CEO and Founder, Zimbabwe OCD Trust
Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Angelica (Angie) Mkorongo wants you to know that it’s never too late to live a healthy life. Although she has struggled, Angie has found a lot of healing through sharing her story and helping others. That is why she founded the Zimbabwe OCD Trust – to offer support to others in her country struggling with mental health conditions. Now she even speaks on a global stage, including in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Angie’s Story

Briefly, how has your condition impacted your life? When were you first aware of it? What was your most difficult time?

When I was 17, I started having frightening, embarrassing and intrusive thoughts which were very much against what I believe in. The intrusive thoughts and obsessions made me very antisocial. I had no desire to go out or speak in public. Going to church was quite stressful because this triggered unpleasant obsessions. I was rescued, though, by putting my efforts into the church choir. This was my only way of praying. My most difficult time was after the birth of my daughter. I had post-partum depression and the thoughts of harming my daughter made me quite suicidal and I almost became addicted to alcohol.

What is your life like now? What does success/living well look like for you?

Success is waking up every day with a purpose and doing what I love. It’s the freedom to choose to be happy by making other people happy. That feeling when I see someone relieved because I have told them that they are not losing their mind, they just need to seek help. That sigh of relief or tears of joy, to me that’s a day well spent. That’s success.

What help or specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?

The desire to help others, was my drive. When I discovered there was no support group in the country, I decided to form one. It started as an online only support group. The more I communicated with others with OCD, the easier my story became and the less I felt burdened by what I had gone through over the years.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

I am a well-known mental health advocate in my country, and I raise awareness and give support to people with psychosocial disabilities, and this keeps me busy. I exercise, I love gardening, I pray, I meditate, and I am on medication. I go for therapy once in every 6 months and I have a good support system of family and friends.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition? If so, what?

For years I didn’t understand why I was on this planet at all. I now have a purpose that I feel very strongly about. Having a mental health condition and acknowledging and talking about it has really freed me. No more pretenses, no more fake smiles. No more feeling guilty about taking time for myself.

How has your condition impacted your work and your career?

I found a new career because of my mental health condition. I love what I do, unlike before when my work would actually drive me to experience severe mental health symptoms, including suicidality.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

Be open about your condition if you can. Acknowledging that one has a condition is the best medicine. Helping others with similar conditions can actually be therapeutic. Recovery is possible.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network? What do you hope to get from it?

I want to learn more on how to effectively tell my story and to encourage more people to know that it’s okay to have a mental health condition and one can live a normal life if proper methods of recovery are used.

Are there resources (books, videos, websites) that helped and/or inspired you that you would recommend to others?

QualityRights by WHO, Global Mental Health Peer Network

Guidelines to Peer Support by CBM (my name appears in that one)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Sound Minds