Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

ocd trigger

(66 Posts)
iloveny001 Sun 22-Sep-13 22:04:46

I gave ocd, have been off work twice for a period of 6 months each. Have now been back at work in health care setting for several years but is difficult as my odd relates to germs and the thought of making others I'll by things I carry. I currently have a system in my bed sit of clean and dirty areas, but if something clean feels dirty am compulsed to wash it or throw it away.
I currently have mice and am freaking out that they have been on dirty areas, like my floor, and then onto clean areas like my bed. Am also worried they have 'contaminated' my work bag. Can't stop these thoughts and definitely don't want to go off sick with an odd melt down again. I feel like I want to throw away every single possession and item of clothing just in case. I am treating the mice problem with traps, and will call my landlord in the morning but even after they've gone will still be worried as to where they have been. Feel so stupid that this is bothering me.

FavoriteThings Sun 29-Sep-13 19:51:06

I have been on a thread in the last few days with some sisters. Presumably you are not the same set? Just thought I would check.

op, brilliant about letting your friend help you. Well done.

Hi to wibblyjelly!
I did wonder whether, with some OCD sufferers, if one worry ends, another may start.
The only advice I have I suppose is to try and ignore. And then it may go away in time?
I am sure that being supportive is helpful in itself.

thanks to everyone on here

peachypips Sun 29-Sep-13 20:05:47

Hi lovely sisters!
I don't have OCD but my dad has, and I have a severe generalised anxiety disorder so I can sympathise. I am totally well on medication.
I wonder if you need to change your meds Ilove ? It doesn't sound like they are working particularly well. I have a combination of Sertraline and Mirtazapine which works brilliantly- Sertraline helps me with my avoidance of tasks etc, and Mirtazapine helps me stay relaxed and less anxious. Mirtazapine also helps me sleep. If you have been on paroxetine for ages it may have 'pooped out' on you. Can you see your psych and get a med review?
What helps me when I am bad is people letting me do what I need to do and not putting pressure on me.

wibblyjelly Sun 29-Sep-13 20:48:28

Hi Peach and Things.

Thank you for replying. Maybe going to the DR's is worthwhile then, if they could change her medication?

AgentZigzag Sun 29-Sep-13 21:29:03

'What helps me when I am bad is people letting me do what I need to do and not putting pressure on me'

That just about sums it up for me too, unconditional acceptance/love. Maybe a bit like stuttering, that the more it's noticed by other people the more you do it and the higher the anxiety is.

Your last post was really positive ilove, and you sound exactly what you'd want a sister to be wibbly. Just being there means so much, you probably don't have to do anything differently.

There has been research about what causes OCD Favorite, and looking at scans of the brain there are difference in the areas that are active in someone with OCD compared to someone without. Trying to ignore it is like telling someone to stop thinking, it's impossible.

There's something called ironic processing that the more you try to suppress a thought the more you think about it, and with OCD it gets to obsessive levels, and it's such a fucking waste of time!

It's more than one ending another starting, I've probably got about (guessing at) 30-50 'rules', some of those I do all the time all day and others depend on where I am, they're very complex processes.

It's relentless.

wibblyjelly Sun 29-Sep-13 22:02:32

Thank you Agent thanks
I just feel so helpless seeing her struggle, and all I can say is 'it will be fine'. In a way, I kind of understand what she is going through, due to my anxiety, but mine was never at the high level hers is. I had CBT, and am sorted now, so it's horrible to see her struggle so much. All I can do is reassure, but sometimes that's not enough to stop her worrying, and that's the horrible thing about it. It's her brain making her think this way, so when it's bad there doesn't seem to be a lot we can do to help, she has to struggle through it by herself.

peachypips Sun 29-Sep-13 22:03:03

It is worth going to the doc and getting a referral to a psychiatrist as they are experts in the medication, if she isn't with one already. A GP generally has limited knowledge about the ins and outs of psych meds.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 22:13:04

I have been along a continuum with this, from subclinical to out and out obsessing to the point of not being able to function and I think what is hardest to explain is the normality of it. You do these things because you just have to do them to feel 'right', much the same way everyone feels uncomfortable if not able to clean their hands, or perhaps wearing same underwear next day. This sense of discomfort. The disabling bit is what it slows down and stops you from living the rest of your life and the suffering and self-loathing. I want to be able to drive. I want not to be overcome by complete brain fog when faced with simple filing tasks. It is just too much.

I think likening it to stammering is useful. It is an automatic loop and sometimes you just need to do it and not be judged. A few months back a person with OCD frequently posted on these boards reassurance seeking. Some of the responses were quite exasperated and eye-rolly, with an air of 'pull yourself together'. It is very poorly understood by most people. My house is a kip when I'm ill.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 22:22:30

Also wibbly reassurance can be a thorny one. The standard advice is not to give reassurance about the obsession, only reassurance you are there and you will be, you know this isn't a choice etc.

I remember a friend constantly telling me my birth would be fine when I was obsessing about it. 'You know it will be fine really'. It made me hate her. I knew rationally it was likely but the unbearable bit was the fear and lack of guarantee. Always felt reassurances assumed the problem was that I was a bit too thick to realise the risks were very small... I found it v minimising as though it were a problem of logic vs emotion, controllable with the right stats. The reassurances I needed were almost exactly opposite. No matter what the outcome, you will survive and move on from this even if your worst nightmares come true etc.... not 'be reasonable, this is extreme, you are taking this too far'. I bloody knew that. Wasn't going to stop the icy chill of my blood and bones though.

peachypips Sun 29-Sep-13 22:23:42

I know what you mean working . Just looking at a small pile of washing up seems absolutely insurmountable to me as I can't work out how to do it 'right'. The cleanest has to go first, but then it may be too big to be stacked on the drainer first. And so on and so on. That's when avoidance kicks in! Then the house gets messy. Funny how people think OCD makes you a very tidy person. I hate it when people say 'I'm really OCD about that'. Whatever. They haven't got a clue!

peachypips Sun 29-Sep-13 22:24:54

Oh and I get that icy chill thing- like my blood running cold.

AgentZigzag Sun 29-Sep-13 22:36:09

The insecurities I have are on an industrial level wibbly, so reassurance and feeling secure are massively important. I'm so lucky that DH/(most) family/friends have accepted me as I am, and it really does calm down if I'm able to be myself and feel a bit relaxed.

I can imagine having to watch it play out and not be able to help is so frustrating, and it can be isolating for the person when the OCD's doing it's worst, but it does help knowing there are people who care about how you're feeling.

I don't drive either working (and have the self-loathing for being 'weird'/different/a target), I don't want the responsibility and risk of fucking it up and killing/maiming people, not when I have upsetting scenarios of different accidents/deaths constantly running through my head anyway.

When you were saying about not being able to read something through, what is it that's stopping you? Is it because you have to read it 'the right way' and keep having to start reading it again if you miss a word?

AgentZigzag Sun 29-Sep-13 22:45:28

X-posts, when I say about reassurance, for me it's really about acceptance.

That because I'm not able to control every aspect of it (although it is possible to get them under some control, sometimes) and I'm compelled to do bizarre things, that that doesn't make me a freak.

And I do feel like one. Apart from when I'm at home I don't fit in anywhere with anyone, I've come to terms with it now, but it's really damaged me in the past when I didn't understand what was going on.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 23:16:29

[https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fm.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DuIyy9TW3ZCQ%26desktop_uri%3D%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DuIyy9TW3ZCQ&ei=P6RIUvz_M6T17Aafq4HoBg&usg=AFQjCNHcv_gWdL_TB0pcSr3DyVJSIgiYXQ&sig2=HvFmD2ndx9tLhsO4JWoMPw this sums up OCD for me]]. That frustration.

AZ, I just struggle with procedural tasks. I can't explain it on an anxiety level. I just get caught in a loop or my mind can't focus on where to start. With filing I just can't operate a system. I don't know where to begin or I put too many rules in and I subdivide too much and can't decide where things belong so I am paralysed. It is like I fog over and then I just want it to stop so I walk away and can't work out where I left off when I coming back and I start to feel panicky. I am fine where a system has already been set up for filing.

With spreadsheets it is a checking compulsion so more obvious.. am I on the right line? Did I read that right?

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 23:18:46

this sums up OCD for me. That frustration.

AZ, I just struggle with procedural tasks. I can't explain it on an anxiety level. I just get caught in a loop or my mind can't focus on where to start. With filing I just can't operate a system. I don't know where to begin or I put too many rules in and I subdivide too much and can't decide where things belong so I am paralysed. It is like I fog over and then I just want it to stop so I walk away and can't work out where I left off when I coming back and I start to feel panicky. I am fine where a system has already been set up for filing.

With spreadsheets it is a checking compulsion so more obvious.. am I on the right line? Did I read that right?

Edithmark Sun 29-Sep-13 23:40:20

Fellow OCDer here. Brilliant posts on this thread and make me feel not so weird. Currently mine is pretty dreadful and makes me exhausted and feel like such a rubbish person.

Working...totally get your procedural anxiety. I used to do a very responsible job but checking stuff obsessively became too much. Also I have cried over filing myself and felt entirely sick and panicky about how to do it.

It's so tiring isnt it?

working9while5 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:42:54

Edith, glad I am not alone. Did you ever successfully explain it to work? They really do not get it. I honestly think I just lack a behavioural skills repertoire for it. There's no present anxiety about it. I used to have but I think at this stage I am just light years behind others in my basic ability, kind of like a Year 3 or 4 chilf who cab do it slowly and under supervision.

I looked into OT for it but it was 400 quid for an assessment!

working9while5 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:45:57

I am actually (touch wood - joke!!) pretty much intrusive thought free right now even having come off meds for pregnancy. But I am avoiding stuff again.

I just want to get through next six months med free without falling apart. Today am not so sure I can.

peachypips Mon 30-Sep-13 11:37:20

Hope you are ok Working . I tried to go med free in June and ended up suicidal again. sad
I have just accepted I am on meds for life, and I am trying to live with them and accept them. They are better than the alternative for me!

Edithmark Mon 30-Sep-13 11:47:20

Hello working, no I never explained it at work, there would have been zero understanding. Most people have no idea...just think that OCD means you have your house super clean. (I wish, ha ha, if that we're the case I'd welcome it with open arms!!)

I have tried being off meds but it then takes all my available brain power to stay symptom free and anything slight thing will set me off. Better to stay on meds I think. I did CBT and it did help but you have to be quite well to have the energy to use the techniques properly.

I have it on my to do list to clear out a drawer of bites and pieces is week but even the thought of it makes me panicky. The shall I throw this away or keep it? Where shall I put it? maybe I need a folder for this? Then feeling useless that I can t do a simple task etc etc

iloveny001 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:50:51

Edith I know how you feel. My laundry was a huge pile, and the pile went into my room and up the side of cupboard. Can only tell you my sense of achievement once I'd tackled it.
Flat inspection went well but ocd is a bugger, I've decided to move but normal worries like cost, travel, will the problems follow me are rearing their head. Normal things to worry about but all so much worse with ocd. I hate it. It is also a bugger as although I'm proud of what I've done this week it still makes me feel a failure. It is exhausting. Need a brain transplant!

working9while5 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:57:06

I only want to be medfree til babe is born so hoping. I am lucky that I have never been suicidal since my mid-teens and only had fleeting suicidal Iintrusive thoughts last pregnancy. I am lucky in that by end of this pg I will have had 30 sessions of CBT on NHS in one episode of care with someone actually GOOD hich is about double the usual. That, mindfulness and yoga keeping me ticking over. Though today was tough. Sat in train station til 11am avoiding work and had to work til now to make up. This is not healthy. I find I have become very adept at handling anxiety but if my mood is low and I get that self hatred thing going on the behaviour still kicks in. I have kicked most compulsions but avoidance remains a problem... big style.

AgentZigzag Tue 01-Oct-13 00:55:20

Definitely don't feel a failure ilove! Cleaning up is tough whether you've got OCD or not smile

Are they going to sort out the mouse situation for you?

iloveny001 Tue 01-Oct-13 18:01:37

Have just seen another mouse. Hadn't for a few days. Pest control should be coming but its hard to fit in with work. Having freak out again. Sooner I move the better. Just need to find somewhere. Am going to move to an area close to all my friends.
Don't want to pick up laundry but have to, though odd telling me to rewash it all again as it was done at launderette how do I know it was done right?

AgentZigzag Tue 01-Oct-13 20:22:10

As 'industrial' washing machines at the launderette, and serviced more regularly than at home, they probably to a 'better' job? wink

Mice don't like peppermint oil apparently, oh, and snake poo hahahaha, guess that wouldn't go down well or be very easy to find grin

iloveny001 Tue 01-Oct-13 20:31:31

Agent, I'm willing to try anything!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now