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Anyone struggling with OCD / 'Pure O'

(26 Posts)
Johnniewalkerblue Sun 22-Dec-13 17:30:25

Hello, can anyone identify with what I'm going through...

My ocd centres around bad things happening to my children and will constantly nag away at me saying 'what if you let this happen', 'what if you let that happen'. It will constantly present me with scenarios of when awful things could technically have happened, to the point that they seem like they may have really happened. It's mainly focused on them being abused by someone. Although I have no evidence of this at all.

I'm stuck in an endless cycle of replaying the past in my mind. It's exhausting and I really don't know how I can carry on like this.

I know I'll never get the answers that my brain is seeking and I have had cbt so I know what I need to do, it's just soooooo hard.

I can't just let things lie, every once in a while I'll think, oh it's been x amount of time and I haven't thought about that time when, which of course transports me straight back there.

I don't know what I'm hoping to get from posting really, I guess it would good to chat to others who know what's it's like to have ocd after becoming a parent and how they cope.


Quenna Sun 22-Dec-13 18:16:37

Hi, didn't want to read and run. I have OCD and am treated with fluoxetine and have had several courses of CBT. Both help. However I am in a ad patch right now with lots of 'pure O' horrible thoughts. I have 3 DCs .

Christmas is a difficult time I think.

I'd like to say I cope well with OCD and parenthood but at the moment that's not true! However I have had some very good patches of years at a time, so it can be done.

It is very tiring isn't it? Have you got a sympathetic GP? I have, and it makes all the difference.

Sending you best wishes.

Johnniewalkerblue Sun 22-Dec-13 20:28:13

Thank you for taking time to respond.

My G.P isn't all that sympathetic tbh and seemed to just trivialise things. She wanted to just prescribe anti d's and send me on my way and only referred me for cbt when the health visitor rang her up personally.

Unfortunately the cbt is coming to an end now and I don't feel like I'm ready for that to happen at all. I haven't tried medication yet (although I think I desperately need it) as I'm breastfeeding and will not take them until that's finished (I should add I know you can do both, but my anxiety is too great to allow me to do that.). Feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place though, as I know I need meds, but I love breastfeeding and worry my mood would suffer anyway if I stop before we are ready to.

I find any school holidays are a rough time, as I need the routine and structure of the school run to keep me motivated and get me out the house. When we are off I retreat into myself, don't go out and spend hours ruminating. I feel so detached from my family as I've got a constant stream of thoughts / worries going around in my head.

Do your pure o thoughts centre around your children too?

Thanks again.

Johnniewalkerblue Mon 23-Dec-13 12:09:23

Bumping this in the hope of more replies (hope that's ok).

Feeling a bit desperate and honestly don't know how I can carry on with these thoughts beating me over the head 24/7.

The endless chatter in my head. How can you be enjoying that tv program when you let this happen? Why are you laughing, what's so funny when you let that happen? You don't deserve to be a mum! Why don't you do us all a favour and end it? Etc etc.

Have been suffering for years, but having another baby has tipped me over the edge.

Are there others who feel this way?

selfdestructivelady Mon 23-Dec-13 13:25:15

I don't suffer with ocd but I do suffer paranoia that my dc are being abused. I get very aggressive if someone asks what school my dc attend or is overly friendly. The way I deal with it is I think to myself because I'm so paranoid someone will abuse my dc and take extreme measures to insure they don't it means they are less likely to be abused.

I guess what I'm saying is as you constantly look for signs of abuse because you obsess over it you are likely to be super sensitive and if anything were to start you'd realise before any abuse actually happened. Hth it's really horrid thinking about your dc being abused constantly.

CharlieBoo Mon 23-Dec-13 16:28:28


I can totally identify with pure o. I had a nasty setback in September and am still recovering. I am heaps better from what I was and am so close to getting over the finish line of this relapse.

As I'm sure you know it's complete torture but you need to remember they are JUST thoughts.... Everyone has intrusive thoughts but people with ocd can't shake them off, they believe they make them a bad person for even thinking them. I've found medication to really help in reducing the anxiety response to the thoughts so maybe think about that.

I personally haven't found cbt helpful for the intrusive thoughts but have done a LOT of self help therapy and seen a private therapist who did EMDR which has helped loads. Some of the things I've found hugely helpful;
-Paul David -anxiety no more -it's a book which is also available in an app and he has a website, you can googke it he does a blog too.
-dr claire weekes...YouTube, iTunes have free audio of her and she has a few books which aphave been invaluable. She talks a lot about depersonalisation which is what you're experiencing when you say you feel distant from your family. It's because your focus is on yourself all the time that you feel separated from reality. It's totally normal when suffering with anxiety.

I have zillions of ocd books but the above have helped me most of all.

I know what you're going through, it's hell but you'll get through it. Remember they're just thoughts, the more you try to push them away the more they'll strike. Invite them, let them do there worst. It's just anxiety playing tricks on you.

I'm here to help if I can xxxx

Johnniewalkerblue Mon 23-Dec-13 23:02:51

Thank you both for your replies.

Selfdestructivelady, I've not really thought of it that way before, but it makes sense.

CharlieBoo, I'm going to look up those suggestions when I get an opportunity, thank you. Its great that things are improving for you, as I know how awful it can be.

Most days I'll get new intrusive thoughts which cause the replaying to start and the cycle to begin, but they are usually fairly short lived (like a few hours or a day) but it's the ones that have lingered for years that are the most problematic. What were normal events / occurrences at the time have become so jumbled in my memory I don't know what's true and what isn't any more.

The trouble is the OCD is so damn convincing that it's so hard to fight back. It feels like being in a boxing ring with an opponent that is bigger and stronger than you, somehow you keep getting back up, but how long can you keep going.

It's exhausting being so hyper vigilant to all possible dangers to my dc's, I'm always thinking that something bad will happen and it will be all my fault because I wasn't careful enough.

This is no life, I'm just existing and I just feel lucky to have survived each day.

Thanks again.

CharlieBoo Tue 24-Dec-13 12:42:42

How are you feeling today?

You will get better... As hard as it is force yourself to slowly do things... I have recovered so much in self help techniques... You WILL get better...

Alias78 Tue 24-Dec-13 21:51:14

I too am suffering from OCD and also have some experience of Pure O. My DS1 is only 5 months old and its putting my marriage under enormous strain. I wouldnt be surprised if DH leaves one of these days. I feel like I'm constantly apologising for spoiling things and my self-esteem couldn't be lower.

I don't have any advice I'm afraid, but I can identify and offer a hand to hold, lord knows I need one too xx

Blippybirthday Tue 24-Dec-13 22:35:52

I've had this but in relation to something different. The 'pure o' with me is postnatal and gas reared it's head very aggressively after having both DCs. I can relate to it being exhausting - at it's worst every though from waking in the morning until bed is the same 'hook'. It's horrific.

Blippybirthday Tue 24-Dec-13 22:36:21

* has * thought

Johnniewalkerblue Tue 24-Dec-13 22:37:08

Hi, thank you for your reply.

I've found it helpful to talk to others on here who know what it's like, as it's hard for family to understand isn't it.

Has your OCD come on since you had your baby, or did you have it before? I think looking back I probably showed signs when I was younger, but having children has taken it to a whole new level.

Do you want to talk about the nature of your OCD? Totally understand if not. Feel free to pm me if you want to.

Johnniewalkerblue Tue 24-Dec-13 22:46:16

Hi blippybirthday, thanks for your message too.

Are you ok now? If so, what helped you?

I'm am pretty much obsessing from morning till night at the moment. I've had cbt but it's coming to an end so the appointments are much more spread out and I just can't cope.

kateandme Tue 24-Dec-13 22:47:12

you cant give up.i know its hard.chrismtas brings pressure that we arent even aware of until the thought build up.try to reasure yourself.dont be hard on yourself that your not getting better or kind to yourself that your at least aware of whats going on,that your thinking about things.thats a very brave thing to do.

so be gentle be kind.think what can i do to try and make my day better.
have you any insenstives to work there anything you do that calms you.any activities that make you feel less out of control.

try simply breathing when you can.sitting and really REALLY FOCUSING on each breathe going in and out.its weird how little we actually just sit.and you might thinig then your thoughts will be able to race!!but no you sit and have to focus on the breathes,really try to keep it level.keep breathing,calming down is a really help.

if you dont step out of this little cycles it will convince you that its impossible to do.
try the best you can.when you feel less panicky just try little things.push yourself but dont overdo dont have to give yourself a timeline for why you are or anrent improving. becasue if you want it you can do it.
it takes so much stregnth to follow ocd have that in you so that means you can not do it too.
once upon a time you didnt do it.there was a there can be a time again.i bleieve in you.

kateandme Tue 24-Dec-13 22:48:54

your young ones need you,but they need you to be sure thats all theyd ever want from you.

Alias78 Tue 24-Dec-13 22:51:08

I too showed signs of it when I was younger and have had "phases" of it on and off through life since I was about 12. When i was pregnant it went nuts.

Mostly contamination with me. For me or my baby. Fears of breathing in fumes/chemicals. Fear of blood/contracting HIV (any red mark can set me off). Fear of illness/germs/dirt.

I also have what I believe to be pure o thoughts too. Thoughts that someone might try to take my baby.

It's so exhausting isnt it?

Johnniewalkerblue Tue 24-Dec-13 23:05:41

Thanks kateandme some great advise. Think I'm in a particularly bad patch, but things do improve a little when we're not on time off and have a routine back.

I get where you are coming from Alias78 and have experienced similar myself. I can't even walk down the street without scanning the ground for dangerous things / things which might contaminate us.

I just want to be normal and enjoy my children.

I'm going to have to go (still have Christmas things to sort out oops) but I will return to this thread when I can.

CharlieBoo Tue 24-Dec-13 23:21:01

Hi johnnie,

Have been trying to reply to your pm.. Either it's not going through or you'll have received the message about a million times as I've been trying to resend.

Hope you're ok

Blippybirthday Wed 25-Dec-13 01:15:28

For me it's like sometimes the dial is turned to 'max' - it's awful and scary that you get stuck in this non stop loop. For me it's health anxiety or focussing on when I'll be better' fr anxiety!

To be honest the only thing that helps it for me is waiting for the intensity to wain. I'm still obsessive about health and anxiety but it seems eventually the crisis passes and the 'every thought from morning until night' thing passes (although tbh a lot of my thoughts are still about those topics). Hope that makes sense and your intensity dial goes down a notch soon. X

Johnniewalkerblue Wed 25-Dec-13 23:00:29

Hope everyone had a good day.

I totally get what you mean blippy. I've likened it to being made to listen to some piece of music you hate over and over. Sometimes the volume is low, just background noise and you can get on with your day. Then there's times when the volume is so high, it's blasting out and all you can do is listen to it.

Feeling good to have survived the day with only one meltdown. Got a bit overwhelmed with all the scramble to open presents and those horrible little plastic tags you get in every box. I'm so petrified of the baby getting hold of one that I have to keep checking and counting them and asking for reassurance. I've had to put them in a dish up high on the window sill because if I know where they are, then I know where they are not iykwim.

Got the pm, thanks CharlieBoo.

Julietee Thu 26-Dec-13 11:25:54

Charlieboo Really good explanations!

Johnnie I am a veteran of pure OCD. I'm so sorry you're suffering, it's exhausting, isn't it? Can't imagine having it on top of having to look after kids!

I'd suggest you take a look at the OCD UK charity website - they have a really good forum on there and various resources.

I found CBT really helpful for my OCD, but I was having it privately and it went on for 4 years. I just wouldn't have got better if I was restricted to the NHS allowance (my case was pretty severe, not suggesting everyone needs 4 years of therapy!). If you can afford to go private, you can find CBT trained therapists who are not too expensive. I've found sometimes it's incredibly helpful to just have someone you can vent your fears to, even if your appointments are not very regular.

SSRIs are great for reducing your body's response to anxious triggers - I'd really recommend you look into taking them when you're done breastfeeding.

Johnnie, you are fighting dragons everyday! You're being really strong - don't let anyone make you think mental health crap is somehow easy to deal with because it happens in our heads. You need and deserve help.

Read up on OCD - it really helps to know your enemy inside out. Imp of the Mind is a good book.

CharlieBoo Thu 26-Dec-13 14:59:52

I agree with Julietee.... The more you know you're enemy the better you can deal with it. As Dr Claire Weekes says 'its good to get the skeleton out of the closet, it's scares us less and less the more we get to know it.'

I've also gone private Julietee as the NHS offered me group therapy!!! It consisted of a 2 hour session explaining what the symptoms of anxiety are!! Totally useless.

If you're in a position to go private then I would recommend. It's an awful thing to deal with and when I was in the thick of it it was just hell.

Hope you had a good Xmas. X

working9while5 Thu 26-Dec-13 22:45:06


I have the same presentation as you. I'm pregnant with dc3.

Since diagnosis in March 2012 have had 28 sessions of NHS CBT and probably another 12-16 privately, have done two mindfulness courses (one online, one rl).... so take what I'm going to say as a sort of product of that because I KNOW it will sound almost flippant... but my advice or perspective or whatever is just to see the obsessions/intrusive thoughts as No Big Deal.

No need to challenge them, find evidence against them, feel more tolerant of them, believe they are untrue, not feel distressed by them etc. Just try to stop pushing against them, marking a notch against their occurrence, counting them or imbuing them with meaning.

Yeah right, you think, it's that easy.... No not easy at all... but if you practice it, it really changes it. Was watching 18 month old gorgeous blue-eyed blonde son playing merrily with his soft toy today and had all sorts of thoughts and worries about his death. He's falling over a lot right now, could be cancer... etc etc. Moments of fear and anguish. Several a day about this baby dying, either in the womb or by cot death... etc.

It just... doesn't affect my life now. I also simultaneously feel blessed and am having a lovely time appreciating my gorgeous wee men even though they might die or I might or Dh might. So it comes and goes. It still hurts and I don't like or enjoy the thoughts or even see them as irrational etc but I just don't pay much attention to them for very long so their impact on how a day has gone/is going isn't strong and they don't get in the way of what matters. Some days if I'm stressed it can be harder but overall I do accept their presence... and there is great and deep freedom in that.

I hope you get some release. I will never forget when they were at their most torturous.

Johnniewalkerblue Fri 27-Dec-13 00:04:17

Hi, thanks everyone for your replies and great advise which I really appreciate.

I agree that the NHS allowance just hasn't been enough, I've had 20 odd sessions and feel they have barely scratched the surface. Dh and I have talked about the possibility of some private sessions, which may at least bridge the gap till I can start meds.

Interestingly I've been at a family gathering all day and my usual intrusive thoughts have barely bothered me at all because I've just been enjoying the moment and been busy / distracted.

working9while5 Fri 27-Dec-13 11:52:37

Also I think these days it's all about what therapy you get on NHS vs the relationship with therapist....I had had lots of bouts with therapists over the years privately (living abroad) and honestly think half of it did me no good at all because I didn't trust the therapists or connect with them. I need a therapist, I've learned, who basically doesn't overdirect or share opinions or their own experience. Who seems kind and listens and redirects me where I get stuck but who doesn't prefer the sound of their own voice to mine as I quickly fall into wanting to be likeable and feelings of shame and inadequacy if I see them as a real person. This was a massive breakthrough for me with my current guy.

Getting right therapist huge help but you sort of don't know you've got the right one I think until you feel tye difference.

My psych said distraction good!! Also meds do dial it down. I am off at present as pg but under 100mg sertraline no transfer to milk so consider this? Also ds2 never reacted to weaning in any way that suggested he'd been getting meds whereas I found weaning off tough enough.

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