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Tuppence Middleton bravely opens up about her struggle with OCD ahead of International Women's Day

The acting sensation currently stars in ITV drama Our House

British actress Tuppence Middleton bravely opened up about her battle with OCD and anxiety on Monday in a moving conversation ahead of International Women's Day.

READ: Meet the cast of ITV's gripping new thriller Our House

Chatting to Fearne Cotton on her award-winning podcast Happy Place, Tuppence went into detail about her struggles and revealed she also suffers with emetophobia - a fear of being sick, and how that connects to her OCD and anxiety.

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Recalling when her symptoms started, she said: "I must've been 11 or 12 when I first started to show signs of it. My parents hadn't really heard of it and we had to go to lots of different specialists to talk about it because it wasn't something people knew much about or certainly didn't talk about publicly.

MORE:  Fearne Cotton inundated with support as she marks incredible achievement

READ: See the cast of Downton Abbey at the start of their careers

"When I was a teenager, it was much more counting numbers - more mental counting. Then as I got into my late teens and early twenties it became much more about anxiety and panic attacks and as I've gotten older it's been more routine based.

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Tuppence Middelton looking breathtaking at the world premiere of Downton Abbey 

"All of these things have always been there in slightly different forms, and they've always seemed to come from an overriding thought which is emetophobia which is a fear of vomiting, which is a really specific fear."

Making light of the revelation, Tuppence joked that she is delighted to meet anyone else who suffers with the same condition as it makes her "feel like a total odd-ball".

She also confessed how it impacts her day-to-day life: "Every time I go on a plane I think about it, I scan the crowd of people and everyone once they're on the plane to look for signs of possible illness, are they going to develop some kind of hideous norovirus in the air and I'm gonna catch it, it's that hideous repetitive thought."

Regarding her OCD battle, the Our House star explained she is most affected when she's not working. She said: "My routines which can vary from mental counting to checking behaviours, you know checking lights, checking cookers, checking taps, all of those things, they tend to get much worse when I'm in the house a lot."

A chic snap from Tuppence Middleton's monochrome-themed Instagram

The Downton Abbey actress also shared a tactic she uses to help combat her worries: "I started to take pictures, so if I was on the tube or the bus or walking and I'm half an hour away from my house and I suddenly think, oh I left the tap on, or the hob on, then I can look at my phone I have physical evidence. Some people may say I'm slightly enabling my compulsions but whatever works."

Tuppence, 35, continued: "I always remember someone saying that you're almost always the best one in a crisis because you're always planning for the worst-case scenario so when it happens you're able to deal with it quite calmly actually which I've found to be quite true.

"It's one of those conditions that you sort of learn to live with, you can I'm sure, cure yourselves of them, I don't think that's been the case with me, but you do have to find the positives in it.

"Something I've found very useful about OCD is that it does, at times, force me to really focus my energy. It's about trying to enjoy those moments when it’s not as overwhelming as it has been."

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