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Those of you who have partners with OCD, please come and talk to me, I have some questions.

(38 Posts)
DustyTv Thu 16-Oct-08 13:13:55

I have OCD, i have had it for as long as I can remember, other than my GP and my husband (and on here) I have never spoken about it.

It has only been in the last few months that I have began to get myself some help, I have never told anyone before then so have been 'dealing' with it on my own.

I still don't talk about it alot and my DH doesn't talk or ask me about it, but I suspect that is because he doesn't really understand it IYSWIM.

My councelling starts next week.

What I would like to know is;

1) What is it like to live with someone who has OCD.

2) Did you know something was wrong before your partner spoke to you about it.

3) Do you understand it?

4) Does it come between you both?

DH told me last night to just stop doing it, so I know he doesn't understand it.

I would like to see it from his POV so that I can help him to understand it and understand how he feels and hopefuly make him more sympathetic towards me IYSWIM.

DustyTv Thu 16-Oct-08 13:15:17

Sorry wrong use of words, maybe nt so much sympathetic, but more supportive.

DustyTv Thu 16-Oct-08 17:04:16

bump smile

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 20:14:54


ForeverOptimistic Fri 17-Oct-08 20:20:09

I have OCD symptoms when I am very very stressed which I have been this week. I can't tell dh about it because he wouldn't understand, I can't expect him to either. If dh behaved the way that I behaved this week I would be exasperated and probably quite angry with him.

I am sorry that I don't really have any advice to give. I expect your dh is probably very scared.

TotalChaos Fri 17-Oct-08 20:20:27

I'm an OCDer rather than partner. I will have a stab anyway.

1)can be very very stressful indeed, not knowing if something might set up a bout of anger/anxiety etc

2)probably not

3)to a limited extent

4)depends on how much partner is roped into rituals/expected to do stuff/not do stuff as per obsessions

I'm a bit concerned you are talking about having counselling for it - recommended treatment as per NICE guidelines is CBT and/or medication.

fourlittlefeet Fri 17-Oct-08 20:20:39

I used to work with people who had OCD, so not a partner as such. I think it depends exactly what the behaviour is and how extreme it is as to whether people believe/empathise. Some symptoms come across as extreme phobias which aren't helped by popular tv shows on this topic, so some people really don't understand the distress caused by it, as to them it does look a bit hmm.

ohnowhatnext Fri 17-Oct-08 21:18:47

My Dp suffers with OCD in what i think is a relatively mild form. It is very much about keeping things clean/tidy etc etc although when he is very stressed he does get obsessional thoughts and ropes me into thast quite a bit.

I work in mental health but even with lots of knowledge |I have really struggled to cope at times and I have to be honest and say yes it has come between us, sometimes I feel i need to go and have time on my own to be 'free' of the obsessions for a while which I don't actually do because DP gets upset when I suggest it.

I think the reason I get impatient and intolerant is that whilst I know he has an illness, I feel he is still putting himself first by giving into the obsessions etc. I often fel that I am struggling to look after ds etc etc whilst he is blithely going about his obsessions regardless of me breaking my back getting essential stuff done. My dp also will not seek hlep so that is a big issue.

Reading what I have written I am struck by how awful I sound!! I love dp dearly but am just being honest, I hate living under the cloud/constarint of obsessions and feel our lives would be much better if he could find a way of breaking free.

Well done for seeking help, you are doing somethng really positive for yourself and your family, like others have said though CBT and or medications have been shown to be most effective with OCD so just be careful not to waste too much time on generalised 'counselling'.

ohnowhatnext Fri 17-Oct-08 21:21:33

Oh and I did not know straight away on meeting dp that he had a problem but it became obvious quite quickly. I think he had tried quite hard to keep it hidden ITKWIM.

exasperatedmummy Fri 17-Oct-08 21:23:24

May i ask how your OCD presents itself. I am convinced i have this, but i certainly don't obsess about cleaning blush you should see my house

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 21:43:35

Thanks for the replys.

I don't pull DH into my rituals or anything of that sort and I don't allow the OCD to impact on his life, but I do understand that it can have an impact in other areas, so hence the questions.

My OCD manifests itself in the form of certain rituals I have to do, more so at night time and involve me doing these ritauls a certain number of times before I allow myself to go to bed. I also have obsessive thoughts which sometimes cripple me. It doesn't manifest itself in a 'cleaning' sort of way IYSWIM, you should see my house too blush.

I do think I have a mild form of OCD brought about by extreme anxiety, for which I am getting the councelling I am hoping that I will be refered for CBT soon after I start.

I can usualy keep my OCD under control to an extent, but things do triiger it off quite bad. When my grandad died it was awful I felt myself slipping into this big black hole IYSWIM and I had to claw my way out of it. No one knew about it then and I was dealing with it on my own.

The OCD and my anxiety levels have been steadily increasing since I had DD 11 months ago and it had gotten to a point where I was beginning to not be able to enjoy DD. It was taking me anywhere up to an hour and a half to get to bed. This was the breaking point for me, it was starting to literally take over.

ForeverOptomistic, I feel your pain, it has taken me 15/16 years to speak to someone about it. Please try and tell your DH I am sure he would understand why you have had a bad week.

ohnowhatnext, that sounds awful, you sound frustrated and angry (I can undersatnd why). Have you spoken to him about getting some help? Or does he just flat refuse it? I felt like I didn't need help for years, until I 'snapped' IYSWIM.

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 21:44:35

Sorry replies blush, apologies for any other spelling mistakes.

TotalChaos Fri 17-Oct-08 21:48:30

Dusty - it's very common for people to live with OCD for many years before seeking help - it tends to be when they are tipping over into depression from living in such a state of chronic anxiety that they seek help.

There are plenty of good self help books around on OCD you may find useful - The Imp of the Mind (Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Thoughts) by Lee Baer or The OCD Workbook by Hyman and Pedrick.

exasperatedmummy Fri 17-Oct-08 21:55:33

are you getting any medication dusty? I suffer from extreme anxiety, obsessive thoughts about my health and depression (oh, im just a bundle of laughs me) I also have to, only sometimes, follow certain protocols, but not rituals. Its stupid things like not being able to wear something if i put it on inside out, i have to change it. Saying things like, if the next car around the corner is red/blue/green, whatever - something bad will happen. I am taking citalopram, it helps with my anxiety a lot and is supposed to be good for OCD. I wonder if you have PND (another set of initials!) and this is making things worse - have you spoken to your doctor about it?

exasperatedmummy Fri 17-Oct-08 21:58:03

Im sorry to say, my partner does not get it at all - he really tries, but its so mad that it just doesn;t make any sense to him. It almost split us up, but we are hanging on in there - there were lots of other things going on too - i was getting quite aggresive towards him, physical even, so not just the obsessive stuff. That, i think is something that he just sees as one of the quirks of being me, and when i have it without the depression he just raises his eyebrows and says that it is just me, and he loves me for me.

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 22:00:04

Thanks TC.

Exasperatedmummy, My GP perscribed some beta blockers for me to help the actuall physical effects of the anxiety, they were a no go for me, I had every side effect going with them. Then she put me on AD's, I felt awful on them, I had suicidal thoughts, the OCD seemed to get worse so I stopped taking them and feel mush better without them.

I don't have PND or depression, just exreme anxiety.

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 22:05:18

Exasperated, DH and I have talked about it and he does try to understand it, I thought he did to an extent until the other night.

DD has been poorly now for a while and she has been throwing up mostly at night and I am paranoid that she will be sick and choke. I am partially deaf so even with the monitor I struggle to hear her and my OCD was in overdrive. DH said to me just leave her and come to bed.

I know it doesn't sound like much but I couldn't leave her, I had to wait for him to go to sleep and go back and finish my rituals then.

It's hard, I would like to get him a book or something written for partners of OCDers so he can understand why I cannot just leave her. DYSWIM.

phantasmagoria Fri 17-Oct-08 22:08:00

Hello exasperated. My partner doesn't have OCD, but my gorgeous DD does, and it's been a really steep learning curve for all of us.
She is relatively symptom free atm, on sertraline and in CBT, but she was very very ill earlier this year, and I was helped a lot by lots of sterling MNers, who I hope will be along to help you soon.

It would be brilliant if you could get your partner to read a book about it. I can understand his frustration - I went through a FURIOUS period with dd until I really understood what was going on, and reading and reading and talking helped me massively.
The OCD workbook, and the imp of the mind, were both good - as others have said. There's a thread on here I started in April - it's called my gorgeous dd has reall bad ocd or something - and it might help your dh to read it.

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 22:17:38

phantamagoria, it must be so hard to see your DD (or indeed any of your DC) going through something like OCD. Thankgoodness your DD has a wonderful mum to help her through this.

When you felt furious with your DD, what was she doing that got you to that stage. Did/does it impact on your life WRT the rituals etc. Also when was the breaking point for you in understanding your DD OCD?
(I do appreciate your help, but if you feel like it is too hard talking about it then don't feel you have to answer my questions)

phantasmagoria Fri 17-Oct-08 22:46:18

Sorry Dusty, I said exasperated and I meant you.

It was her first attack, and we were just getting our heads round it, and she was very ill with it, in rituals 24/7, affecting sleep, eating, toiletting, etc. She had 3 months off school, during which time I hardly left the house.

What made me angry was the waste of energy, of creativity, of LIFE, and also my own powerlessness, and my own sense of my life shrinking. I think once you understand the two parts of OCD - the obsessive thoughts, and then the rituals to overcome them - then you see the rituals through that lens. What was hard for me was that I couldnt' really do anything, and I am a very active, hands on person, so learning to do nothing, to neither support the rituals nor rail against them, was a huge learning curve. I imagine that even though your dh has lived with you and your OCD for a while, it might be similar for him. CBT was FANTASTIC for her, I was amazed at how quickly it kicked in, but the sertraline has definitely been instrumental as well.

The thread I was on is in the archives, it might be worth looking up. I had a different name then.

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 22:54:31

Thanks, this has made it clearer for me, I want to see it from DH's POV so I don't annoy him too much, but also so that he can maybe start to understand what OCD id, even basically.

phantasmagoria Fri 17-Oct-08 23:04:40

Dusty I think that is really lovely of you, but I think he should also realise how lovely and considerate you are....also he needs to get a handle on it for long term happiness... could you leave him this thread lying around? Would he read it? Would he read a book?

DustyTv Fri 17-Oct-08 23:09:38

Thats the problem , he wouldn't read a book, he is not a big reader. A leaflet maybe, but not a book. I doubt he would read the thread.

I think that he thinks it is something I choose to do, something that I can 'snap' out of IYSWIM. even more so as the OCD rarely manifests itself in noraml daytime activites unless it is in 'overdrive'.

phantasmagoria Fri 17-Oct-08 23:12:27

Would he read the thread? Would he listen to you telling him what the truth is? I think you are v brave, and also that you clearly love him hugely. You deserve his support.
One book I read described the personalities of people who get OCD - moral, creative, imaginative, intelligent - basically fucking GORGEOUS people. If he can try and ignore your rituals, whilst supporting you getting HELP - you really should get help darlin - and if you can allow him to have the odd rant at the utter strangeness of it all, then you could be on to a winner.

phantasmagoria Fri 17-Oct-08 23:17:25

Oh sorry you said he wouldn't read the thread.

The OCD website has some good support on it, you can chat to people too, and I think they have some plain English leaflets too.

He really should read something.

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