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About snowbear

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    Living with OCD

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    North Wales
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    Creative writing, psychology, mental resilience and leadership

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  1. Hi helmoo and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear your daughter is going through such a tough time. Clearly things have escalted and the main concern is to stop it from getting any worse, so some sort of intervention is necessary. When she asks you 'Do something Mummy' what you can do is to take charge of the situation. Set some boundaries on what she can and can't do, set time limits on how long she's allowed to wash herself. Step in with a clean towel and gently insist that there's been enough washing to get rid of anything dirty and now it's time to get dry and get dressed. If she's unable to decide when her face, hands and feet are clean enough (because they still feel unclean to her) you decide for her. Reassure her that the dirt is all gone and that she is clean and safe even if she still feels unclean. Be kind but firm. Don't give in to temper tantrums or meltdowns - these behaviours are just a sign that she's distressed, so you offer a hug of comfort, tell her you love her, but stand firm that enough cleaning has been done for today. You say distraction sometimes works? Great! Use it more often and consistently. Help her to refocus, and refocus , and refocus - over and over with the same distraction or give her a choice of 2 distractions. 2 options only, of which continuing with the OCD compulsions isn't one. Don't even let her see it as a 3rd choice. Be firm. If she won't go with either of the 2 distraction options on offer (nice things like games or TV or ipad) then the third option is to go to bed ((or sit quietly in the corner, or whatever your usual 'time out' rule is.) When she's calmer, go over and talk to her about her thoughts and feelings she gets and reassure her that she doesn't need to keep washing to be clean/ safe. Then move on to normal activities so she sees there's a distinction between 'OCD moments' and 'normal home life'. Reward her with hugs or small treats when she does resist a compulsion. Make a fuss of how brave and grown up she's being by resisting it even when she feels she needs to do more. I'm sure you don't need me giving you parenting advice! Just sometimes when faced with things outside of our own comfort zones the way you would naturally behave and respond flies out the window and can leave you feeling helpless like an observer without the power to intervene. All you need is for someone to reassure you it's ok to set boundaries and enforce them and you're not making her OCD any worse by doing so. Hopefully you won't have long to wait for CAMHS to start treatment. Meanwhile you might find it helpful to watch some of the videos aimed at parents from our conferences. You can find them here and here.
  2. Really? Let's take a very simple example. I can enjoy thinking about eating ALL my favourite foods one after the other. My mouth would salivate while I imagined my fantasy feast. But if I tried it in reality I'd be sick as a dog and regret wasting all the food my stomach wasn't big enough to hold. Thankfully I'm not obsessed with food so I can see it's ok to fantasise about something I actually wouldn't want in reality. If you're struggling to see that it's because your thinking is affected by OCD and you're not seeing things clearly as you normally would.
  3. Maybe all that's needed is to go back to a 10mg dose and focus on addressing the OCD side of things. I really can't advise further, Rosie. Speak to your GP. Whatever happens, it will get sorted so try not to stress about it.
  4. I second this. You don't know that you won't cope. You fear that you might not cope and you're telling yourself it will be too much when you've actually no idea what potential problems or good experiences you'll be dealing with. A holiday in a different environment might be just what you need to get you out of you 'OCD head' and might help you relax after a difficult year. Take a deep breath, stop catastrophising and go!
  5. Excellent idea. It's possible you're experiencing a very rare side-effect of SSRIs called hypomania. (Not as severe as a full manic state, but similar increase in libido and changes in appetite, sleep, mood etc.) A simple (though not completely accurate) way of thinking about it is 'too much' antidepressant in your system leading to the opposite of depression! Your GP will be able to ask further questions and ascertain if it's the drug or the dosage, and can put you on something else instead.
  6. I'm sorry to hear you had that unpleasant experience on the 'side by side' forum. I'm going to start with my impression based on what you've written here so far. It is just a personal impression and really you should talk through any concerns with your GP or psychiatrist. Lexapro is an SSRI type antidepressant so if anything it usually reduces libido rather than increasing it. However, depression and anxiety have a major effect on killing libido separate from any drug side effect and it is possible that as the symptoms you're taking the medication for (anxiety/ depression) have improved your sex drive has returned to normal - which feels like an increase or even going into hyperdrive in comparison to where you've been while unwell. But I don't think you have a higher than normal sex drive at all. I think you're hyperfocused on your genital responses because of your OCD and this in turn leads to you thinking about sex a lot. Anybody who thinks about sex regularly will experience an increase in arousal. That's not abnormal, and it's a temporary thing which returns to 'normal' (your natural baseline libido) once you stop thinking about sex so much and return to a normal balance of getting on with life/work/sex/other things. You sound to me to be caught in the OCD trap of being overly conscious of feelings in your genitals > which causes you to ruminate on reasons why, possible problems etc > which in turn means you're thinking constantly about sex > which keeps your body in a state of easy or heightened sexual arousal for a lot of the time > which leads to you ruminating on why and what ifs > which keeps you aroused > and round and round the OCD cycle you go. I'd be surprised if your difficulty concentrating was anything more than being easily distracted - a state that goes with ruminating a lot and your brain being preoccupied with obsessive fears. All of which isn't helped by a partner who clearly neither understands OCD or the female body! (Based on his remarks that you reported in your first post. ) You can call it somatic OCD if you like, but there's likely more to it than just being overfocused on the physical symptoms. As I said above, you're clearly doing a lot of ruminating. In amongst all that obsessive thinking there'll be lots of stuff you're telling yourself which is based on your beliefs about what a normal sex drive 'should' be (there's actually no such thing, everybody's different), your feelings about your relationship and where you want it to go/ fear it might go... and more. If you are able to access CBT you could look more closely at these beliefs and views and how they fuel and drive the OCD. Then you can work on changing how you respond to the thoughts alongside learning to ignore the somatic symptoms. In short, I think your worry that 'having a high sex drive' will cause problems is unfounded. But having OCD is causing you problems - affecting your concentration, relationship, personal happiness and so on. So my advice is to ask your GP for a referral to CBT and prioritise learning how to overcome OCD. Or you could start with a self help book and teach yourself the CBT basics. Then where the book talks about worries/ intrusive thoughts you simply substitute 'being focused on physical sensations' and from there it's bog-standard OCD and treated like any other OCD topic.
  7. Tip number one - stop calling it 'a real event'. Nothing happened. There was no 'event'. This is all just your ruminations and what if worries. You treat it same as any other intrusive (OCD) thought - refuse to engage with it and get busy doing whatever you normally do. If necessary, forgive yourself for being normal, for acting in the moment without thinking through every possible 'what if' first. Sheesh, if we all did that nobody would be able to get out of bed in the morning. Allow yourself to let it go.
  8. No need to feel embarrassed. Nothing is ever typed on the forum that we haven't seen many times before in one guise or another, and we're a pretty sympathetic bunch having had all kinds of worries ourselves. Just to clarify, your fear is that you have a higher sex drive than normal which you worry could lead to problems? Or is it that you're worried this increase in ability to become aroused is due to the medication change and that's what you're unhappy about?
  9. Cora, were you given a print-out of the visious flower diagram? If so, go back and look at it again. Put this latest worry into the central box and start thinking about those arrows, how thoughts and feelings interact and how your interpretation of things is key to everything.
  10. This is one of those semi-concious (subconscious) beliefs you're hanging onto that's utter nonsense. Don't use your wife's problems as a convenient excuse why you can't change or why it's difficult for you. Your wife isn't standing in judgement of you here - you are judging yourself. It's you who has the more rigid views on fantasy, not your wife. Time to start recognising and owning whose feelings are whose.
  11. So often people have the answers themselves and just don't realise it. This is key to getting past the problem. Build your self-confidence. Learn to love yourself so you don't give a hoot what anybody else thinks of you or of what you say/ don't say/ how you are/ who you are. Start by telling yourself 'I'm enough as I am. I don't need to be anything more.' Practise shrugging off the worry of what anybody else thinks. Practise shrugging at whether they like you or not. YOU like you and that's enough. Nobody is liked by everybody. Also, its normal to sometimes overshare and then momentarily cringe afterwards thinking you've said too much. But it's a momentary cringe at most - then you let it go, shrug off the bad feelings and move on. Remember the saying, 'People who matter won't care if you get it wrong, and the people who care if you get it wrong don't matter.'
  12. Ruminating is addictive. The more you indulge it the stronger the pull to do more of the same. You've been ruminating for ten years or more, so stopping it isn't going to happen overnight. But you CAN do it. The first step is to commit to doing it. At present a large part of your brain wants to ruminate, it's not happening against your will. That's the first thing you need to change. Actually want to stop ruminating. Not saying you do or pretending to yourself you do and then continuing as before because you feel you 'ought' to be beating yourself up over this. McW makes a very valid point. Part of the reason you're struggling is because you're applying VERY rigid thinking and holding onto excessively strict views on this subject. You don't have to spend time working out how you got to be so unreasonable in your views, just resolve to change. To be more flexible, more forgiving, more reasonable as a person in future. I think you need to ask yourself some soul-serching questions. Why are you so resistant to change? Why does dying seem preferable to simply relaxing your self-imposed rules? What' is it you fear happening if you stop beating yourself up over this? Maybe the way forward lies in those answers. But you have to be honest when answering them. Really honest. You don't need to post answers here if they hurt or embarass you too much to share them publicly, but do please think about the questions because I think there's a LOT going on in your subconscious mind at the moment. Things you're telling yourself are true which if you looked at them in the cold light of day even you would admit are wrong.
  13. Hi Thatnameagain and welcome to the forum. Well done for writing the number 13 out - twice! That's how you deal with this. Write and say, the numbers you've been avoiding. Plan activities for the 16th and treat it as a normal day. Basically stop avoiding 'magical' numbers as if they had some supernatural power. They don't. When you challenge magical thinking you'll likely find you suffer from confirmation bias. This is where there are two (or more) ways to interpret something and you automatically (subconsciously) choose the one which best fits with what you already believe. For example, you decide to challenge your unlucky number and do something fun on the 13th of the month. Everything goes wrong! It rains, you miss the bus, you catch a cold... Your instinct will be to interpret this as the 13th really is an unlucky number, I should avoid anything to do with that number in future. But the logical interpretation is - it rains, busses get missed, stuff happens! None of it happened because it was the 13th of the month. It could as easily have happened on your 'lucky number' day. When you start challenging these magical thinking thoughts you need to pause, consider both the confirmation bias interpretation AND the logical interpretation and consciously choose to believe the logical one. The more you go against your belief that certain numbers are unlucky, the sooner you'll develop a new belief that numbers are neither lucky nor unlucky (true) and then your automated confirmation bias response will default to 'the numbers are irrelavant'. Just takes practice.
  14. I'll start by saying taboo fantasies are normal, even commonplace. However, the reason you're struggling isn't because you've had fantasies, or even that you feel compelled to confess them, or that you feel like a pervert who doesn't deserve his (apparently) 'Saintly' wife who would stop loving you if only she understood how disgusting a person you are. The problem is simply that you think these things about yourself, and believe them. Maybe you need to approach this from a different angle. Instead of trying to accept that fantasies are normal, go with the possibility you really are a disgusting pervert. Start coming to terms with that possibility. Accept that being less than perfect makes you human. Accept that your wife loves you for her own reasons and not because you projected some ideal image of who you are which you've now tarnished. Acceptance doesn't mean you condone the action you're accepting. It means you stop blaming yourself for it, put it behind you and move forward. So you could accept the posibility you're a disgusting pervert, that you have failed your own moral standards and that you want to start over, do better, live differently in future. In other words, what's done is done, but it's in the past and it doesn't have to impact where you go from here or how you live the rest of your life. Let it go and start over. You want to be morally perfect and superhuman? Ok, clean slate from today. Start over and be a kind, considerate, loving husband. Stop confessing - not because it's OCD, not because it's you making yourself feel better, but just because it's the morally right thing to do for your wife. Accept you've got your thinking skewed and that you've twisted everything the wrong way around in believing you have to confess to be morally right. Acceptance means being prepared to change what you think. Are you willing to do that? Ready to give it a try? Or are you going to continue stubbornly thinking as you've been thinking about this up to now, missing the point, twisting moral values on their head to suit yourself, and upseting yourself over something you'll one day look back on as trivial?
  15. Having memory problems can make day-to-day functioning a struggle. But the torment comes from the OCD aspect of not being able to remember, not being sure, not being able to rationalise it away. Bear in mind that treating the OCD means you stop trying to remember. The aim is to accept the uncertainty and dismiss the thoughts without engaging with them. I suggest you concentrate on tackling your OCD so that the memory problems are less of an issue overall. I'm not saying there won't still be an issue and sometimes a struggle for day-to-day stuff we all need to remember, but at least the difficulty remembering won't be fuelling your OCD and tormenting you with doubt.
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