This year, the Nepean Disability Expo is excited to partner with Yasmin Arkinstall as our Expo Ambassador. Yasmin is a talented opera singer and an advocate for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), calling for greater understanding of OCD after sharing her own battle.
Diagnosed at 21, Yasmin knows first-hand the impacts of OCD, describing it as debilitating with intrusive thoughts causing distress, shame and guilt. It led Yasmin to over practice and damage her vocal cords and forced her to defer a degree at the Conservatorium of Music.
“I’ve experienced repetitive, intruding thoughts and every time, you feel this intense urge to do a compulsion or a ritual. Every sufferer is different, making the rituals different depending on what the person’s fear is. They can be both physical and mental,” Yasmin said.
Around 3% of Australians will experience OCD in their lifetime, according to Beyond Blue Australia. However, there are many harmful misconceptions and stereotypes around the condition.
“A lot of people tend to disregard the debilitating nature of it,” Yasmin said. “They associate OCD with cleaning and quirkiness, which is just not true. I’m sure that there are many other disabilities getting the same treatment, doing a disservice to the disability community.”
Now 27, Ms Arkinstall, has since graduated with a Bachelor of Music and performed as an opera singer alongside British comedian Bill Bailey as the support act for his ‘En Route to Normal’ tour at the State Theatre.
In 2020, Yasmin and acclaimed composer Dr Eve Klein were awarded an Arts ‘Projects For Individuals and Groups’ grant by the Australia Council For the Arts to create a new operatic, autobiographical work about Yasmin’s life entitled “OCDiva”. This work was also offered a grant in 2021 by Blacktown Arts, the Blacktown Council’s contemporary arts organisation.
Now Yasmin is throwing her support behind the Nepean Disability Expo as ambassador, and she hopes to raise more awareness about OCD.
“I don’t want to have lived with a disability without having contributed to a cause. I think that is part of my mission in life. I want other people to know that they’re not alone and that we all have our struggles.”
Nepean Disability Expo
The FREE, Covid-safe My Future, My Choice Nepean Disability Expo on Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April 2023, features 100+ service and product providers from a variety of categories, including:
- Government and advocacy organisation
- Aids and equipment providers
- Financial and legal services
- Education, training, and employment providers
- Social and leisure options
- Transport and vehicles
- Health and medical products and services
- Allied health professionals
- Support services including in home care providers
Presenters will answer your burning questions as you get to network and discuss the details of products and services. Enjoy the breakout areas and live, all-ability performances while sipping from your cuppa purchased at the expo café.