My life with OCD

Hi, I have not yet been diagnosed with OCD. However, I have suspected I may have the condition for a 4 years. I personally have a fear of becoming sick or people around me becoming sick, more specifically vomiting. (that was very difficult for me to write) my 'physical' compulsions consist of touching different objects in my daily routine. For example, when I walk my dog I must touch a specific tree branch in the same place with the same fingers.

The daytime isn't too much of a problem. As I am quite young I live with my Mum and my twin sister. As a routine, my sister would go upstairs for a shower, I would then follow and perform what I would say we're the most 'important' actions. For example pushing each one of my draws in with the same amount of pressure and in the same place. This would be very painful. In my night time routine it consisted of 19 'physical' compulsions! Once they were finished I required myself to recite every person, or animal I cared for or could come into contact with. This included all of my school year, my friends, their families and pets and my family members and pets. I would then have to recite everything that I didn't want to happen to them. For example getting hurt. Overall from the time I go upstairs to when I can go to sleep is around 3 hours, which is ridiculous as I have very stressful school days. Around 3 months ago, I realised it was starting to effect my school grades. So, reluctantly, I decided to reach out to my mother. She is a paramedic however so saw things from a very medical prespective. Whereas as to me it is part of who I am. My mother decided it was a good idea to tell my twin sister. My sister and I are very close. When she was told about this problem of mine she acted a lot differently than what I had hoped. She thought I was attention seeking. This was very hurtful for me, as if you are reading this you may know it is not something you can control. As a consequence I stopped talking about it to them. One of my friends had previously noticed me repeatedly touching certain objects and became increasingly worried. So I let her in as well hoping she could offer me some support at school. There problem is many people think OCD is hand washing etc. , however I had experience a very different thing. Many people don't understand. So then I stopped talking to anybody. My obsession is gradually taking over again. This is me reaching our for help in a different form. Any suggestions on what to do?

Thanks

12 Replies

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  • Talk to your mam again when you both have time to sit and talk. Be honest and explain how bad things are and how you are finding it difficult to cope. She's your mam and loves you more than anything. Help her to understand by telling her about the thoughts you have (start with the ones you find easier to explain initially) and what you have to do when the thoughts happen. My daughter is 18 and had battled this horrible condition in secret for a few years as she was embarrassed to tell me as she said she felt stupid for having the thoughts and not being able to stop her handwashing (that's her main way of coping). I found it difficult at first (probably like you mam) and thought it was down to stress of exams and not serious. However when I started to watch my daughter more closely I realised how much I had missed and how much she needed me. We talked more and when I realised I couldn't fix it myself (us mams want to fix everything and we find it hard when we can't and this makes us feel guilty and not very good at being a mam at first). While you're right it is a part of you at the minute I promise you it won't always be this way. Go to the doctors with your mam and he will make sure you get the help to make it easier to deal with things. My daughter is getting help now and by talking to a person who knows how to deal with OCD she is already a different person. She once again goes out with her friends and is much happier and feels in control and is back on track with her school work. She still has bad days but they are getting less. Please talk to your mam again honey as it won't go away until you get help. Good luck and remember how special you are. This isn't your fault and you haven't done anything wrong and it's not you it's OCD xx

  • Hi I would be very grateful if you could please let me know which treatment your daughter found beneficial. My daughter has Asperger's syndrome with OCD & severe hoarding disorder. She has suffered with this condition for more than 10 years. She has been on the highest dose of Clomipramine for years nié but her psychiatrist has never referred her for CBT saying it won't help her. We have given her lots of treatments in the private sector like Counselling, hypnosis, hypnotherapy & homeopathy but nothing has helped her. Please help as she is really struggling & spends all day in bed. The OCD is crippling her & she has no quality of life.

  • Oh I am so very sorry to hear about your daughter. She clearly is having an awful time at the minute but she also has a wonderful supportive mam which will be a huge support to her. The treatment which is working for my daughter is via her psychologist. It initially involved them working together to help her understand the connection between the thoughts and the behaviours and identify the main triggers and prioritise these. From there they have worked together to increase her confidence in her own ability to manage how she responds and what she can do when the thoughts kick in. They also identified the areas where her OCD is more likely to happen which has allowed my daughter to adapt. For example spending time alone in her bedroom at exam times is a trigger so she now does homework and revision downstairs which has definitely helped her. This part of treatment has resulted in my daughter being much more open. She was prone in past to refuse to talk which only made it worse. Once her psychologist had helped her to this stage she then introduced CBT. Starting with the easier triggers. I know everyone is different but I must say the combined 'here and now'/CBT approach has definitely been very succesful for her. While we still have a long way to go in controlling it I have seen a huge difference since she started the treatment in September. I hope this has helped and more importantly that you are able to find a treatment which will work for your daughter. Good luck.

  • Thank you very much for your reply. So far we haven't had any CBT on the NHS & I would be very grateful if you could please let me have the therapist contact details. I can provide you my contact details if you wish. Very many thanks

  • Hi. My daughters psychologist is some one we met through a mutual friend. Although she is a full time psychologist she works in industry and is therefore offering help to my daughter as a favour. Before I was put in touch with this person however I did speak to a councillor through my works private health insurance. They recommended I search the national psychology database. They advised Its a fully vetted website so you are confident that the person is qualified. Not sure of the web address but it's the British Association for Councilling and Psychotherapy and search under CBT for suitable practicioners in your area. I hope this of some help to you. Only sorry I can't help you out with a name. Only other advice I can give having seen a couple of private councillors is to be led by your daughter. It's essential that your daughter feels comfortable and can trust the person. I found it helpful to talk to them about their proposed approach before introducing my daughter to them as some differed to what I wanted. Sorry I can't be of more help. X

  • Thank you very much for the advice. I will have a look for a therapist on the website and give it a go.

  • That is difficult problem - she should be offered CBT on the NHS, I should have thought. Is clomipramine the right medication? I took it for many years on a high dose before I was changed to sertraline about ten years ago. Clomipramine does have a habit of making you drowsy, so this as well as the OCD could be behind your daughter's staying in bed. Leave out the homeopathy - it has no effect beyond placebo - and try to get another opinion from an NHS psychiatrist.

  • Her psychiatrist is saying she will not benefit from CBT as her case is quite complex. Also, she was on Sertraline prior to switching to Clomipramine but we have not seen any improvement in her OCD. She will stop her homeopathy treatment in June as the homeopath is retiring. You are right we will need a second opinion as she has been ill for more than 10 years now with no quality of life. Thanks a lot for your advice

  • I know about the daily rituals - I had a complicated counting ritual when I was about eleven - I managed to trim it down gradually until it went away. But these things don't always go away so easily. I do think a trip to the GP is necessary, and get a referral for CBT and perhaps medication. A proper diagnosis will confirm to others that you are suffering and not merely demanding attention. It is hard when people refuse to understand - but many more people are sympathetic! Just to have it out in the open and know people at least try to understand it is a big relief. It can be such a secretive condition - I have so often tried to cover up my behaviour! It could also help if you could talk to a sympathetic teacher, so the school understand the pressure you are under.

  • Do you know what CBT involves?

  • It involves confronting your obsessions and compulsions and trying to act against them. For example, not touching something, or not washing your hands. It also involves challenging the sort of thoughts that lead you to carry out compulsions. It isn't always easy but it does help - for me a therapist that doesn't try to force you too hard is more effective - encouraging rather than pushing! Do give it a try - perhaps start with a self-help book. There are some good ones - Overcoming OCD in the Overcoming series is very helpful - explains CBT and how it works, and gives you case studies and exercises.

  • Hey Lily I would suggest talking to your mum about it again, but maybe ask her to keep any information disclosed between yourself. If your worry is increasing, maybe the next step would to visit the GP, giving you a chance to explain what is going on and why you are wanting to seek help.

    Don't worry not everyone understands that OCD is something you cannot control, but don't be afraid of opening up to people and discussing matters like this.

    Hope this helps. Xxxx

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