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Jobey

My son is plagued by intrusive thoughts

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Hi all, This is my first time posting here and I could really do with some help and advice in supporting my son who is really suffering.

He has always been a little obsessive and we've spoken before about his thoughts but he was able to see them for what they were but these past few weeks he's had a break down about them, he's married with an 8 month old baby so it's incredibly heartbreaking to see. He is traumatised by what he feels he's thinking about his wife especially, she had been amazing and got him straight to hospital and he's now on medication and is having regular contact by the crisis team while he awaits the start of CBT therapy . 

He has come back home for now and sees his family regularly but it's too much for him to be there full time at the minute as he's told his wife everything that goes through his mind and although she knows it's not really his words it has broken her to hear them, she has to have a bit of distance from it all to be able to cope. We fully support this and are all doing everything we can to help keep everyone going but it's just so so heartbreaking and I'm trying so hard to hold them up while my husband holds me, we are a strong united family but this is so distressing.

 

thank you for listening 

Jo 

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Hi Jo :)

I'm so sorry to hear that your son is suffering so much. You sound like you are all doing the right things for him and I'm glad he's on the waiting list for therapy. 

The best advice i can give is for you all to learn as much as possible about OCD and how CBT works. I highly recommend Break free from OCD and a book called Pulling the trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach for OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression By Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan. Pulling the trigger might be the better choice for your son to read as Adam had intrusive thoughts about harming his wife and children and it takes you through his therapy with insight from his therapist Dr Lauren Callaghan. 

What your son is experiencing is not unusual in any way, and an increase in OCD symptoms around the time of having a child is very common in both men and women. Something that people find helpful to know is that intrusive thoughts of all varieties are common in the public, in fact research has shown there to be little difference between the intrusive thoughts OCD sufferers get compared to non-sufferers. It is simply that OCD sufferers feel that having the thoughts themselves means something, usually that they might be responsible for something bad happening. 

Your son can get better, there are people on the forums who have overcome OCD. Also, look after yourselves, it is hard for families too.

Gemma :)

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Thank You so much Gemma, we are really trying hard to learn as much as we can as a family while continually reassuring him these are not his thoughts. It's such a nasty illness and has shocked me to the core to see what some people have been dealing with. 

I will make sure I get that book for him. 

He is beginning to understand that its not his thought process and its OCD causing it and seeking help and knowing people are supporting him is a huge comfort to him. 

I will show him your reply later and encourage him to join up himself.

Thank You again 

Jo 😊

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This is so hard to deal with, My son has been making a real effort to spend time with his wife and re connect but then he slips back and feels compelled to tell her everything he is thinking which is centred around his lack of emotions towards her and now I feel like we are back at square one as she's distraught again just as she felt he was getting somewhere.  I know this is all really early days and maybe we are going about it all the wrong way but there is so much at stake with their little daughter in the middle that we are trying to help him plough through his thoughts and not obsess over if what he's feeling is real or not. 

Everything ive read about OCD is to not play along and not to indulge his thoughts , are we doing the right thing? I keep telling him it's not him it's OCD but he's beginning to doubt that and says well what if I just don't love her anymore ? I'm trying to keep my emotions in check but that is so hard to hear him say and she doesn't deserve any of this, they were so happy I'm struggling to make sense of how everything seems to have gone so wrong! 

Hes staying with us at the minute and we are having his little daughter as much as we can but it means we've no rest from it and I don't mean to sound selfish but I won't allow him to drag us all down, I keep telling him it's done enough damage and I can't have it in the house , Hes trying so hard to find the feelings he badly wants to have again but he can't destroy the rest of us in the process, is that wrong of me to think that? 

He just starting his third week of sertraline and starts Private CBT on Friday , he's also having regular chats with the crisis team at the hospital so I don't know what else we can do for him, he's coping and working , going out etc he just struggles to go home and be around his family as it's increases his anxiety , it seems to stem from there. 

Its all just so sad and pointless and I wish I could fix it for them. 

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Hey, I’m so sorry ur going through such a tough time at the moment, unfortunately with OCD apart from not playing along and not giving reassurance, there’s not much more other people can do. Telling his wife all those thoughts are a compulsion that give him temporary relief but fuel the problem on the long run, he will learn through therapy that to get over this he must stop the confessing. I would remind him that if a question starts with “what if..?” Then it’s a waste of time and energy. This is so sad because the whole reason his OCD is focusing on his feelings for his wife is because he loves her so much, if he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have huge anxiety around not loving her, he simply wouldn’t care. OCD is cruel in that it picks what we love the most and uses that to torture us, it’s extremely debilitating BUT it can totally be recovered from. You don’t have to feel bad about anything, you are doing a fantastic job in supporting him and you have the right to not allow him to drag everyone else down with him, it might be helpful for his wife to read up on relationship OCD If she hasn’t already to let her see for herself that the hurtful things he is saying to her are actually the total opposite of how he actually feels about her. Hopefully the meds will help hima little as he starts his therapy, best of luck xx

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Thank you for your reply it really means a lot to hear these things, I'm going to show him later as it reinforces everything we keep trying to tell him and coming from those who truly know what is happening to him right now will push the point home a little harder I hope. 

His wife is really trying god love her but with an 8 month old and having just got back to work it's taking it's toll, I try not to keep saying he doesn't mean it as it sounds like I'm jumping to his defence if you know what I mean, but we do say it's not him it's OCD and she knows by his turmoil that he's not at ease with these thoughts and they are not coming from him. It's such a vile evil illness and as a cancer Survivor I know how cruel life can be but the depths of this has floored us.

He's got his fighting head on again today and has opened up on Facebook about how he is going to beat this bully, it's something he felt ashamed to share but he has so much support I'm heartened by it. 

Thank you again 

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You’re very welcome, would he consider joining the forum? We don’t encourage compulsive posting or reassurance, but will steer him in the right direction, it’s been a life saver for me! 

Im sure his wife is really drained, no matter the content of the OCD I think we can all admit it effects our families one way or another, in fact I used the fact that I was avoiding doing things with my family because of OCD as my main motivation to get better, I was being triggered a lot in public places and that meant I stopped going out for a while, when I seen that my partner and children were sad and missing me on family days out I decided enough was enough, if I can’t do it for myself I must do it for them, thankfully it worked! 

Congratulations on surviving cancer, I hope ur feeling as well as can be expected considering what you’re  going through, my mums a cancer survivor and would say similar things to what u have said. 

Its really great that he’s opened up, better out than in when it comes to mental health and there is no shame in it, hopefully he will inspire others to open up too! I know it’s realky tough and themoment but this is not permanent, it can feel like it’s bever going to end or get better but it can and will.xxx

Edited by Wonderer

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That's what I'm learning about this forum, you don't stand for people playing out their compulsions, it's what we tell him all the time and it makes me feel so much better knowing it's absolutely the right thing to do. I will speak to him about joining. 

Im really well thank you and I hope your mum is too, it's a tough old road but we get through as I know we will do with this, I found a forum invaluable during my treatment which is why I was quick to join here , nothing beats talking to those who really understand. 

We are a close family and are supporting our daughter in law and helping with our granddaughter, she gives us all so much joy and is a real comfort , daddy will do this for her if nothing else of that I have no doubt!

Lovely to hear you are doing well 😊 Xx Jo 

 

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On 26/06/2018 at 20:47, Jobey said:

That's what I'm learning about this forum, you don't stand for people playing out their compulsions, it's what we tell him all the time and it makes me feel so much better knowing it's absolutely the right thing to do. I will speak to him about joining. 

Im really well thank you and I hope your mum is too, it's a tough old road but we get through as I know we will do with this, I found a forum invaluable during my treatment which is why I was quick to join here , nothing beats talking to those who really understand. 

We are a close family and are supporting our daughter in law and helping with our granddaughter, she gives us all so much joy and is a real comfort , daddy will do this for her if nothing else of that I have no doubt!

Lovely to hear you are doing well 😊 Xx Jo 

 

Fantastic that ur doing well, it must have been so tough for u but it’s great that u have first hand experience of how beneficial forum use can be for support, in any given situation. I hope ur son joins us soon :) 

its brilliant that ur all close, my family are my rock and I don’t think I could’ve done it without them, even when they wouldn’t play ball with me, they always hugged me and held me while I cried, so supportive without sabotaging my recovery!

i also have a son with OCD, he is only 11, but it means I have experience from both ends. It’s so tough. Everything can and will get better though, my son is making massive improvements lately, compared to how he was it’s like night and day but still as a little ways to go. 

Good luck  don’t hesitate to come and ask for more advice or even just to vent when u need to, there’s always someone here willing to help.xxx

 

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I cant wrote to extensively now. But you need to stop reassuring him. You said you did all he time.

It's good you are researching about it

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No we don't give him reassurance it's the one thing I learned quickly and have been adamant about not doing, he totally understands and is doing great , spending lots of time with his family, having therapy and getting to grips with his thoughts and how how to ignore them, he's got a way to go of course but is focused on working hard along with support from us all , I know it's an uphill climb but for today things are good so I will take that! 

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That's excellent news Jobey, I'm really happy for you all. It'll be a slow journey but it will be totally worth it :)

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9 hours ago, Jobey said:

No we don't give him reassurance it's the one thing I learned quickly and have been adamant about not doing, he totally understands and is doing great , spending lots of time with his family, having therapy and getting to grips with his thoughts and how how to ignore them, he's got a way to go of course but is focused on working hard along with support from us all , I know it's an uphill climb but for today things are good so I will take that! 

Amazing! I really hope he goes from strength to strength! I understand that when u reassure him, you mean reassure him that things will be ok etc, not OCD reassurance. You are giving him the right kind of reassurance x

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Sorry to hear about your son, I am also an ocd sufferer and can understand fully what your daughter must be going through

I am not a doctor but for anxiety conditions like ocd, "anti-psychotic" meds are also prescribed (Again ocd sufferers are in no way psychotic , but this med helps the anxiety)

I have been on the "anti-psychotic" called Olanzapine for several years now taking a small dose and I am 80% better mainly with this med, only problem it is very likely to give significant weight gain, you could talk to a doctor about these types of meds for your son, there are others other than Olanzapine, I also take a small dose of Prozac an SSRI, again these meds have been a life saver

Edited by SnookerTable

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HI Snooker Table, I'm sorry you are also a sufferer but good to hear you are doing well! My son is now on medication and it's really helping, he's doing good and taking things a step at a time but on the right track now thankfully 😊

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