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David Beckham Reveals Impact of OCD In New Documentary

An overenthusiastic approach to cleanliness is not always indicative of poor mental health. But for former England captain David Beckham, the urge to complete certain cleaning rituals while the rest of his family sleeps has proved difficult to overcome.

In an as-yet-untitled Netflix documentary, due for release later this year, Beckham describes his compulsion to tidy the home he shares with his wife and children: ‘The fact that when everyone’s in bed I then go around, clean the candles, turn the lights on to the right setting, make sure everywhere is tidy... I hate coming down in the morning and there’s cups and plates and, you know, bowls.

‘I clip the candle wax, I clean the glass, that’s my pet hate, the smoke around the inside of a candle… I know, it’s weird.’

Beckham previously discussed his experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in an interview with ITV in 2006. ‘I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs,’ he said.

‘I'll go into a hotel room. Before I can relax I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them in a drawer. Everything has to be perfect.’

Beckham has described these compulsions has ‘tiring’, but says: ‘It’s more tiring if it’s not done the right way.’

The forthcoming Netflix series, for which Beckham reportedly signed a £16m deal, will explore his life and career, with never-before-seen home videos and interviews.

Previous research has shown that the majority of British adults struggle to identify the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Cleaning rituals and compulsions relating to tidiness are just one way that OCD can manifest.

According to the mental health charity Mind, ‘obsessions’ can present as intrusive thoughts, images or worries that are a cause of anxiety or mental discomfort.

Compulsions are repetitive actions carried out in order to reduce this anxiety or discomfort. This might involve counting, arranging or touching objects in a specific way, ‘checking’ behaviours, or seeking other ways to reassure yourself that your anxieties are unfounded.


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