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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.

HoopHopes Sun 22-Sep-13 22:43:21

Mice would bother me too, they are horrible! Agree call landlord and failing that see of council will treat the problem for you if landlord not act immediately.

FavoriteThings Sun 22-Sep-13 22:47:02

Mice would bother just about everyone. It is perfectly normal to be bothered by them. Hope you get it sorted very soon.x

iloveny001 Sun 22-Sep-13 22:48:13

Thank you

iloveny001 Fri 27-Sep-13 13:44:05

Sorry to come back again but my ocd is so much worse and I feel awful. Not felt like this for over a year and feel like I'm failing and going backwards. My ll wants to do a room inspection so I feel like I'm being questioned as being dirty and the cause of the problems which really does not help ocd. A friend is kindly coming to help me clean and pull everything out but this has also heightened anxiety as I have my own way of doing things, that probably take longer than they should. I know he will not do things my ocd way, and it terrifies me. I also know that this will be helpful for me to see that non ocd people see as normal. Feel very overwhelmed and unhappy. Crying all the time at the added stress. I know that I will feel better once its all done as I can't then change it. Just wish I didn't have these compulsions, there are a lot of things I do that affect my life negatively.

FavoriteThings Fri 27-Sep-13 13:48:02

I thought you might be back. I dont know much about ocd, but basically it is a fear?

What has your doctor said when you have had these episodes in the past?

iloveny001 Sat 28-Sep-13 00:04:57

Yes its fear. Mine is mostly fear of germs which means no one has been in my bedsit room for a long while apart from me. My biggest fear is taking work based hospital germs and passing them onto people via clothes and shoes. I can only clean if I have a shower directly after to cleanse myself but I use a whole bottle of shower gel each wash. I have shoes I wear to and from hospital that go nowhere else, and I have shoes u wear in flat and car only. If I feel anything is 'contaminated' I gave panic attacks and anxiety raises. I can't wear clothes that have been at hospital until they have been washed.

AgentZigzag Sat 28-Sep-13 02:35:55

I have OCD and I'm really stressed at the minute, but because the OCD's been relatively quiet for a little while, I've really noticed this time that if I've got it bad then I must be stressed.

Noticing that the OCD is saying something to me (that my anxiety levels are maxed out) is a bit of a revelation to me. It's made me look about to see exactly what's causing it and whether I can do anything to ease it off a bit.

It's 'good' that you have systems of things that are acceptable to you (like the different shoes, showering), but the OCD makes it nigh on impossible to accept those things as enough.

That although there's an end point (after you've changed your shoes/stepped out of the shower) it's only theoretical, because in reality it's as long as a piece of string and your anxiety makes it so you can't ever relax and have things under control.

Mine isn't around contamination, but I know what it feels like to have things feel constantly 'not right'. In your case there's a germ of truth to it if you're working in a hospital, especially after the media panic over the spread of MRSA etc. Does your OCD use that as a threat? That you'll be responsible if someone becomes ill? Because that wouldn't be true, they could have picked anything up from anywhere.

FavoriteThings Sat 28-Sep-13 09:43:07

iloveny001. I think you realise deep down or some level that you are taking it all too far. I understand where you are coming from, but speaking purely as a potential patient, we do not expect medical staff to go as far as that. fwiw, I know someone who is in charge of germ control or whatever it is called, for I think it is my whole county. And she teaches it. I presume, either at your hospital, or else someone at your hospital will know of such a person. Perhaps if you had a talk with her, it could set your mind at rest that it is not necessary or expected for you to go as far as you do with it all.

Gerragrippe Sat 28-Sep-13 09:50:30

I realise this may or may not help you but I am in a healthcare setting and just routinely wash my hands .. Actually, in dire life and death emergencies I don't always wear gloves if they are not to hand and I do not become ill or make anyone else ill .

iloveny001 Sat 28-Sep-13 22:59:39

I am very worried about making someone else I'll. I can't rationalise that it wouldn't be my fault.

FavoriteThings Sat 28-Sep-13 23:36:19

Do you know at some level that it wouldnt be your fault?

Sophiedotty Sun 29-Sep-13 04:47:40

Are you in medication? Some SSRI ad's are good for treating obsessional disorders. I have suffered anorexia & take Sertraline & 2.5 mg of Olanzapine which is an anti psychotic used for obsessional disorders as well.
I would see your Dr for a referral to a psychiatrist. It has been the best thing for me getting the right medication.

Sophiedotty Sun 29-Sep-13 04:51:26

Forgot it say I have mild OCD traits. When I am very stressed I have to have the house neat & tidy. It's a coping mechanism but the medication helps me so it doesn't get out of control. Ask to be referred to a psychologist specialising in OCD.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 08:35:25


I have OCD. What treatment do you/have you had? The key for me right now is to remember over and over, the thing you worry about (germs, making people ill) is not the problem.. the worry about these things is the problem.

Do you know where your anxiety is in your body, how bearable do you find it (or not?). I have found for me I just have to accept a lot of it. I hate it.. I don't mean I like it... but I sometimes just know I am going to have a period of the sick cold tightness in my throat/chest/stomach and the thoughts will come without my bidding and there is nothing I can do about it. Surrender, I guess. I find the easiest way for me is to conceptualize it as a storm that's passing through. I just have to keep going, simplify what I'm doing in terms of life commitments, plough on. If you can just bob around in the fear and try to tread water without swimming against the tide or letting it submerge you, sometimes that has to be good enough. Try breathing into and around it if you can.

A lot of it with OCD is not letting the OCD control you. It can be a powerful adversary always arguing and testing but you don't have to attend every argument it invites you to. You can't necessarily push it out the door either. I try to treat it like a troublesome old dothery drunken relative. A Fr. Jack maybe. It's there. It's loud, ugly and has to be considered in many situations.... but generally it's as harmful or not harmful as I choose for it to be. We have the power and the control even if it doesn't feel that way.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 08:50:54

And it always amazes me how OCD manages to rope others in. It's not about the germs or the illness really and yet it can beguile others into arguing the case of how rational your fears are or are nit. It doesn't matter. You can worry about things that really could happen or things that are stupidly unlikely and functionally it's all the same thing. I obsess endlessly my children will die and it will be my fault. I absolutely 100% categorically know it wouldn't be on a rational level but this really doesn't help. It's sort of immaterial. There can never ever be reassurance for these things, you know that? No one can ever guarantee you that someone won't die in your care as a result of contamination contributed to by your unwitting error. It is the uncertainty and lack of faith in a positive outcome and your assessment of your ability to cope without facing utter annihilation in the event of a worst case scenario that cause the pain and suffering.

It would be awful. It is improbable but that doesn't help, it's still awful. Nothing can reduce that reality. You just have to find ways of tolerating that to the extent it doesn't overtake your life.

And I know. I know that in the grip of it, that seems absolutely impossible... literally. How could you live with yourself? You would never survive. You would be guilty/responsible etc. OCD fights this one hard... but it is all nonsensical, the bullying way of controlling you and taking your power. It feels intolerable. Yet what's really intolerable is living this way.

AgentZigzag Sun 29-Sep-13 11:16:27

grin at your Fr Jack OCD working, love it.

Mine's more Hannibal Lecter, which is very disturbing/sinister because like yours, it uses the children a lot, not something you can risk ignoring.

The biggest thing that helped me (aside from trying to accept it was a part of me) was someone asking whether I really thought the things I do to pacify the OCD actually influence the world.

Do I really think I have the power to manipulate whether something happens to my DDs or not (when I spend hours trying to hang the towel in the bathroom in the right way hmm).

When you're trying to avoid something awful happening to someone else, there is a seemingly random way accidents and illnesses strike, and if OCD is trying to gain some control over an uncontrollable/unpredictable world, then there's some sense in that.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 11:51:51

Ah but you see my issue is I am an avoider rather than a doer. So I avoid the things that frighten me, including avoiding paying attention to my children's health. Which is scary. Caused ds2 to drop from 91st to 0.4 centile as I wouldn't weigh him though bfing wasn't going well. Avoided vaccines etc. When ill, OCD tells me that the real worry is something unavoidable like, say, a freak accident that I can't control so I get stuck in mental compulsion/prayer land and avoid the much more mundane and obvious sources of trouble that need attention in the here and now.

Might have been helpful if my care team had copped this. No. They knew I was anxious about it but thought I knew what the real problem was. I was off in CBT busily trying to deal with bizarre fears about random rare incurable diseases totally removed from the obvious and pressing issues that were actually a real life concern. So I have had to develop a sort of benevolent relationship to Fr. Jack. He must be fed and watered but I have to remember at all times that what he's raving on about is not actually what really needs attention.

It is scary to think how far fear can make you deviate from what needs to be done in real life.

FavoriteThings Sun 29-Sep-13 12:15:53

Interesting posts on here. I have never had OCD btw, but I know someone who does. I know her quite well, but dont really know anything much about how it affects her life. From an outsiders perspective, or the one I see, you wouldnt know she had it.

Is OCD about controlling life, as well as fear? Forgive me if that is a stupid question.

And can the OCD disappear after a while?

AgentZigzag Sun 29-Sep-13 12:51:26

I'm an avoider too Working, but only so I don't get 'stuck' on things. It's got to the point where can't stand anything/anybody touching me, which can be a bit awkward sometimes. That's so frightening for it to distort your thinking so much with your DC's health. How's your DS2 now?

I've had mine all my life FavoriteT, and other people in my family have similar, but I think it can be triggered by something traumatic and if it's not genetic then it might be possible to get a handle on it?

Things I've noticed in common with other people's OCD is a constant and impossible to ignore sense of impending doom which causes quite distressing anxiety. I'm also 'imbalanced' in my head and 'favour' my left side over my right (I was really surprised (and a bit reassured) when I heard other people get that one).

It tricks me into thinking that if I do (bizarre to other people) rituals then horrible things won't happen, or more to the point, if I don't do the rituals in the right way then there will be terrible consequences and it'll all be my fault.

You're right about the control and fear, it's controlling me, and I'm trying to claw a bit back to stop the things it's threatening me with from happening.

It looks so weird written down grin don't know how I get anything done really.

working9while5 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:14:52

FT no one would ever know I have it. It's a balls in some ways as I've been trying to explain at work to my manager that I can't read across an excel sheet for mandatory training. It takes me an insanely long time and as its not an important task for me to do, it could be delegated to admin to book me on. But they don't get it at all. I am really really capable at my job and a real problem solver/creative with solutions, super efficient... so I think the idea I can't file things quickly or do mundane procedural tasks really jus doesn't compute for people.

I have very few outward compulsions but am frequently repeating things in my head on a loop. I am not particularly controlling of life I wouldn't say, I'm sort of laid back about a lot of things. I could never understand people gettin het up about having the right car or shoes etc. Makes no sense to me. If it can't kill me or my family I don't really give a shit. I just have an immense appreciation of the sheer danger of life and a fertile imagination.

Yes AZ. Haven't quite come to terms with the extent I lost my grip on reality. I really was stupidly severe. Am hoping this was my general OCD tendencies being elevated by comorbid PND as I would say prior to this I always managed my OCD well enough for it not to be frightening in such a debilitating way. Again because I am bright and articulate most people around me totally missed what was happening, even professionals. They spent a lot of time listening to my OCD and believing it!! I am very rational in my irrationality.

My son is fine thanks... and I am letting go of the guilt. I was at one point compulsively weighing him at home but not registering the seriousness of his failure to gain weight. It became about the weighing rather than its meaning... I would weigh us both over and over and convince myself he was okay. Didn't help the CPN kept telling me it was just my anxiety.... in some ways it is good it happened with something like this because once I woke up, I woke up and it was instantly salvageable. He had a tongue tie and once it was done (at nearly six months) and I supplemented it only took a month to sort out. However it could have been so much worse if he had had something more sinister underlying it.

It is hard because I need to be careful not to over rely on others for reassurance as it maintains my anxiety and compulsions, I need to have faith in my own ability to see what's what... but also to make sure I don't lose insight in passing over all responsibility to others. A tightrope.

FavoriteThings Sun 29-Sep-13 15:30:25

Would religion help? Apologies if is insensitive. I am religious and couldnt manage with not being I dont think, or would find it incredibly difficult.

iloveny001 Sun 29-Sep-13 16:50:17

Hi all, am overwhelmed by kind replies, loving the fact that I have a ft jack in my life! I stepped up to something huge today. I got a friend to help me clean. I am an avoider, so my place although not prefect needed a spruce up. I've gone from having laundry piled all the way to the top of wardrobe to having a total of 2.5 bin liners full. There was stuff I will never be able to sort out so have binned it. Think there were 12 bin bags. I feel a lot happier, though ocd is telling me to be concerned about the bin men now! My flat inspection is tomorrow, and although I couldn't do it without friend and freaked about him passing on germs from my carpet, on his clothes because he has touched s lot of my nursing things. Cross contamination, though unlikely, is something I'm really scared of. But, I didn't let ocd win (this time). I let him in, he helped, he has left. I really need to move, esp as others who live here think others have been in their rooms but it is all note manageable.
Next fear is that letting agent will say the mice are my fault. Even when I know its the odd talking I can never quite believe it. My mantra seems to be 'what if'.

iloveny001 Sun 29-Sep-13 16:57:37

Have had counselling, CBT, am on max strength paroxetine. Also on a short course of zopiclone due to stress at the moment. May have a word with work so they are aware. Its such an abusive disease, it never gives up and it takes all my strength all the time to fight it. Everything I do has at least 3 - 4 extra moves to make it acceptable for my brain.
I don't think religion would help in my case, am an atheist but I have a strong social network, and a lovely family.
And of course my mn family!

wibblyjelly Sun 29-Sep-13 19:04:38

Hi all,

I'm iloveny001 sister. We are both users on MN, and I actually came onto this topic to try and get some advice for her. The thread at the top when I came onto this section was this one, so I read it first, thinking there could be something useful I could pass onto her. I immediately recognised it as my dsis thread, and contacted her to ask permission for me to update here, instead of starting a new thread. I'm not sure if an 'outsider' perspective may change any advice she may be given.

I have spent the weekend with my dsis, and could see she was tired, worried and withdrawn. She explained partly what was going on, but it's only reading here that I can see the full extent of the problem. She has not explained previously about the clean and dirty areas, but it makes a lot of what she does make sense now.

I've suggested that she goes back to the dr, but as she is on the maximum dosage for her medication, she doesn't want to waste their time. I was saying to her earlier, it's like her brain constantly has to be worried about something. She was worried about the flat inspection, and once she knew she was getting the flat cleaned, she then started worrying about her friend. It must be exhausting. I have suffered from anxiety myself, but understand that this is on a whole other level that completely takes over her life.

Seeing her recent update though has made me so incredibly proud of her, especially considering the state she was in earlier today. If anyone can offer advice on what I could do to help her, I would greatly appreciate it. I try and support her as best I can, as does our other sister, but I'm not sure how helpful I am.

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