Tormented By Cleanliness OCD And Have No Will Left ... - OCD-UK


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Tormented By Cleanliness OCD And Have No Will Left To Live


I am writing this as a last resort. I have suffered from OCD for almost my entire life, beginning in my early teens. My mother had OCD and something triggered within me one day and i have not been able to "snap out of it" since. My mother was in a difficult situation herself and back then, people in her situation certainly did not have the support or wealth of resources or information that we are fortunate enough to have to-hand now, even if there is no real cure yet.

I have been to various counsellors, attempted CBT therapy, medications and much prayer over the years. The OCD will dissipate for a very small time, then re-appear in another form. It has always centred around cleanliness OCD, whether it be an obsession with dog poop or an obsession with washing my hands and cleaning myself thoroughly when i worked for a medical facility many years ago. One way or another, my brain will stop me from carrying on as normal like everyone else, and will instead zone in on a particular action that i will start to obsess over.

The irony of my story is that i am an extremely intelligent, accomplished and successful woman with a seemingly envious public life. However, in private, no one could ever imagine the nightmare that is my daily reality. My OCD progressively became worse, the more successful i became. It finally got to such a terrible point that my obsessions eventually punished me with a deadly infection that left me almost paralysed and fighting for my life. I went from being a healthy, happy, supremely confident individual to a woman that, even during my stay in hospital fighting a deadly infection, would hold in my urine instead of using my hospital toilet, despite being in a private hospital akin to a 5 star hotel.

I am writing as i need help and i really don't know where to turn or where to even begin asking for help anymore. I feel overwhelmed and as if i have exhausted every avenue out there and nothing can make this curse leave my life. The thought of living with this evil, terrifying condition is simply not an option anymore as i am not actually living right now, i am simply breathing and that is it. It has now gotten to a point where i suffer great anxiety simply stepping out of the house and fear dust and germs with each step i take. My OCD was certainly never this bad and i am not sure how it has even gotten to this point. I do almost everything i need to online or spend money on couriers and assistants to carry out "outside" tasks for me. For someone like myself, who on the outside, is seen as a bubbly, assertive personality and one that has been recognised as an innovator, it would come as an incredible shock if people were to know that i am living such a secluded and tortured personal existence.

I have progressively become suicidal over the Covid-19 period. My husband and i were ripped apart during the height of the virus when borders starting shutting and he was unable to join me for more than 14 weeks. He is normally my rock and my calm place and will always do everything he can to make my life less tormented. I allow him to carry out the tasks around the home to relieve me from obsessive and physically damaging cleaning, in the purposeful hope that he doesn't contract my terrible OCD or my obsessive behaviours. My brother also did this - he began to purposely behave in the opposite manner to the obsessive mannerisms he saw my mother and myself display. It resulted in me avoiding my own brother for fear of being "dirty" or "contaminated", however, i was actually relieved that he was reversing his thinking against the obsessive compulsive behaviours that he saw my mother and i displaying.

This is the first time i have so openly spoken about how i feel. After finally bringing the cleaners in to de-sanitize our entire house today, following weeks of hoarding all sorts of rubbish and unwanted items inside our home while i was stuck between those four walls tormented, i have never felt so ashamed, depressed and down about the state that my home had been in and about my mental health in general. The entire home was in a terrible state and i was in a position where i would feel disgusted about using my own bathrooms and would hold in urine simply as i felt grossed out about using my own toilets. How is it that i can have multiple educational degrees, have such an accomplished career, have such a great public life, have amazing life experiences, and yet have so much madness going through my mind where i am damaging my own health spending upto 24 hours cleaning or by not going to the toilet like a normal person would?! I don't understand the point of living although many would say i have so very much to live for - for so long, i have felt that i am simply breathing, not living life - at least nowhere near how i should be living life. Every day is a complete effort to carry out simple tasks, every action i take i over-analyse and have to think about over and over. The "safest" i feel is in my living room with my laptop as that is the only "cleanliness" i can control. That is not living, that is torment. I simply cannot go on like this.

6 Replies

It's certainly true that OCD often pops back up in another place, but that doesn't mean that treatment is always ineffective.

Medication often needs to be taken long term, so coming off it as soon as you feel better isn't always helpful. CBT isn't that easy to do, and you need to put the lessons it teaches into practice every day to get the full benefits. So just because you've tried them and the OCD has come back, it doesn't mean that they don't work.

As someone who has OCD and agoraphobia I know how it feels. I struggle to go out, though I do manage it. I know how much effort the simplest task often takes out of me.

It sounds as though you have money, with private hospitals and outside cleaners. I'm not saying that it's good to be poor, because it isn't, but being able to afford a lot of outside help doesn't always help with OCD. It disincentivizes you to do things for yourself. And CBT is very much about learning to do things for yourself again rather than getting others to do them for you. Relying on your husband too much can have the same effect.

The lockdown has put a lot of stress on anyone prone to be fearful of germs and contamination. But although precautions against Coronavirus are necessary, that doesn't mean that germs are all bad. Most bacteria are harmless and their presence keeps many of the bad ones out. Most of us have healthy enough immune systems to deal with harmful bacteria and viruses. In fact, a little dirt gives the immune system a bit of a work out and helps to keep it healthy.

It's difficult to access professional help at the moment, but if you haven't already got some, invest in a self help book or two and put into practice the CBT exercises outlined in them.

Many of us on this forum have been where you are now, barely managing to do day-to-day tasks. But OCD can be got over sufficiently to enjoy life again.

Mvshrln in reply to Sallyskins

Sallyskins, it resonates with me what you say about having money doesn't always help with these conditions. My health anxiety has become especially severe recently and as I am working from home I have more time and money due to not spending money and time travelling into work. Therefore, this extra time and money allows me to explore private clinics, health tests and other forms of reassurance that my OCD wants to feed into.

Onehundred - it's often the way that people perceive us as "successful" or "doing well" when really we are internally struggling. Would it help for you to open up to someone? Often, we don't realise how much other people experience similar fears to us until we break the taboo by talking about them. It helps us feel less alone.

One hundred- I read your post with much sadness as I saw a lot of myself in what you have written. I am so sorry to hear about the extremely hard time you are having right now. Please know that you are NOT alone. All of us with OCD are fighting this battle every day of our lives. For me it has been about 34 years ( I am older but my OCD didn’t start bothering me until my 20’s.) My main problem has been about contamination as well and I can totally relate to some of the things you have said. The past year or so I think I finally came to the conclusion that this OCD was not going to just go away on it’s own. I just have to learn how to ignore what it is telling me ( hard to do I know) but it is the only way to live with it. I am not ashamed of it anymore as I realize that I have a lot of good qualities that come with OCD- responsibility, empathy, compassion, etc. In other words I don’t look at it like the enemy anymore- just something that I have to deal with just as others have problems they have to deal with on a daily basis. Don’t let your OCD beat you up- you can have a good life. Don’t ever give up. Read and learn as much as you can on how to handle this disorder- you’ll hear from others that it is very possible to do.

Also, you've done really well to talk about all of this on here. It could really be the first step to recovery, to be aware of the fact you need help. And there is help - perhaps you could look at private counselling? I see a private counsellor via video chat on my laptop. It's very beneficial.

I've heard of TMS (although that's expensive, at least where I am)

There's also a last resort operation I don't know how it varies between countries but it's a thing. Last resort though, probably side effects from it

Thanks for posting and sharing your struggles with ocd. I relate to so much of what you are saying. I hope that you will reconsider any thoughts of not going on do to to OCD. Your writing is great and by sharing your story it helps others who have it.

I say this knowing just how impossible it is to deal with sometimes and how hard that feeling is for those who don’t have it to truly understand. It’s painful mentally and the feeling of being stuck in fear eventually effects, posture, breathing, diet, etc. I once tried to explain it to someone like, how many thoughts do you have while getting ready in the morning and the person may say “I don’t know...I don’t think that much getting ready in the morning“ and then when they ask me the same I may say “too many to count or a thousand.”

We are the ones that intellectualize those things that are mundane. I once had lunch with a guy I carefully unfolded the wrapper to my sandwich lwhich knowing if I touched one part of it I would throw it out while he got some grime on his hand wiped it in his pants then ate his without washing. I thought he was either a super hero or very crude. I spent the meal carefully eating my sandwich thinking about him eating his - for a couple of days.

As bleak as it seems you have people in your life who care about you. You have ability and courage. Please accept your ocd and try to find joy in between the struggles. Hope things have gotten better since you posted.

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