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stepforward

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  1. stepforward

    My partners contamination OCD

    Hi @Pete 1985. Sorry for the brief reply but, to be honest, it is hard for me to put anything down at the moment. My wife has OCD including exactly what you say. Fear over any red mark that it might be blood (she is also pregnant). We also have fear of any white mark as she has decided that is lead paint which will hard our baby. We have been going through this for years now and it has nearly pushed both of us over the edge. I would agree with @Hal that good CBT is the only way forward. My wife also won't take the medication she has been prescribed as it causes too much anxiety for her. She is getting good CBT now (very expensive) and hopefully there will be good progress. Whether I can stay around to see it I am not sure at the moment. Very happy to direct message if helpful.
  2. stepforward

    I need help!

    Hi @lilmarsh. Your post resonates so strongly with me. My wife has severe OCD (for at least the 7 years) and we have a 6 year old and are expecting another child early next year. It is has been incredibly difficult and very nearly driven me to leave several times. It is fair to say I am only still in the relationship because of our child. Things were improving (which gives me hope for all the CBT she has been having) but getting pregnant again has made things much worse. I can't offer solutions but am happy to chat if you would find that useful. I know it would be helpful for me to talk to someone in a similar situation. Do message me if you feel it would be useful to talk.
  3. stepforward

    I feel so powerless

    Hi @Cathy, So sorry to hear what you are going through. I can understand, I think, as my wife has OCD and we have been living with it for the last 6 or 7 years. We have a 5 year old daughter and I also worry about how it is affecting her, and will affect her in the future. I wish there were simple answers (I REALLY wish there were simple answers) but there aren't. But after years of battles - very similar to yours...eg. the shame, not being allowed to talk about it, not admitting there was a problem...my wife realised she had to get help. Partly when I left our house and wasn't sure if I was going to come back. Since then we have taken small steps that have led to bigger steps. The first small step, which was vital, was her talking to someone about it (well, it was a big step for her). She spoke to her best friend who was very supportive and from there she realised that most people know someone who has OCD and she started to talk to one or two other sufferers. She then allowed me to talk to my best friend and gradually (it probably took 2 years) we got to the point where we talk openly about it and she doesn't feel ashamed any more. The next step was getting help. We tried through the NHS and didn't get anywhere so we have gone privately. She saw two different CBT therapists which didn't work out that well but now is seeing a fantastic therapist and is really starting to get better. She is also on medication. Things are still tough for us at times but a million times better than a few years ago. So there is hope but the only way it is going to get better is if your husband will talk about it...and let you talk about...and get help. If he would come on these forums (he can be anonymous) that would be great. I would be happy to message with him if that would help.
  4. stepforward

    Contamination ocd

    Hi @Madchoc I would strongly suggest that your husband comes on this forum and also, if he isn't already, seeks help himself. My wife has contamination OCD (amongst other forms) and has suffered particularly badly for the last 6 years. There have been many, many times I have felt I can't cope and I have nearly left several times. Since she started getting good CBT treatment she has definitely improved - and I have also been going to a therapist which has helped me think about how I support myself and her better. Living with someone with CBT is very very difficult no matter how much you love them. The worst times for me were when my wife tried to lie and hide everything. Now she is open about it and getting treatment it is still hard but it feels possible. At least I know she is trying everything to get better. Wish you very well
  5. My wife suffers from OCD. She has had a lot of CBT and was recommended to try EMDR. Our experience is it actually set her back quite a long way and she stopped over about 8 sessions but took some time to recover. I would be wary of it. I have friends who have had fantastic responses to EMDR but not for OCD
  6. Hi @Helen01 and @Oswin, I wish I had good advice but want to also add to the chorus of 'you are not alone.' My wife suffers with OCD which has had a huge impact on her, on myself, on our relationship and on our daughter. We also have to watch the rituals but for us the bigger problems are 'magical thinking' (e.g. if I don't cross the road now my Mum will have a serious accident - even if her Mum is miles away) which happens many times a day. Also contamination issues such as I touch a telegraph pole, then my hands have creosote on them, then I touch my trousers, then the trousers touch the floor of our house, then our daughter touches that some part of the floor with her feet, then she goes to school, then a parent who is pregnant walks on the same part of the school floor my daughter has, then her unborn baby will die. Having this happen many times a day is exhausting. My wife went through 2 years of CBT but in the end we realised the therapist couldn't help her. We have now seen two of the leading OCD experts (we had to go privately but it was worth it) and I think she is now getting the right CBT treatment that she needs. For us the big breakthrough a few years ago, which took months of negotiation and fighting, was getting her to acknowledge she had a problem and to talk to other people about it - and also to let me talk to other people about it. I wonder if your partners are at that stage? In terms of what to do when they as for reassurance or to engage in rituals, I would also love advice. I tend to refuse to engage in rituals and refuse to offer reassurance but of course that leads to a lot of arguments and stress for both of us. I think what I am learning is that the right CBT therapist will create a pathway for both of you to follow which will help give guidance as to when to engage and when not to and how to offer the right support. I would appreciate the opportunity to share ideas and support through messages on this forum if you are willing.
  7. Hi all, I haven't posted for a while but my wife's OCD has become worse recently and it is breaking us apart. She suffers from contamination OCD and what I have heard called 'magical thinking' (e.g. if I don't turn the car round my Mum will die). I won't go in to how it is affecting our lives but it is a nightmare. She was seeing a CBT therapist for some time and was then persuaded to try EMDR which hasn't helped. We have seen a fantastic consultant psychiatrist who has convinced my wife to use an SSRI (which she is now on) and has said she must find a CBT therapist with specialist OCD knowledge. The problem is they all seem to be in London and we are in the East of England. And even those in London don't have any appointments for at least a month or often more - we have tried all of them. it is so hard at the moment with her getting no support and we are not sure what to do. Can anyone recommend a specialist CBT therapist ideally in the East of England (Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich etc.) or someone who will work over Skype or similar. Or any other advice. Thank you so much...
  8. stepforward

    Wife is losing control

    Hi @Ddave, So sorry to hear you are going through this. My wife has similar episodes and panics about asbestos, lead, contamination of all sorts. And lots of intrusive thoughts and other compulsions and obsessions that have been almost impossible to live with at times. We have a young daughter who I try to protect from it as much as possible but it has been really hard. I definitely don't think I have any answers but things are better for us now although we still have to work on it day to day. I posted the following in response to someone else recently which I hope might be useful in some way. I am happy to share anything else from our experience if it might be useful. As @PolarBear says, the first step is to get your wife to see she has a diagnosable condition and she doesn't have to live like this. --- My wife was diagnosed with OCD about 5 years ago and we have had a really, really tough time. Right now things feel a bit better but it is very up and down. I can only offer my experience which might or might not be helpful. Without writing a huge message with loads of details, the main things that have been important for us are: - The very first thing was getting her to see she had a problem. She was so depressed and exhausted with all her rituals and anxieties she didn't have the space to see it was something that was not normal and needed addressing. It took me months to convince her she had a problem and to see the GP. Getting a diagnosis was the start of her getting better. She was suicidal at that time. - The next really important thing was getting her to let me talk to others about it. For ages she made me keep it a secret as she had managed to for so long so I was trying to support her alone without any support of my own. She first let me talk to my best friend and gradually others and that made a huge difference to me - The next thing was getting her to talk to others about it. This was extremely hard for her but I pretty much forced her to and started telling one or two people I know she really trusts. She is now (a few years later) quite open about it with family and friends and that has helped her - and helped me - We decided that the NHS mental health support wasn't going to give us what we needed so she started to see a private CBT therapist. The first woman didn't work out at all for her but the next person she saw she clicked with and I started to see very slow and very gradual improvement. It is not a miracle and we still had extremely tough times but it gave us something to work towards. She has been seeing the therapist for 2 years now which is a huge financial expense but worth every penny - She also started taking sertraline and was on it for about a year but managed to slowly come off it over about 6 months which is fantastic. - My approach to supporting her has varied but overall I have felt that being tough with her OCD has been vital. As much as possible I don't let her get away with it. When she says she needs to turn the car left or someone will die (for example) I try to refuse to let her and for her to see it is her OCD bullying her. There are a thousand examples of this. This has, as you can imagine, led to huge rows between us but I really do feel this has been necessary to help her start to get better. Equally I have tried not to fall into the trap of being her therapist - I am not, I am her husband... - As she has slowly improved the other thing I have realised is that I am holding a lot of trauma (for example from being told to change my clothes all the time, to shower, not being allowed to hold our daughter etc etc) and I have lost trust in her as she tried to hide things so much. So now it is about me rebuilding my own strength as well and I am starting to work more on that. We still have some really bad times and I still have moments I feel I can't cope but we are gradually getting better and hopefully will continue that way. I hope this helps.
  9. stepforward

    Worried Partner intrusive thoughts

    Hi @charhutch. Sorry I have only just picked up on your message and I hope things are going OK for you. My wife was diagnosed with OCD about 5 years ago and we have had a really, really tough time. Right now things feel a bit better but it is very up and down. I can only offer my experience which might or might not be helpful. Without writing a huge message with loads of details, the main things that have been important for us are: - The very first thing was getting her to see she had a problem. She was so depressed and exhausted with all her rituals and anxieties (some of which are similar to what you describe in your partner) she didn't have the space to see it was something that was not normal and needed addressing. It took me months to convince her she had a problem and to see the GP. Getting a diagnosis was the start of her getting better. She was suicidal at that time. - The next really important thing was getting her to let me talk to others about it. For ages she made me keep it a secret as she had managed to for so long so I was trying to support her alone without any support of my own. She first let me talk to my best friend and gradually others and that made a huge difference to me - The next thing was getting her to talk to others about it. This was extremely hard for her but I pretty much forced her to and started telling one or two people I know she really trusts. She is now (a few years later) quite open about it with family and friends and that has helped her - and helped me - We decided that the NHS mental health support wasn't going to give us what we needed so she started to see a private CBT therapist. The first woman didn't work out at all for her but the next person she saw she clicked with and I started to see very slow and very gradual improvement. It is not a miracle and we still had extremely tough times but it gave us something to work towards. She has been seeing the therapist for 2 years now which is a huge financial expense but worth every penny - She also started taking sertraline and was on it for about a year but managed to slowly come off it over about 6 months which is fantastic. - My approach to supporting her has varied but overall I have felt that being tough with her OCD has been vital. As much as possible I don't let her get away with it. When she says she needs to turn left or someone will die I try to refuse to let her and for her to see it is her OCD bullying her. There are a thousand examples of this. This has, as you can imagine, led to huge rows between us but I really do feel this has been necessary to help her start to get better. Equally I haven tried not to fall into the trap of being her therapist - I am not, I am her her husband... - As she has slowly improved the other thing I have realised is that I am holding a lot of trauma (for example from being told to change my clothes all the time, to shower, not being allowed to hold our daughter etc etc) and I have lost trust in her as she tried to hide things so much. So now it is about me rebuilding my own strength as well and I am starting to work more on that. We still have some really bad times and I still have moments I feel I can't cope but we are gradually getting better and hopefully will continue that way. I hope this helps.
  10. stepforward

    Other treatments?

    Thanks @snowbear - I really appreciate your message. Pleased to say we have had a good week after a real crisis at the weekend - it seems that sometimes a crisis is needed for us to find more positive ways forward - not a positive cycle but right now it feels we are in a slightly better place. I am interest that you and @Ashley and others feel EMDR is not a useful therapy. At the same time it seems a lot of CBT therapists are suggesting people use it and are finding it useful in addition to CBT as long as it is used in the right way. I would still like to find out if anyone has a positive experience of EMDR. Snowbear - thanks for the reminder to be positive about how far we have come. We really have and it is easy to forget that sometimes.
  11. stepforward

    Other treatments?

    Thank you for your reply @Ashley. It is hard to keep believing that CBT will help after so long. We have spoken to a couple of other therapists this morning so maybe she will try a new one for some time. I would be interested to know if anyone has had success after so long in CBT (when it didn't work at first) or if anyone has had any success with EMDR. Or even tried both together? Thank you...
  12. Hi, Thanks for reading this. I posted on these forums some time ago about my wife who suffers from a variety of OCD compulsions and behaviours including, but not limited to, fear of contamination, fear of hurting others, fear of stains/blood/semen, obsessive checking and so on. It has been a really tough 5 years for us and we have a four year old who I worry is starting to pick up more and more on what her Mummy is doing and it scares me that she might start to take on some of these behaviours. My wife did nearly 2 years of CBT with a therapist she really liked and it definitely helped - but it is clearly not enough. She was suicidal and not really functioning but she is now - she has a job and is a great mother. But she still finds it hard to cope with daily life and I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with and am at the end of my tether with it. She was recommended to try EMDR and has been seeing someone for about 10 sessions now but I am not seeing any progress (the therapist is confident of progress and says it will take time). My feeling is that CBT and EMDR are good for my wife but are only taking her so far and not far enough. What else can we try? Does anyone have experience of residential places, more intensive treatments, anything else? She was on antidepressants for some time but came off them about a year ago. She doesn't want to go back on them partly because we would like another child soon (which in part feels wonderful but also terrifies me as being pregnant last time was part of what made her so ill in the first place). Thanks so much for any advice...
  13. stepforward

    Help

    @hazydaze Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience of EMDR. Perhaps naively, or in desperation, I hold out some hope for EMDR. My wife has been having CBT for nearly 2 years and whilst it has helped, it has not prevented repeated crises through various triggers and still a general sense of desperation for both of us. I was interested to read this article - https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-27/edition-7/emdr-more-just-therapy-ptsd - which claims there is some evidence of the benefits of EMDR for treating OCD. My wife's therapist also claims a lot of success using it. But we will see - she has just had her first session. I will report back on how it goes. @paradoxer There aren't any friends and family groups near us unfortunately. I have started to see a counsellor which hopefully will help somewhat. But it is so hard....
  14. stepforward

    Help

    Thank you JonFD and Jessie_Loz for your replies. I appreciate you taking the time. I know there are no quick-fix answers - if there were we would have done them by now right?! Pleased to say that the last week things have been a bit easier. My wife is seeing a new therapist and will be starting EMDR soon. I would like to know if anyone else has found this a useful therapy but maybe need another post about that. I am also now seeing a counsellor for the first time. This is a completely new experience for me and I am not sure whether it will be useful or not but it feels like anything is worth trying. JonFD - I appreciate your advice about exercise. I am not sure I could be up at 5am but recognise that the last few years have taken a toll on all of us and I have stopped taking care of myself as I need to. I will look at how I can get more time outside and in nature. So important. Thank you both so much
  15. @EBD Thank you for posting. Whilst my wife's challenges are different to your partners I resonate with much of what you are saying and of the challenges. I have chosen to be what I think of as 'tough' with the 'bully' that is OCD. My wife and I are fortunately able to talk openly about what we both find so hard and she knows that when I challenge her behaviours or actions, I am acting against the bully and not herself. We have almost separated the two. I think it has helped her understand that it is a separate thing and therefore she can challenge it as well. Having said that, although she is better now than she was a year or two ago (and I can see the potential for our lives to not be dominated by this forever) it is still really really hard. Tonight I am feeling desperate as she has had maybe her third major panic attack in the last two weeks over an irrational fear. The problem is in part the panic attack but for me the worse thing is I know this will now be impacting us for months or years to come. For example, four years ago her godmothers daughter committed suicide. She scattered the ashes and then visited us. My wife has spent four years believing she left ashes in our house and it has meant I haven't been allowed in two rooms, that she believes I am contaminated and can't take my daughter to places with other children and that many things have been thrown away. She knows this is irrational but it is so powerful in her head she can't control it. We have been getting to a better place with this but a Christmas card from her godmother sent her over the edge again this year. It is so hard. I believe that CBT has done as much for my wife as it can. She is now considering EMDR which we have heard has some good evidence behind it. I continue to be tough but hopefully loving as well. At the end of the day we both know she has to want to challenge the bully and to fight it and that it will be one of the hardest fights of her, and my, life...but we have no other choice.
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