind out of my sails.”

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Her OCD affected her work and she said this led to her not being kept on when her three-month probation expired last July.

Unable to make ends meet, she and partner Andrew Murray had to leave their three-bedroom terraced home.

They now live at The Beeches mobile home park, Chipping Norton.

But with support from Restore, Ms Vincent-Potter is looking to the future.

After being referred to the charity by JobCentre staff she began art classes which boosted her confidence and gave her a new support network.

Now she works two days a week in a Restore charity shop in Calthorpe Street, Banbury, and hopes to become a volunteer to lead classes.

Her resurgent confidence also means Ms Vincent-Potter is now working to set up her own crafts business.

She said: “It is such a supportive family atmosphere.

“If you are having an off day, that is fine, you can talk to someone and they will talk you through it.

“It is all a matter of giving you confidence to say ‘I can make something useful and do something useful with my time’.”

Restore Banbury’s recovery and personalisation manager Katrina Horne said: “It has helped her confidence and self-esteem – she is getting on with her life plan and being really active.”

While the county charity does not offer counselling, workshops like cookery and arts have a therapeutic benefit, she said.

For information on Restore visit restore.org.uk or call 0845 2500518.

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