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Has anyone overcome contamination OCD?

(29 Posts)
AnxiousJo Sat 07-Oct-17 21:08:10

Hi I don't know if anyone can help or has anyone over come this problem. If so is really like to hear from you as I feel so alone and this is destroying my life.

Basically I have suffered from OCD since I was 16 but got it u set control. Until I had my daughter nearly 2 years ago. I started worrying that all kinds of things were contaminated and I developed a fear that things were contaminated about mould. This resulted in us going to live with my husband's family to save to buy a house. This started off OK until I overheard a conversation about how they were going to have a smart meter fitted and the woman said she couldn't do it because part of it may contain asbestos. This is all sealed in a metal box in a wooden box under the stairs. They put off having it fitted to leave it undisturbed but since then I looked it up and it seems like asbestos is in everything.

This coincided with my brother in law ripping down his artex ceilings himself and of course I am worried because artex can contain asbestos. I have done so much research and they apparently stopped putting it in artex in 1984 and his house was built in 1987 and I know that the white stuff isn't as bad as the blue and brown asbestos but still I am so worried and feel like everything is contaminated. My father in law also goes to help him as they are building an out building which is nothing to do with the ceilings in his house but I worry he has been round there and treads in it then treads it all in this house. I worry about his clothes and dust coming in on them. My brother in law came in the house tonight to collect his little girl and he looked really dusty. He walked past some of my girls toys and I am so worried that they now have asbestos on them and are contaminated.

I know that exposure is the best way to overcome this but I can't because I think of the what ifs. Like what if I don't wipe stuff down and something happens to my little girl. It's affecting my life. My husband and I keep arguing, my inlaws have noticed me doing weird things like avoiding things and wiping things down and I also fear my little girl will pick up on it and be like me and it'll ruin her life. Every time I go out I question if anything is asbestos. I can't go out or stay in. We have bought a house built in 2016 so no asbestos but my husband wants his dad to help decorate and I am worried that his tools are contaminated and that my new house will be contaminated.

Please help.

LapinR0se Sat 07-Oct-17 21:14:59

Have you had any therapy for this?

outputgap Sat 07-Oct-17 21:24:21

CBT. Ask your GP to refer you for CBT. If you are lucky enough to get a proper psychologist rather than a cheaper counsellor, it should transform your life.

AnxiousJo Sat 07-Oct-17 21:37:16

I had CBT about the mould and it helped but because I am out of the area and about to move again I thought I would wait until I'm moved. Thing is I have done so much research and it all says that asbestos is really bad and I am just so scared of anything ever happening to my little girl but at the same time I am worrying myself sick and not enjoying her plus I fear she will end up like me because I feel so low at the moment I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy

outputgap Sun 08-Oct-17 02:28:26

I'm glad therapy has helped a bit already. The psychologist I saw said that HIV and asbestos were her top two topics! So, asbestos is one of those things that really hits a nerve with people suffering from anxiety. It can be sorted out by good therapy.

Do you think most people worry about contamination from tools from someone who isn't actually working with asbestos? No, probably not, right? So, you can get to that point too.

AnxiousJo Sun 08-Oct-17 02:56:19

Hi there, thanks fir this. Was it a proper psychologist you saw? If so how did you get to see them? I saw a cognitive behavioural psychologist from IAPTS and she was good with the mould but I'm finding this has a much stronger hold on me. It's not just the tools it's they're the sort of family to not even consider taking shoes off and I fear it's all being walked throughout the house and then my little ones toys may be contaminated and then she may breathe stuff of them and so it goes on.

chocdog Sun 08-Oct-17 09:12:19

Hi Jo, please don't wait til you move to see a doctor. You can get this under control but you need help. Please make a GPs appointment urgently and show them this thread. You deserve to live free of this irrational fear and so does your daughter. I'm sure that anti-anxiety medication could help as well as therapy. Ring the GP first thing tomorrow. You can get free of this and you deserve every help to do so. Think how lovely it will be to dump this obsession. You can do it but you must get help asap. Good luck!

AnxiousJo Sun 08-Oct-17 09:55:55

I would love to. I wish that is never looked it up. I had never even thought about it before now it's ruining my life. Thing is every time I try and sort myself out and start feeling a bit better something happens like last night and I start up again. Then I do more research to try and reassure myself but that makes me feel worse because I read about the families of people working with asbestos and they brought it in on their clothes and their families got ill. Thank you for encouragement though. So you guys think it's an irrational fear? Does anyone else worry like this?

LapinR0se Sun 08-Oct-17 18:27:09

It is definitely an irrational fear and the reassurance-seeking you are doing is classic anxiety/OCD behaviour. Please speak to your GP and see what therapy you can access flowers

AnxiousJo Sun 08-Oct-17 19:20:40

Hi thank you so much for all of the supportive messages. I'm going to the GP tomorrow. I think knowing I'm moving in a few weeks isn't helping matters with the anxiety.

outputgap Sun 08-Oct-17 19:41:25

Hi Jo. My PCT actually sends you to psychologists rather than people trained in CBT. It's fantastic.

However, I did have two chunks of treatment fairly close together when I first had CBT. Probably within a year or two. But then I didn't need it again for about 20 years. So do go again. And do speak to the GP. You can really reduce this awful anxiety. It's awful for you now, but it can get so so much better.

Stop googling! You are only allowed to Google decorative accessories for your new house tonight!

TheChineseChicken Sun 08-Oct-17 19:42:01

I’m not a psychiatrist so can’t help with your fears but in answer to your question, the vast majority of people categorically do not worry about this - it is irrational. I’ve been sitting and thinking about it and I cannot muster even a tiny shred of concern. So please try to take whatever comfort you can from that and know that not worrying about it is something you can work towards flowers

AnxiousJo Sun 08-Oct-17 20:14:29

Thank you so much. I will call the GP first thing and will ask for a psychologist. The lady I saw last time was very good. She came to my house and did exposure with me but that was when I had a fear about mould. She wasnt a propee psychologist though and didnt get to thr root of my problems. I am just looking at bookshelves for my little girls room! I am starting to feel slightly more positive. No more googling it. I will try to just look up nice things. It is a comfort to know that not everyone worries about this. The way it sounds on the internet is absolutely awful which I'm sure it is but no-one else seems to worry like I do about it. My in laws and husband certainly don't. I just wish I could get it out of my head!!!!!

TheChineseChicken Sun 08-Oct-17 20:34:24

Just remember that anything terrible you might think of can be found on the internet!!

chocdog Sun 08-Oct-17 20:49:16

So glad you're going to the GP. The sooner you go, the sooner youll get shot of all this horrible worry. If they suggest medication as well as therapy, give it try. It may help. Best wishes to you. Anxiety is the worst. There's enough hard work looking after a little one without the extra load of an exhausting obsession. Hope you feel free of it soon.

AnxiousJo Mon 09-Oct-17 21:01:58

I got some flioxetine and propanolol and been referred to a psychiatrist and IAPTs. I asked the Dr if she thinks it's a cause for concern and she said she couldn't say without knowing the building and we could all be living in asbestos or being exposed to it. She said if she knew there was asbestos she would be concerned well u suppose I don't KNOW there is asbestos. But today her grandad took her our wearing his coat which is the same coat he has worn to help out at the brother in laws and she was sitting on his lap on the bus and I'm just so worried about fibres being on his coat. Aggghhhhgggghh. Now I feel worse than ever. No-one else in this house is worried about it

yolkybokey Mon 09-Oct-17 21:51:49

I'm sorry you're going through this Jo, I have contamination OCD too and it really is hell.

All I can say is that fluoxetine helped me immensely and really reduced my intrusive thoughts. I went through counselling, CBT, the full works but it was the meds that made the difference.

I know how it tortures you when you are obsessively worried about something that could be true. No one is able to provide you with the kind of reassurance you're looking for because no one can state for a fact that your worries can never be true. However you can learn to deal with this worry and put it in perspective. It can't be allowed to dictate your life.

I hope you start to feel better soon

AnxiousJo Mon 09-Oct-17 22:15:07

Thanks yokeybokey hope you get through yours too. It really is the worst x

chocdog Tue 10-Oct-17 11:51:54

Well done for going to the GP and getting them to take you seriously. I have a different kind of anxiety and I've never found it easy to talk about.

You say yourself that your BIL's house was built in 1987 and asbestos was not used in artex after 1984. So your daughter is quite safe. And your new house will not be contaminated. Hope your meds and therapy help you forget all about this contamination obsession so that you can really enjoy life.

It is stressful living with in laws though. Could that be making your anxiety worse? How much longer do you think you will need to live with them?

JamPasty Wed 11-Oct-17 17:38:28

Big hugs - been there, done that. Like chocdog said, their house and yours are safe. What helped me was medication, and realising that the awful panic is your brain getting stuck in a loop. Your brain is saying "arg, what if, what if?!" but that's not because there is actually anything to worry about, it's just because it's got stuck and is playing the same thought over and over. Knowing that doesn't stop it happening, but once you recognise that it's easier to detach and not be so upset when it happens. It does get easier I promise!

AnxiousJo Wed 11-Oct-17 19:57:53

Thank you so much to you all for your support. I have to say mornings are still quite bad but in the day and evening I am feeling a bit better after taking the propanolol. I wished I'd had this months ago. I think the worst thing is the What ifs because I know that exposure is important and the only way through but if it was just me it would be easier bit I look at my little girl and think what if and I'm compelled to wash things or avoid certain things and that fuels the fear making it so hard to get over. I know I have to do it for her because I don't want her to live like this or watch me doing things and for her to be like it because it can be hell if that makes sense. Yes chopdog it's not easy living with in-laws. At first it was ok because I could see them doing things and it would be ok because they were doing things but then obsessions and compulsions kicked in. I need to get our but our house is still going through. Thought we were going to exchange on Friday but that doesn't look like it's going to happen now. So I don't know how much longer I'll have to wait but I'm hoping a fresh start will do me good. I can't tell you how much the support on here has helped though. Thank you so much xxx

chocdog Thu 12-Oct-17 17:13:58

Glad to hear you're felling a bit more positive. I'm so impressed that you saw your GP so quickly and did not dither and delay like I would.
Hope you get some progress on your house move soon. If you ever need to talk about it with someone, there is an OCD charity called OCD Action that has a helpline, but you probably know that.
Good luck with it all. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mum that has the sense to take action and look after her mental health.

AnxiousJo Thu 12-Oct-17 19:21:29

Aw thank you very much. I feel like the worst mother ever for moving in here for so long. Are OCD action any good? I have never rung them.

Triplesalchow Fri 20-Oct-17 12:27:22

I had quite severe anxiety round asbestos and can identify with a huge amount of what you say. We were doing a house up at the time. I was TTC. It was just awful. I really thought it was in everything and everywhere. I had some Cbt which definitely helped. You cannot control everything so don't feel bad about this. I just don't feel that worried about it anymore. I've had various other contamination anxiety episodes about other things including mould but overall I feel better when I use my Cbt techniques and do the self care stuff. Googling it is really unhelpful and also asking people for reassurance didn't help either. It was never enough. Hope you are doing ok

AnxiousJo Fri 20-Oct-17 19:51:37

Thanks for sharing this. It does help to know I'm not the only one because no-one else I know seems even remotely worried I feel like I'm going nuts! I am doing a bit better with medication and I try not to give in to my thoughts. I find if I don't seek reassurance the thoughts sort of go away. I'm hoping that if I do this for long enough it will subside. I used to fear contamination from red berries (thinking they were all poisonous) now I am fine with them. The hard thing is the 'what ifs' like what if I haven't done certain things and everything is contaminated and it will harm my daughter but my mum says I was bought up in a house with asbestos and I'm still here and I don't think she's terrible. No-one else worries and so I'm trying to be like that. I am glad you're better now. Guess we just have to stay strong x

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