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Can anyone help us understand whether DSD is suffering from OCD?

(14 Posts)
Unidentifiable Mon 13-Jun-11 13:00:59

I have already posted this in Mental Health. I'm a regular but have name changed for this because a few people in RL will know my usual name and I make a point of never talking about family things on here.

DH and I are struggling to work out how to deal with this.

DSD (15) does a lot of irritating things which she says she can't help doing. If she is suffering from OCD then we would try to get her help so that these things don't start ruling her life. On the other hand, if she is just doing these things to exercise some control, then again, we need to work how to deal with it.

I'll give some examples of the irritating things she does:
- she closes the downstairs toilet door every time she passes it. When DS had just started using the toilet he couldn't open the door. So he would suddenly realise he needed a wee, go to the downstairs loo and not be able to get in and would wet himself. This isn't an issue now because he can open the door but at the time it was a real pain in the arse.
- it is her job to load the dishwasher. Every time she loads it she puts the knives in sharp end up. DH has cut himself.
- she winds the plug chain really tightly around the taps which DS can't unravel when he wants to wash his hands. I have now taken the chain off the plug.
- on Friday she decided she couldn't go to bed when someone was in the same room as her. She was in the study and DH was in there on his computer. She wouldn't go to bed until he had left the room, which meant she was up until 1:30am.

She also does things like putting the chairs and plates straight. There are other things, I can't remember them all now. When she is asked not to do these things (with rational reasons given) she says she can't help it.

Our problem with this all is that there seems to be no pattern to it. Her bedroom and her area of the study are an absolute shit tip. Everything gets thrown on the floor, clean clothes mixed up with dirty. She has washing up from weeks ago in her room. I have given up on it and never go in there any more. I would have thought that if she had a compulsion to keep things in order (loo door, plates, chairs) then that would apply to everything? But I'm happy to be told that I am oversimplifying OCD.

She does have what I would consider some control issues - she has to have the last word in an argument, things like that - so DH and I both wonder whether it is an extension of that. Either way, we need to work out how to deal with her inability/unwillingness to do what she is told. At the moment she is using 'I can't help it' as an excuse, but I don't know whether she genuinely can't.

I know these are 'irritating' rather than anything else, I am aware that I should be grateful she's not out all hours drinking with boys (which is what I was told last time I raised this on MN a couple of years ago)!

If anyone can help me with the benefit of their experience I would be very grateful.

MJennieJ Mon 13-Jun-11 17:02:27

How frustrating and worrying for you. I thinks it's really hard for us mums to know what is a real problem and what is just an irritating phase. Have you tried the "we have a problem here let's sit down and talk about how we can solve it together tactic"? Can she see it's a big issue? Would she talk to someone other than you guys? I would take it seriously and if these things don't work take her to your GP....it's prob nothing but then again it might just be something. Good luck

mountaingirl Mon 13-Jun-11 17:44:19

I don't know your family situation but you did say she is your dsd, perhaps the answer lies in that. Maybe she is asserting some sort of control in her life, especially if she has two lives, one with you all and one with her mother. Perhaps her mother expects her to do these things at home with her?

Why doesn't she have her own room? I must say I think she has every right to expect her room to be empty if she is expected to go to sleep.

I am afraid I am a plate and chair straightener, I dislike cupboard doors/ doors to the loo open and I don't have ocd. I just prefer a reasonable amount of tidiness. I once nursed with a girl who did and her symptoms were obsessive, she would wash her hands until they were raw...

I think your dsd is just a teenager. Sorry.

lazymumofteenagesons Mon 13-Jun-11 18:22:43

I've posted on the mental health section.

Unidentifiable Mon 13-Jun-11 18:41:40

She does have her own room mountaingirl. What I meant was she couldn't go when someone was in the same room as her downstairs. They were both in the study, she couldn't leave the room while someone else was in it.

scurryfunge Mon 13-Jun-11 18:48:20

Although these incidents are irritating, they do not seem to be particularly obsessive and I would question whether they were related to OCD. In the example of not leaving the study, why didn't your DH leave the room to let her get off to bed -he could have returned a bit later surely?

Unidentifiable Mon 13-Jun-11 18:52:29

Scurry I suppose he didn't want to respond to such irrational behaviour.

scurryfunge Mon 13-Jun-11 19:01:59

I can see that too. It seems more of power thing. I would dismiss any control attempt and not feed it as it will become a stand off.

Hmmm it does sound a tad OCD to me..

My eldest DD1 has always had OCD tendencies from early childhood.. couldn't eat foods that touched hated touching almost anything.. spent 6 months on boiled eggs and rice only (white food) and as she has grown the tendencies have changed but not gone away. Certain things have to be 'just so' even down to measuring the amount of readybrek with scales.. it's not just food either although these are the problem ones.

Is your DD stressed at school? my DD1 finds her OCD gets MUCH worse when the rest of her life feels 'wrong' After a very tough first year at Uni (bullying in her flatsad) her OCD is now really bad and she has sought help..is about to start Cognitive behavioural therapy because her food OCDs have worsened to the point where she is skeletal (doesn't want to be) because she can only eat certain things, in a certain order.
She also is hypersensitive to noise.. really badly so.. and cannot go to bed or sleep with ANY noise near her.

She is however unbelievably untidy.. so it doesn't affect her living habits ( almost wish it did a tiny bit!!!) It's absolutely not a control thing and it distresses her that she feels compelled to eat/sleep etc in certain ways.

OCD can and does take many forms and while your DD MAY be using it as an excuse to exercise control, I'd be a little wary of totally dismissing this as just that... or be at least aware that it can developsad

A chat to the GP wouldn't hurt at least..

Ratata Mon 13-Jun-11 21:33:24

It sounds a bit like anxiety and possibly a small amount of OCD. I have had both. Perhaps have a chat to her and see if there is anything wrong at school, or get someone to speak to her that she feels she can open up to. I went undiagnosed for years and it really messed me up.

pixielovescake Fri 01-Jul-11 19:49:06

It does sound a bit like OCD. I had this as a teenager and now only (ha!) have depression and slight anxiety.
the things she is doing could be OCD and surprisinly enough so can the being argumentative. Well not OCD but OCD often has other issues with it even small ones. A lot of my awful bad teenager stuff , when i look back now (im on meds and stable. Its took over 10 years. Dont let that put you off we re all different people) was definatly related to my OCD/anxiety/general depression type stuff. I still notice now if ive missed my meds for a day or so.
Maybe take her to see your GP?

pixielovescake Fri 01-Jul-11 19:49:54

Oh and i have never been tidy. Ever. My mum hates it still.

nickschick Fri 01-Jul-11 19:55:47

I have 2 teens and they are peculiar beings smile a lot of their behaviour can be irrational Im not suggesting they have OCD or any other traits just that in their teenage world its a big thing to them.

I think the whole teenagey thing is so difficult to adjust to even for the teen themselves they develop these curious habits as a control.

If I were you Id accomodate these foibles as much as possible and hopefully she will grow out of them.

OCD is a dreadful condition to have ,I joke with my friend who is vvvvv tidy that she has OCD and she tells me its almost painful for her to have to do things 'her' way but I think that with OCD comes little pinches of other spectrum disorders so I wouldnt be in any rush to diagnose OCD because its not a quick fix.

Finallygotaroundtoit Fri 01-Jul-11 20:02:20

From what you've said I suspect controlling others is some part of her motives here.
No expert on OCD, but don't the rituals usually just involve the individual & any impact on others is unintentional and regreted by the sufferer?

Most OCD sufferers try to hide their behaviour. The way she uses it as an excuse is a bit hmm

Does she still close the toilet door now it doesn't cause such problems for your ds?

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