Comedian tells Phoebe Sothworth about a dark day of illness...

on a sofa in Swindon

COMEDIAN Jon Richardson recalls a night when he was living in Swindon when he couldn’t sit on the couch because there were two cushions and he couldn’t sit equally between them.

Speaking during Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, which began on Sunday and runs until October 14, he remembers: “I could feel one was pushing in on one side more than the other.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t sit at all.

“I was standing up in my own flat with all this furious energy coursing through me. You get yourself into a sort of limbo.

“You’re aware what you’re doing is stupid but you’re powerless to do anything about it.”

Lancaster-born Jon has joined the global effort to increase understanding of the condition and challenge the stigmas surrounding it.

Jon made a documentary in 2012 exploring his obsessional behaviour.

The Channel 4 show titled A Little Bit OCD saw him wipe his hands on a toilet seat then rub his head without washing his hands during a de-sensitisation treatment session.

He even revealed to comedian Russell Howard, his former flatmate, that he had slept in the car some nights to avoid his housemates’ messy tendencies.

Watching his Bristol flatmates wash up was ‘like watching someone make love to my wife – but badly’ he told audiences during his stand-up show Funny Magnet.

One of the UK’s best-loved comedians, Jon often pokes fun at his tidy tendencies and frustration with messy flatmates.

The 35-year-old fell under the spell of OCD during his teens and ended up isolating himself in his Swindon flat, where he lived alone for four years.

The debilitating condition, which affects 1.2 per cent of the UK population, is characterised by repetitive rituals and distressing thoughts.

According to leading charity OCD-UK, it is driven by the fear of consequences no matter how unlikely the risk and can make day-to-day life a nightmare.

“OCD is a really serious condition – it’s a proper thing. It’s not just, ‘Oh, you like your pens to be straight,’” Jon told The Mirror newspaper in 2014.

“For me, it would always go in tandem with being unhappy – the unhappier I was, the worse it got.

The former 8 Out of 10 Cats team captain said making the programme was the best piece of therapy he ever had.

He continued to explore his hang-ups in 2014 when he set off with fellow stand-up Matt Forde on a road trip across Britain.

The three-part Channel 4 documentary ‘Jon Richardson Grows Up’ followed the pair as they tried to discover the secret of happiness for men in their early 30s.

They delved into the topics of relationships, money and children during the crash course in life as a modern-day man.

Jon says his comedy has always been an outlet for his thoughts about Obsessie Compulsive Disorder.

His description of ‘putters’ and ‘leavers’ – people who do and don’t know where they’ve left their keys – had Live At The Apollo guests in stitches.

“In relationships you tend to find you get a putter with a leaver,” he said.

“You can never have two putters together because they will kill each other over which way the beans should face in the cupboard.

“And of course you can never have two leavers together because they will die of dysentery.”