Jump to content


Photo

Compulsive Checking


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 07 September 2012 - 08:17 PM

Hi. I'm waiting for a referral to a counsellor for compulsive checking. It's my busiest time of the working year and the stress is making my symptoms worse. A friend suggested I join a forum to chat to people who understand how anxious I'm feeling.

#2 Charlotte

Charlotte

    OCD-UK Member and

  • Moderators
  • 2,243 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • France

Posted 08 September 2012 - 10:15 AM

Hello and :welcome: to the boards

Well done for getting some help - do you know if the counsellor is trained in CBT? It's the gold standard treatment for OCD and the therapy that you are entitled to.

CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) works in two ways - the cognitive side which works on your thoughts, basically showing you that they are irrational, and the behaviour part which (you guessed it!) works on the compulsions. Through something called ERP (exposure and response prevention), the therapist helps you to expose yourself to difficult situations (leaving the house, locking a door, sending a letter etc.) without performing the compulsive checking. They start small, with easier situations and move up to the more difficult ones.

Do your colleagues know about your OCD? Is there anything that would make work easier for you?

Stress does tend to make OCD worse - how much longer will the stressful situation be going on for?

Did your GP mention medication at all? It can help some people, especially whilst waiting for a referral.

Checking was one of my big problems, but I can honestly say that it can be overcome. I very, very rarely need to check now, whereas it used to take up hours of my day.

I hope to see you around,

Lottie :)
"Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never." - Winston Churchill

Please, please join OCD-UK and help this fantastic charity to carry on making a difference.

#3 sarah1984

sarah1984

    Forum Volunteer

  • Bulletin Board User
  • 1,999 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Ex-Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 08 September 2012 - 12:06 PM

Hello Laura Jayne and welcome to the forum,
Lottie's already given you some good advice in her post. If I were you, I would make sure that the person you will be seeing is a CBT therapist and not a counsellor. Counselling is not a particuarly effective treatment for OCD and most counsellors have little mental health training. CBT is a practical "hands on" therapy that focuses on changing your thoughts and behaviour in the here and now instead of going over your past. If you're interested in finding out more about CBT and how it is used to treat OCD visit the following page: http://www.ocduk.org...vioural-therapy. I would also recommend finding out as much as you can about OCD and CBT. There's some very good info available on the OCD UK main site and there's some great self-help books available. I'd particularly recommend the following for checking obsessions:

1. Break Free From OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT by Dr Fiona Challacombe, Dr Victoria Bream Oldfield and Prof Paul Salkovskis: http://www.ocdshop.c...products_id=163
2. Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by David Veale and Rob Willson: http://www.ocdshop.c...?products_id=12
3. Overcoming Compulsive Checking: Free Your Mind From OCD by Paul Munford: http://www.ocdshop.c...&products_id=11

I hope you find your therapy useful

Sarah

#4 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:10 PM

Thank you for your replies, Lottie and Sarah.

Unfortunately I don't know if the counsellor will be CBT trained yet as my GP has said it's going to be 6-8 more weeks before I know anymore. I've been researching CBT though, and I'm sure this will be the best therapy for me, although the exposure sounds scary :-(

I'm an administrator, and one of the worst things which set me off is sending out letters, global emails etc. This is making all jobs take several times longer than they should, and so I'm taking more and more work home to keep up. I also take home copies of letters I've sent out, in case I need to check them at 2am!!

I told the girl I share an office with a few weeks back, as I needed her to be aware why I'm checking things several times and so she would understand that when I'm having an attack I need to be left to concentrate and please not to distract me :-( I told one of my managers on Friday as he could see by looking at me how stressed I was and asked if I was OK. I think I will tell my line manager soon though, as it would help me if they know not to put any unneccessary jobs / information on to me at the moment as I know one of my biggest problems is I take on the responsbility of things way above my pay scale and then worry about them.

I'm in education, and my work does not normally calm down until January/February, and then by Easter it starts again! In the past I have been able to cope with these peaks and troughs and have always had what I would describe as mild OCD in that I am a perfectionist and extremely conscientiousness. But last October I had a couple of scares at work in which on Friday evenings I thought I had done something dreadful at work and spent the whole weekend worrying until the Monday came and I could go in to check. The irrational thing is I have never made a mistake of this nature, but I have no trust in myself. I have never recovered since the events last Autumn.

My GP offered me time off work which I turned down as I knew this would make me worry more being at home wondering how my work was getting done. She also offered me Prozak, but I turned this down as I worry about being dependant and know that at some time I would need to come off it. But maybe it would help to have something to relax me in the meantime.

Thanks for the recomendations, Sarah, I'll check them out ......

Thanks to you both again for taking the time to reply - much appreciated.

Laura

#5 sarah1984

sarah1984

    Forum Volunteer

  • Bulletin Board User
  • 1,999 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Ex-Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:00 AM

Hello again Laura,
Most OCD sufferers have a strong perfectionist streak and are highly conscientious. I suffered from severe anxiety during my time at uni because I set myself unrealistically high standards and I always wanted to achieve the highest mark possible. I'm glad your colleagues are aware of the situation and I hope they will be very supportive. Exposure can be quite a daunting prospect but it's by far the best way to conquer your anxieties and a therapist will help you break down the exposure exercises into manageable chunks so you're not throwing yourself in at the deep end. I've taken antidepressants from the age of 14 (I'm 27 now) and I've been told I will need to take them for life. This isn't a problem for me as I don't experience any side effects and if they can ward off potential relapses then they are well worth it. I wouldn't say that antidepressants are dangerously addictive in the same sense as sleeping pills or tranquillisers but you do need to reduce your dose slowly when you finally come off them to reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. They also take a while to start working and you would need to take them daily for several months to feel the full benefit. Unfortunately, there's no miracle pill available that will "cure" your OCD but meds can take the edge off anxiety and improve your mood. If you want to find out more about medications for OCD take a look at the following page: http://www.ocduk.org/medication.
Good Luck and keep us up to date with your progress.
Sarah

#6 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:46 PM

Hi all

Had a bad day today :-( Had to send out 5 letters. I checked them multiple times before I sealed them up. But someone disturbed me on the last check so I had to open them all up and start again. Then the same thing happened the second time I sealed them up. At this point my room mate came in and saw I was at breaking point so she offered to check them for me. I was reluctant at first as I know this is avoidance and another form of checking, but the letters had to go out today and I couldn't bear the thought of worrying all weekend.

I got some fluoxetine from my GP last night and took the first one this morning. She said I might go a bit downhill in the first fortnight but should feel better after that.

I got the book Break Free From OCD and it's really good - thanks for the recommendation. I can really relate to what it says about the memory of the check getting more foggy after each check and therefore makes you check more. It's a horrible cycle :-(

I'm hoping to finish the book this weekend, but I've brought lots of work home.

Sarah, do you find that, although you know how to control your OCD now, do you ever feel a relapse coming on if you're particularly stressed?

Look forward to hearing from you,
Laura

#7 madness88

madness88
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Wales
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • Wales

Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:06 PM

Hi Laura,

You've already had some great advice but I just wanted to say that you really aren't alone. I'm sorry you had a really bad day today - they happen to us all and that's where the forum comes in handy /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

I too am a compulsive checker and can relate to checking letters - checking everything when they go in the envelope and even doubting myself so I actually rip open the seal and seal them back up again. I'm sure there are many other "checkers" who would say the exact same thing. Can I ask - has it helped you that your colleagues know about your OCD?

I hope your day gets better and I also hope you don't worry about something all weekend /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#8 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:53 PM

Thank you madness88

Letters are a nightmare for me - once I am eventually satisfied that the letter itself is ok, the next compulsion for me is convincing myself that I haven't also enclosed something additional in the envelope which I shouldn't have - it's so frustrating.

It's so reassuring to hear that you also open up envelopes again. Although the girl I share an office with is really understanding and more than happy to help put my mind at rest, I'm sure that really she thinks I've lost the plot!

It has helped that my room mate knows as she now knows to give me some quiet time when I'm in checking mode. And I have spoken to a couple of managers I support and asked them not to put anything on me which is above my post as I currently don't trust myself with responsibility and it's causing unnecessary pressure. A few other people know which I regret telling as they really don't understand how crippling OCD can be and come out with unhelpful comments, like they think my problem is just mood swings.

How long have you been a checker? Do you attend any therapy?

Hope you have a nice weekend too :-)

#9 madness88

madness88
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Wales
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • Wales

Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:31 PM

Hi Laura,

I'm exactly the same - worrying I may include something in the envelope that shouldn't be in there. Do you still print letters out to check them?

Your colleague sounds lovely - and I'm sure she doesn't think that at all. I used to have to lock up after work and it became a little bit of a joke with my colleagues because I would switch everything off - I never had the courage to tell them about my OCD. I agree people don't understand - and I don't blame them for it - I think you have to be a sufferer or have previously been a sufferer to truly understand how crippling it is.

I really don't know how long I've been a checker. I'm not sure how far your checking goes but I have a checking OCD when I drive too. I had a tiny bump in my car a couple of years back after skidding on some black ice - it wasn't serious but I think it started after that and just escalated to other parts of my life! How about you?

I'm currently waiting for some cbt - hoping it will help!! Do you attend any therapy?

I'm going to sadly admit that as a checker I also check over everything I write in the forums too!! /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#10 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:42 PM

I check the letters on screen first and then again in hard copy. I used to quite happily 'pp' letters, but I've started getting the people to check them and sign them themself to delegate a bit of responsibility! I then either take a copy of the letter home, or scan a copy to my web-based work email, so if I need to check it at 2am I can!

I hate being the last to leave the office. I'm not too worried about locking the office door as I know the block will be locked, but I get really stressed about checking that the electric heaters are turned off. Even in the summer, when we haven't used them for 6 months! I'm bad with locking up at home though, wherever possible I avoid being last out of the house.

I've always had what I would say was mild OCD in that I'm a perfectionist, hate making mistakes, don't like surprises etc. But before it was healthy, controllable, and just meant that I was reliable and good at my job. But about a year ago it got out of hand :-(

I'm waiting for a referral to a counsellor, who I hope will be a CBT specialist.

I also proof read these messages! And I also have to doublecheck that I am posting on the forum as the OCD in me tells me that I might be about to broadcast it on Facebook or my work email for example!

#11 sarah1984

sarah1984

    Forum Volunteer

  • Bulletin Board User
  • 1,999 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Ex-Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:24 AM

Hi Laura Jayne,
I'm glad you found Break Free From OCD helpful - it's my favourite OCD self-help book. I'm not a checker myself - my main problem is intrusive thoughts and I've been suffering from OCD for just over 2 years now. I'm now 99% recovered but it hasn't been an easy journey and there have been plenty ups and downs on the way. I've learned a lot about CBT and I'm now confident that I've got the tools in place to deal with any future relapses. I've even drawn up my own relaspe prevention plan. Gosh - you poor thing waking at 2 in the morning to check your work! I hope you hear some positive news about your referral soon.
Sarah

#12 laurajaynechambers

laurajaynechambers
  • Bulletin Board User
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:England
  • OCD Status:Sufferer

  • United Kingdom

Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:37 PM

Hi Sarah

It's reassuring to hear how recovered you are and how you have learnt strategies to manage it. Fingers crossed that will be me sometime soon .....

I've been very tired today, napping quite a lot which is unlike me. I'm not sure if it is the busy week catching up with me or the medication affecting me - I'll have to see how I get on with them.

Hope you're having a nice weekend.

Laura /original.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':original:' />



Found our discussion forums helpful? Then please consider supporting the work of OCD-UK by making a donation or becoming a member today.