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Movies to Move On

It’s easy to forget the fears and anxieties we all felt during the pandemic but for Nathan, who was a 6th form student when the pandemic hit, those feelings are always at the back of his mind.

Nathan suffers from autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and during the pandemic his disorder went into overdrive.

“Fear permeated every fibre of my being,” he tells Mick Old in the ninth episode of his podcast series for our Covid 19 Reflections project.

Nathan became obsessed with things like his family not washing their hands frequently enough.

“I knew it was becoming a burden to them, it’s not like I was ignorant to it, but it was hell on earth in my head,” he says.

Nathan is a huge film buff and with extended periods at home this should have offered him some respite. But intrusive thoughts made watching them extremely difficult.

"I’d get angry at myself. I’d shout at myself. I’d hit myself. I harmed myself on many occasions"

“They will make you believe really horrible things about yourself that aren’t necessarily true. They might make you believe you’re a psychopath, that you have weird, violent tendencies… You start to become unsure and paranoid about everything and believe things about yourself that aren’t true,” he explains.

When an intrusive thought would occur while watching a film, Nathan would rewind it to before it happened.

“I didn’t want that thought associated with that moment in the film. I wanted it to be a clean moment,” he explains. “But then it would keep happening so it might take me five hours to watch a 90-minute film.

“I’d get angry at myself. I’d shout at myself. I’d hit myself. I harmed myself on many occasions by punching myself in the face because I was so angry at myself and it was a form of punishment.”

This extremely difficult and challenging time for Nathan and his family is one they have thankfully come through.

“I’m glad to say that I’m not as bad as I used to be. I had therapy which really helped. I started a medication that really helped. And over time I started to trust myself again.”

Now Nathan is channelling his energy into filmmaking. Finding that creative outlet has been hugely beneficial to helping him deal with his disorder.

“There’s so many ways of releasing yourself from inner torment and I took a lot of things for granted during Covid. Being a teenager you expect the world but then you have to realise sometimes that you have to look inward. Covid became a time of introspection for me and I realised what issues I had and how to deal with them. I found out the worst parts of myself but also how to deal with that.”

As well as Nathan, in episode nine of our Covid 19 Reflections series, we hear from Ross Cooper, a young dad who set up a social media account to highlight creativity and culture in Ellesmere Port during lockdown.

Listen to both their stories here.

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