I think my mother has OCD but I can't be sure if I'm right, help!

I think my mother has OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder). I never though something like this was an illness, I actually learnt what OCD was from watching Glee and now I think my mother might have this.

When I was in primary school my mother was in her 30s and she used to clean and wash clothes which was okay, it was completely normal, but when I got to secondary school it changed a little bit. You see our family is religious (my mother the most out of the rest of us) and we need to pray so that means you have to wash before praying (just the face, back of the ears, arms and the foot only three times completely normal) and you need one outfit that you must always change into. This is where I think I first realized the first signs of it later in secondary school. You see when we would come home my mother would make sure to ask us if we had bumped into other people, if we did she would make sure we don't touch a certain area where she would place her clothes (because those might be used to pray) but later it changed to every clothes she washed she would bless them (I think this is how it would be translated) so you could pray with any of these but we aren't allowed to touch them or she'll have to wash them again. I think the most noticeable part that makes me think she might have OCD is that when she goes out she tries not to bump into people and if she accidentally touches a stranger's hand or even a friend's/neighbour's she would not touch anything with that hand until she washed that hand while blessing it. Unfortunately it got worst as if she would accidentally have someone shake her hand (like one of my teacher's or a stranger) she wouldn't wash the hand she would take a bath instead. I was luckily able to convince her she didn't need to do this, in fact there were loads of times she called the local mosque (one of the teachers there) and asked them would she need to take a bath for something like this and luckily the teacher had convinced she didn't need to.

Right now it's at the point where if we have strangers or people like workers/technicians come in the house, she would clean the floors after they left and anything they touched. Today in the kitchen my dad cleaned the floor with a mop from the bathroom because there was oil on the floor there, my mum freaked out and cleaned the whole kitchen floor again but with tissue and a bowl of water then she cleaned the hall as well because when you go in the kitchen you walk out into the hall.

I'm really worried, if what I said above does actually mean she might have OCD. I feel like I'm betraying her by even thinking any of this but when I researched this I read that this could get worst and if she does have this I would rather she gets better because I already know she's not happy about herself that she always feels the need to clean and wash like this.

I want to help her but I don't know how I can do this subtly without her freaking out and thinking I think she has an illness. I don't want her to think that. I don't even know what helps cure OCD.

1 Reply

oldestnewest
  • Hi Clay,

    Whilst no-one on here could diagnose your mum, it does sound like she is displaying symptoms of OCD. You clearly care a lot about her and want her to feel better - do you think you could tell your mum this, e.g. that you're worried she seems unhappy because of how much she cleans, or maybe would you feel comfortable in confiding this in the teacher that she rang at the mosque? Perhaps if he approached her saying that he is concerned she might have OCD then she might listen, as she clearly trusts him because she rang him for advice re: washing.

    Regarding treatment for OCD, there are generally two: pharmacological (medication) and psychological (cognitive-behavioural therapy). Medication should not be used as a treatment alone but is sometimes used in conjunction with CBT.

    There's loads of useful info at ocduk.org which you might find helpful or could even point your mum in that direction if you think it would help.

    Kind regards,

    Mrs_Star

You may also like...