HOLDING my baby daughter Erin in my arms, I stroked her soft cheek. Suddenly a horrific image of me stabbing her uncontrollably flashed through my mind.

Just as quickly as Iíd been struck with this awful vision, it was gone, and I was left weeping with fear. I had no idea why it had happened, and it terrified me.

In hindsight, my behaviour first began to change when I was 19 and working at a spa.

I became fixated on wearing spotlessly clean clothes, otherwise I believed they were contaminated.

I changed several times a day and kept my clothes in plastic bags in my drawers.

Every night I checked three times that the doors were locked and the oven was off. I had to do it or I thought something bad would happen, like the house would burn down.

I knew what I was doing wasnít normal, but thought I was suffering from mild anxiety and my behaviour was how I coped with it. I had a good job, friends and a loving family, so it didnít occur to me I might have a serious mental health problem.

My parents Angel and Peter noticed some of the things I did and said they were a bit odd Ė like how I insisted on changing my clothes if someone had been cooking because I didnít want them to smell of food Ė but they didnít really question them.

My habits carried on throughout my 20s when I met and then moved in with my partner Charlie. If I didnít make my checks or change my clothes, Iíd feel overwhelmed. It would be all I could think about until I gave in and did it.

Like me, Charlie thought it was caused by anxiety Ė we both assumed Iíd eventually get over it, so it never crossed my mind to see a doctor.

We started to try for a family in 2015, and I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant that October, but I sadly miscarried.

When I discovered I was pregnant again in July 2016 we were ecstatic, but I also felt nervous. I began to believe if I didnít do certain things it would cause the baby to die, such as not rinsing all the bathroom cleaner from the bath, or not waking up at 5am.

I knew it was totally irrational, but I couldnít ignore the thoughts and felt compelled to act on them.

When Erin was born in April 2017, the first two weeks of her life were perfect and all my anxieties faded away. But then I had that first thought of killing our tiny little girl.

It was like an out-of-body experience in which I could see myself harming her. I put it down to exhaustion so didnít tell anyone, but within days Iíd had another vision, and they kept coming, whether I was in the middle of changing her or pushing the pram in the park.

After a few days I tearfully told Charlie and my parents, who were shocked. In my heart I knew I couldnít hurt Erin, but Iíd begun to doubt myself. I asked them to hide the knives and not leave me alone with her.

They knew I could never harm her, and of course they tried to convince me to speak to my GP, but I refused for fear of having my baby taken away.

To the outside world I was a normal new mum, going to baby groups and soft play, but behind closed doors I was plagued with dark thoughts, living in fear of the next terrifying image striking. I was thankful to be surrounded by people I knew would make sure nothing bad happened.

At my lowest moments I wondered if I even loved Erin. The guilt was crippling, and eventually when she was a year old I confided in my GP, who referred me to a community crisis team. I was diagnosed with OCD, which left me stunned.

I had no idea that intrusive thoughts were a symptom of the condition, and felt relieved to finally understand what was causing my behaviour.

Since then Iíve had regular cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, I take anti-psychotic medication and now I rarely have awful thoughts.

When I do, I tell myself itís not really me thinking them. I know Iíd never hurt Erin, and I finally feel Iím in control of my OCD.

It robbed me of my first year of motherhood, but Iím determined to be the best mum I can be.