OCD-UK
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Worried So Scared Can You Help

I have been doing rituals all day to the point of feeling sick and physically worn out no energy. It started as I was having some work done and could't complete my normal ritual routine, now all I can think of is that it will bring something bad to happen and I will always relate the work to that. Please anyone have you ever felt like this when you haven't been able to do rituals proper please please help and hope to receive a reply I feel so low and tired

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I know just how you feel. Any disruption to your usual routine can cause a lot of stress, and the feelings can taint things you like and value, like whatever work you are having.

It's one of the many horrible things about OCD that your negative feelings get transferred to other things that are usually completely unrelated.

Try not to obsess or ruminate. It just makes the feelings all the stronger. The more you can put it out of your mind, not by trying to push it out, but by just ignoring it, the less the feelings will assault you and the less they will attach themselves to other things, like whatever work you are having done.

I've often felt that I can't do anything else until I've done my rituals in the right order. It can help to mix up your rituals a little, chip away at the ones that have the least hold over you, and do them in a different order. It isn't always as easy as that, but it can help.

I learnt a technique while I was having therapy where you think of the negative panicky feelings as like a wave that gathers strength but eventually breaks and disperses, or like clouds overhead that eventually move on and disperse. Or any other helpful simile you can think of. Don't overthink or ruminate about it. The more you can let it go, the less likely it will stick in your mind.

Try to get a referral for CBT. Meanwhile get some self help books and put together an exercise plan of little things you can do to break down the rituals and repetitions. I've found Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder helpful, and you can download some parts of it from the internet.

It can get better, and you won't always feel as bad as you do now. It's not easy concentrating on other things while you feel this way, but if you can do a few chores and keep yourself occupied as much as you can, it can help drive out the obsessive thoughts.

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Really good to have this helpful advice it feels so real doesn't it. I would welcome some of these worksheets where do I download from. I was very interested in the idea of mixing up rituals did you have a plan and how does it work. Would it mean doing the rituals the same or not doing them at all could you explain as I have so many.

You sound very good in what you are saying and with CBT don't you have to completing stop everything as I would find that overwhelming.

Such a bad illness and for all of you that suffer my best wishes and support this forum is wonderful and you are all such lovely persons.

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Here are a few links. The PDFs can be downloaded. By the way, the Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder book is available on prescription!

Here is the download: readingagency.org.uk/adults...

veale.co.uk/resources-suppo...

selfhelpguides.ntw.nhs.uk/p...

I hope they are of help!

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These are good. I find your help very good you seem to have so much knowledge. As I write this legs and hands are very shaky as the OCD is causing me such problems. I keep cancelling things and now finding so hard to get out of the house. need to find a way forward and through trying hard to reduce rituals but I find that I cannot remember if I did things properly is this part of the illness as when this happens I want to redo everything and would like a tip on how to cope with this. Hoping this finds you well and strong.

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If I have quite a lot of knowledge, it is the result of years of having OCD! I often have problems getting out of the house, and have to force myself. I often make plans to go out and then don't feel I can manage to carry them out.

As no doubt you have discovered, OCD is the doubting disease, and sufferers often torture themselves with rumination about whether they actually did or didn't do something. Did I carry out that ritual correctly? Should I go back and redo it just to be sure?

Try not to go over things and ruminate whether you did or didn't carry out a ritual correctly. If at all possible, leave it and decide to think about afterwards. It can help to tell yourself that you will think about it at say, 4.30 or whatever. Then 4.30 comes and goes and you've forgotten all about it.

There are sample worksheets in the Overcoming Obsessive Disorder book. Other books have them as well. But it might be worth asking your doctor about getting it on prescription, or else get a low price copy from the internet.

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Ah this sounds familiar that is a problem I have its whether I have said the right word and done the ritual good, I am often confused and panic or sit down and then start to question myself as I go through things in my mind to check what I did or didn't do.

I have the same now with reading if I don't read it correct then I have to do the whole page again if I miss a word and read it wrong I never used to worry but now it is so scary.

I have read about doing rituals in a slightly different order how does this work and what would you say would be a good way to start. I hope I am not asking too many questions please say if I am you are so very kind to reply.

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Not at all! I'm happy to share my own experiences to help others.

It helps if you make a list of a few of your rituals in the order you do them. Then put them in a different order, and try doing them that way. It can be just about anything you do that involves a ritual. Making a cup of tea or whatever!

I have the reading thing too! And I read a lot! I can read the same paragraph over and over if it doesn't feel right. But I have it under control, and don't let it apply to everything I read,, really, such as leaflets or information sheets, only with books, and I am so used to it it doesn't stop me reading as much as I like.

Try to get on with things as much as you can and postpone going back and doing it again, or ruminating about it, until you have forgotten about it. It doesn't matter if you can't always manage this as long as you give it a go. Don't blame yourself if you can't do it. It's about breaking down the rituals where you can, chipping away at them.

Try putting your rituals down on paper and giving them a mark out of ten as to how difficult it would be to go against them. Then try to resist doing the ones that cause you the least distress to go against.

For example, if you feel the urge to go back and forth through a doorway, try not to, go and sit down, and if you can, give your attention to something else. Don't overthink, and though the panic might build it will eventually subside. If after coming down the stairs you feel the need to go back up, again, do something else, like wash the dishes, or whatever, and say you'll think about leaving it for a few hours before going back upstairs. After a few hours you may have forgotten all about it! But if you haven't, don't worry about it. Try again.

This is the sort of thing you would do in CBT. Not always easy to do, but it is effective and can get you your life back at least so you can function.

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Sounds good, the stairs thing is also connected with my other two rooms as a complete ritual so if I don't manage all the rooms and stairs make a mistake or thought or doubt whether I done it I have to go through the whole routine again the stairs and rooms etc, this is why I find it so exhausting not sure how to mix these up etc.

How did you feel when mixing up routine was it easier than totally stopping the ritual. Does it help to gradually ease off a ritual. And what about reading have you managed to ignore it if you make a mistake if so how do you apply this.

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That's one of the problems with rituals. They can expand so what starts as feeling you need to go in and out of one door goes on to include another door and stairs as well! I've often felt that I need to go completely back to where I started from to undo what I've done.

One thing you could try. It isn't that easy, I know, but try only going back as far as you think you've made a mistake or had an intrusive thought. Then retrace your steps and go and sit down. Allow the panic to get worse, don't fight it or ruminate about it, and then watch it subside. If it's too much you can always complete the whole ritual but try again when you're feeling more up to it.

I mentioned about mixing up your routines because often OCD likes to insist you do things in a particular order. Breaking down the routines so you are not stuck in a rigid order can help. As I said it helps if you can chip away at some of the rituals and routines and cut them down.

As for the reading, I still do go back and read a page, or a paragraph or part of a paragraph, and it does often make me quite a slow reader, but that isn't bad in itself because it means I don't skim books but read them properly! If it's difficult for you, then start with allowing yourself to read a leaflet or letter without insisting on reading word for word and then going back to the beginning. And try not re-reading the whole page with a book, just go back part of the way, or to where you made the 'mistake'. It is likely to make you feel a bit panicky but it will subside.

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Going to try quite scary but this is very helpful I am not sure how I will do but I will try. What about you how are you doing I am always asking for help and have not asked about you and how you are doing. Do you have this weather or are you not in the uk be nice to know how you are doing, I find the people that help others don't always look to them selves not a bad thing but most people that are so caring and helpful like you can sometimes do this. You sound very supportive and knowledgeable always helping us on this site. I am sure everyone would have benefited from your support and help.

I have often wanted to join these sites but never thought anyone would answer, I am so pleased people have and it really does make a difference when you feel part of this forum and reading what others have to cope with also learning so much about OCD.

Really appreciated hope everyone is well.

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That is so kind of you to say all those things! I struggle but mostly manage to do things. I can't always get out of the house as much as I would like, and shopping is a problem.

I had OCD for some years before I knew what it was. I thought I must be uniquely weird, and was going to a really awful clinical psychologist who didn't bother to let me know that what I'd got was OCD. I had never even heard of it! He just got me to spill out about my childhood and that sort of thing, and didn't suggest CBT.

Then my mother bought me a book which explained that I wasn't uniquely weird, that it was called OCD and was quite common, and that learning to go against it was an effective treatment!

Now OCD is better known about, though people get it wrong and think that it's about cleaning and being tidy. That's how it is for some people, but OCD takes many forms.

No need to worry if you try and don't succeed. Just try again when you can. It does help to have a CBT therapist who can support you, but you can do CBT on your own, or at least make a start.

I do live in England, and I'm assuming you do too!

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Yes I do be good if it was close wouldn't it support ... I have got out today so a struggle and exhausted so eating comfort food, and sweets I know that isn't good but phsyically feel il with the heat and exhaustion.

I would like to try out mixing the rituals and finding a way to not do the whole ritual. Do you have any vitamins or alternative things that help.

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Hello how are you doing always look forward to hearing from you and it does help have tried to mix up routine now trying hard to get out house such a struggle

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I think most of us comfort eat occasionally, or more than occasionally! I have a rule, which I don't always stick to, of one treat a day, so I don't put on weight.

I'm no expert on alternative remedies but mostly steer clear of most of them. It helps to eat properly anyway, and I top up with Vitamin D as I've had low levels of it when I haven't. If anything promises a miracle cure it's lying. If anyone promises a miracle cure but won't tell you how it works unless you pay, don't pay, because it's a fraud.

Some herbal preparations may help, but be careful that they don't interact with your prescribed medication. Rhodiola rosea can be bought in a health food shop, is safe to use with medication and may help, but it can be expensive to take.

I know how difficult it can be to get out of the house, so try a short trip out to begin with. Perhaps to a local shop, but even just to the corner of your road and back will get you used to being out and give you confidence, as well as just making you feel better for getting out and having achieved something.

I've just managed to get to my local butchers, about five minutes' walk away, and buy some eggs, ham and a few other bits. Quite pleased with myself for not retracing my steps.

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This is brilliant well done walking without retracing is so hard. When you done CBT was there a time limit that was given to help you when you were afraid of things going wrong. I have been comfort eating again and realise this. When you started to mix up your rituals did you then feel able to stop one or did it stay the same.

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One of the things about mixing up the rituals, doing things in a different order, is to increase your flexibility. It's easy to get stuck into a set way of doing things, so you feel they have to be done in a particular way and a particular order, and doing things in a different order breaks up the rigidity of your routine.

Routines can be useful and even 'normal' people have them, as they mean you can get on with tasks without having to give them much thought. But OCD can make you very rigid and set in your ways, and deviating from the routine can cause you to feel panicky. So anything that breaks that up is good.

Make sure you eat properly and get all the nutrients! Plenty of fruit and veg etc. It's nice to take pleasure in your food, but don't overdo the comfort eating if it puts on weight. No need to stick to rules with what you eat, but remember that a plate of food with lots of variety, different colours and flavours, will fill you up more and stop you feeling so hungry. Try to occupy yourself with whatever you can do, as boredom often leads to comfort eating.

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Yes I agree but sometimes I am too tired to cook or bother and turn to snacks which is not good. I do eat fruit though and find that helps. You have mentioned weight several times is this something that I should be worried of due to the OCD and medication.

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It's easy enough to do! I live on my own and don't always feel like making much of an effort just for me, but one thing you can do is make enough casserole or curry or whatever for three or four days, and if you don't want the same thing four days running you can always freeze it in portions and take it out when you want.

I've only mentioned the weight thing because some medications can make you put on weight. This happened to me quite a while ago, and I put on two and a half stone before coming off those particular meds, and just when I got much of the weight off I went into Springfield Hospital for four months, where they fed you on stodge and I put it back on! I'm at a fairly normal weight now but want to lose some more. If it isn't a problem for you, then don't worry about it!

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Same as me but I do eat stodge, I have started to notice the difference just sitting around and eating or snacking mostly boredom or stress about not doing a ritual.

What do you do if you try and do your rituals and it goes wrong and you are not in control to turn back as your not in a car but a bus.

I really had a bad time with this and felt really uncomfortable all day, didn't want to eat the food shopping or use the stuff I bought as I was afraid something bad could happen.

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I eat stodge too! I love stodge! I have to watch myself and make sure I don't eat too much of it.

I know exactly how that feels. I have even felt I didn't retrace my steps properly running for the bus, got on the bus, got into town, and then got the bus to where I started from and got it again so I could retrace my steps! That hasn't happened that often, but it's not pleasant.

I also know how it feels that something is 'tainted' because you haven't done a ritual before buying it. Think of the food this way: once you've eaten it it's gone and you don't have to worry about it anymore. If it's something else, put it away and forget about it, and then perhaps use it when you've forgotten about why you haven't used it before.

I meant to reply to your previous posts about CBT but my internet connection wasn't functioning properly. I tried to post an answer twice but it wouldn't go post at all, so thought I'd better wait until this morning. Anyway, my reply is below!

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I have started having problems with rubbish and worried as the rubbish bin came and as they threw the stuff away I had a disturbing thought that something bad would happen because I had this thought, this is new and it has really made me feel sad and afraid. I struggle with so many different things and it is becoming more and more.

As I am writing this I am having palpitations and nearly in tears. So good to have the support I look forward to it as it is the only communication I really have except for medical communication.

The bus thing yes I done the same I caught another bus and went back to redo things we do such similar things and I totally know what you are saying. Such a problem as it can make you feel really sick with worry.

You have such a good way to explain things and some very good advice the experience.

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It's quite common for OCD to suddenly start up in an area you haven't had trouble with before. And it can go as suddenly!

I have problems with rubbish too, Rubbish problems, you might call them! And they are rubbish. I try to keep on top of the rubbish, but I have a particular way of putting it in the bin, and then washing my hands after. And I have been known to rummage in the bin to retrieve something, because I didn't put it in properly and feel I need to do it again. Having problems with rubbish often goes with OCD.

Try not to let the disturbing thought bother you. Don't actively push it away, just try to ignore it and it will get fed up and leave you. Easier said than done, I know! And OCD doesn't leave you with much strength and energy to just let the thoughts come and go. But it really is only your imagination, and there is no basis in reality.

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What was the medication that caused this.

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If it's the weight gain you are talking about, I was given something called sulpiride to take alongside the sertraline. It's actually an antipsychotic but they can be given in low doses as a sort of boost to the anti-depressant.

The trouble with sulpiride is that it makes you gain weight, and if I hadn't stopped taking i I would be much bigger! As it is I only put on two and a half stone.

I felt reluctant to try any other antipsychotics in case I put on weight again, but I was reassured and agreed to take a different one called aripiprazole, which has helped quite a lot.

Don't accept sulpiride. From everything I've heard, everyone puts on weight with it.

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Hi sorry not relied, really bad again I changed some rituals and felt quite strong about it then later something went wrong and upset me and now I am convinced that it was due to changing my rituals, I have sat in fear and crying looking back and saying to myself If I hadn't have changed ritual this thing wouldn't have happened. Its such a big thing to try and change things. I have also mixed up a few bits and now feel so scared that this has been my fault as I use my rituals to keep persons safe and protect or prevent bad things.

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I know, I know, it really sucks. Of course there is no question of your doing your rituals differently causing anything to go wrong. It simply can't happen.

The problem is that there is the rational, thinking part of the brain that knows it is not true, and the part of the brain that records your feelings and assumes that because things happen together they may be connected.

There is a good reason for that. It's one of the ways we learn. Take something out of the oven without using an oven glove, and you won't do that again! But it can make us over-cautious, like being afraid of all dogs because one bit you. Not all dogs are like that. And it can fool you into thinking that just because you did something and something bad happened, that they are connected.

Don't ruminate about it. I know just what it can be like, as it has stopped me from doing all kinds of things. Can't do that on a Monday, or can't go down that street, etc, and then I manage to do it and nothing goes wrong! It's only if something goes wrong that you start to doubt yourself.

It does feel like a big thing to make alterations to how you do things, when fear does all it can to stop you. Getting over OCD does often have setbacks, but remember that it has successes too. And they are what keep you fighting.

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How can we be sure that changing or altering rituals is not to blame, I am very scared to try again, I felt quite good until this and now I am really scared. you are so good and the advice very good.

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The trouble is that OCD demands certainty, and we can't supply it. But I know and you know that making alterations to your rituals is not to blame. It really isn't. It just feels like it because your brain has made a connection with altering your rituals and whatever happened.

It's not easy to undo, but that doesn't mean you're stuck with it. Try a different alteration, and follow it up by persisting with it, once nothing untoward has happened.

This is something that has happened to me, but it is possible to undo the connection in your head.

Our brains do make connections like this, but it doesn't always mean something. How often has something nice happened, and you repeat an action that you did just before in case it makes something nice happen again? It can work both ways!

Don't let it put you off trying. It takes guts to break down rituals, and you won't always get it right or feel comfortable. But OCD is a false friend. It demands more and more from you, while not giving anything back.

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Hello I have tried so hard to do things and still it is a struggle. How do you undo the connection and have a diffrent view on things that you have a bad experience it could be a word or ritual how can we change things to have a good feeling.

How does the brain change.

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The brain is constantly making new connections, new memories, learning! How to undo the connection you want rid of: make new connections by allowing the brain to learn that nothing bad results from not doing your rituals. And for someone with OCD, that is difficult! But it is the basis for CBT.

Basically, the brain has learned to associate doing a ritual with preventing harm. By not doing the ritual, and no harm occurring as a result, the brain learns to break the connection. But it means taking a jump into the unknown.

There are books on how the brain works, and you may be interested in these, but you don't have to know all the science behind it.

Think of how you train a dog. Bad behaviour, like peeing on the carpet or taking food off the table, can be punished, and the dog learns to associate bad behaviour with punishment. But cruelty to a dog doesn't get the best results, it just makes the dog miserable and fearful. The best way to train a dog is by rewarding it for good behaviour. A biscuit or a cuddle when it does something right. Then it associates the good behaviour with treats.

In training a dog you are deliberately making a connection with good behaviour and treats. To overcome OCD you have to train your brain to associate not doing a ritual with nothing bad happening, and that means not doing the ritual to test it.

One bad experience of something going wrong when you didn't do a ritual isn't pleasant, and can certainly be off putting. But try it perhaps with another ritual until you no longer do that ritual.

The freedom you feel when you ditch a ritual is marvellous. I'm not saying it's easy for a moment, and I haven't got it right, but it does work.

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How do I try this with another ritual what is the best suggestion. How is the tooth and antibiotics doing.

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Pick a ritual which doesn't give you too much hassle. It's good to start with the easiest. It helps to write it down, in fact, best to make a list of several, and rate them out of ten according to how much trouble they give you. So a ten is really stressful to go against, a five is stressful but manageable, etc. Then go against what the OCD is telling you to do, with one that is fairly manageable, and after you have done it rate it out of ten how stressed it made you feel. Then rate it again after an hour or so. In most cases, your stress levels should have gone down.

Feeling quite a lot better with the tooth! Off the antibiotics for now, have eaten a lot of ice cream!

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This is good to know and the ice cream sounds lovely. I have tried to do a very short walk today and always find it difficult on the return same area always. I feel so upset with this as I have been trying to do this same little walk. No improvement I almost run back home to stop doing the rituals retracing.

So with the ritual that you have written about is the aim to stop it afterwards. Really struggling I want to feel better but it all goes wrong after a while and I am back doing the same things feel quite a failure.

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It isn't easy and it does help if you have a supportive therapist with you. This particular exercise means that however bad you feel going, you are going to come back, effectively retracing. But the trick is not to retrace coming back.

I spent four months in hospital having intensive therapy and some of the things I had to do were going up the long corridor from my room to the kitchen without retracing, making a cup of tea, and coming back again without retracing. I have also used the short walk outside myself.

It is bound to go wrong occasionally, often even. That's because exposure therapy is not easy to carry out. Don't feel a failure if you don't get it right. Simply that you are trying is a success and an improvement on not doing anything. I have had plenty of my own 'failures' but the important thing is to remember that you can try again, and try something else. It's not a competition. It all contributes to undoing the OCD.

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When you suggest mixing up rituals how would you suggest this as I do so many

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Make a list of the rituals in the order you do them. So perhaps think of the things you do in the morning and the order you do them in. Things such as getting a cup of tea, washing your face, cleaning your teeth, getting something to eat, etc. And of course going downstairs!

Then mix up the order in which you do them. So if the first thing you do is wash your face, then clean your teeth, then get a cup of tea, then consider getting the tea first, then cleaning your teeth and so on.

It breaks up the routine that OCD tries to make us follow. It is all a way of saying to the OCD that you want to do things your way, not OCD's way.

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I like this idea as it means I do them but differently as rituals are will this still work the same against bad stuff. I was wondering about a check list and then tick each one when done.

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Sorry for not replying earlier as I've been out at a Labour Party social. A check list is good, and ticking them off when done is good. Anything that breaks down the rituals and the set routine that you get into is good!

Having OCD feels like being in a straitjacket. It holds you in one position and restricts your movement. It stops you doing normal things. Anything that you can do to vary the rituals, break them down, reduce the amount you do them, is like loosening the straitjacket and allowing you to move naturally again!

There are lots of ways of doing it, and as each OCD case is different, so you need a programme of action to fight OCD that suits you.

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you said once about only going back to a certain place and not doing the whole thing how did that make you feel.

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Scared! And i mostly wanted just to retrace and redo! But if I give it a while before I do so, and sit down and give it a bit of a rest, or do something else, then the feeling subsides and eventually I forgot about feeling I needed to go back.

It does work, but there are likely to be occasions when you can't resist feeling the need to go back, and do it. But others when you manage not to.

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Hello,

Can I ask how or if you have experience with medications as I have tried a few and not good. I am feeling so tired and sleepy and finding difficulty trying to do anything except sitting all day. I am on seroxt and pregabalin do these cause such tiredness can't tolerate this any advice.

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No, there is no need to stop all your OCD rituals and compulsions in one go with CBT. Some therapists push more than others, but I have found a gentle approach to work best for me. It's about chipping away at the compulsions, starting with the least bothersome, and working your way up. It helps to write down a hierarchy of obsessions and compulsions and rate them out of ten according to how much trouble they give you. And then tackling the easier ones. I can post some links to some useful websites or PDFs.

Seroxat is an SSRI antidepressant and widely prescribed, although I have heard that the side effects can be worse than with some other SSRIs and the withdrawal symptoms bad if you come off it. I only heard about pregabalin a few days ago, as part of a discussion on Radio 4's Women's Hour, about addiction to prescription drugs.

Most medications have some side effects, and the trick is to get one that gives you the least possible. I have heard that pregabalin can also cause weight gain which would put me off it. Being so tired always can't be good either, as it stops you even doing everyday chores, let alone fighting OCD!

I am on 300 mg daily of sertraline, which is another SSRI, and I have found it good, with few side effects. I also take a booster of 5 mg daily of aripiprazole, which makes the sertraline more effective. Again, no problematic side effects for me.

Thanks for the kind words! My good wishes to you too. And I shall post the internet links for you.

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I feel that could be a problem about being pushed too much with the CBT how much is too much and how should this be controlled.

I would welcome some advice on reducing rituals that isn't too difficult is there anyway to progress from the mixing up of rituals, I don't know if this would be done room by room what is your experience with this. And how to progress on and how long before you change another ritual or mix them up would this be done all together.

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I feel that could be a problem about being pushed too much with the CBT how much is too much and how should this be controlled.

I would welcome some advice on reducing rituals that isn't too difficult is there anyway to progress from the mixing up of rituals, I don't know if this would be done room by room what is your experience with this. And how to progress on and how long before you change another ritual or mix them up would this be done all together.

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Some therapists are gentler than others, and I've found a gentle approach to CBT works best for me. A CBT therapist should encourage you to go as far as you can, but shouldn't push you to such an extent that it causes you undue distress.

Try making a list of your rituals, and rate them out of ten as to how much distress it would cause you to go against them. Tackle the easiest ones first, and then rate how much distress you felt immediately after, and then how you felt after a few hours or the next day.

It is all right if you don't get it right or don't succeed in going against the rituals. Try again. It's a bit of a hit and miss process, and progress isn't always straightforward, but progress you will make!

There are worksheets in some of the self help books for OCD you might find helpful.

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So pleased to have your reply I feel that it is somehow hard and only doing it once with a therapist somehow doesn't seem enough then on to the next thing, is this because I am not very good.

Feeling exhausted again and can't cope got up and just feeling really low again. I am on my own and not at work at moment due to the illness and so bored but can't do anything either this illness is so bad. How are you doing have you managed to get out very much as this can be a problem, and retracing everything is so hard isn't it. Does anyone else on this forum suffer the same things be good to know.

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A CBT therapist is there not just to help you go against the rituals and the OCD, but to give you a box of tools that you can use yourself and to teach you to use them. Then it is up to you to use them in your everyday life, to fight against the rituals and the OCD.

So it won't just be a therapist forcing you to something that is difficult and then forcing you onto the next thing. Remember nobody is very good at having CBT, and if you struggle with it you're not the only one. Don't feel as if you're a failure if you struggle and don't always manage it.

I had an OCD thing that I didn't cook pasta on a Monday. It came about because I was going to make some spaghetti on a Monday, didn't have all the ingredients and panicked on the way to the shop. Then OCD told me not to make it on a Monday. My therapy included making myself do pasta on a Monday, and I'm all right with it now. So it can work!

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Hello having a really terrible day tearful low and ready to give up everything has gone wrong today, couldn't do rituals medication wasn't in and I feel drained. I can't get to grips with the therapy and feel I must be a pain on this site all the time. I don't know what to do anymore feel like I can't keep going this is awful can't sleep which doesn't help. cancelled all appointments as can't face anyone or any other things, feel total failure what is going on.

I have not progressed just crying and feeling so ashamed and guilty for not doing the things I should, have you ever felt like running away but don't have anywhere to go sorry for being such a pain but feeling so low and scared of this OCD and missing rituals not doing things as I should and constantly worrying that something bad will happen. sorry everyone not in good place and don't know how to move on with this illness

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It's really difficult to get to grips with the CBT techniques when you are feeling so low. And it is actually doing the CBT techniques that will make you start feeling better! It's a bit of a Catch 22.

It's easy to feel a failure and OCD is very good at making you feel like that! But don't think that way if you can help, as you are not a failure. It's just that it's a real pain to struggle with both the OCD and the CBT. That is nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about.

I shall try to post a fuller response in a bit.

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I just have been re-reading some of the relevant chapters in the Overcoming OCD book. Feeling drained and fed up is part of having OCD but the book stresses that you have to be patient and that you don't always make smooth progress.

It also points out that OCD sufferers often set very high standards for themselves, and that isn't a bad thing at all. But it also means we beat ourselves up for not reaching those high standards and that isn't being fair on ourselves.

Don't cancel any medical appointments. No therapist or clinician is going to judge you and tell you that you are a failure. In any case, you're not.

Make sure you take your medication. I'm a bit concerned when you say that it wasn't in. Does that mean that the chemist didn't have it? If so, it's annoying but you can perhaps ask them to deliver it to your door.

I think most of us have been where you are now and felt the way you feel now. It does get better. I know how it is to lie on the sofa, not eating properly or doing anything, hardly able to move. Don't put off doing CBT exercises. It's a bit like having a frozen shoulder. Every movement is painful, and stretching your shoulder is really painful, but having done so you feel the pain relieved somewhat.

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No what happened with meds that the prescription wasn't to how they wanted it so they wouldn't do it then it had to be redone etc and I just fell apart as this is an area that seems to be a problem. So because I was low on meds I reduced what I had to not run out. I do have it delivered to door as I struggle so much.

The whole process has changed with prescription ordering and although it is repeat it still has to go through a long process.

The things I am struggling with is having some repair work done and the stress and uncertainty and making all the decisions is feeling too much. I can't cope with it and ended up cancelling the work I really find decision making and change so hard.

I then felt guilty and worried as I couldn't cope with the upheaval and stress also the rituals.

I just not coping been in tears all day feel physically ill and exhausted again. You are so kind to answer me I feel selfish as I never ask how you are. So how are you and whats been happening for you.

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That's not good, them getting your prescription wrong. I had a few problems when they went over to a new system for prescription ordering. I too have had to ration my meds so I wouldn't run out!

Having repairs done does cause upheaval and can be stressful. Perhaps put them off until you feel better able to put up with them, unless they are urgent.

Making decisions is a real problem with OCD. I often have difficulty making even minor decisions, like which packet to take off the shelf at the shop, or what to take out of the fridge. They don't call OCD the doubting disease for nothing!

Do get yourself referred for some CBT. I know everyone who has had it goes on about how difficult it is, but it really is worth it and you feel a real sense of achievement when you've done it, and the momentary pain is followed by relief. Being able to ditch a ritual gives you a real feeling of freedom.

I am more than happy to help as I have been where you are now, and know how draining and exhausting and isolating OCD makes you feel. I tried to get out to do a bit of shopping today, couldn't get far, and went back, then decided to have another go at it, and managed it! It's been a busy week, and I've overdone things a bit, but I feel better on the whole for being active.

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what have you been doing are you working as well.

Do you find when you have overdone things the OCD is worse.

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I haven't been able to work full time for a while but manage to do some hours when I can get them. For me it's not so much a problem with doing actual work, more a problem with travelling to and from work, with managing on public transport and the retracing bit.

I try to pace myself, so I do as much as I can, but not too much. If I overdo it, the OCD gets worse. If I don't do enough, then I lose my nerve and also OCD likes to fill a gap!

I've been out every day this week, and I'm a bit tired! I have got places to go tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, so I'll be pleased to have a bit of a break! Though on the whole it suits me better to do quite a bit for a while, then take it easy.

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Hello I really find it very supportive when I find you have the same rituals as me. I am the same I can work when I am there but getting to work is a real struggle as like you I retrace and go back again and again and it can take ages I am currently signed sick but I will have to start to face the decision to being able to work again.

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The step retracing is a real pain! It's also embarrassing. It's one thing to do it in your home and that's annoying and exhausting enough, but in public and in front of others really sucks! I once had someone filming me on his mobile phone, so somewhere it is probably on YouTube so everyone can have a laugh at the madwoman, though I don't really care, as it says more about him than it does about me.

I hope that some support can be arranged for you so you can work. Don't let them force you into work if it's going to be too difficult, but work does give you a sense of purpose and pride and achievement, and if you can have some sort of help with actually getting to and from work that really would be great. But again, go at your own pace when it comes to recovering and getting yourself fit.

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Hello sorry for not relying earlier having such a hard time. Hot sweats crying and scared as I haven't done rituals properly frightened as thought came in mind and now I am worried that something bad will happen.

The walking retracing is something I do and this is one reason I don't go out because I can't hide how bad it is. I also got stuck in places and can't move froward until i feel right or certain.

been so low not sure how i will get better don't think medication is helping though not sure, if I go to full dose I cant do anything as too drowsy I have only been given just a few lorazapam to use.

Pragabalin is supposed to be good but I can't take the full dose.

The thing I found is that you have the same symptoms as myself with OCD and that is why I find your advice so helpful, I thought it was just me. I have problem now with putting rubbish and this is getting a problem and always want to check.

Be good to meet perhaps don't know if that would be helpful.

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Sorry not to reply earlier. I have a raging toothache and have just been at the hospital! Having had such a busy week, and feeling so lousy, I had a lot of trouble with coming back from the hospital and retracing, and it took me ages just to get up my street from the bus stop.

I am also missing a barbecue that I really wanted to go to. And now have huge bowl of couscous salad to eat that I was going to take to the barbecue!

I do find the retracing embarrassing, but it is better to go out and be embarrassed than not to go out at all. Complete strangers have stopped to help me and have been very understanding when I explain the problem.

It might be worth discussing your medication with your doctor or psychiatrist. There could be a better one you could try.

Try to break down the rituals in your own home. Like make a point of going from one part of the house to another, sit down and give it a rest before you allow yourself to go back and retrace. If then you feel you have to retrace, do so, but don't feel a failure for doing so.

Another exercise could be to go out and walk a little bit down your road, not retracing, and then come back. I'm not saying they are easy exercises to do, but once you start doing them, the OCD symptoms lessen.

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Hello I am sorry to hear about your toothache and that is so painful, this must be difficult as it is very tiring with constant pain, what did the hospital do was it an infection.

I feel fo you with the walking and retracing and that is what stops me going out, I wouldn't know what to say to anyone or if they would know about OCD.

I am very proud of the way you fight this illness even when you have the pain of toothache. The medication is something I have been considering as to it being very good. I have tried several different ones.

I will try the walk up the road and back and try to resist the checking but it is very hard isn't it do you have any tips that you use or do you get stuck. Do you find it is certain places that you retrace and is it thoughts that come into your mind when this happens. I ask as this is what happens when I walk and I have to go back and neutralize them.

I do hope you will soon feel better and sounds like a healthy bowl of food sorry you couldn't do the barbecue especially as it was something you wanted to do and being strong to do it. You are so good to help us all even when you have been ill so appreciate your support as I am sure many others do on this site. Hope you will soon be feeling well and toothache improved.

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The toothache is much better than it was, and I have antibiotics for the infection. I have to wait two months for the appointment for it to be taken out, so I hope I don't get any more trouble from it!

People have heard of OCD on the whole, now, though there are still a lot of misconceptions about it. There is this assumption that it is all about washing and being clean and tidy: 'I'm a little bit OCD' just because you like things neat, where you and I and others on this site know different!

There certainly are certain places where I am more likely to retrace, and I have particular problems with going though narrow gaps. If there are people standing in the aisle on the bus I have to ask them to move down, and they don't always want to do so. It's a pretty dumb thing to do, standing in the aisle of the bus!

It's a matter of just going down the road and back again without retracing, to get you more used to it. It doesn't take many minutes to do, and soon you are back at home and can have a rest, and if after say, half an hour, you still feel you need to retrace, then perhaps let yourself do it. But the panic might subside and you've forgotten that you ever felt the need to retrace.

Once home again, let the panic build like a wave and eventually it should start to break up and disperse. It doesn't always work, but it does quite often.

I still retrace, but not as much as I used to. For every 'failure' where I feel I have to, there are lots of little successes!

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Hello sorry for delay in replying I have had such a bad time, has anyone had sudden thought that is from nowhere and informing of something bad that will happen I had this and have been frozen in fear, I wasn't doing anything and it just came from nowhere, I usually have a word but not a phrase like this please anyone have you experienced this as really has scared me and I am waiting for that bad thing.

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Everyone has random words and phrases that pop in their minds unbidden. Most people take them for what they really are: random words and phrases that have no real meaning. It is only with things like OCD that we actually take them seriously. It is because we are constantly monitoring our thoughts in a way most people don't.

Random thoughts that are nice don't have the same impact on us. It is the nasty ones that suddenly make our brains sit up and notice.

Do get urgent help. It is clear that you are really struggling, and I know how difficult it is to carry out CBT exercises on your own. Ask for an urgent appointment with your GP or psychiatrist and explain that you can't be expected just to struggle on without some kind of professional intervention.

Meanwhile, it can help to do a few boring and meaningless chores, nothing too much, just to keep yourself occupied. Just do a bit here and there.

In any case you should get some sort of help to get yourself signed off from work.

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Hi I have help with CBT and others and currently signed off work, I thought I was doing well and starting to challenge and mix up rituals. But had this scary thought that was so real. Have you ever had really bad thoughts that come and seem to suggest that something bad will happen to you. I wasn't thinking about anything and this just happened. So glad you replied.

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Sorry not to reply earlier. I had to get a few things done, including a trip to the shops, which I managed one way or another!

I have had the same sort of thing, but nothing has resulted from it. Not a nice feeling, but it's only because your brain picks up on the unpleasantness. All sorts of words and phrases and things come and go in our minds, like flotsam and jetsam, and mostly we don't pay much attention to them. It's just that OCD has a habit of picking on the unpleasant ones, and making them sound significant when actually they aren't.

Also, OCD likes a gap. It stops you from doing things you need to and want to, and then takes advantage of your enforced idleness. Being busy means you don't notice random thoughts nearly so much, and not doing very much means that you aren't being distracted away from them.

Overcoming OCD is a slow process, and you are bound to have setbacks, and just when you've made progress too! But don't let that hold you back. Keep going with the CBT exercises, and do as much as you can. I know how horrible it feels, and how it can dominate your mind. But it won't always feel as bad. It is just a random thought, and doesn't mean anything.

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Glad you replied I was worried I had asked too many questions and was a nuisance. Yes it is a horrible feeling the thought was about myself and that has really scared me when you said that you had similar things did you have the same thoughts or were they about others. I was taken by surprise as I wasn't thinking about anything and this was so real. Why do we struggle with this kind of thing as it was is scary. Hope your o.k, and going shopping I admire you I have been relying on others for food bits here and there the shops seem so scary and too much.

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Not a nuisance at all! I have had help from so many friends and complete strangers myself.

These thoughts can come out of the blue and be very frightening. All kinds of thoughts come and go in our heads, and it is OCD that makes us attach meaning to the ones that don't deserve our attention.

It leaves one with a horrible feeling, but it doesn't have to stay with you. Think of it as clouds overhead that then move on and disperse and don't bother you any more.

I too have had to rely on others to do my shopping, but I manage mostly myself now. It can be a struggle, and I have gone without because I couldn't get to the shops! I still can't manage really big supermarkets, with all those aisles. Perhaps think of going to a nearby shop you think you can manage. Buy something small, and come back. Retrace as much as you feel you need to. It's a technique that got me out and used to shopping. The big incentive was that I could then shop for myself and choose for myself instead of having to let others choose for me!

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I agree it is difficult when asking others to shop but I wouldn't have any food if I didn't. I do have a very small shop and I have been there a few times but the walking and retracing is really hard as people can see this and it is so embarassing.

As for this horrid thought it still is worrying me, you didn't say if any of your was about you or other person places.

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It is embarrassing, the retracing, and I'm conscious of others' reactions. But many are very sympathetic and helpful.

I don't get it right always myself. I do my best, but I have been known to go without because I just couldn't get to the shops! I currently have one teabag left, and that's for the morning, as I shall have to make an effort tomorrow!

My intrusive thoughts are very varied. They can be about me or about others close to me. Often there is a sort of trade off involved: I'm allowed to do one thing but not another, or if I don't redo this or retrace that I'm not allowed to do such-and-such. It's a constant struggle, and having OCD is no picnic, but being active without overdoing it helps to control it.

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How long did you have the thoughts, was it something that just happened or was it always part of the ocd. How do you mean a trade off not sure how did that work with the disturbing thoughts. When you had your thoughts were you able to connect to something you were thinking about or similar and do they go away eventually. How did you cope any special strategies and were you not afraid of them.

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The intrusive thoughts occasionally just went away by themselves, or they bothered me for a while. I can remember having phrases that popped into my head unbidden and had to be 'neutralized' by thinking of something nicer, going back to when I was still a kid. I had rituals, too, but didn't know anything about OCD!

The trade off situation is like this: I get OCD telling me that I'm only allowed to something if I don't do something else. So if I want to cook such-and-such for dinner, OCD will tell me I am only 'allowed' to if I don't do something else. It tries to make me choose. Or it tells me if I'm in a shop that I can buy one thing or another thing, but not both.

Often thoughts do go away of their own accord, but they can be replaced by something else. Remember that they are just thoughts, and random ones at that. Having OCD makes us take notice of unpleasant things, including thoughts, that others attach no importance to.

All of us have these random thoughts, and it is when we react to them and give them importance they don't deserve, that they stick in our heads and keep pestering us. It's difficult just to let them alone so they go away, but it is the way to make them go away!

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I'm a bit concerned that some of your posts appear to have been deleted. If it's an OCD thing, then I understand. But if you're worried that I won't reply, then don't! I can't always reply immediately, but will always do so!

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Yes both sorry really struggling

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Please don't think that you are being a nuisance. It is OCD that is the nuisance! I am happy to reply.

I have been known to edit, re-edit and re-re-edit things I write. It's quite a common thing with OCD patients.

The problem is that when our brain is really struggling with OCD we start to doubt all sorts of things that really we shouldn't worry about. And it makes us afraid of things that are nothing to be afraid of.

At the moment your brain is struggling with a negative thought. I know how difficult it is to do things, even easy things, but if you can do a few things here and there, what you can, when you can, it helps to distract you.

I often read a favourite book or listen to some uplifting music, or get on with a few household chores. It can be difficult to concentrate but do what you can! It's a bit of a vicious circle, OCD stopping you do things, and then creating a vacuum for more OCD thoughts!

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Yes I read this and crying as so scared and feel useless and afraid you are so kind and the real support I need I am sorry if I am not doing well just so much at the moment. So many decisions to make and cant make any for the high anxiety quite worn out again. Hard to explain to people if they haven't suffered isn't it.

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I know just what it's like. It's almost impossible to make the least decision. I've lain on the sofa barely able to move.

It does get better. It's important to remember that OCD is a fluctuating illness, that we have stretches where we function pretty well, and stretches where we don't.

I know it's difficult, but try to distract yourself. Is there a favourite feel-good book you can read? Or just read a self-help book, as it can reassure you that it is just OCD.

Having OCD is like having a faulty car or house alarm in your brain. Just having the wind blow on it can set it off, or it goes off for no reason. Most of us have heard a car or house alarm that has gone off when it shouldn't, and everyone ignores it. The problem with OCD is our faulty alarm is always going off, and instead of ignoring it we pay it attention.

Do feel free to post as much as you feel you need to.

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Do get in touch with your therapist and ask for an emergency appointment. Ask if perhaps they can come to your home.

A supplement that might help is Rhodiola Rosea, which some claim can treat anxiety. So far as I know scientific testing hasn't proved it is effective, though I have tried it and I think it helped me! The only reason I stopped taking it is that I found it too expensive. The brand I used was Viridian, which I think is reputable. It can be had in a health food shop. As far as I know, it can be taken with prescribed medicine and is at least harmless.

Be careful with supplements, though, as some are no better than snake oil, some are not safe to use with prescribed medication and some may do harm. Check out anything you do take.

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Perhaps also try some of the B group vitamins. They are important for brain function.

I've been like this myself. Do try to get an emergency appointment. It's such a lousy way to feel, and I know how it is.

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I have the mental health team already and it does help its just me I have just come back from GP trying to sort my medication and retracing retracing so bad felt so embarrassed, I am so pleased you are there and able to keep contact it makes a huge difference.

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I know how embarrassing it is, but don't worry what others think. I've often been stopped by strangers wanting to know if I need help, and who are sympathetic when I say I have OCD. I have had hostile reactions as well, but people like that are the sort whose good opinion I don't want anyway!

Good that the mental health team are taking your situation seriously. It's just such a vile thing to have, OCD.

Any progress on your medication?

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Yes glad they are too, I am currently off work but feel no real improvement wonder what I can do. What do you do in the days as you said you like to keep busy.

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I try to keep busy, though I take longer than most to do a lot of things. A trip to the local Co-op should take about half an hour, but it usually takes me double that!

I occasionally have some part time work, which makes me feel better. The main problem is getting there and back, but it's local so not too bad.

I do a lot of reading and writing, and I also like cooking, and I am also involved in my local Labour party. That gives me a focus. It involves various meetings, such as the General Meeting once a month, the Local Campaign Forum and such like.

Also I am trying to clean up my messy house!

I don't think the system of work is really geared up to accommodate disabled employees, whether they have physical or mental problems. Many of us would be able to work, if only part time, but all sorts of barriers are put in our way, such as the actual getting to and from work! Also employers don't want to take us on, on the whole.

Getting over a bad episode of OCD takes a bit of effort, just when you feel least like putting effort in. Some days you just have to write off, but don't beat yourself up about it if you can't do as much as you want. Keep in there!

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I totally agree with you it is the getting to work I could probably cope once there I work part time but wondering if they might consider allowing me to do less hours, as it would reduce the amount of travelling.

I don't really know much about work and rights of mental illness and what is available. Is there anything else for support if you cannot work, I'm not sure. Do you know if there is any help if not able to work. What work do you do when you have some.

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Part of the problem is that the benefits system is not flexible enough to allow disabled workers to do what they can when they can. Either someone is in regular full time work or they are completely reliant on benefits, and it's difficult if neither is suitable.

Make sure you put in a claim for benefits if you are signed off from work. The system is complicated, but you should make sure you get what you're entitled to.

If I am in work I work as a life model, mostly at an art college. It's interesting to do and although I've always been interested in art, I've learnt a lot working as a model.

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Hello sorry for not sooner replying have tried several times but OCD has really been bad and I don't send the message as bad thoughts again really struggling

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I got notifications that you had posted, but you had already deleted. I didn't like to answer without your permission in case I triggered you.

Take it as easy as possible while you are feeling like this. Do anything you can do, don't overdo things. It does get better.

If I can answer any questions I will.

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I know just what it's like, doing something and then wanting to undo it. But do what you can.

Do get your benefits sorted out. I don't know if you're still on sick leave benefits, but you should be entitled to something. There is something called ESA or Employment Support Allowance, and you could be entitled to it.

There may be a support group that can help you to claim and tell you what you're entitled to. There are support groups who have staff trained to deal with the rights of anyone with disabilities, and there should be some local to your area.

Ask at your GP surgery or Community Mental Health Team. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

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so kind and supportive to us all. I am very sorry I keep undoing the text. I am not doing too well I am ashamed to say I am not bothering about changing what I wear to much as I have little clothes that I will wear due to OCD. Does anyone else have this. This happens if I have a bad thought when I put something on I wont wear it and this has become a problem. How do we deal with this. Same with anything if I was shopping and bought something I would take it back if I had a bad thought. I know it doesn't make sense. Do you have any of these things that persuade you not to wear this or something else.

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I know this from my own experience! I have managed to get around it by putting on, taking off, and putting back on my clothes as often as it takes to feel 'right'.

Feeling that you need to undo what you have done if you have a bad thought while doing it is common in OCD. No, of course it doesn't make any sense, but the OCD urges you to do it anyway.

Try to make loopholes in your OCD. That can pick away at it. So if you feel you can't wear something one day, put it away, wash it if you feel you need to, and try it another day.

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Yes I have a pronblem just handling the clothes I am not happy with and then I am too scared to put them out too so it is a real problem.

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Is this something you have talked about with your therapist? I get completely where you're coming from, but it can be resisted and got over.

Do discuss it with your therapist. Perhaps as an incentive, think of all the nice clothes you will be able to wear if you can beat the OCD.

Don't be ashamed about not putting clean clothes on. But if you can, it makes you feel better.

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Do discuss it with your therapist. This is something that makes life difficult for you, and can be solved. The more you can conquer the OCD the less trouble the intrusive thoughts will cause you. It's giving them attention that makes them uppermost in our minds, and when we try to ignore them, they don't like it and go away. The difficulty is that we try to push them away rather than ignoring them, and I do this as well. That makes them stronger.

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Don't feel the need to reply if you don't feel up to it, but just wondering how you have been coping.

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Trying to cope wobbly and sweating with fear and anxiety. Sorry I haven't replied I feel a nuisance and my CBT is not working I have reverted back to doing my old things. How are you are you managing to do a few things.

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Don't think that you're a nuisance. CBT is always difficult to put into practice, and it can make you feel worse before it makes you feel better. A few relapses are bound to occur, but try to avoid going back to habits and rituals you've conquered. CBT often feels scary, as though you're jumping off a cliff, but it does work.

Don't let a setback put you off. They're common enough, we all have them, and it isn't a failure on your part. I had a bit of a wobble yesterday coming back from the Co-op with a heavy bag of shopping, but still I managed to do quite a bit of writing.

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Yes I know its hard isn't it, I have just come in and found one of my drawing on the floor it has fallen from the door and I feel I need to go back out and do everything again otherwise something bad will happen,

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Is there any way that you can go easy on yourself? If already you have gone back out and done everything again, then don't worry, but if you haven't, try to undo only a bit of what you did when you were out.

It helps to chip away at the OCD if you don't let it get its own way altogether. Nothing bad happens as a result of your drawing falling onto the floor. It really doesn't.

I didn't have too good a day today, as I had to go out and get my prescription and a few other things, and was doing a lot of retracing. But I do have good days as well as bad ones, and perhaps tomorrow will be better!

Don't let OCD punish you for something like this!

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your so kind and supportive and you too struggle, do you have any support I haven't asked I know you have medication and I just wondered if you get as much support as you give to others.

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I've had quite a lot of CBT and had a spell in Springfield Hospital for four months where I had intensive therapy. It really helped, and I learned some techniques for managing it but it's still difficult to think rationally when OCD has you in its grip!

I have some very patient friends who put up with me and make allowances for me! If I support others it's because I know how vile OCD is, and I don't want anyone else to feel they're alone with it.

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what was it like in there were they kind and helpful and did they give you a lot of support with this illness.

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I've had a lot of support from some very tolerant friends! But OCD is very isolating and I don't get to socialize as much as I'd like.

I've also had total strangers help me in the street when I've been struggling, and they have been awfully sympathetic. But of course I've also had abuse, which isn't very nice but is all too common for disabled people.

How has it been for you? Are friends and family supportive?

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I've had a lot of support from very tolerant friends. But OCD is very isolating and I don't get out to socialize as much as I'd like.

I've also had total strangers help me in the street when I've been struggling, and they've been very sympathetic. But I've also had abuse, which is all too common for disabled people.

How is it for you? Are friends and family giving you support?

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Hello have you had experience of Quetiapine or Buspirone as this is a possible change from my drug.

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I haven't been given either of these, but I just checked a few things about Buspirone and it sounds as though it could be helpful for you. Apparently it can boost the SSRI you are on, and can alleviate depression. The problem is that it can take a few weeks to kick in.

I've heard of Quetiapine, but I don't know much about it. I take a low dose of aripiprazole which boosts the sertraline. I feel better on it.

I'd give it a go. It could give you the boost you need to make the most of your CBT.

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Apparently quetiapine can cause drowsiness and weight gain. It sounds as though buspirone is the better bet.

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Yes don't want the weight gain as it is uncomfortable. I am nervous to try anything new, do you know of any alternative therapy or medication that could or have helped just don't want all these side illness with some of the things I have had and found hard not good.

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I can't testify to Buspirone as I haven't taken it, but it sounded as though side effects are few and manageable. However, every patient reacts differently to meds and what is good for one is not always good for another!

I hesitated before taking aripiprazole as I had had a bad experience with weight gain with another anti-psychotic. I glad I started taking it though, as it has helped. And no further weight gain!

Give Rhodiola Rosea a try if you want something alternative, as it is safe to take with other meds and pretty safe all round. It hasn't been proved by tests to be effective, but some swear by it!

On the whole, keep clear of anyone offering alternative therapies that they make big claims for. They take your money, but you don't get much for it! And if they want money up front before they'll tell you how it works, then they are a scam.

How have other meds affected you? I know that some have made you feel drowsy, but have you had any benefit or any other side effects?

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Hi this is very helpful I am very worried about the medication and not sure what to do. I really need to find strength to overcome the fear. I was talking to someone about this and it is always there stomach turning and feeling shaky, how do we overcome this an the fear of everything.

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I think it might be good to give Buspirone a go. If it helps, then it could improve your progress with CBT.

I have had a wobbly few days, taking ages to get to the shops and back and retracing a lot. But so far I haven't been too bad this morning. I'm planning to take a trip just down the road and back, without retracing if I can manage it!

This is what OCD is like. A difficult patch can be followed by a good one. Don't be blaming yourself. It might help to make a list of what you want to achieve, and do it step by step.

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I've not been too bad over the past few days, although the previous week was difficult with a lot of retracing. It really does fluctuate, so don't assume that you'll always feel as bad as you do now.

How is the medication going? How about writing out a list of what you want to be able to do? Perhaps to be able to go from one part of the house to another without retracing, or whatever else you like, and things like that. Tackle the easiest ones first. Rate how you feel before doing it, out of ten, how you feel just after doing it, and how you feel an hour later. It can help to monitor your progress like this.

Don't feel that you've failed if you don't manage anything. It's no picnic having OCD and we don't deserve to feel more awful about ourselves than we do!

Please remember that you can always post here, or message me if you prefer. Big hugs.

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Hello sorry haven't replied feel so selfish keep on asking for help. I hope you are doing well and things improved. I haven't done a lot as OCD is stopping me again and I am so afraid of it.

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I know because I've been there and felt just like you do. Try to chip away at the OCD bit by bit. Just little things, and if you succeed in them they should make you feel better about yourself and feel that you're getting the better of the OCD.

How often do you have CBT? And is the therapist sympathetic? If perhaps you can set yourself a goal each day, it can be the same one or different ones, but don't beat yourself up if you don't achieve it.

No need to apologize for not replying! And no need to feel selfish for asking for help. I don't know if you've been offered CBT as an in patient in hospital, but it might be worth considering. I found it helpful.

It's so tiresome and tiring having OCD. Give the buspirone a go, I would, and give it a chance to start working. It could make a difference.

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Struggling sorry trying to reply even taking a tablet is a struggling as I don't want intrusive thought as I take it which has happened and I can't undo it now so worried again.

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Try not to worry about taking tablets. They are there to help you. I have occasionally struggled as well, trying to fight intrusive thoughts as I take them out of the packaging, but once it's out, it's out, and once it's in, it's in, and I made up my mind that once I've taken it, it's not to be worried about. It's just there to help.

I know that you are struggling to reply. Don't feel guilty if you can't. I shall be here to answer if you do, and if you wish I can check in on you now and again if you don't reply. I shan't take offence if you don't reply, or think you're a nuisance if you post. I know how difficult it is!

It isn't possible to undo taking a tablet, but it will eventually work its way out of your system, and even if you had an intrusive though while taking it, that will not cause any harm. If possible, don't ruminate over it, but put it from your mind.

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struggling hard

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I know, I know how difficult it is. Try to keep your spirits up. I had quite a struggle yesterday, coming back after going out. Today I had to do some shopping and it wasn't quite so bad. Then I realized I'd forgotten to get some more milk and so I had to go back to the Co-op, which I really didn't want to do, but I did and it was quite easy.

So however bad you feel now, it doesn't always have to be that way. Things can and do get easier.

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Hello how are you doing, sorry not to have replied as been very tough I am struggling and have looked at the material that you suggested although I read it I find it difficult to understand or for it to mean anything. I am so tired do you ever had times when you are so overwhelmed with doing the things over and over again that you sweat badly. I am in that situation going over things so much and trying to do everything good, it only takes a thought or interruption and I go through it all again. Looking at vitamins to help like the B vitamins and this 5 Http do you know if this works.

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Please, no need to apologize! It's difficult to concentrate when you are in the grip of OCD and it can all just go over your head. I shall try to post some stuff that doesn't take too much concentration.

I've been there, doing the same thing over and over again until I'm exhausted. It's difficult to think straight when you get into that. It's like being on a tightrope. It can help to take a few minutes out so your brain can have a bit of rest before starting again.

The B group of vitamins isn't likely to have an immediate effect, but they are good for the brain, and if you haven't been eating well they may fill in a nutritional gap.

The NHS has quite a lot of useful things on their website. I can post a few links.

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what was the supplement you have, having bad struggle not sure if I locked door and it has ruined the whole of my routine as I didn't check it yesterday evening went to walk out and wasn't locked now really worried

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The supplement I mentioned before is Rhodiola Rosea. Scientific studies haven't proved it is effective, though there are those who swear by it!

Try not to worry about not carrying out your routine. I know how it feels to have not done it 'right' but really, no harm has come of it. Put the whole thing behind you if you can, try to forget about it! It's likely to sit in your mind for a bit, pestering you, but if you don't give it attention it will go away.

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So sorry that you're struggling. No matter how much effort you put into doing something 'right' OCD will still put doubts in your mind. It tries to tell you that even if you've done it 'right' that perhaps you haven't! And then demands you do it all over again.

Try to give it a rest for a bit. The more you do the rituals over and over, the more exhausted and panicky you feel. Giving it a rest means that you can get your head in order, perhaps realize that really you don't need to do it over again. Then if you think you do need to do it again, you will have recovered enough and be refreshed and calm enough to do it 'right'.

It can be difficult even to make a cup of tea when you're feeling as bad as this, but if you can, make a cuppa, or just sit down for maybe fifteen minutes. Don't ruminate if you can help it, try to relax, and then decide what to do.

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Just had a lovely visit from family and when they went I didn't do and say my normal phrase now worried sick as it is a special day and don't know how to change this I can't ask them to come back so I can redo it what can I do I am so scared.

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Please don't stress out about this. It really is nothing to worry about. There is no rule that says you have to say a particular phrase, and OCD is lying if it tries to tell you the contrary.

How sympathetic are your family to your problems with OCD? It sounds like they are supportive and clearly mean a lot to you. Do they live nearby? Perhaps give them a call, and tell them.

It's a pity to let something like this spoil your pleasure in having your family around. Try to concentrate on the positives, and the happiness it brought you. If it really gets bad, and they don't live too far away, perhaps you could ask them around again, but try to let it go if you can. It's only OCD playing up.

The problem is that any deviation from our 'normal' routine feels uncomfortable for those of us who have OCD. It tries to impose so many rules on us that we are reduced to doing things according to a set routine, and are afraid of breaking these mythical 'rules'. Try to let the uncomfortable feeling go by not feeding it and thinking about it too much. I know how difficult it is, having been there myself so often! Perhaps tell yourself that you can think about it in a week, and the chances are that you will forget to!

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if i was to ask them round again do you mean today so to undo the ritual, i could never tell them why as it wouldn't make sense i was going to try ad go there so i can secretly undo the ritual but don't know what i could say by going again

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How far away do they live? I know how difficult it feels if you can't undo something. If it is difficult for you to move on without undoing it, then perhaps give in to it. But if you can hold out against it, do so.

It helps if you can confide in your family and friends. I do this as far as I'm able to, though I try to hide it as much as I can. But if I'm with someone I know and I feel the need to retrace or redo, I just do it, and say to them, 'It's just a woolly-woo', which is a phrase I got from a friend.

If possible, at least try to give yourself a chance to test out the OCD. It may be that you realize that the OCD is telling lies, as it does!

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Yes I got them to come back once already and then as they were going I done the same thing again and forgot so I really dont feel good, I am worried I will always relate as this being a special day

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A birthday? But don't stress about it, really. The more you redo something the more the OCD will make you doubt you did it right. I know, because it's happened to me.

I know that you don't want anything unpleasant to taint your memories of the day, but try to concentrate on the nice things about it. Let the nice things put the negative things out of your mind.

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But if something bad happens I will always think it was because of. I always am highly stressed about special events and I can hardly function and trying to go through the day without a mistake leads me to sweats and exhausted.

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I know just how you feel! Anything that matters a lot to me really makes nervous and I'm so afraid of messing it up or screwing it up or spoiling it. I feel as if I have to get everything absolutely 'right'.

How difficult would it be to confide in your family about this?

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Very difficult indeed they know I have this illness but not the full extent that it causes all the other things its so hard isn't it. Are you the same when any special occasion is I always am worse and dread all the rituals which are more and what I wear etc etc why is this why.

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I certainly am! I'm so concerned to get everything 'right' that it makes it worse! It is because OCD likes to attack us using things that matter to us. So if an occasion matters to us, the OCD steps up a gear and makes us worse.

Do try to confide in your family if you can. They know you have OCD and there's no shame in having it. They may actually be very sympathetic. It makes it easier if you can be open about it. There's a lot of extra pressure on you having to hide it.

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How do I stop this spent so much doing the stairs again really scared and tired.

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Do tell your family. Most likely they will want to support you. And it does take the pressure off, having to hide it.

It is so exhausting going up and down the stairs! I've done it myself, and I'm surprised I could still do with losing a few pounds with all the exercise!

Try this technique. Best to do it when you are feeling relatively calm and relaxed, though with OCD we are rarely relaxed. But at least do it when you are not in a panic and retracing.

It's a CBT technique of the sort I learnt in hospital. Try going upstairs, don't retrace, just let the thoughts be, and get to the top. Then come down again, against without retracing. Again, try to let the thoughts be.

Then sit down. Rate how you are feeling with 10 being extremely stressed and 0 being not stressed at all. Think of the panicky feelings as like a wave that swells but eventually breaks and becomes just part of the sea again, or clouds that are over your head, but break up and disperse.

Don't give in to the temptation to go and immediately redo the stairs. Give it a rest, and tell yourself that you will think about it in half an hour. Try to occupy yourself with something else if you can. In half an hour rate the panic from 0 to 10 again. That is, if you remember! But if after that you feel you need to retrace, then you will at least feel calmer while doing it.

Do this several times a day. It does help, at least it helped me, and it has helped a lot of people.

I've been out today myself, to the theatre. A great play, and I got there without a lot of retracing. On the way back to the train station, I help up my friend with a bit of retracing but she knows my woolly woos and is patient. It's difficult to get rid of OCD altogether, still it's possible to live fairly normally.

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the problem I have is the first morning ritual with stairs trying to get to the downstairs and then make cuppa and this is where it keeps going. I don't know how to do this.

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Don't try it first thing in the morning, if it's too much of a problem. Have the cuppa then get on with anything else you want or need to do.

Punctuate the day with doing the stairs in the way I suggested. Maybe aim for three times a day, then put it up to four, five, six. That is a good way of letting you know that the panic subsides and that nothing bad happens. Then perhaps try some other rituals that bother you.

I completely get what you were saying about anything important to you ramping up the stress levels. I felt a bit like that before going out to the play because I didn't want anything to spoil my enjoyment of it. I decided to get a taxi from Waterloo Station to the theatre, though it's within walking distance if you don't mind a lengthy walk, so I got there without getting myself all panicky.

I really enjoyed it and as I said, managed mostly all right. The play was about a woman feminist writer called Emilia who may have had an affair with Shakespeare. Great stuff and very funny as well.

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This sounds good, the only problem I have is getting going as it is the first ritual with the stairs that is the most difficult and can take ages, so I need to tackle it.

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If it's one of the most difficult ones, perhaps tackle another ritual that isn't quite so gruelling to begin with. Try to make a list of your rituals, and grade them from easy to tackle to really difficult, and try to break the easiest first! Then go onto the next easiest, and so on.

But the stairs is an important one, as it causes you so much stress and is so exhausting as I know from having done the up and down bit myself, so it is vital that you have a go.

Don't think that you have failed if you can't manage it at first. But don't let that put you off attempting it. The important thing is to get used to the uncomfortable feeling and allowing it to subside. It does work.

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just had cbt didn't go well what isdevils advocate mean in cbt

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I admit that CBT is difficult. I struggled myself, but if you can co-operate with it to the best of your ability it does give you the opportunity to reclaim your life.

I haven't heard the term 'devil's advocate' used in CBT before, but I suppose it is not far from the usual sense of it. It means someone is not actually agreeing with the opposing side but is putting the arguments for the opposing side so you have to come up with your own arguments to defeat them.

Give it a shot, anyway, but ask your therapist to go fairly easy on you. Too aggressive an approach to CBT can have the opposite effect. I myself have found a gentle approach to be more helpful.

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CBT is not an easy therapy. It is less about having things done to you than about learning to do things for yourself. And to challenge the OCD is not easy, as you are having to stand up to a scary bully, which is what OCD really is.

Please try not to worry about bits of broken things on the floor. It doesn't mean anything except that it's broken, and needs fixing. That's all it means. It certainly doesn't mean something else will go wrong.

Don't stop the CBT therapy. It is bound to make you feel worse for a bit. It's a bit like horrible medicine that tastes vile and has a few nasty side effects, but that will do you good!

I'm not sure what the therapist means, but if you can explain it, then I'll try to comment on it. Let me know what techniques your therapist is using.

I got back home about an hour ago having spent two hours delivering Labour Party leaflets. It involved a lot of walking and I was doing quite a lot of retracing and got stuck quite a bit. Basically, I have overdone things this week, and am suffering for it! But after I got back I let myself recover a bit, and the panic subsided. It really can do. I got extremely tired and sweaty, but feel much better now!

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You are so good the way you fight this and you are doing things. I would like to have someone like you around to support and share the illness as so many do not really know what to say or how to help.

The therapy is CBT and she has said that other therapies can be useful what is the difference in CBT and ERP as I have seen that there is several different types. I struggle with mindfulness have you managed. I have been looking for a place that I could try to go and take therapy like day centre but would it help, did you find it helped you or were you the same after treatment, do you have any self help groups for ocd as you can probably sense I am trying so hard to find a solution and scared there is none.

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I'm not sure which other therapies she means, as CBT is normally considered the 'gold standard' for OCD. But CBT covers a wide range of methods, and as each patient's OCD is different, so the CBT has to be different for each patient.

I completely get what you say about mindfulness! I too have struggled to grasp this. It amounts to trying to concentrate on what is happening at the very moment, without relating it to past experiences or thinking of what ifs and if onlys. It isn't an easy trick to learn. But it can help to allow you to enjoy the moment and notice the nice things around you. It can take you away from your OCD. But it isn't always that easy.

I had four months in the OCD unit at Springfield Hospital in Tooting. There is a waiting list, and they can only manage about 14 patients at once, but you get intensive therapy in a safe place. I didn't like the thought of going, but I was referred, and found I actually liked being there. My therapist fortunately went at my pace, didn't push me too hard but encouraged me. It could be worth asking your therapist to consider referring you.

I don't know of any self help groups, but there may be some. I can check out if there are any such, though online communities like this one mean you don't have to travel.

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yes this is very supportive and I have never joined before but finding this site and the lovely you I am glad I did. Do you have any friends that also have OCD that you meet up with.

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That's really nice of you to say that! I occasionally run into others who have OCD, but nobody else among my good friends has got it. That makes it all the more accommodating of them that they put up with me, as it's really impossible to understand OCD if you haven't got it.

I checked the Springfield website and you need a referral from a psychiatrist, but your therapist should be able to arrange this if it's right for you. I found it a real home-from-home, and it helped me.

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I meant to explain the ERP is just a form of CBT. It means exposing yourself to the toxic thought and not trying to go over what you've done again.

So if you come down the stairs and want to go back up again and do it again, until you can do it without the toxic or unpleasant thought, you just don't go up again, but sit down and let the panic subside.

It is quite difficult to do, as I know! But if you start by using it for the least difficult things, then work your way up, and do your best with it, it can be effective.

Again, don't think you're a failure if you don't get it right. It takes practice, and though most people struggle with it, doing it does help you get your life back.

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I have been considering sleeping downstairs to reduce and lessen the stress what do you think. I am experiencing dizziness when I move my head at the moment like slow motion.

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Please resist the temptation to sleep downstairs! The more you let OCD make the rules and restrict your freedom the worst it gets. Because OCD likes to do that, restricting what you do inch by inch, until you can't do anything.

I recently read about a woman whose retracing steps OCD got so bad she was confined to bed, and didn't even always get up to go to the loo, just peeing in her bed.

Don't let OCD take any more of your freedom. Of course don't use to stairs if you're feeling dizzy and might fall, but don't use it as an excuse not to use the stairs.

I know just how difficult it is, but getting the better of OCD means not letting it take away any more freedom.

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I agree with you I just don't like the fear of all the morning rituals. I also struggle when I hear about sadness and even though I don't know the person I dwell all day or days over it and cant seem to do anything as worried about it the thought stays in the mind. I cant explain its like I feel I have to do this otherwise something bad will happen if I am not doing it..

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I do get it. And it can't be nice feeling you have to do a complicated ritual first thing in the morning when you get up. It's not the best start to your day.

Try not to ruminate and go over things in your mind. It's something that OCD likes to make you do. I'm afraid sad things happen, and we can feel sad about it, but that doesn't mean we can't get on with other things.

Do consider asking for a referral to Springfield or for a more intensive course of CBT. It sounds like a particularly stubborn case you have of OCD. It's a stubborn enough condition as it is, and it needs kicking into touch.

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I live in the South and wondered if there is any other place I also start a new therapist as mine was on a placement would be nice to find somewhere in the Bath area I would be happy to find a therapy center or group.

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I can check it out for you. I don't live near Bath, though I've been there and a very nice place it is!

Springfield Hospital takes patients from all over the country.

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You are so kind what part of country are you then

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I'm in Kingston in Surrey, in the South East of England.

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what do they offer at the hospital and is in only for long stays.

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The average stay is four to six months. I stayed there for four months. I didn't much like leaving my house empty for four months, but I was able to go home every weekend, which as I don't like that far from Tooting wasn't too difficult, though it is an awkward journey! I suppose if you live on your own you would have to be able to go home at weekends or get someone to check on your house. But I thought it was worth going.

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I've just done an online check and TOP UK which is an OCD and Phobia Charity do have a support group in Bath. Email at info@topuk.org. TOP stand for Triumph over Phobia.

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That is good and when you were in hospital did they ever use hypnotherapy and what is your view for OCD

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I didn't have any hypnotherapy, and as far as I am aware it isn't used at Springfield. I don't think it has much relevance to OCD and I'm sure if it had, it would be widely used.

In any case not everyone can be hypnotized. Don't be giving your money to anyone offering a cure using hypnotherapy!

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what treatments did they do I have just seen GP and dizziness is vertigo. I am also not getting far with medication and have asked but it seems I have tried most SSRI's that would be suitable. Felt and feel useless and like giving up my CBT will be finished and then a new therapist all these changes isn't good. Sorry if I am negative I just feel I have been off work and nothing seems to have helped. I am so deperate for help and proper support. I can't take the full dose of the pragabalin and that is why it isn't working. I don't know what I can do GP wont prescribe as I am now with Mental health Team. I have been round in circles trying and feeling less confident just cant be bothered anymore I don't know if they can help me and this illness.

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The treatments are medication and intensive CBT. It can be tricky getting the right medication. I got put onto sertraline which suited me straightaway, but some patients have to try lots before they get one that suits.

It's possible that an older medication called clomipramine could suit you better. I took it for many years and found it very good, the only problem being that it made me feel dopey. But it is certainly effective.

Medication helps you do the CBT more effectively. The only people who can prescribe medication are qualified medical doctors, and it's best if you talk with your psychiatrist about this. A GP doesn't have particular knowledge of mental health medication so doesn't quite have the same expertise.

It must be so frustrating feeling so stranded without help. I know exactly how it feels, wanting to get better and not knowing how, and fed up with my own behaviour!

Don't even think of giving up. It isn't good to have to have a new therapist, as continuity of care matters, but you never know, the new one might work for you better! This is a horrible illness but it is treatable, and however bad you feel right now, remember that you don't always have to feel this way. It does knock your confidence, but you can make progress.

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Hello can I ask is the OCD things that we make up ourselves or is this something that OCD tells us and is it outside us. What I mean is all these rituals that come to mind is this something that I have done.

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It's difficult to answer as OCD is a part of our brain, but it is a malfunctioning part, and makes things up and tells us to believe them when they aren't true.

But having said that it does help to think of OCD as something outside ourselves, a sort of enemy and bully that tries to control us.

The brain is the most complicated organ in the body. It's far more complicated than the heart, or the liver, or the gall bladder. And those can go wrong and not work properly. So it's not surprising that the brain can also go wrong, and being more complicated than the other organs, there are more ways that it can go wrong.

One of the ways it can go wrong is OCD. It's like a sort of short circuit in the brain. The thinking part of the brain tells us that there is nothing wrong and we don't have to wash repeatedly, or rearrange things again, or retrace our steps or go up and down stairs over and over, but the short circuit in the brain tells us the opposite. It's like having a faulty house or car alarm that goes off when it shouldn't.

So OCD is not the sensible, thinking, rational part of the brain. It is a fault in the brain. The things it tells us aren't true.

Everyone has odd random thoughts that come to mind. It's like our brains accumulate bits of rubbish and the float around our minds. Most people recognize such rubbish for what it is, but with OCD the fault in the brain picks up on it and thinks it means something when actually it doesn't!

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So is it something we put ourselves through as a ritual. like you must go back and do that again. or a ritual that came from nowhere and was developed.

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There is a lot of random rubbish in our brains. Our experiences, even of little things like watching someone walk past our house, noticing something new in a shop, reading something in a book, deciding what to have for lunch, in fact just about everything, leaves some kind of trace in our brain. The brain is able to discard some of it, but some sticks in our head.

Think about the content of dreams. Nobody really knows why we dream, but dreams are full of all sorts of random things, often things we did during the day. Perhaps our brains are trying to process them, but they make for some very odd and confusing stories!

At the top of our consciousness we have the things that matter most to us. Friends and family and jobs are among these, but other things as well. It's natural to want to be protective about these, and so there is always some fear mixed in with our feelings. That is what OCD thrives on, and the random rubbish in our brains gets attached to the fear and appears to take on meaning, when it really doesn't mean anything.

Then because we want to get rid of it, we try to undo it by going over it in our heads, and repeating what we've just done. And the more we do that, the more the unwanted thoughts are reinforced in our brains, so they are more difficult to get rid of. It's a sort of vicious circle.

I'm not sure how clear this is, but it's how I understand something of how OCD operates!

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Hello hope you are good, haven't sent anything as bad again. I dread the mornings and knowing I have to do all these rituals it scares me so much and trying to do them all and not do anything wrong not sure I can go on like this. I am tired of this illness and all the rituals and not being able to do them. Family don't realise I am just a nusiance to everyone I want to stop and just do things but the illness or is it me is too strong. I am feeling under pressure from family to smarten things up and all those changes are causing me to feel so sick inside, this will never improve sure it wont just crying and feling ill even though I have the support isn't working.

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I really do feel for you, as I know exactly what it is like! It's so difficult to do things normally when OCD is ringing a false alarm bell in your head. Even knowing it's a false alarm doesn't make it easy to ignore it.

I'm going to reverse what I said earlier about sleeping downstairs. It's clearly making you worse, having to get up each morning to a complicated ritual that exhausts you. Perhaps as a temporary measure it could take some of the pressure off you to sleep downstairs. Don't think of it as a permanent thing, but if it helps your recovery to have that particular pressure taken off, then give it a go.

Do confide in your family, perhaps give them a book about OCD to read so they understand what you have to put up with. I'm not sure what you mean when you say your family want you to 'smarten things up' but if it means your house and living space, or your appearance, but if they know how difficult it is for you maybe they'll stop having a go.

Don't think it won't improve. I've been in the same situation as you, and so have many other people with OCD. And come out the other side, if not cured, then at least functioning!

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Resisted the temptation to sleep downstairs still very giddy even typing its like when I move my head or eyes. I am worried done rituals but changed some but then went back again. I was really stressed yesterday as I couldn't find a small sticky dot which is part of the rituals I do and I thought it meant that it was a sign of everything being wrong, sorry I am such a nuisance.

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Not a nuisance at all! Not being able to find a small sticky dot doesn't mean anything, except that you can't find it. It isn't significant of anything.

If possible, when you've gone against the OCD and done things differently, keep busy. It doesn't have to be anything big, do the dishes, wash the kitchen floor, make a cup of tea or coffee, read a favourite book, just about anything to keep busy. Sitting around gives OCD the opportunity to get in there and make you think about things too much.

Say to yourself that you can worry about the rituals when you've done the dishes or whatever and had a cup of tea. In many cases you'll have forgotten all about it.

I first got OCD when I was about eleven, though I didn't know what it was. I developed a complicated ritual of counting and touching the various parts of my body. I did it every day and it became a real pain to have to do. So I gradually broke it down, making it shorter and shorter, until I could ditch it altogether. I still remember the feeling of freedom I had when I got rid of it.

So try to break down the rituals, make them shorter and shorter to carry out.

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I am trying to write this so messed up all day rituals interrupted couldn't do anything proper had visitors and then everything was pressure. So I am feeling sick with worry about the rituals not being done help. I don't want to sleep downstairs its just the downstairs rituals that are becoming difficult to handle. If I don't do them just right or anything else interrupts. I always have to go through the whole routine from the stairs again, how please how do you cope with this.

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That's a real problem with OCD, feeling you have to go over the whole bloody thing again from the start. I've found myself traipsing from kitchen to living room and back again and I've done the stairs thing as well. It's so tiring and exhausting, and it's boring as well!

I do think that you could benefit from something like Springfield though as I said there is a waiting list. They do help you break down the rituals.

It helps if you can distract yourself while you still feel the need to do the ritual yet again. It stops you from focusing on not having done it 'right' and going over it in your mind. I often try to get on with some boring household chores or pick up a book.

A technique I learnt in Springfield is to think of the mounting feelings of anxiety as like clouds overhead, or a big wave swelling, or anything else you can think of. The clouds do move on a disperse and the wave eventually breaks. It does work, although in some cases the feeling that you've got to do something again will remain.

How is it doing rituals in front of your family? Are they patient with you? It takes a lot of pressure off if you feel free to do them without incurring their annoyance. Try to let them help you if possible, but make it clear that you don't want additional pressure.

Think of putting together a plan, make a list of some of your rituals, rate how much stress they cause if you don't do them out of 10, and put them in order with the highest at the top and the lowest at the bottom, and try tackling the lowest ones first. That gets you used to feeling the stress and letting it go.

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How can I find a way of doing them say in an area like just stairs. just one room etc I don't know how as the whole ritual sems to be joined.

I hope I am not a nuisance asking this as you can appreciate I am trying to find ways to calm the ocd but also making it less stressful.

If you have any things that worked for you then I would be so glad to try it out. be good.

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Rituals often get very complicated, or else mini-rituals join up to make a big ritual. By the way, I'm always happy to help. I'm not an expert by any means, but I've had OCD long enough to have learnt a few things about it.

It might help to try not to do the whole ritual again if you 'slip up' while going from stairs to living room, or whatever it is. Just go back to where you felt you didn't do it 'correctly' and redo that bit. It's going to be a bit stressful for a while, as you will still feel you need to go back and do the whole thing. But the stress will decrease the longer you leave it.

It could be worth trying this when you don't need to go upstairs and come down. Just do it for the sake of trying it out. I always find that when I'm very stressed and need to do something my brain just shuts down and I can't focus on anything but the 'need' to redo. If I try to do it when I am more relaxed, it is a bit easier.

At Springfield I had to do things like practice walking along the corridor from my room to the kitchen without any retracing, and make a cup of tea or coffee and come back to my room, again without retracing. Naturally I kept wanting to go back and retrace, but it got easier.

It's not for nothing that OCD is rated as one of the ten most disabling conditions by the World Health Organization! It's so difficult to explain to someone who hasn't got it, but it can be crippling.

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yes its very bad and you are so supportive to everyone and still fighting it. I do feel a nuisance I am always asking for advice. I would like to give this a go about doing the bit that went wrong but so afraid something bad will happen if I haven't done it all. Did they try and explain this when you were in for the therapy and what was it that made you go. did you find the local support services good or couldn't they help.

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I know the feeling! Even knowing that it's a load of rubbish doesn't stop the fear mechanism in the brain making you feel this way.

They did explain this in therapy. I found the local support services very good, in fact I just had a follow-up meeting with my psychiatrist only the other week. I had more than one course of intensive CBT. And of course the stay in Springfield. That really helped as it was every day instead of only once a week, and they immerse you in it. But it was done very gently so it didn't make it worse.

CBT is effective, and you can do it yourself, but it does help if you have support from a trained therapist. How often do you have CBT and what does it consist of?

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Hello I am so struggling reading all the advice which is keeping me going so appreciate it. My new worry is this hope you can help I was worried about the sadness of 9/11 yesterday and then realsie dthat does it go on till today as they have a light that continues to dawn and that means we should be observing this too really worried now as not sure I thought it was the the one day now I have seeenthe light they use I am not sure if we should also be observing the same today can you help.r

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Try not to worry about whether you have done it according to what they said. It's clear that you are a sensitive person who cares deeply about others, and things like this are bound to affect you.

But try to remember that what really matters to the victims and their families is that you think about them and remember them, not whether you do it on a particular day. Don't let OCD dictate to you!

I'm sorry for not answering earlier, as I have been quite busy, out to meetings and things or shopping. I can take a bit of a break now and recover.

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oh I was worried that I might have said something wrong to offend and becoming a nuisance with all my questions which might seem silly. I struggle with these things and spend the whole day worrying about it and don't want to do anything it is the same for anything similar whether more personal or world wide. What is causing me to be like this everything seems so scary and daunting, I struggle to function. I met my new psychologist yesterday went through paperwork, I do hope I will be able to improve. The Busiprone has still not be done went to chemist and nothing. I do have some sertaline that I had a long time ago wondering if I shold try it again as the pragabalin doesn't seem to be doing anything.and seroxit. very low t moment as struggling with it. I am so appreciative that you are supporting it would be good to meet you.

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Don't take old medication without asking your GP or psychiatrist if it's all right. They could interact in a bad way with what you are currently taking.

In any case as you've been off the sertraline for some while, it would most likely take a few weeks before it started having any effect, so it's unlikely to be useful.

It's not good that they are keeping you waiting for your buspirone. Chemists have a duty to make sure people get their medication when they need it.

Believe me, you really can improve! I often have problems when I'm out and feel I have to retrace my steps, but if I can push on, then when I get home I usually forget about it. It does go away.

I've been to Bath before, some years ago, and went round the museums and things, and the Roman baths. It's a beautiful city. Perhaps if I feel up to travelling I could go there and meet you there.

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That would be lovely I could also train to somewhere near to you and meet just meeting would be lovely even if we met at the station and then neither would have the problem with tracing. I have work meeting next week capability meeting really worried I have suggested could I do work from home but not sure they will do this, s it is only admin data inputting. Not what I used to do as I was customer focused and reception which I really loved but they have offered this instead and not sure how I will cope shut in n office and not knowing the work, I can have training but really don't feel I want to do it. My sick pay will be done and not sure what I can do. This illness is certainly terrible I know there is much worse but it does seem to demand a lot . I have asked for redundancy but they said no as I was job matched. What can I do its the travelling to work that is the hard part and ll the retracing I feel sick just thinking bout it I m not going out much.

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I know just what you mean! For me it was the getting to work that was so difficult and I'd arrive in a lather and not really fit for work! I had to commute and it took the best part of two hours to get there, and then the same back again. But I didn't much like the work anyway, and I think the sheer boredom of it brought on the OCD again that I had previously had under control. I now have occasional part time work close to where I live.

The problem with these work capability assessments is that they put so much pressure onto people who are already coping with illness. It just makes it worse. It might be worth checking if there are any advocacy or help organizations near you. They may be able to give you information about what you're entitled to, and some will supply a trained person to come to an assessment with you.

How much of a commute is it to where you work, and are transport links good? It could be worth getting a job closer to where you live, if there is one. Perhaps even try your GP's surgery as they are often in need of receptionists, if that is the work you like.

But it's important that you feel ready to go back to work first. It's bad enough having OCD without having the pressures of work on top of it. Check on what benefits you could qualify for if you're not ready to go back.

I can think of places we could possibly meet up in the meanwhile!

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Hi trying to mix rituals terrible thought I was doing well then found my mobile setting wasn't on its usual profile and want to do the whole lot again in case something bad happens so exhausted and fed up of all of this. can't stop it cant do it properly always something I have missed or not done correct please please advice

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It's difficult, I know, but if you can wait for a while, not think about it, and try to do other things, the feeling might just go away. It doesn't always, of course, and then you really do feel you need to go back and do it all again. But nothing bad will result if you don't do it all again.

Exposure response prevention involves giving it a go without going back and repeating the ritual, or not doing the ritual at all. It isn't easy, but it works!

Our brains are programmed to avoid things that are harmful. So if you burn your fingers on the iron, you will avoid touching it except for the handle. But this can make us fearful of things that aren't harmful. If, for example, you do something and something bad happens that is completely unconnected, your brain still makes the connection: do this and something bad happens! So then you avoid doing it, or do it in a different way.

To break the cycle you need to do the original thing and prove to yourself that it doesn't cause something bad to happen. It helps if you work with your therapist for support, but you can do it on your own.

Don't think that you always have to repeat a ritual 'correctly' or do it again. Try cutting down on how often you repeat it. Just do it once, and leave it! I've managed to cut down rituals that way.

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yes its the big ritual which involves stairs then walking into the two other rooms and all of individual rituals. How do I do this I can get so far then something goes wrong a car drives past person walks past the window a noise and I feel that is all messed up and it want keep anyone safe until it is done good. This is the sticky one if anyone can up with some good alternative way that will help me feel safe and cope then please please say how.

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A car or person going past while you are doing your ritual is not going to cause anything bad to happen and if you can do the stairs and the two other rooms whatever goes past, then you won't have to do it again.

It does mean feeling a bit uncomfortable for a while, but do it and then decide to worry about it later. For example you could leave it until, say, half past four and then allow yourself to worry about it. The chances are that half past four will come and go and you'll have forgotten about it.

It does get easier the more you do it. Think of the anxiety as something like clouds overhead, that move on and disperse. It does get better.

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I know what your saying and it is really everything now I am totally worn out by it all such a failure can't take the cancel in case something happens dont want to go out and when I am out I feel sick and afraid.

What is psychotherapy and how is that used for OCD as read a little article about it.

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Psychotherapy covers quite a number of different types of therapy, but the one most used for OCD is cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT. It involves challenging the way you think about things and making alterations to your behaviour which actually breaks down the OCD in the brain.

It also involves the exposure-response prevention, or ERP, which you have found so difficult. That isn't surprising, as I have found it difficult! Just about everyone does!

The sort of 'talking therapy' where you dredge up all sorts of negative things that have happened to you in the past doesn't really help OCD, though it may clarify and help you to process your experiences.

I really do think you need more support from your team and therapist in helping you to do the CBT. As I said, everybody finds it difficult, and it helps to have a therapist with you while you do it, to support you.

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It sounds as though you're struggling. How is the medication? And the therapy? Does the therapist accompany you and try to get you to go against the rituals?

I've been in the same situation that you're in, barely able to move from the sofa or do anything, and it can get better, whatever you think!

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I start a new therapist met her once for initial paperwork and don't know what to expect. I find it too difficult to stop the rituals convinced it will mean bad things happening. Medication no change feel more depressed than when I started I have just got worse and it has really taken a hold. How you have managed is really so good and lots of hard work. I just find even the smallest thing I can't leave and people are getting really annoyed with me I spend most of the time eating biscuits sitting on he sofa and crying.The days are so long and I am such a failure. I am finding it hard to see any way forward. The person I was has gone such a horrid illness and no cure.

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Please don't feel like a failure! That's one of the things OCD does to us, strips us of our ability to do things, and then makes us feel like we've failed. And it makes us feel depressed, and it's hard to do very much when we're depressed.

I've been in the same place you are at the moment, and I've managed to get out of it. So can you!

Right now you're feeling really grotty, and that makes it difficult to do the CBT, and that just keeps you stuck in the mud of OCD. But lots of people have been where you are, and have got out of it.

Give the new therapist a go. There are techniques she might use to prove that bad things don't happen as a result of your not doing your OCD things. I can go into further details but I am going out shortly, so if you can wait until I'm back!

Medication isn't the only answer, but it can help. Has a psychiatrist prescribed it, or your GP? If it's the GP, then ask for a psychiatrist to reconsider it.

People can be very impatient, and it is very upsetting. I've had people at work shouting at me, I've had 'friends' say things like, 'This is so embarrassing,' and I've had people in the street making fun. One actually filmed me on his phone. People like that aren't worth bothering about.

There isn't a cure at present for OCD, but it's possible to live almost normally with it!

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I have been waiting for new therapist and hasn't shown up don't know what is happening feel desperate rituals are hard to deal with or get right and another important day to remember someone special and everything going wrong can't remember what rituals were done good or not so scared something bad will happen how do you go on not knowing when you can't do things right and good. so scared.

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Try to forget whether or not you did the rituals 'correctly' or not. Nothing bad is going to happen as a result. The problem is that your brain is so used to feeling uncomfortable at the thought of not doing the rituals, or not doing them 'right', that it can't help feeling scared, at least at the moment.

It makes it all the harder when something matters to you. So an important day for you, or something like that, makes the OCD try to spoil it for you. It's not for nothing that OCD is called 'the doubting disease' because if makes you doubt constantly what you do, what you did, did you do it right etc.

Let me know if the therapist turned up and if she was any good. It isn't easy to do CBT, I know, but it does work.

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier, but I was out and got back quite tired. I had a few wobbles and the occasional retracing of steps, and going in and out of doorways, and a bit of a problem at Waterloo Train Station, trying to get to the train while the crowd surged forward. But I tell you this to let you know that you can get back to being able to function, if not completely normally, enough to get your life back.

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Struggling again sending messages sorry, how are you and do you ever have this problem of sending.

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I have problems with phoning. Particularly if it's one where you get 'Press One', Press two', etc or you have to type in a number. I get all flustered and feel I've done it 'wrong' and then I hang up and do it again! So I do get the problem you have with messaging.

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Try not to worry about doing the rituals, and whether you have done them in the 'right' way. Part of the problem is that your worry level is currently very high, and it is very difficult to carry out the CBT exercises when you are like that. But being able to do the rituals in the 'wrong' order and then leave it alone and stop thinking about it is a way to freeing yourself from them.

How long have you been on your current medication? It does take a while for it to work, but if you feel no better maybe consider another one. Some people don't have a good response to the SSRIs so perhaps your psychiatrist could prescribe clomipramine for you. It's an older medication, but is very effective for OCD and I was on it for years. The problem was that it made me feel very dopey!

Obviously I'm not a psychiatrist and in a position to say what's best for you, but it might be worth mentioning it to your therapist. It is still prescribed for people for whom SSRIs aren't effective. How are you getting on with the new therapist?

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I have only seen therapist once not sure when I see her as no appointment. I really need to find a good therapist that could help me. I was prescribed the medication you mentioned the psychiatrist gave me it but was too sleepy with it couldn't cope. Have you heard of Seroxit as this is what I have been prescribed and have had this a while. I am sitting and shaking again with fear don't know why just always scared. I have managed to do a bit of cleaning but I feel like crying so alone and frightened with this illness I seem to be fighting all the time. When you say about rituals and mix them up how does this work and does it work. How do you manage to retrain your mind.

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Sorry for not replying earlier, been quite busy with bits and bobs. The clomipramine does make you feel very dopey, I agree! I took it for years, and I can remember how it was. My boss gave me a good shaking when she found me asleep on my desk!

The therapist really should give you a new appointment, and tell you how often they will be, what they will consist of and how many sessions the course of therapy will take. Make sure you ask her.

For how long have you been taking the seroxat? It apparently takes up to six weeks to start working. I should have a word with your psychiatrist about your medication if you don't feel much better on it.

The feelings of being scared are ones that I know well. It's really horrible. I really feel for you and hate to think that you are just sitting alone with this. It really sucks, but you don't have to feel like this always.

Retraining the mind takes a bit of effort, but it can be done. As I said, I've been in the position you are in, and though I can't say I'm cured, and I still struggle, I do manage to do much more than I did.

It involves challenging the way you think. Don't believe the rubbish the OCD is telling you, for a start. Try making a list of the things the OCD is stopping you from doing, or making you do. Going from your bedroom down the stairs and into the other rooms downstairs is one. Think of the others and write them down. Then give them marks out of ten for how much distress they cause you.

For example, I had all kinds of little rules that OCD imposed on me, like not cooking pasta on a Monday. They don't sound like much on their own, but I was so hemmed in with silly rules that made no sense. So I had to do things like cooking pasta on a Monday and prove that it was all right to. I also had to walk outside and not retrace.

I found that after I'd gone against the OCD that it didn't make bad things happen, and I quickly forgot about it. I'm not saying it's easy to do, and it will increase the stress for a while, but let it, and then let it subside.

I hope this helps. It's really horrible feeling the way you do. Big hugs from me. x x x

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Hello so pleased to have this from you, so low had to try to cope as my rituals couldn't be done in the same way due to interruptions and other things. I have been shaky and crying so scared I don't know how I can do everything again as part of the day was having blood test (not me) and I am so convinced that something bad will result due to not being able to do the things I do please help going really in my head.

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I hust feel that it is going to be my fault if things are not good as I didn't do all my rituals and had to change my routine so scared.

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How about not doing the rituals again today? It sounds as though you are even more exhausted than usual, and I know how exhausting doing rituals is! The blood test you mention, whose is it? And is it for something serious? How long before you, or they, get the results? If nothing bad happens, then that proves that not doing the rituals doesn't cause bad things to happen.

I know that it's one thing knowing that, and another feeling it, so you know perfectly well that the OCD is telling you a load of rubbish, but the fear mechanism in your brain still makes you feel the opposite.

Give it a rest for today, if you can. If possible, do something you enjoy, or even something boring like chores, to take your mind off it. Then start tomorrow afresh.

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Has this ever happened to you

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Hi bubble02

So sorry you’re experiencing this.

I completely get where you’re coming from.

My OCD started when I was around 12/13 and I still suffer from it (I’m 29).

What I found helpful was CBT.

My OCD got increasingly worse last year (my rituals are to do with checking doors, appliances, documents/words I have written and putting things in specific orders so as to prevent something catching fire, or something else bad from happening, as well as intrusive thoughts and repeatedly praying the same things), and I got so fed up and exhausted from it all (the number of times I allowed myself to check specific things kept increasing - even when I completed the checks, I would leave and get “stuck” and be preoccupied with whether or not I really checked it or locked a door. I would then have to go back and check and do it all over again).

I managed to get CBT (NHS self-referral in my borough and got an appointment after a short wait and a few assessments).

It was really helpful to be able to share what was going on in my head with someone and almost have “permission” from someone outside of myself to not listen to the OCD.

Over the few months of therapy, my therapist took me through a number of experiments to challenge what the OCD was telling me would happen if I didn’t check (anti-OCD experiments), which she often did alongside me first to help me through the process.

If you do end up choosing CBT, a lot of the experiments will be personal to you and what you are experiencing.

So, for example, one of the experiments we did was for both of us to leave our belongings in her office close the door, but not check it and go for a walk. Along the walk I would tell her what percent my anxiety was at, and that helped me to face the anxiety I was experiencing and work through it without being able to perform a ritual to fix it. The experiments helped me to test out whether what my OCD was telling me was true - every time, the OCD was proven wrong.

For homework, I was set the challenge to do the same thing at home with one part of the house that I normally check, write down what my prediction would be if I didn’t check (what the OCD was telling me), not check that area, go to work for the day, come back and see if the prediction came true.

I won’t lie - it was an extremely difficult process, seeing as OCD has been with me for so long. Even though I have now finished my sessions, I still face it every day and still challenge the thoughts.

All in all, I’d say that I would definitely recommend CBT as it gives you the tools to challenge your OCD and see it for what it is - it is always demanding more and is never satisfied.

Wishing you the very best.

Sending you a massive hug!

It’s a tough journey. Please please pleeeaase don’t be hard on yourself.

Take it one step at a time.

Xxx

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As an add on, I had CBT one day a week for 1 hour during the day, and my employer allowed me to go during work hours.

If you are working, definitely ask whether they will be fine with this - I’m hoping they should as it is a huge part of your health in the workplace - I believe the government should have information on mental health in the workplace

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Hello koala_sparkle

I am currently not at work as signed sick as it all became very difficult. I agree and find the more I do I can't do enough to put things good.

I am finding it difficult as I do worry if something bad will happen and it just is hard to try and stop. Sounds as if you have had it very hard. I reconise the worry of did I check it did I really do it and usually have to go back to doing it again. This is why its so exhausting as never sure and if I am interrupted during my rituals I have to do it all again but never feels good. Did you start on just a few things with your therapist and were you able to do it.

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When I began therapy, we spent the first session going over what I had been experiencing and the biggest challenges I was facing. I was also asked what goals I had in mind that I would hope therapy would help me to achieve. One of my goals was to get my checking down to only check something once and leave it alone - and to be able to walk away without anxiety or doubt.

There was a specific diagram (I’ve forgotten the name of it) that I completed with the therapist and did some additional ones for homework.

I wrote down each intrusive thought that I would get on a regular basis (e.g. one being that I could have left an appliance on).

I then had to write down what triggered the thought, then the meaning behind the intrusive thought. I then wrote down what the thought caused me to feel, what it caused me to do and what mental arguments I had.

This was one of the main tools that we used throughout my sessions that helped to remind me how the OCD cycle works and why the anxiety and the actions I take to cancel out a thought or try to prevent something from happening, continues to fuel the OCD.

There were some tasks that I was set for homework that I struggled to do (particularly walking away from a door after locking it, without checking it and without being able to do something else for the locking of the door to feel right).

I’d say that CBT is a very individual experience as there may be some experiments that I worked on that may not suit another person.

I hope that helps xxx

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Yes this is helpful, I find it difficult to do this I have noticed how I am not wanting to get up as the dread of the ocd rituals are so scary and can I do them good, or do I go through a lot of checking.

I also find I can't remember whether I have done the rituals or not properly does this happen to you or any others. Its like I don't know how to reassure myself that I have done them, any advice. I notice rituals have become more and more so exhausted, medication is making me drowsy extremely tired and I feel so exhausted please keep sending advice support and anything that will help I do look forward to the replies you are all such lovely people.

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How are you

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That's a really good description of CBT!

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Its awful isn't it especially when you can't remember if you have done something or not, it must be very difficult especially with bad eyesight. How are you you doing do you have better days than others

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