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Mental health support for OCD/anxiety whilst pregnant?

(39 Posts)
WorryWurta Sun 30-Nov-14 17:09:16

So since I have been pregnant (am due in March) I've been feeling really anxious, it started out quite general but in the last month or so has gotten really bad. I'm fixated on worrying about catching/having caught hepatitis C. I've never done any of the usual risk factors, but I spend most evenings in hysterics worrying about possible ways I might have contracted it. For example:
- sitting on a toilet seat (too wobbly to hover anymore)
- helping a friend into a trial wedding dress with a (not bleeding) papercut on my finger
- having my eyebrows threaded at superdrug
- putting my hand in a puddle in London
- standing next to a man in town who looked a bit 'druggy'

It's starting to have an enormous affect on my life. I had to stop volunteering at the foodbank because it's made me really predjudiced/paranoid if we have people in who are IV drug users (I know that makes me a terrible person). I spend most evenings in tears and hysterics, I can't bare anyone talking about the pregnancy or the baby because I'm so certain I'm going to give it a terrible disease - when my husband and his friend painted the nursery I didn't even want to look I was so worried/ashamed. I've had problems eating since I became pregnant due to different paranoia's about diseases, and sometimes I don't make lunch or get a drink because all of the hand/surface washing I have to do plus just the worry of preparing food doesn't feel worth it. My parents gave me money to pay privately to see a counsellor because of the wait for counselling on the NHS. She is helping slowly but as time ticks on I don't seem to be getting better quickly enough. I spoke to the midwife and she said they wouldn't test me for hepatitis C because I'm not in an at risk group. I'm thinking of paying privately for a test but that scares me because I can't really afford it, I'm worried I'd have to keep going back to be retested, and I'm worried about the cleanliness of going to an unfamiliar private STD clinic to get tested. I feel so worried and ashamed all the time, I just don't know where to go from here. My husband is frightened to leave me alone and he barely gets any sleep himself because he is always cleaning to try to reassure me that things are safe, or talking me down when I get hysterical. I just want to know the baby is alright and can't help feeling I've been really careless and put it at risk.

Foggymist Sun 30-Nov-14 17:33:19

You seriously need to speak to your GP and get some help from this. You're worrying about catching a disease just by standing beside some who looks a bit "druggy" (technical term is it?).

This isn't normal behaviour and needs to be dealt with, or you're going to give yourself an awful time of it. You need to see that these worries are not real threats to you or your baby, or it will be a very long and anxious pregnancy, and then what will that lead to when you have the baby, keeping it away from everyone and everything for fear of diseases?

Please speak to somebody and don't back down until they see how quickly you need proper help with this.

Foggymist Sun 30-Nov-14 17:51:02

You know what, I think you should print out your post and bring it to your gp and/or midwife. It highlights that this isn't an isolated Hep C worry, this anxiety is seriously affecting your life, even your diet. Just tell them to read that, you've explained it all very well in good detail.

WorryWurta Sun 30-Nov-14 17:51:15

Many thanks for the straight talking. I do apologise for the use of the term 'druggy' , which is obviously not an appropriate way to classify anyone based on how they look or even if they have/do use IV drugs, it's just the best way I have of expressing what's going on in my brain.

WorryWurta Sun 30-Nov-14 17:52:00

I might do that, thanks.

Foggymist Sun 30-Nov-14 17:56:53

I don't have any problem with the druggy term, I just thought that part really showed how...I'm trying to think of a word that doesn't come across as belittling or insulting when written without tone...unreasonable/outlandish the anxiety has made your fears, that just standing beside someone might give you a disease.

Hope you get help soon, I really think your post explains it all very well and would be a good way to explain it to a medical professional who was disbelieving or not taking it seriously enough.

Dolly87 Sun 30-Nov-14 18:03:13

A bit harsh don't you think Foggymist?Seriously, some people use this forum for support and advice and commenting like that helps no one!!

Worrywurta sorry I can't help you much but just wanted to say that I think what you are doing by seeing someone privately shows you are to an extent dealing with your anxiety and accepting it's affecting you. I think that's a great step. You won't feel better over night but you say it has helped which is a good thing. I'm a bit of a worrier too and can sympathise with what you are going through xx

Foggymist Sun 30-Nov-14 18:31:49

Excuse me Dolly? I gave advice, commenting like what helps no one, with advice? There's a difference between harsh and honest, she said herself it was straight talking. Enough people pussyfoot and just offer sympathy on forums with no real advice.

And in case you think you have the upper hand on advising because you're a worrier whereas "harsh" me is clearly just being mean I've dealt with anxiety for nearly 5 years, got NO help from a gp who left me thinking I was actually going mad, and had to seek out help for myself from another decent understanding doctor. But I only went to that doctor because my mother made me, when the first one said I was basically making it up I was in a fragile state and accepted what the "medical professional" said and went home to my bed where I cried hysterically and had panic attack after panic attack, thinking I had myself to blame and nobody would help me.

I really don't want to ever see that happen to anybody else, especially not somebody who should be enjoying their pregnancy, so if you thought my posts were just harsh crap that's your opinion, but I'm trying to make the poster see that unfortunately it can be up the patient to make the professionals see how serious the problem is, and not to back down or give up until she gets the appropriate care and help.

Dolly87 Sun 30-Nov-14 19:03:57

Too many people on these forums offer sympathy, as it can actually help some people feel a little bit better with kind words.

Sorry you've suffered with anxiety too, doesn't excuse harsh words like your rely above and the one you left re the eyebrow threading, which was quite frankly obnoxious and rude!!

Your state that worrywurts needs professional help, I'm sure if you read her comment properly, you would have seen that she is indeed gaining help.

Sorry for taking up space on yor thread worry but sometimes some people need to get a reality check and stop hiding behind usernames!! Of course you need help but there are ways of supporting people and there are ways of being nasty!

WorryWurta Sun 30-Nov-14 19:25:01

Thank you for your support Dolly, honestly I'm grateful to both of you for commenting - any perspective on this issue is better than mine at the moment.

coastergirl Sun 30-Nov-14 21:39:09

I have severe anxiety which has lead to depression. I have to say that pregnancy has really made my doctors try harder to help me. Like others have said, do talk to your GP, midwife and anyone else you see. There are lots of services that can help. Sorry not to be able to help more.

onceipopicantstop Sun 30-Nov-14 22:11:13

Hi worry I had to post as I have suffered with the exact same thing. I have OCD and am very anxious about catching blood borne viruses such as HIV and hep C. You really need to speak to your midwife and/or GP as there is a lot of help available, and if you are pregnant you will be seen earlier. I've had two children in the last 4 years, both pregnancies have been difficult but particularly the last one as my anxiety increased dramatically. Fortunately I have had help and support from professionals and have two healthy children.
Sorry this is a waffly post - but what I'm trying to say is
- tell someone - it's not good for you or the baby to be feeling so anxious. It sounds as though your midwife perhaps hasn't appreciated how anxious you are feeling?
- you may find there is a whole network of help once you tell someone. In my area I was fast tracked to psychological support, saw a specialist mental health midwife, and was under the care of a perinatal psychiatrist
- there is treatment that is considered safe to take in pregnancy, you might want to discuss this with someone

What type of counselling are you receiving - is it CBT or exposure response treatment?

I really hope you get the support you need and start to feel better soon. It's a horrible condition, but very difficult to explain to someone just how anxious it can make you feel. Sounds like you have a lovely husband to help you though smile

WorryWurta Mon 01-Dec-14 08:04:31

Hi onceeipopicantstop . I'm so sorry you've gone through this too, but also a bit relieved it isn't just me. Also glad that everything's OK with you and your kids - I also get this panic I might 'think' myself into getting a virus because I obsess about it so much (have a friend who's very into 'illnesses start in the mind').

I've spoken to the midwife and the doctor about it before and was referred for counselling, they could offer me CBT but it was too much of a wait (only a few weeks, which is very good on the NHS but too long for me) so I am paying to see a counselling psychologist. We're doing compassion focussed therapy, which is a bit like a cross between CBT and mindfulness. I always feel better when I speak to her but so far the take away tips she's given me have mainly been about breathing exercises which I find really hard. I'm either too panic stricken to do them, or when I'm calm I'm too exhausted.

I'm going to try and make another GP appointment today, I want to try and avoid medication if I can but I think I need to find out if there's any kind of perinatal mental health team. Things are so difficult now but I'm also worried nobody's talking to me about making a plan for when the baby's here. How did you find things changed after the birth? My midwife suggested it might resolve on it's own if it's down to the hormones which I used to believe, but I'm no so sure now.

BotBotticelli Mon 01-Dec-14 08:42:57

Please make a GP appointment today. Anxiety disorder and OCD are illnesses and you can be treated for them. You don't have to feel like this every day.

You are not being unreasonable - the chemicals in your brain have gone a bit haywire but the good news is it can be treated. It's an illness like any other.

Print out your original post, show it to the GP and say you're desperate for some help. I would hope you get referred pretty shariah into some antenatal MH services.

There are some any anxiety drugs which are safe to take in pregnancy (sertraline) which could make a real difference to you. It doesn't have to be like this - there is no risk of you getting these diseases.

You already have a disease - it's called anxiety and it's the one you need treating ASAP.

bluebell345 Mon 01-Dec-14 09:03:44

agree with BotBotticelli.
hope you recover soon and hold your baby happily smile. flowers

onceipopicantstop Mon 01-Dec-14 09:49:25

Hi I opted not to be on medication when pregnant, but there are medications that are safe. Once I had the baby I felt a lot better partly because the pregnancy related worries such as worrying about washing fruit etc went. I am now back on medication and feeling a lot better. It sounds as though you have only developed symptoms in pregnancy so it may well be hormone related and go away once you've had the baby. It needs managing in the meantime though.

coastergirl Mon 01-Dec-14 10:12:46

Sorry my post last night was brief and not particularly helpful. I was having a rough day myself and couldn't organise my thoughts enough.

I just have to echo what others have said really. I'm due in March too, and initially opted not to be on medication during pregnancy, however things got really bad and that wasn't really an option anymore for me. My GP spent time researching medications and put me on one of the older types of medication that is safe during pregnancy (Amitriptyline). It's not an instant fix, but I do think it has helped a bit. My dose is still being upped as I've been having a really rough time. One thing this medication does is help me to sleep, which is a big bonus for me. I think for me, it came down to the fact that I couldn't go on feeling the way I did. We (my husband and I) came to the conclusion that it is better for us as a couple, and us as a family with our baby, for me to be on medication. I want to be as stable as possible when my baby is born. For that reason, I will also be staying on my medication after the birth, meaning that I won't be able to breastfeed. But again, this is a decision that we've made after careful consideration. We think it's more important for baby to have a healthy and stable mum.

Anyway, I digress. What I wanted to say, is that before pregnancy, my anxiety wasn't taken particularly seriously. I did have CBT for a year back in 2012 and unfortunately it made me worse, but I know it works wonders for some people. Since being pregnant though, I've been referred to the mental health antenatal team and they have referred me on to a psychologist. My GP is also keeping a very close eye on me. It helps just to know that things are being done. It's going to a long road for me, but at least support is in place.

I agree with what others have said about printing out your original post and taking it to your Doctor. It's very thorough and should make them realise how much you are struggling.

Good luck x

WorryWurta Mon 01-Dec-14 10:22:37

Thanks coastergirl, I'm glad you've got sorted with a plan, sorry yesterday was bad. I was on amitriptalyne a while back for depression whilst I was waiting for infertility testing/treatment, it was a godsend. I came off it when I was pregnant last December (which ended up being ectopic) and stayed off cos my consultant wouldn't do ivf if I was on meds. Have appt at eleven so we'll see what they say, they never mentioned an antenatal mental health team before but I know they do have them in other areas so hoping...

WorryWurta Mon 01-Dec-14 12:30:38

Well the GP was lovely but just referred me back for counselling through a charity they work with, which I don't really understand as I'm already having counselling. I rang them anyway and they're calling me back next week for a telephone assessment. I also rang the midwives who were a bit more helpful and have made me a consultant appointment (there isn't an antenatal MH team but there is a consultant they refer through to) at the end of January. I asked them for the mental health crisis team number because one Friday night after work I couldn't go back to my house because I was so scared of the germs there and ended up calling 111, going to the out of hours doctor and just getting told to go to my GP on Monday (DH eventually finished work and escorted me home). In finding out about that the midwife discovered that my GP can make an 'access appointment' for someone from the mental health team to visit me at home, so I've rung the GP surgery and asked them to do that. I'm a bit worried he's going to get confused and just refer through to the counselling charity, but if he does it right I'll get a proper assessment and they'll also give me the crisis team's number. I really want somebody to give me some kind of diagnosis - for example today I'm not going to make it to work (I freaked out there might be some kind of blood on my phone because there was a bit of crud on there) and now I have to try to sterilise the room where I scratched it off in case it was blood. But I can't tell them that, I'm new in post and it would really help if I could say 'oh I have xyz' rather than 'I'm just feeling really worried'.

WorryWurta Mon 01-Dec-14 12:31:20

Also sorry thank you to the everyone who commented and said that I should take this seriously, as it helped me to push them for services.

Foggymist Mon 01-Dec-14 12:39:56

It pisses me off so much that they just fob people off and give them appointments for "help" weeks/months away, when every hour is a lifetime. How can they not see that problems like this are just as important as if you went in with a physical ailment, it drives me mad.

Did you print out your OP and show them?

The time I went to the second gp he took the phone off the hook and listened to me ramble and cry for an hour, then he talked through some of my fears, gave me the number of a counsellor who he said he would call asap and if I wanted an appointment immediately it could happen, within a few hours. As it happened I didn't need the counsellor in the end (well, I probably did really in the long term but the initial panic subsided and I felt better and ok), but THAT is the kind of quick response time that's needed, not this "speak to someone in 4+ weeks" nonsense.

I'm glad you're taking the advice here to take it seriously and pushing for services, it's difficult to do this when you're feeling anxious and fragile but that's great that you can see it from that angle, you know you need them to assist you and that this isn't "you" and you alone thinking these things, it's the anxiety.

WorryWurta Mon 01-Dec-14 17:06:33

I didn't print my post off in the end cos I was too upset this morning. I did tell him what's gone on this weekend but I think my problem is when I am calm I sound totally fine, so he probably thinks it's not too bad cos I can talk about it calmly. But when I'm in the zone I'm a wreck, tho that normally happens in the evening. All I've done today is wash and rewash sheets, towels, pillowcases. I'm on my third outfit. Like I know and I could tell you it probably wasn't some random person's hep c infected blood that was the crud on my phone this morning (probably jam or gravy) because where would the blood even come from? But if DH was here and tried to make me leave the old sheets on the bed or keep my clothes from this morning on I would lose it!

onceipopicantstop Mon 01-Dec-14 18:47:29

Hi worry one of the problems with ocd (in my opinion) is that you can appear completely normal. I was very good at hiding my problems, but like you was frequently in a terrible state at home. Perhaps you should ask your husband to go to the GP with you so he can explain how you are when things are bad. I don't think your GP is being particularly understanding of how unwell you are. Are your hands sore from all the washing?

Also just to say this will get better. When you're at this point it can feel like there is no way things will improve but they will. REading your posts is like reading my own story - I have done all the things you describe!

SilverStars Mon 01-Dec-14 20:19:48

Hi does your area have a specialist mental health midwife in the team you can be referred to or a specialist peri natal mental health team to refer to. If not as you hopefully have done being referred to the community mental health team or whatever it is called for assessment and diagnosis and hopefully NHS treatment will help. Yes there will be a few weeks wait but worth being in the queue if you already getting psychologist help privately.

Hope things improve for you.

coastergirl Mon 01-Dec-14 23:34:19

Really hope the help comes through for you. Just wanted to say I'm really shocked at the IVF consultant's attitude towards meds. Surely going through infertility is such a stressful time and you would need them more than ever?!

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