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OCD Mamas: Come in and Commiserate!

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
I've been suffering from a rapid, tyrannical case of OCD since I had my second baby. It's tyrannical in that it rules me and tells me what to do and how to think. I don't feel safe confiding in anybody because my unknowing friends dismiss it with, "You really need to let go" and "Why don't you just lighten up? You're so uptight." But as anybody with OCD knows, words like that are about as compassionate and effective as telling a depressed person to "snap out of it."

Do people really believe that I choose to live this way? I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I'm tired of the worry, the intrusive thoughts, the constant state of feeling terrified. Therapy is taking the edge off of it a little, but I'd like to hear from other OCD mamas to know that I'm not the only one. Are any of you our there???
post #2 of 58
Oh yes, there's more of us out here unfortunately. I think OCD is one of those things that unless you've lived with it or someone that has had it for a while it's hard to understand why we do what we do. But, you're right, we definitely wouldn't choose to do these things so the comments that people make annoy me too Here's one that my dad continues to ask my dh "Is she over it yet?" NOOOO. I'm never going to get over it, just have the ability to control it. And some days are better than others with the being able to control it part.

I catch glimpses of that show, The OCD Project, on VH1 and the psychologist seems like he thinks OCD will go away with Exposure/Response Therapy and well, maybe it does for some, but I can't see how. It's hard enough to control it as I have to constantly be aware of my mental state and actively apply the cognitive strategies for diffusing the ruminating thoughts from creeping up again...idk

I hope more OCD'ers will find their way here soon because I know for me it helps to find others who understand how really hard this can be sometimes...Kate
post #3 of 58
It's life ruling. You aren't the only one. What type of therapy are you doing? Have you considered any medications (natural or otherwise)? Sometimes they can give the bump you need to really progress in therapy and make life more manageable.
post #4 of 58
I'm right here with you. My therapist posted something for me a while back and it was an article about how many many mothers have OCD that is somehow induced by pregnancy. Or if they already had OCD before pregnancy, it gets worse after. It was very interesting. For me, it got worse after ds1 was born, and MUCH worse after ds2. I did take meds for 2 years or more, and now I am considering them again after being off them for a year.

I am here to offer support, to say "I've been there, I am here," and just to learn how others are dealing with it.

For me, I'm dealing with it with therapy, vitamins, fish oil, and a very supportive husband.
post #5 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovbeingamommy View Post
It's hard enough to control it as I have to constantly be aware of my mental state and actively apply the cognitive strategies for diffusing the ruminating thoughts from creeping up again...idk
I’d love to hear what your strategies are. My therapist’s approach is mostly cognitive-behavioral, and it definitely helps. But I’m always interested to hear what other people are doing.

My biggest ruminating thougts are of dust EVERYWHERE and that SOMETHING must wrong with my house (leaky roof, chipped paint, AC going to break down, etc). Fortunately, I don’t have any of the post-partum psychosis or feelings of hurting my baby, but I do get a persistent and irrational fear that he’s going to fall from a high place. It’s quite terrifying.

I’m sorry about your FIL. MIL drives me crazy, but her having the same problem is sort of an asset…in a backward way, I suppose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
:Have you considered any medications (natural or otherwise)?
See above for my answer to your therapy question.

I took an SSRI for awhile and am open to trying other conventional methods. I'll be meeting with my doctor soon to chat about that. If I had the money, I’d do acupuncture. If you know of any cheap natural remedies, I’d love to hear them!! I’m not totally sold on homeopathy, but at this point, I’ll try anything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
I'm right here with you. My therapist posted something for me a while back and it was an article about how many many mothers have OCD that is somehow induced by pregnancy. Or if they already had OCD before pregnancy, it gets worse after. It was very interesting.
See, THIS is what drives me crazy! It’s hard enough to find resources on post-partum depression, (which is a pretty taboo topic in the non-MDC world ). But it’s practically impossible to find anything on post-partum anxiety. The PPD books that I’ve read only TOUCH on anxiety, if at all, and usually it’s only the context of psyschosis. Hopefully some researchers pounce on this relatively unchartered territory...

THANK YOU for your support, ladies. And remember that you have all of mine.
post #6 of 58
I think Shoshanna Bennet's books have pretty good information on PP-OCD. Either one- Beyond the Blues or PPD for Dummies. They are both really great resources for anxiety after having a baby. She talks about OCD a lot in BtB.

Hope this helps, if you are looking for more resources. I think that low serotonin just manifests differently for some people, for some, it results in depression. For some, it results in anxiety. For me, it was major anxiety that aggravated my OCD-tendency.

Dr. Daniel Amen also has a couple of great books on anxiety and OCD, and my FAVE book on OCD is called Brain Lock. It's awesome.
post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
I think Shoshanna Bennet's books have pretty good information on PP-OCD. Either one- Beyond the Blues or PPD for Dummies. They are both really great resources for anxiety after having a baby. She talks about OCD a lot in BtB.
Thanks for the references. I just got a hold of Bennet's and will put the Dummies book on an ILL hold.
post #8 of 58
I have an obsessive disorder (O without the C).

Most of my obsessive thoughts were related to my health, hypochondriacal (is that a word??) in nature. But not always.

After years of suffering (and really, that's what it was - I enjoyed nothing, as everything was tainted, at the least, or ruled, as was usually the case, by constant, unrelenting thoughts that would not leave my head), I finally went to a psychiatrist. He subscribed Lexapro, and now, several years later, I can say that I love Lexapro and am so glad that I decided to try it back then. I can actually enjoy my life!!

I know meds aren't the answer for everyone, but they work great for me.
post #9 of 58
Hai...I'm in therapy and on meds. I don't know if therapy is helping too much. It is nice to be able to unload all of my anxieties on someone, but I feel like the suggestions I'm getting to try and control anxieties and obsessive thoughts are too simplified. Maybe I'm not giving it enough time or I'm expecting too much too fast...I don't know. My obsessive thoughts revolve around food, calories, weight, a ritual about how I weigh myself and at what part of the day, making sure doors/windows are locked, and organization/clutter. I spent many years as a hoarder in my childhood...it was really bad. My mom said that she had to wait until I left the house and go through my room with trashbags and get rid of stuff that I refused to part with, little papers, trash, etc. In the past couple years, I've gone to the other extreme, where clutter and "stuff" gives me a lot of anxiety, makes it hard to sleep, etc. Right now we're in a tiny apartment with very little storage space, so there are some boxes in our living room and I really obsess over how to organize things to get the boxes put out of sight, but actually organized and not just thrown into a closet or something. I do all of the laundry for the household and all pants, underwear, items folded on shelves, have to be folded the same way, hung up the same way, all the hangers have to be the same (white plastic), clothes are hung in categories then organized within those categories. I really waste a lot of time because if the closet seems messy, I take EVERYTHING out and I have to start over... I joke that it is a "good" obsession because it keeps our house neat, but I hate that something like clothing hanging up improperly gets me really upset.

We actually talked about that in particular in therapy last night, about the need for perfectionism in my weight, organization, etc...I guess I've been carrying around this idea that I have to be perfect to be loved, so if things aren't "just so" I feel like it is a character/personal flaw.

WOW, I am long-winded today...
post #10 of 58
Thread Starter 
Greeny, that’s awesome that you’ve found a long-term way to manage things!

Mom0810, I’ve just read through Bennett’s book. It’s pretty informative, although I think the authors are a little too hard on breastfeeding. I understand that if a woman feels excessive pressure to breastfeed and then for whatever reason cannot, it may contribute to her PPD.

But from what we know of oxytocin and its mitigating effects on PPD, the authors underestimate and undervalue the positive role that breastfeeding can play. And weaning isn’t necessarily the answer if a woman has PPD. A lot of social support and even lasting friendships are formed through La Leche League. It was my lifeline after DD1 was born. Anyway, that was my only beef with the book…

Pariah, I hope you don’t mind my asking, but have you been diagnosed with an eating disorder? ED and OCD are sort of “kissing cousins.” Also, what kind of therapy are you doing? Don’t worry about shopping around for a good therapist. It’s vital to treatment and recovery. But just by seeing a therapist, you’re already miles ahead of other women in your shoes.
post #11 of 58
Yes, diagnosed with both. It has come up a lot that EDs and OCD are often present at the same time and I can most definitely see how they are related. They both REALLY overlap for me.

The therapy is the cognitive behavioral variety...I probably misspelled that!

Okay, the part below I put in the "spoiler" tags because it is related to miscarriage and I don't want anyone to see it if it is a triggering topic to read about.

Do any of you watch the OCD and addiction-related shows on tv? There was a recent episode of the "Obsessed" OCD show where
Warning :: Spoiler Ahead! Highlight to read message!
a woman who miscarried saved her fetus (those were the words that the episode's info used, anyway). I want to watch it, but it may get me unnecessarily worked up. I saved a small piece of tissue/blood that I passed from my miscarried baby as well as the pregnancy tests because I feel/felt like I need something tangible or else it would be as if she never existed (I also saved a little piece of our placenta from my son's birth).
I wonder if that woman felt the same way, and I'm curious to see how that is part of her OCD. Overall though, it is hard for me to watch the Invervention/Obsessed shows that deal with the problems I personally deal with...other episodes I watch, but those are too much for me.
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
Dr. Daniel Amen also has a couple of great books on anxiety and OCD, and my FAVE book on OCD is called Brain Lock. It's awesome.
Yeah, Brain Lock, and the older book, Stop Obsessing! helped me. But Zoloft has made the biggest difference. Medicine doesn't get rid of all the obsessions though, so the activities in these books are great.

I especially liked the suggestion to postpone obsessing until a certain future time. You give yourself permission to obsess at say, 8pm. No obsessing until then. By the time you get to your "allowed" obsessing time, the urge has usually passed. It's a great trick.

And visualization exposure therapy also worked for me. It involves catastrophizing whatever you're afraid of in your mind and forcing yourself to keep thinking about it until it loses its power. I actually had a scissor phobia in college. (I had to TEAR paper! I can laugh about it now. ) I visualized tons of scissors coming to life and chasing me around to cut off my hair. I did this daily for a couple weeks, and it worked!

A helpful therapeutic exercise is the "And then what?" one. You start at the top of a sheet of paper and write your fear down. Then ask yourself, "And then what?" You write that fear down. And continue until you can't go any further. The last sentence you write is what you are really afraid of--not the first one.

For example:

I might forget to lock my door.
And then what?

Someone could break in my house.
And then what?

They could attack me when I'm asleep.
And then what?

They could kill me.
And then what?

I'd be dead.
And then what?

My children would have to grow up without a mom.
And then what?

They'd suffer and have horrible lives.
And then what?

It would be my fault.
And then what?

Conclusion:
So what you're really afraid of is messing up your kids' lives and feeling guilty about it.

Then you can deal with your REAL fears instead of wasting so much time on the imagined ones.

Living with OCD is like having someone who knows your worst fears and uses them against you over and over living inside your head. I sometimes think of it like a little vengeful monster in my mind. Like a little ugly gnome or something! It's anything BUT funny when you're really suffering. But once you find the treatment combination that works for you, you're able to appreciate the ridiculousness of it all and can learn to laugh a little. For me, it was learning little tricks to use and being on an SSRI.
post #13 of 58
I am so GLAD to have found this thread! Kinda sucks that there has to be one though. I have a 19 m.o. and when he was about 6 months I knew I either had to get help or I was planning to take off. I ended up at the Emory's PP mental health clinic. Thank god!! I'm on a pretty good dose of Lexapro and my life has completely changed.

I remember when the doc told me it was OCD, I was shocked, I actually made her prove it to me. It seems my crazy ass hormones, a difficult pregnancy and hard time after pushed my OCD into the red zone.

It's funny, I've known since hs that I thought differantly than my friends and I chose to believe it was a lack of intelligence. Admitting I have OCD, finding the right treatment, and taking the steps to be healthy have been hard, but it's given me a chance to relearn who I am. I like this me.

that being said...we can't find a sleep aid that works. I have more obsessions than compulsions and am exhausted at night. I think I usually get about 5 hours of sleep and have an uber-active toddler who rarely naps more then 1 1/2 hours. I am tired! If you guys know of anything that's worked well for you, please share.
post #14 of 58
Trazodone works me for. It's an old antidepressant that is sedating. It's not addictive and it's cheap.
post #15 of 58
readingmama,
I had a go at trazadone and it made me uber-sick. Ambien didn't help and now I've been Rx an addctive hypnotic and I'm so hesitant to take it.
post #16 of 58
I was diagnosed OCD in high school. Mine appears to be set off by PANDAS. I had some early indicators before my freshman year of high school, and then my freshman year I had strep at least once a month the entire year. Things went downhill from there.

I really struggled with anxiety and borderline PPD after my DD was born. I'm due in a bit over 3 weeks and am pretty worried I'll be back there again after her birth.

I was on Zoloft for about 10 years, but I hate the stuff. I'm hoping to not have to mess with that again. I had a urinalysis of my neurological chemicals and such and they were definitely off. I don't remember what was too high or too low, although my serotonin was right on.
post #17 of 58
Just marking the thread so I can come back later. Definitely glad to see this on here!
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
I was diagnosed OCD in high school. Mine appears to be set off by PANDAS. I had some early indicators before my freshman year of high school, and then my freshman year I had strep at least once a month the entire year. Things went downhill from there.

I really struggled with anxiety and borderline PPD after my DD was born. I'm due in a bit over 3 weeks and am pretty worried I'll be back there again after her birth.

I was on Zoloft for about 10 years, but I hate the stuff. I'm hoping to not have to mess with that again. I had a urinalysis of my neurological chemicals and such and they were definitely off. I don't remember what was too high or too low, although my serotonin was right on.
Pandas? Is this an acronym for something or do you mean the bears that aren't really bears? Isn't that interesting!

Also interesting that you recall that your serotonin was right on. Maybe it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with serotonin. It's too bad it's not a better understand malady.

Anyway. I have suffered from what I thought was an anxiety disorder (and it is, just not exclusively) since I was a kid. It wasn't until literally just a few months ago that I realized there was definitely a huge OCD component in there, and I can't believe no counselor, therapist or doctor ever mentioned that to me, although, truth be told, there were things I didn't tell them because I thought they were just too crazy. Like my thing about food. I am often plagued by thoughts that there is something wrong with it, and I must inspect it very carefully before I buy it or eat it. It must meet certain qualifications to pass. There are huge classes of foods I won't even go near because I know it will trigger a cascade of obsessive thoughts which will lead to a panic attack and omg those are not pleasant.

I don't want to take meds because, well, they fall smack into the middle of "things that make me freak out." A common internal dialogue goes something like:
"if I take this med, I might die, because someone might have tampered with it."
"oh, don't be ridiculous. Seriously, what are the chances?"
"I don't know. Maybe not very high. But there IS a chance. You think those people who took the cyanide-laced tylenol thought there was a chance? No way, they just blithely took the drugs and trusted other people and look where that got them!"
"Arrgh!"

So I've been experimenting with a serotonin rich diet, with not great success. I DO find breastfeeding helps, so the PP who mentioned the oxytocin may well be onto something. I find distraction and relaxation also help. The best thing for it seems to be to lie down with my husband or baby and have a nap (I think lack of sleep may also make it worse), but that's not always possible. One thing I have had limited success with is the question "is it happening NOW?" So if I'm freaking out, thinking I'm dying from something or other, I ask myself that. I take an honest inventory of my body. I tell myself that if it does actually start to happen for real, then I can worry about it.

I am just sick of this. I'd love to find a way to reprogram my brain so I can live a joyful life. I can be quite rational about many things. I am not frightened of nuclear war or terrorism or earthquakes or many of the thousands of things the news tells you you should be frightened of. It's just (just!) food, meds, germs & chemical-laden cleaners (yes, I see the irony). I can see the humour in it. I remember once, as a child, my mom told me to go take a bath. I refused, saying the bathtub was dirty. I was really quite concerned about that. She said it wasn't, she had just cleaned it that day. I still wouldn't go because I was worried about residue from the cleanser. Seriously.
post #19 of 58
annie mac- I hate to laugh but I am giggling a little. I completely understand! We just moved and got a dishwasher. I am not kidding when I say that it has changed my life. For about a year previously I haven't washed a single dish, I just couldn't get them clean enough. So dh did the dishes. The problem then was that I saw him washing and KNEW he wasn't getting them clean enough. So he'd wash the dishes then I'd rewash. Of course I couldn't dry them b/c the drying towel probably had left over food particles from when he'd origanally washed and dried the not-quite-clean dishes. And I don't even consider the dishes one of my obsessions!

Now we have a dishwasher and we haven't had a sink full of dirty dishes since. Dh doesn't know why, he doesn't know about my rewashing.
post #20 of 58
faithstuff: oh yeah, I get that dish towel thing. It doesn't come near my dishes. And you want to hear something even more crazy? I *rinse* off the dishes after they come out of the dishwasher. Because there's probably some detergent on them. I do it just before I use them so I don't have to dry them off with anything.
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