The writer James Agate suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The writer James Agate suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). "At the age of 18 Agate had already been seized with irrational fits of panic, as when, taking his three-year-old sister for walks on the pier, he was terrified lest he should snatch her up and throw her into the sea. Having changed once for a tennis match he went back to tidy up his clothes on the bed. 'If you do that, you will do it all your life,' he remembers telling himself. He went back, and he did it all his life. The thought of sleep-walking oppressed him, and he never slept high up in a building or without a piece of furniture against an open window. Neither did he care to have razor or matches in the bedroom. He forced himself to keep awake in railway carriages, and was scared of travelling in an empty one. Railings and lamp-posts had to be regularly touched, and cracks in pavements to be sedulously avoided. The gas was turned off four, eight, sixteen or thirty-two times, always in multiples of four. In company, when fully dressed, he observed a ritual that compelled him to touch, in repeated sequence, his left breast, his right, his middle, his sides, as if looking for something that wasn't there, or as if to find continual reassurance that all was well."