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Pete 1985

My partners contamination OCD

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Hi all, This is my first time on this website. My partner has had OCD for a number of years but was very managable and under control until she fell pregnant. From that day on the fear of contracting a blood born disease from any mark in any environment was immense this could happen to up to 20 times a day and would result in me (her partner) carrying out the cleaning rituals and showering etc, this is mainly due to her total lack of confidence and fear of making things worse. We have tried counselling for months but seemed to be worse and didn't help. Also tried EMDR and hypnotherapy and no joy. We are exploring new form of treatment called BWRT but don't know that much about it. 

Medication seems to be making things worse as cause extra anxiety. (clomipramine) so we are coming off these to introduce something new. 

 

Any advice and tips would be much appreciated as sometimes really struggle to cope sometimes and really want her to tell well again.

 

Thanks

Pete

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Hi Pete, welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry both you and wife are going through this. Unfortunately it's not unusual for OCD to worsen after childbirth.

Hormonal changes must play a part I think, but the disorder can also hijack quite normal thoughts and feelings around responsibility that come with a baby. It's obviously natural for parents to want to protect their child by being healthy and there for them, but not to the degree the disorder's dictating your wife should be concerned around disease. 

You must both be exhausted,  you must be having to do so much cleaning. I know that seems like a good idea to ease your wife's anxiety, in the long run though it's not the solution and won't help your wife to overcome this.

I hope you won't mind me asking this, did you see the counsellor privately or through the NHS? The only reason I ask is because not everyone who promotes themselves as specialists in treating OCD are.

I have to hold my hands up, I'm not sure what BWRT is? Do you know if your wife has ever received CBT?

That's the gold standard treatment for the disorder. I also gave hypnotherapy and regular counselling a go too, they really didn't help me, it was only later I discovered I was using the wrong type of treatment for the problem. CBT really is non-negotiable, it's helped me a lot, whereas unfortunately the medication didn't. I couldn't tolerate the side effects either, I've given two a try and called it a day now, the anxiety was unbearable and just didn't dissipate.

The only thing I would also say is, if your wife does decide to try another, keep an eye on any side effects, don't be afraid to question the prescriber. Some people find they help, but they don't always help everyone. 

I hope other people will chip in with their advice, but (and this is so difficult) if the medication does help and your wife begins to feel able to make gradual changes, part of those changes will mean at some stage you stop performing any compulsions on her behalf. That's probably some way down the line, but it will be necessary to overcome the OCD.

For all of us it's a gradual process, how are you doing, are you coping okay? 

 

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On 15/11/2018 at 00:40, Hal said:

Hi Pete, welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry both you and wife are going through this. Unfortunately it's not unusual for OCD to worsen after childbirth.

Hormonal changes must play a part I think, but the disorder can also hijack quite normal thoughts and feelings around responsibility that come with a baby. It's obviously natural for parents to want to protect their child by being healthy and there for them, but not to the degree the disorder's dictating your wife should be concerned around disease. 

You must both be exhausted,  you must be having to do so much cleaning. I know that seems like a good idea to ease your wife's anxiety, in the long run though it's not the solution and won't help your wife to overcome this.

I hope you won't mind me asking this, did you see the counsellor privately or through the NHS? The only reason I ask is because not everyone who promotes themselves as specialists in treating OCD are.

I have to hold my hands up, I'm not sure what BWRT is? Do you know if your wife has ever received CBT?

That's the gold standard treatment for the disorder. I also gave hypnotherapy and regular counselling a go too, they really didn't help me, it was only later I discovered I was using the wrong type of treatment for the problem. CBT really is non-negotiable, it's helped me a lot, whereas unfortunately the medication didn't. I couldn't tolerate the side effects either, I've given two a try and called it a day now, the anxiety was unbearable and just didn't dissipate.

The only thing I would also say is, if your wife does decide to try another, keep an eye on any side effects, don't be afraid to question the prescriber. Some people find they help, but they don't always help everyone. 

I hope other people will chip in with their advice, but (and this is so difficult) if the medication does help and your wife begins to feel able to make gradual changes, part of those changes will mean at some stage you stop performing any compulsions on her behalf. That's probably some way down the line, but it will be necessary to overcome the OCD.

For all of us it's a gradual process, how are you doing, are you coping okay? 

 

Evening Hal, thank you for your reply. She has tried CBT in the past but couldn't deal with the paperwork it came with during a crisis.

The counselling was private and like I say went on for months and cost a fortune.

Today has been a particular bad day all thanks to a mark at the local drive through Mcdonalds that she thought was blood, although we didnt interact with it or touch the mark I still ended up throwing the bag away but we all know this is never enough for OCD so ended up cleaning the car/showering etc.... all we do is end up arguing which I no doesn't help but she gets very nasty and of course I respond.

I'm starting to lose hope and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

 

I need hope

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Hi Pete,

There really is hope. From what you've said I'm pretty sure the help your wife's received so far hasn't been what she really needs to get well again.

I know reading that after spending so much money must feel like a kick in the teeth, but it also means you haven't exhausted what will make the most difference to her with the CBT. I can't impress on you enough how important it is, please don't let your wife's earlier experience put you both off trying it again from an experienced specialist. 

I've seen two CBT therapists, ironically the first was recommended to me by my GP to save time rather than going through the NHS. It was only after getting in touch with the charity I discovered I wasn't actually receiving it, and was finally put on the right path to seeing someone who had the know how and experience in treating people with the disorder. 

I'm not sure what your feelings are around going through the NHS, or if financially seeing someone else privately is possible at the moment. If it is, you need to find someone accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), please don't go through the bacp...therapists through them may be fine for regular counselling but not for something like OCD.

It's understandable your wife might be reluctant going down the CBT route again. Combined with what she's been through with the various other therapies she's tried and how wearing (putting it very lightly) coping with the disorder can be for everyone it affects, CBT might be a hard sell, but I hope you'll be able to persuade her to try it again. 

At the moment both your lives are being ruled by the disorder, in some respects because you're performing the compulsions on her behalf, much more so than they do for other couples. You might already have done this before, but It might also be worth considering attending some of the therapy sessions to work through where you can untangle and reduce the compulsions you're carrying out and where your wife can take on more responsibility challenging the fears.

OCD's an incredibly cruel and vicious disorder, but it can be beaten. Your wife can get well again, and one day in the future you'll be getting a McDonald's and realise just how much she's achieved in her recovery. It puts an enormous amount of strain on relationships, you'd have to be superhuman for it not to get heated at times, in those moments all anyone can do is try to remember the blame lies with the illness. Much easier said than done though isn't it.

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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.

 

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