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PaulM

OCD-UK Member
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About PaulM

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  • OCD Status
    Sufferer
  • Type of OCD
    Special Christmas Assortment Packet

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Canada

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987 profile views
  1. Hi BigDave. No real advice but I wanted to post that you're not alone. I had a job at a place that was quite disgusting in my mind - pretty much every trigger I have on a daily basis regarding contamination, and - to make matters worse - my cubicle was right by the toilets. Unfortunately it was all too easy to hear the activities within (I swear the door worked like a speaker) and I'd know every moment it was being used and hand washing was a very infrequent activity. One individual (credit to his regularity) would need to plunge the toilet (again, I could hear it all) after his visit each day and never once did I hear him wash his hands after. It was nasty. And that's not including other habits that would probably not be suitable for dinner table conversation. Like you, I felt trapped. I still do at times. As an obsession "disgust" seems to be one of the toughest to navigate. Throw in responsibility and protecting my loved ones from this filth that, in my mind at least, exists. But it's getting better. I've nearly made it through my apartment and organized things. I left that job almost 7 years ago but was caught in the trap of "what if" I contaminated things at home after work. Much to my skepticism, a combination and a very gradual approach to CBT (working on the cognitive side of things first helped me) actually has given me my life back. The right help was key. So was patience with myself.
  2. PaulM

    MINDLFULNESS COURSE

    Yeah, I'll echo the positive comments about mindfulness. I found it was a great way to refocus while not giving in to the compulsions. Something to keep the mind occupied. And, as it turns out, it's powerful even during times that I don't need to refocus. And you can do it with nobody noticing. I've sat on the train on my way to work and done a 10 minute full body scan - a great way to "reset".
  3. Hi taurean, That's a good analogy. There are indeed many things to learn and practice as you go. And, like challenging OCD, the progress is gradual. Nobody starts off playing one of Chopin's concertos in the first week. Interestingly, playing music is one of the only things that engages me enough to feel free for a little bit. Of course, when it comes to OCD, getting past the hand washing before I touch an instrument is part of the challenge getting to that. Also, I recently bought a used instrument. It needs a little cleaning of some grime and there around the buttons (it's a synthesizer). I have no idea of who owned it, where it was kept, etc., but it's sitting in my place. Part of the uncertainties of buying used, which is a challenge. No such challenges when I was younger.
  4. And thank you, daja and taurean, for the kind words. I miss my daughter, a lot.
  5. When I was sleeping at my mom's place, there were things that happened where she lost her patience. At one point washing up was taking me 3 hours. She would sometimes sigh or say something like "are you nearly done" in a strong tone. Sometimes she'd say I can't stay there anymore. I remember turning on the light in the bathroom and finding only one bulb left - she removed the others to save electricity. Subtle, and not so subtle, things like that - a bit passive aggressive, sometimes full on aggressive. It wasn't great but it took getting out of there to see the unhealthy state of things. I had enough regrets about my daughter without annoying my mom on an almost daily basis. Actually, one of the reasons I ended up back home at my own place when I did was because she was going on holiday and didn't want me around while she was gone. In retrospect it was a good thing - I was in the middle of therapy and they helped me get to a point where I could stay in my place again. I had a deadline and help to meet it. In somewhat ironic fashion, although not entirely surprising, she was upset that I wasn't coming back to stay on her couch when she came back. I had moved forward in recovery - I didn't want to go back. I also didn't want to go back where I felt unwelcome at times.
  6. Yeah, OCD is pretty difficult to hide. Mine has affected every relationship - with my parents, siblings, and most devastating of all with my daughter. She has been impacted the most even though she's the one person I wish I could have sheltered more than anyone in the world. Most of my OCD focuses on contamination and I was trying to clean up my place after this terrible job I had. While my heart was in the right place wanting to have it cleaned up so she could relax and not have me panicking if something "contaminated" was touched, it took too long to get comfortable at home. I've let my daughter down so many times that eventually she gave up on the hope of going home to my place and she now lives full time with her mom. Her mom and I split up because of OCD. I don't really blame my ex-wife. There had been a lot of other external stresses going on around the time we were expecting my daughter, and something in particular happened with my ex-wife that was the start of the contamination fears. When my daughter was 3 I quit drinking. I was using it to cope with the anxiety. I was terrified nearly all the time. I didn't trust my ex-wife's judgement (and even in therapy the therapist had to tell her that what I was fearing was in some cases not OCD but legitimate). Everything I was concerned about as a new dad, my ex-wife would say, "It's your disease." I had to bring her to therapy to have the doctor talk to her about the things that were indeed real. It was awful, really, for all of us. Had I not been labelled (worst of all by her) I think the dynamic would have been different. But she's a nurse, and I'm not a healthcare professional, so my plea for her to listen fell on deaf ears. Drinking was a way to cope with a helpless situation, but as my doctor said a maladaptive one. One of my brothers tore into me about the OCD and made fun of me. We haven't talked in 6 years. My mom let me sleep on her couch for about 3 years and, while I appreciate her being there, it wasn't a very healthy thing for her and me. We've had a strained relationship in the past, and this really put things to the test. My dad didn't really understand, even though he tried to, until he saw the impact it was having. He's turned out to be very understanding. But if I had magic wand, time machine, genie in a lamp, one miracle granted, etc., it would be to fix how I let my daughter down while trying to get healthier. It's pretty hard to live with. Every time I see her empty room, and the toys in it from her past, it's a reminder of what was, and how I ruined things. Maybe it was OCD that ruined things, I don't know. But it's awful to live with. She comes over once a year now, for Christmas. She lives just a few kilometers away with her mom. I talk to her on the phone a lot. She's 15 and is doing what teenagers do. But since she was about 6 years old, OCD got worse and worse, I kept letting her down, and at around 10 she became very very angry with me. OCD robbed me of great experiences I should have had as her father. Or maybe that's just an excuse and I screwed it all up myself. Either way it hurts to think about. Edited to add: It doesn't help that all she's heard was her mom and I split up because of my drinking. I was sober 8 months before she called off the marriage. I did everything I could to save things. It was after an argument over mold and a wet cloth that, the next day, she ended things. I'm certain that wasn't it, and was only the last straw as they say, but I wish she'd tell my daughter the truth that I was trying so hard. And, even after going through the seemingly endless series of challenges since then and OCD becoming worse than ever, I didn't start drinking again. So far, I've made it 12 years sober. I don't have much to be proud of myself for, but that's something I guess. But given the choice, there's nothing I want more than to be able to fulfill my daughter's wishes at the time when she wanted to come live with me like she used to. That's gone, probably forever.
  7. Hi, yes. As others have posted stress can make OCD worse. That's certainly true in my case. They are incredibly efficient at feeding on each other. I was having heart palpitations where my heart rate was over the top too. After several tests they couldn't find anything physically wrong and they said it was a symptom of panic or anxiety. It's not always easy to get rid of the stress or the things that cause it. Some people do meditation to help with it. I found mindful meditation to be a big help, but tricky to get into.
  8. It's annoying and disheartening. There's actually a fairly popular guitar effect pedal made called the OCD - "Obsessive Compulsive Drive". I won't own one. Aside from not really needing the reminder, to me it's in poor taste to use such an insidious disease as a marketing tool.
  9. Hi ThisIsNotMyIdeaOfAGoodTime, Aha. I thought it might be. That first record of theirs is one of my favourites from the 90s. And a well chosen pun too. Music can be very healing, and even helps me cope at times. Maybe I should change my name to RidingHighUponADeepDepression... And thanks for the kind words about my daughter. She's 15 so at the moment I suspect I wouldn't be too popular even without OCD. Agreed, it is a horrible illness. I've felt like giving up too. And the relapses are discouraging. But I read in one book, I think it was The OCD Workbook by Bruce Hyman and Cherlene Pedrick, that they don't consider someone fully recovered UNTIL they've had a relapse. Knowing you can recover from one is huge. It might not feel like it at the time though, especially in the bottom of a tailspin like I get into. I'm also with you on the guiding hand versus harsh approach. I don't do well with that latter. Some people do, but not all of us. That was one thing that helped me immensely when I found the right help. I was in the bathroom washing my hands when the doctor, one of them that helped me and I was about to see for the first time, came up to the sink next to me to wash his. I said that I have an appointment in a few minutes to see him. He saw I was struggling with the hand washing and told me to do what I need to do and not worry about being late. That tiny interaction made a huge difference to me. The same approach with ERP. Through him and a young doctor working with him, I ended up doing CBT and we worked on the cognitive side of things before doing ERP as part of the behavioural side. And ERP was gradual. Very gradual. Small steps got me where I am. I had been exposed to flooding prior to this and it didn't work - in fact I went backwards. Everybody is different. And what works for everyone is different. Sometimes advice seems heavy handed - I certainly thought so at times. Everybody means well. At one point I'd given up and I was convinced CBT and ERP was not the solution and it was barbaric. Then I received help in a way that helped me. You're not alone!
  10. Hi ThisIsNotMyIdeaOfAGoodTime, I too feel devastated when it seems there is not much hope. I won't pretend to know exactly how you feel, but you're not alone, even if it feels like it. I had a very difficult time finding the right therapists/doctors, but it happened. And it was worth the wait (in retrospect - at the time I was in a very difficult). It feels 100% hopeless sometimes, doesn't it? But it gets better. I was even doubtful of the therapy and meds, but it did get better. MUCH better. I still have bad days. And there are triggers at times. But coping with them has become much easier. Health related scares are something I've struggled with before too. And contamination has been the biggest issue with OCD for me. I was diagnosed 15 years ago with OCD, but there's a good chance I've had it much longer. In those 15 years my family life has changed immensely. I don't like the impact OCD has had on my relationship with my daughter. But strangely everything else has turned out better than it was before diagnosis. As a side note, is your user name a reference to the song by Garbage? Paul
  11. Hi Atlantis. The emotional attachment traits you have pointed out are interesting. I'm not sure if it's OCD related, or an unrelated sensitivity. One of my cousins was talking to me about love/attachment and loss/grief. She commented the way it impacts us seemed to be a family trait. I wonder if the sensitivity is one think that predisposes some of us to OCD. Stress will, for most of us, exacerbate OCD or anxiety in general. They're quite good at feeding on one another. Almost symbiotic.
  12. PaulM

    Loneliness

    Hi Em00. Sorry you are impacted this way too. It's good you have a social group. How do you motivate yourself to do things that interest you?
  13. PaulM

    Loneliness

    I will check out your post. Thanks. Yeah, I'm not too far away from the rocky mountains. When I was younger we'd go riding there often. I used to be a bicycle mechanic so it was always easy to find things to do with people.
  14. PaulM

    Loneliness

    Thanks Cub. I'm sorry you struggle too. I do a rowing class once a week on Thursday after work. My doctor said moving it to Saturday might be a good idea to give me a reason to go out. I'd go both days if I could afford it. I don't know. In the end I go home after and still end up alone in a room.
  15. PaulM

    Loneliness

    There are days that I see the positive aspects of doing my own thing. But after a while, there are days that slip in where I feel very lonely.
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