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Friday, January 2, 2015

Family Gathering, Round 2

So, I did it.  I was able to go to my in-laws house last night for  my husband's family Christmas celebration.  I knew that this was going to be much more difficult than last week, when my family got together.  All of the same reasons, plus the feeling that his family is more "contaminated" to me, specifically his dad.  This was pretty up there on my hierarchy.  As I mentioned in my last post, it's not "feeling contaminated", that is a problem to me really....it's just finding a way to decontaminate myself and get back in my "clean safe zone" without spreading contamination.  That, and finding a way to deal with the clothes that I now feel are ruined.  It didn't go too bad last night, if I am being honest.  My daughter and I went separately, because I knew my husband would want to stay over there longer, and he did--to watch football.  I think my contaminated shoes and double socks are going to work well for me for awhile.  I know its a compulsion, but again....at least it helps get me to gatherings and get me back socializing with family...so at this point, I think it works.  I had a feeling that my clothes would be "ruined" after this gathering, and unfortunately I think some items are.  This is just way, way up on my hierarchy.  I haven't actually discarded anything yet, but my thoughts are heading that way.  I don't really have any plans of keeping them at this point.  I knew I would have an issue sitting on their furniture too, because my father-in-law does farming and painting.  All of his clothes can get ruined and filthy, as do my husbands for the same reason (which is why I only sit on one couch at our own house).  Of course I have no idea if his dad wears these dirty clothes on their furniture, but my mind ventures there.  Where else can it go with severe contamination concerns?  So all of their furniture seems dirty to me.  They have a small, almost decorative, sitting bench in their family room, and I would imagine that is the least used of all the furniture (especially not for adult male), but they do use it when company comes over....so I quickly took the bench and pulled my daughter over there.  At least I would feel that our jeans might be salvageable.  If either of my in-laws hugged me though, that would be the end for our shirts.  Which did happen right before left--my mother-in-law gave a hug, and then I immediately felt I could never get my shirt clean enough again.  The washer would never be able to remove the dirty feeling I had associated with it.  I feel awful saying that, really I do.  But that is how OCD is. 

I was surprised that after our family gathering last week and after the hugs, I was able to wash the clothes and not really feel like they were dirty.  Again, this is higher up for me though with his parents.  I feel like I took a step forward going to the gathering, but a step backward with the clothing contamination.  But when I assess the situation better, I know I didn't really take a step back with the clothing contamination.  It's just too high up on my list right now.

Going to the gathering wasn't horrible.  It was really just the feeling of grossness that I had when I left, and figuring out how to deal with that when I got home.  Cleaning the carseat off with soap and water.  Not wearing my seatbelt home (so I didn't contaminate it).  Washing off in the shower and the addition of antibacterial soap on my body (which normally I don't ever use on my body anymore, except after I am feeling heavily contaminated).  Once I scrubbed the contamination and knew it hadn't "spread" anywhere, then I could put on clean house clothes and relax on the couch. 

I'm glad that is over though.  One of the things that honestly bothers me the most is that my husband showed no appreciation for me pushing myself to do this.  You'd have thought it was just normal run-of-the-mill family gathering.  Maybe I expect too much?  As long as I have avoided his family gatherings, I would think that on same level he would appreciate me pushing myself and going.  And staying there for almost 5 hours.  I don't think he understands how hard that was for me.  All of the decontamination stuff I have to do afterward is wearing too, and of course he didn't see any of that thankfully since he stayed there longer.  It would just be nice to have him say thank you.  Thanks for doing that.  I know it was hard for you, and I appreciate you doing that.  It helps move us forward to functioning better as a family.

I'm not sure I'll ever hear that from him though, and that makes me sad.  It doesn't motivate me much to want to keep pushing myself in certain areas. 

I was able to make quite a bit of good progress with my OCD in 2014 though.  I want to keep pushing forward in 2015 and am in the process of coming up with a plan to help improve my health in many areas this year.  I will probably share that soon.  This will involve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual improvement.  I want to feel better and not just "get through each day with OCD", but really live a full life.  One that is not riddled with anxiety and fear all the time. 

I hope that those of you with OCD were able to have enjoyable holidays.  Because I know how hard it is.  And to those with family members with OCD, remember that holidays can be extra tough on those with mental illnesses.

I hope that this year will find you on your way to improvement with OCD.  No matter how bad it is right now, there is hope that you can get better.  I was able to put some severe compulsions to rest in 2014, and have every intention of continuing to put more to rest this year.

61 comments:

  1. Happy New Year. Just found your blog yesterday, and I look forward to reading more about your ERP!

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  2. Thanks, Ann and Happy New Year to you as well! I look forward to reading your blog too! Hoping that we will both be able to progress further into beating OCD this year!

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  5. Hmmm, so I'm wondering. Have you considered telling your husband just that? Like specifically telling him how hard it was for you to go, how proud you are of yourself for going, and how much you need his encouragement, support, and cheering on as you move forward in life? Anyway, just a thought. Sometimes I have found that we assume that the other person should figure these things out on their own, and frankly, maybe they should, but often they don't. It was something a counselor drilled into me years ago. Now, I just come right out and tell my husband what I need. When I'm calm and we are not in the middle of a disagreement, of course ha! Good for you for going!

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  6. Ok so I just went back and read a few older posts, specifically the one about how you are not feeling supported by your husband. Would he consider going to a CBT/ERP therapist with you? My husband went to several sessions with me and it made a very big difference. He started to understand about the difficulty of the condition, and we learned how to work together in a productive manner to move forward. Anyway, it was really helpful. Maybe it would be for you too. Hang in there!

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    1. Hey Sunny! Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I am not sure if my husband would consider going to a therapist with me. I know last summer he really wanted me to start formal treatment, and I wanted to do a step by step approach by myself for awhile. I still have a long ways to go, but I do feel like I have made improvement. I think you are definitely right, I think if someone else could explain it to him, he might understand it better. I think there is a lot of anger directed at me now from him, and even though I or a therapist would be explaining the condition, I think it might come better from a third party. But the truth is, I just don't want to do formal treatment at this time. I am actually getting a lot better other than my clothing contamination and him being contaminated specifically. I think a lot of this is actually a form of "emotional contamination" and stems from resentment that I have against him. In all honesty, I don't know if I can kick this component without help. But at the same time, I don't know if I can kick it without his support and understanding. I just keep trucking through and trying to make progress. I just hope that someday he can see that I am making progress and start focusing on that, rather than the things I still have problems with. I don't think he understands that I am wanting his encouragement and his help, and the way he is reacting is oftentimes compounding the problem. Thanks for your advice! :)

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  7. I am sorry he didn't say "Thank You", and I know this is something I need to work on when my son has a good day instead of only focusing on OCD. I have posted about my son on other parts of your blog, and i agree the holidays are difficult. I sometimes get frustrated as things are getting more difficult, and he has me spray his clothes for fear of contamination.

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  8. Anonymous, I'm so sorry about your son. I'm sure you have both suffered terribly. So I'm going to butt in a little here, but only because I truly care. Your son would be very angry with me for saying this (and it's ok - I get it - I was exactly in his place about 5 years ago), but spraying his clothes for him is a compulsion that he is dragging you into. And obviously, I know you are doing it because you love him and want to end his suffering. Unfortunately, and ironically, it is a form of enabling that will only keep the pain extended for the long run. I'm not suggesting to stop all enabling all at once. That would be cruel. But it can be weaned down slowly. And I highly suggest doing this with the help of a true OCD specialist. Be prepared though, your son will be very angry with you and it will be all kinds of horrible. For a while. But if you both work together with a specialist, you can get your lives back. Anyway, I really hope you don't mind my stepping in and saying this. It's just that I know how horrific this all is, and it's part of my life mission to help sufferers find help and hope. I love my family and they have been an incredible support. But the truth is, I wish someone had told them to stop enabling me. Maybe it wouldn't have gotten so bad, and maybe I would have gotten help many years sooner. (And you may already know all this stuff and your son may be in CBT/ERP already. In which case, just ignore everything I've said ha!) Peace to you both.

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    1. I have been trying to get my son to get CBT/ERP therapy, but the closest we have gotten is getting a pamphlet at his doctor office. I know i should stop enabling him, but he wont wear his clothes if i don't do it. he then tells me to throw them away. I appreciate your advice, and i try to tell him it doesn't need to be done. Today we went to the store, and he was stressed as he seen so many people with kids as well as a dog. he was worried I contaminated the car, and him as I was the only one who went inside the store. I worry all the time as he is so unhappy, and then gets angry at me for doing something wrong. However, on a good note he did go to the movies yesterday with his brother, and there was only 5 people in the theater where he was watching the movie. I could tell he had a good time, but then later i got close to my dad and he told me "I knew you were the one who would mess up my day". This is based on him feeling my dad is full of germs, and i have to stay far away from him at all times.

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    2. Hi anonymous--thanks for your comment. I was taking some time to best figure out how to respond to your situation. Thankfully, Sunny jumped in and gave perfect advice. I couldn't agree anymore with what she said. I know that you love your son, and you feel that doing these things is helping to minimize stress at home, but unfortunately it is enabling him and allowing him to feed these OCD compulsions. I know that sounds really harsh, and I really hope you don't take that the wrong way. And Sunny is right--your son would be angry at us for saying that. But truly the best way to help him is by not giving into his compulsions. I am sorry that you haven't been able to get him into therapy. ERP is truly the best way to beat this thing....and it can be beaten no matter how severe it is. I don't know if you've ever been on the OCD foundation website, but if you check out their most recent keynote speaker, it is about a young man named Ethan Smith and his road to recovery. If you watch him before treatment, it is heartwrenching to see how someone could be that consumed with OCD. But to watch his treatment play out and then watch him speak at a convention about his treatment is amazing! ERP is what helped turn his life around. Trust me--I know that treatment is scary. It's why I'm not going to professional treatment at this time. But I am slowly taking it at my pace, and I am making progress. Sometimes I think you have to hit your rock bottom in order to be motivated to get out of this. It's easy to keep thinking that we can go along and fight our way through this OCD everyday, but that is not really living a full life. I believe that this is more for your son out there, and I truly hope that he will find a way to be willing to work on this. As Sunny also mentioned, it is a process of weaning you off enabling him, and I think that at this point a therapist is going to be best able to help you with this. Have you considered making an appointment to go to talk to a therapist yourself? Even if he is not willing, maybe at least sharing your situation with someone and getting some ideas from them would help. Then eventually they may have help on how to better reach your son and get him involved.

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    3. I appreciate all of your advice, because hard to know what to do for him. I will look at the website you mention, and try to set up an appointment for myself. The last couple of days have been hard on the both of us, and he has been hard to deal with for the whole family. I went to bunko, and he was mad I was gone so late. Then, Saturday everything was going super well until I dropped my wallet, and he told me that he knew I would ruin his day. Then, today he is upset that his brother has a friend over, and wont leave his room and house until his friend goes home. I am trying to have it be normal for my youngest son as well. I think this blog is helpful, and I too hope he gets help soon. I truly love my son.

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    4. It seems like things can't get any worse, but then I am proved wrong once again! My sweet son is rarely happy anymore. We try to go outside to get him food, and then new things stress him out. It could be strollers, kids, old people, disabled people, trash cans, dogs, and they things that carts go into. If we get close to any of these things he insist on spraying himself, the car, and then me with disinfectant. Then, lately there are days he doesn't eat much, and he's starting to not look well. I am wondering if he has malnutrition , and he tried to go see Spongebob with his brother until he was too stressed based on 4 children being there. I then took him home, and went back to see the movie with his brother. I wish he would get help, but he wont until the cat is gone. However, he then tells me that when the cat is gone he will need to wait 4 months before he goes to counseling. I try to stay positive.

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    5. Anonymous - oh I'm so sorry things are so hard for you all right now. I feel like Hopeful made a great suggestion. Perhaps you need to get in to therapy even without your son. Your son sounds similar to me in that things just kept getting harder and harder and I (and my family) were able to do less and less all the time. What I have seen with the vast majority of people with OCD is that without treatment, the OCD tends to get worse. But I will admit, that personally, I would not go to CBT/ERP until I hit rock bottom. (Not that my family was even trying to get me to go - but inwardly, for over a decade, I just KNEW I should be going to it.) If nothing else, you would hopefully find sone much needed support for what you are going through. And by the way, you are not, nor have you ever "ruined" anything. He is just scared and hurt and I can remember saying some pretty mean (and untrue) things to my husband when I was really sick and frightened. Best wishes to you both.

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    6. *Some, not "sone." Seriously, where is autocorrect when I need it? It corrects things I don't want corrected, and doesn't do it when I need it!

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  9. Ok what I meant to say was that I DIDN'T go to therapy until I hit rock bottom. Ok, I'm NOT reading my comment again! Ha! Stop compulsing Monique and move on . . .

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    1. I appreciate all of your comments it helps me soo much to understand what he is going through, and I am looking for a support group for myself. I am super worried even more today! He makes me talk to him through the door, because he wont open it for fear of germs going into his room. He said," He probably wont eat or bring any more food into his room until the cat is gone, and drink as little as possible. I told him I trying to figure out what to do for him , the cat, and for his younger brother. The cat is his brother's. He gets super mad if I can't hear him, and he continues to expect too much from everyone. I love him so much. He sprayed me once in the face, and once on my shirt with disinfectant yesterday, because he thought my hands got close to the bathroom. He thinks I am lying all of the time. I am sorry for going on and on, but this is the only place where I feel people understand. Some people are like he's acting like a baby, and I am like you don't get it. It's a form a mental illness. He doesn't want to live like this.

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  10. Oh boy. That sounds awful. I strongly, highly encourage you to contact an OCD expert ASAP. Literally, as soon as you can. Even if your son refuses to deal with the expert, I really think you and the rest of your family might benefit from some good, qualified expert help with the OCD. I'm not trying to scare you. But when a person with OCD starts locking themself in a room and refuses to eat, it is quite serious.

    So here is an idea in the meantime. Dr. Michael Jenike is kind of known as Dr. OCD. He started the very first OCD residential treatment center (in the entire world, I believe). It is at McLean Hospital in MA. Ok, so back up from there for a minute. There is a book written by Ed Zine called "Life in Rewind." Ed lived in his basement and would not leave because of OCD. He had a horrific case of OCD. Anyway, Dr. Jenike was the doctor who was actually able to help him. Ed is now married with children! Anyway, I tell you this so you can see there is hope. Furthermore, Dr. Jenike actually answers emails from patients, believe it or not. I don't know what state you live in, but I assume he is not licensed to practice in your state, so I'm not thinking that he could treat your son. But, I bet if you emailed Dr. Jenike, and tell him your situation, he could give you some guidance on where to at least start to help your son. I emailed Dr. Jenike once with a random question and he answered! I would be shocked if he didn't answer and at least give you some idea of where you can get treatment for your son. I just looked up his email. It is jenike@comcast.net. I know for sure he doesn't mind getting emails. He gives out his email address at public lectures. Hey, what have you got to lose by emailing him? Anyway just a thought.

    Good luck with this. I know you and your son are both scared and I'm so sorry. Hang in there.

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    1. I just sent the Dr. an email, and I appreciate the help. I am looking for a home for the cat, and hoping he will stick to his word,and go to the appt if she is gone. My son has always been quite manipulative, but I am now worried enough that I hope my youngest son will understand.

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    2. Hi, anonymous! I am hoping you have some updated information on your son. I completely agree with Sunny, this is a very dangerous situation. Reminds me of the movie the Aviator, which is based on real-life story of Howard Hughes, who had debilitating OCD. Spent time in his room completely naked, urinating into a bottle, and wanted no contact with the outside world. He made his workers wear gloves as they carried his food into his room. I think when you get to this level of isolation, where you hole yourself up in your room, it is indeed an emergency. He is truly a threat to himself if he gets to the point where he will not eat anything, and if that happens I would truly advise that you get him into emergency psychiatric care center for evaluation. I am so sorry that you are all going through this. Please, please keep us updated.

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    3. **I meant to add--when you hole yourself up in a room and refuse to eat or make contact with anyone, then that is an emergency.

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    4. He mentioned he wanted to go the ER today, and they have a mental hospital wing there. I am hoping he sticks with this as I too feel it is an emergency.

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    5. Yesterday, I got my son to go to the ER, and they gave him fluids as he was super dehydrated. They did blood test and a urine test, and all of the test were fine. I was super happy. They had him talk to a therapist, and they gave him a prescription that I filled today that's supposed to help. He let me make an appointment for the emersion therapy in two weeks, so lets all hope he will go to the appointment.

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    6. He took the new med one day, and he now threatens to dump them if things don't go a certain way. He wants to use the restroom, but he want me to get rid of my dad. I told him I can't do that everyday, and he just acts as if this is my fault.

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    7. We are starting to have success! He has been taking the meds for three days, and we went to Wendy's to get him chicken nuggets and a drink at the drive-thru. We then went to by him some food at Albert sons, and he took into his room. He then came out to the living room to spend time with us. He still has his OCD issues, but he's more calm and rational. I can actually talk to him now. I am so happy. He wants to keep his appt.

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    8. We've had another great day! He's happy! We went to get food out again, but through the drive-thru. This is still a huge break-through for him. He is still spraying himself, but we can tackle that when we go to the therapy. We are able to talk again! He's been in the living room for the second day in a row. The ER doctor actually called to day to see how he was doing. Thank You, Everyone!

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    9. Today started fine, because we went out to get him food again. He then stayed in the living room fro a while, but then he got mad as I didn't notice my dad was coming into the house. He then stayed in his room for the rest of the night after that, and he gave me his pill bottle. The only thing that gives me comfort is that he told me to keep it somewhere safe. He is holding us hostage as he wants his brother to either stay home Monday or Friday, but if he does he wont get early release. If he stays home Friday he can't go to the party at school.

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  11. I'm so glad that your son went to the ER and got started with some help. This is the first step of many. I am not a psychiatrist or OCD therapist by any means, this is solely based on my own OCD experience and personal medical knowledge. I think that medications can help to reduce the anxiety, in essence acting as "floaties" to kind of help with OCD therapy. They can be used an adjunt to therapy, so I hope that he is getting some help and has agreed to see a counselor. I think that it's great that he's had a couple of great days...and I truly hope that as he has these better days, it will remind him of how much better his life can be without this OCD affecting everything. Unfortunately OCD can be a big hole to crawl out of. I know that sometimes I seem like I am having "better OCD days", but the problem is still there in a big way. Have you ever read Jonathan Grayson's "Freedom from OCD"?? It is a good book, I think, with a lot of good insight. There is also another book called "Loving someone with OCD", and Cherry Pedrick is one of the authors of that book and I believe she also had (or still has) OCD herself. I'm truly glad that things are going better though, and I hope this is the beginning of a road to improvement and eventually recovery for him!

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    1. I will look for those two books, and I appreciate all of your help.

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    2. Still going out for food, and buying food for his room. I am crossing my fingers he will go to his first behavior therapy appt on Thursday, and we can begin to start the recovery process. He just found out his best friend;since 4th grade has thyroid cancer. This is difficult based on him still not feeling comfortable to hang out with friends. He did have me send a text to his friend, and I know my son is in pain not being able to be there for his friend. One thing I hope we can tackle is not to have him send my dad to his friends house, just so we can leave the house. This is difficult for my dad who has bad health, and my son has difficulty showing empathy.

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    3. Did he make it to his appointment? Please let us know when you get a chance. Sending big hugs to you!

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    4. Oh and I agree - Grayson's book is pure gold.

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    5. Well, He didn't go to his appt. He had me reschedule it, but then changed his mind about going this week.He blames me for needing to cancel it, because he says I cause him too much anxiety. I do interrupt him often when he talks, and it is something i need to work on. He also says I need to listen to his directions as they are quite simple. He is still going out and eating, and has gained 6 pounds, but I hope he decides to go to therapy. My husband was talking yesterday to him about how how wonderful it would be for my son to eat his cooking again, and later in the car my son was like dad thinks I am going to be cured over night if i go to therapy. I then said," No we don't think that, but instead we want to see you back to being happy. I try to talk to him, but then we fight. He says he doesn't see how his OCD impacts everyone, because he really only request a few things from us. 1. from my husband not to yell about his OCD.( My husband isn't really yelling, but he talks loud, he's obnoxious. 2. I need to listen and not interrupt, and 3) his brother needs to not touch his foot, and he feels his brother makes fun of him. I told him it's more than that stuff. I told him you tell us when we can shower, your dad can't shower after work, when we wash clothes, I can't use the vacuum,we have to make sure we don't get close to my dad or we have to change and spray, we can't go to the same stores my dad goes, we have to change after we walk or go to someone's house who has animals, we have to not touch the floor or our feet, and the list goes on and on. I am was happy about his eating, but it's not enough as the OCD makes everyone so sad in the house. None of us smile anymore. I hate to be downer, but it's soo hard. I love him so much, but sometimes it's more than I can bare.

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    6. I wrote this Poem over the last few months about my son I called it My OCD Hell

      Oh No! Is his light on already? How is the day going to start? Will I do everything in a way that will make him happy? Or will he become angry at me for getting one thing slightly wrong, or he thinks I did something wrong in his mind? I have butterflies in my stomach, and I feel as if I am going to get sick. However, how can I feel this way? I love him so much, and he is my first-born son. I remember holding him for the first time, and feeling so blessed to have a precious bundle of joy and happiness. Yet, I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, and he is starting to have that sparkle back in his eye. I am starting to feel hope again, and I am not as fearful of the awakening of my son for the first time in quite a long time. The sun is out with clear blue skies, and I hope today we will adventure out again where he feels comfortable enough to not only eat, but to stay out with his family. The twists and turns are more than I can bare, and I feel as if I may be on a roller coaster from hell. We are all feeling trapped and tortured, but we don't know how to escape his grip. He after all holds all of the cards, and we are only along for the ride. Even though he says we only have to follow some simple rules, but one slight mistake and we are once again free-falling in the abyss that is our life. The tears begin to fill my eyes, and he doesn't feel my pain and he instead wants me to stop. How I can stop I tell him; when I am feeling so much pain and despair that once again I am losing my son again to this horrible monster.

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  12. Hopefully the poem wasn't too dark, because it was just about our journey so far. I hope to add more in the future. I am so sad today as he wont go anywhere until my husband comes homes as he wants to make sure someone can spray down the driveway with disinfectant before we come home if we go out. Yesterday we went out together, and we had a fairly ok time until he was about to come out into the living room, and I went pass his room with my phone in hand. He thought the phone was close to the bathroom, but it wasn't at all.

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  13. The last three days I have had my husband take my son out, because I think we need some space. It seems to help our relationship, and give us both a break. He is still coming out to the living room. I am going to ask about him going to the therapy appt again as we are getting along now.

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  14. Hey just checking in with you Anonymous. I know I haven't done that in a while - been going through a rough patch myself - but I want you to know I haven't stopped thinking about you and your son.

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    1. I can totally understand that as I understand that OCD never completely goes away. Well since the last time I talked my son has been to the ER twice, and the first time was a suicide attempt towards the end of march However, the ER doctor was stupid and didn't have him talk to a counselor. Then, on Friday I had to call 911 as he was having issues again, and he hit me twice and tried to choke me. They were supposed to keep him for a 72 hour hold, but it was only a 48 hour hold. However, we seemed to have a break through, and the doctor mentioned his bi-polar is fueling his OCD, and that he was on too low of a dose of his medicine. When me and my husband picked him we noticed a change as we went out to Abby's pizza as a family, and we haven't done this for a long time. He explained that he still has thoughts, but his mind isn't racing uncontrollably. He was able to get soda himself, and eat without looking all over the place. Then, we went to the mall the next day, and he seen someone emptying the trash, and we just moved instead of leaving the mall. He isn't spraying as much, and he went to the movies with his brother yesterday. Oh he also went to hang out with his friends, and this hasn't happened since October. He was slightly stressed, because of the cats but he made it four hours before wanting to come home. He still chooses to stand the whole time instead of sitting down, and he still has issues with my dad. We have had some issue today, but things are much better. I try to remind myself that things take a while to get better, and he is willing to go to his doctor on Monday.

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    2. Thanks for the update Anonymous, and thanks to Sunny for reaching out to get a report!!!! I have also been thinking about you too. I am so sorry to hear about his struggles and ER visits, and a suicide attempt...so scary. I can not even imagine. It does sound like things have taken a better turn since then, so that is a good sign. I hope that his meds are helping better. It is important for him to keep going to his treatments and staying in contact with his doctor about his medication and progress. Is he actually starting an ERP program, or what kind of help (besides the medication) is he getting? OCD is such a sneaky beast...it seems like sometimes big problems in it go away only to be replaced by other ones, so it is very important for him to keep staying on top of this and staying in the fight. Sometimes it can be so absolutely overwhelming. I am glad that he has you in his life to help him and propel him forward to get the help he needs. You said some very important things at the end of your post...it will take time to get better. You are absolutely correct in that. But it is so worth it for him and all of you. And if h e is willing to go to his doctor, that is important too...I think we've talked about this before, but I believe for a lot of us with OCD we have to hit our rock bottom in order to decide it's time to start doing something about this. I hope that things continue to get better for him (and all of you) and please continue to keep us posted!

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    3. Hopeful, you and sunny have made it where I am able to understand what my son is going through better. He will be going to his regular Dr. on Monday, but that's a huge step as he was supposed to see him in March. He then says he will make a appt and keep it for the ERP program, and I hope he sticks to it. I try to stay hopeful, because I am seeing progress. He has hung out with his friends two more times, and we went to the local soda shop for ice cream too. He seems to get a little stressed after being at his friends, but I think he feels happier not being so isolated. He also cleaned his room yesterday, and that was a huge step to make him feel better. Thank You guys.

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    4. Well. It's been a while since I last posted, so here it is people. He did go to his regular Dr., and that was a huge step for him. He is going out every day to get food, and he isn't as worried when he sees certain things that used to stress him out. He is still hanging out with his friends at least once a week. He went to the movies with his brother and his dad. However, there are still some hurdles that need to be tackled at some point. He doesn't want us to go walking, so we have to sneak out in order to do it. He was like mom you are thin you don't to go walking, and I am like I enjoy walking when the weather is nice. The new thing it's super hot, and he doesn't let us use the AC when my dad is out of his room and/or when he is out as well. He spends lots of time using the bathroom of fear he will have an accident at night, because he wont come up when I am asleep and/or when my dad is out of his room. We went to my youngest son's graduation from high school, and we had to make sure my dad left and came back from the back door, and we came in from the front as he was super stressed we were all going to be out. I know he needs to go to therapy, and i feel as if he is making excuses even with him making some progress. He is being nicer to me and everyone in general. However, I would love to come and go as I please, go walking whenever I felt like it, and to have some sense of normalcy in my life.

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  15. Not sure what to do as starting Thursday the heat wave will be here, and by Saturday it will be 100 degrees. My son wont let me have the AC on, and I don't know if I can handle it without getting super sick. Today it was only in the 80's and it was 82 degrees in my home, and I felt super sick and a horrible headache. I am trying to be understanding regarding his OCD, but I am worrying about me, my husband, my 19 year old son, and my 62 year old dad he can't stand.

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  16. I first want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July! I decided to take another approach to the hot weather, and we put an attic fan in to help. We also turn the AC on low to help, because he can't hear it instead fighting about it. I go walking when he's asleep, and my husband and youngest son go walking when he's in the bathroom. I wish he could celebrate the 4th with us, but it stresses him out to be outside. He is somewhat stressed about us being outside for the 4th, but isn't being pressing the issue. He has another doctor appt Monday, and he wants them to renew the referral so he can go to the therapy. I am hoping he goes this time.

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  17. Today was fine as I got my son food, and his medicine has been working. He was going to let me make him a therapy appt this coming Monday, but i am not sure now if he will. He will only use our bathroom, and he wont allow us to use the front bathroom as that's where my dad goes. He has been in our bathroom;since 4:40 based on their being a fruit fly in there. I looked before he went in there, and I didn't see any fruit fly's. He now tells me he's going to be a while, and he's not going to any appts, out to get food, and etc.He makes it where we all our dying as we need to go to the bathroom, and it's based on his OCD. He's nicer overall and i am grateful overall for that, but there's no reason you should be in my room for so long.

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  18. I had to give a update as it's huge. He went to his first behavior therapy appt today, and this is huge as he's had appts before that he had me cancel in the past. He also scheduled another appt for next week. I think he was getting tired of feeling bored and isolated, Hoping for the best for him.

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  19. I have to give another update as he has gone to four therapy appointments so far, and she has him shake her hand in the beginning and at the end of the session. She wants him to have a haircut by the end of September, but will see if this actually happens. It would be great he hasn't had a haircut; since June of 2014. Things are moving forward!

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  20. Newest update! I wanted to let you guys know its been 20 days;since his last manic episode surrounding his OCD. He just went to gets his hair washed and cut, and had his beard trimmed. This is huge as it has been 16 months;since he had it done last. He used a old video game machine that had used games in it, and that was also huge. He is going to his 5th behavioral therapy session, and she wanted to see him with a haircut. I see hope it's so exciting!

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  21. Hi anonymous! Sorry, I haven't been on my blog much this summer. I was looking back through your comments and it sounds like although the summer started off rough for your son, this latest comment that you posted is very encouraging! I've said it many times, but I'll say it again. I truly believe sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom with your OCD, before you finally realize you just can't live like this anymore and start to seek out help and try to turn things around. I once went 8 full months without a haircut on my end--mostly because I was afraid to go be contaminated at the salon. Didn't want someones hands on my hair, didn't want to sit in the chair, didn't want to contaminate my clothes, etc. When I did get my hair cut, I found out that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And then I have continued to go back regularly for cuts and colors. It honestly was the one of the first steps I took in my recovery, and since then I have continued to make progress. So, I believe you when you say this is huge. It is! Your son should feel proud of this too, and I hope this helps set the foundation for him to want to continue to improve. I am glad that he is continuing to go to therapy. It is really important for him to keep pushing himself. Once he starts to pull himself out of the deep,d ark OCD--he will start to feel better. I know that I did. And when you feel better, it is much easier to start fighting things off. When he sees himself making improvements, it will motivate him to keep working harder. I am so happy that things are going better for him, and I truly hope that will keep going to treatments and working hard, to take his life back from this OCD!

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    1. No worries hopeful! I think sometimes it helped me to just write down what was going on with my son and his battle with OCD. He seen his doctor today, and he was happy to see that he had his haircut. However, he was unhappy that he gained 13lbs in 5 weeks. He's not overweight for his body type, but diabetes runs in our family. I was thinking tackle one thing at a time, because he will eat better as makes more progress with his OCD. He will see his therapist next Tuesday for the 5th time, and he is talking about his next steps he wants to take. He seems happier, wants to work on his issue with garbage cans, and the ground and floor. I am also happy that things are going better for him, and he hasn't mentioned not going to therapy in a long time. I also want to say thank you for your help and insight into OCD.

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    2. Another update. He has seen his therapist 6 times now, and he's worked on his OCD surrounding pets by going to pet stores, going inside restaurants again, conquering his issues with trash cans. and this is happening by him not avoiding trashcans and throwing his garbage away when we our out. He wants to conquer his issue surrounding the ground, and he cleaned his whole room and floor the other day. He wants to go to miniature golf as that would make him deal with the ground, and he is happier. We are all in a better place now, but I know he will still have ups and downs. He also washed his hair today, went to a pet store, and bought a new long board. This will also help with his issues surrounding the floor.

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    3. Another update my son went three times in October, once November, and twice in December to his therapy sessions. He has has gone to see his eye dr and gone to the dentist as this was something he avoided during the worst of his OCD. I am not saying it's gone as it will always be there, but things are much better now. He opened presents with me, my husband, and his little brother this was amazing. He didn't Christmas dinner with us, but for thanksgiving he allowed us to bring leftovers from where we ate at. The issues still left are surrounded by the issues he has with my dad. He makes me have my dad leave, so he can start the day and he's home when we get back. He's fine as long as he stays in his room. He stills has issues with dogs, but has conquered issues surrounding cats. We can go eat inside places, trash cans are not an issue , kids and babies are ok now, and he hnags with his friends more and goes many places now. I want to say how much i appreciate everyone on this blog, as it gave me somewhere to go when things were bad and I felt alone in this fight. I will never stop being there for him! Again thank you.

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  22. This makes me so happy to hear!!! It sounds like things are going better for him. One step at a time, truly is what it takes. As long as he is doing better, and actively fighting against something all the time, I believe he will continue to get better. I think those initial first steps are the hardest. Once you see yourself starting to face things, and find out that things are really okay, once you've been avoiding them for so long, you start to feel better and more motivated. This warms my heart to hear this, he has truly come an incredible way over the last year, as you have kept me updated throughout that time. Please continue to let me know how things go. And your son should be very proud of himself too. OCD is not easy to fight against, but is is SO worth it to get his life back (and yours and your families too).

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  23. I appreciate your help, and hearing your stories too. I am working on him being more independent, and he is fighting me on this now. He wants my help, and he wants to gain skills, learn and grow with my help. I told him I will help, but you need to work on doing things on your own too. In the past when he didn't succeed it was my fault. I am working on him getting past using the spray bottle all together, and not worrying about dogs now. He is still seeing his therapist, and he went last week. She things he has a sex addiction too, and I explained this is all part of OCD. Everything he's done he does to excess and to the limit. He just had his birthday, and opened his presents in the living room. I am not sure how he will get over the issues around my dad, and I am trying to also practice self-care as I know i can't take care of others or him if I am not well. When I notice him asking me to reassuring him; I tell him he's stronger than this and he knows everything is fine. He sometimes ask if he thinks he cleaned everything enough or do you think the car with the dogs got close?

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    1. I know that need to feel that reassurance myself too. That is still something I struggle with everyday. Unfortunately, when people with OCD get reassurance, that is a form of a compulsion too. I am always asking my daughter (12 years old), did this get me? did that get me? did your dad touch the couch? did the dog brush up against you? I am always asking her what happened, but that just makes my OCD worse...because it gives me the answer I want to hear...then I don't have to worry about the unknown. I know it's difficult, but I really encourage you to not give him that reassurance, or at least start weaning yourself/him off of that. I promise you it will be much better for him in the long run. And I'm glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself too. So important when dealing with any mental illness!!

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  24. It's been a while since the last time I had post about my son, so I figured I would post now. He is still seeing his therapist, taking his medicine, and is about 70% better with his OCD. I am starting to worry he's slipping now, and I can't bare to think it's happening. He's still unhappy and I tried to find fun things for him to do;such as, cooking classes, hanging with friends, going to movies, and we are walking together at nature parks. He even picked up a garter snakes, and seeing him with his brother has been wonderful. However, with all of that I have seen some issues, and this is him having issues around my dad. The issues around dogs, spraying his feet, and the bathroom is sometimes wet on the floor and counter. I try to tell him that he needs to work on this, and I try to also be positive and mention how proud I am with all the progress he has made. He wants me to still do reassurance, and I tell him this is not good for him. He tells me the reason he is slipping with his OCD is based on him being bored. I don't know what to do as I know he is still feeling isolated based on his issues around my dad, but my dad isn't going anywhere as of now. I feel torn that he isn't happy, and he takes long naps that doesn't help him either. I planned some fun things this spring break, and so far it didn't go as expected. I took him and his brother to see Zootopia, and after him texting non-stop I switched places with him so he could leave and go to his friends house. Then, the next day I took him and his brother to a puzzle and gaming museum, but there were too many people so we left as it stressed him out. Then we went to Washington square, and we went walking. Today we went to the Nature park, and went walking for 45 minutes. He's now napping. I plan on going walking with him again tomorrow in hopes to help with getting him out of the house. lastly, I planed for us all to go to the zoo on Saturday, but he doesn't want to go. I am not sure if it's based on him having to get up earlier than he likes, or the issues with lots of people there. he knows I will not leave the zoo after making the trip. I feel guilty that he's not happy, and he's isolated in his room, but at the same time I have to make sure his brother is happy. I also have to be concerned with my happiness, and I try to make sure I don't leave myself out of the equation too.

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    1. Hi anonymous! Thanks for the update--I'm glad that things are going better in some ways for your son. OCD is so hard because it waxes and wanes through life. He will never truly be cured from this, but ERP can help him to live such a better life, more free from the OCD. I read a good book the other night, its called When a family member has OCD, and its by Jon Hershfield. I would highly encourage you to read this. I think it does an excellent job at showing how OCD affects someone, and how a family member can help them to get out of this. Of course this book should be used alongside any treatment he is receiving right now. I wish my husband would read this book. I think a lot of our problem is that he has shown me only anger/frustration with my OCD, and people with this disorder need to be willing to do the work, but they also need to know that their family is a safe place that they can confide their deepest fears in, so that the family can work together on a solution. I truly think you might find this helpful, it is a fast easy read. I totally get what you are saying about your other child too, needing to have a normal life and enjoy doing things. There are many things your other child misses out on life, because of your sons OCD. I can relate because my own daughter misses out on things in life because of my OCD, and I feel a lot of guilt because of that. I think I've asked you this before, so I apologize, but I seem to forgot. How old is your son (with the OCD)?, and how old is your other son?

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    2. My son with OCD is 24, and my younger son is 20 years old. I will look for that book. I don't get angry with him, but sometimes I get frustrated with him at times. This is based with his OCD making the rest of the family feel stuck. I realize he will never be cured, and I decided I can't put my life on hold either. I placed myself on the sub list for the next school year. I will always be there for my boys, but I can't forget about me either.

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  25. It's been a while since I posted about my son. I'm trying to help him with his self-esteem and confidence, so I am having him use the bus. He is also volunteering at the Oregon food bank. This can make him stressed, but it is getting him out of the house. He volunteered once with his brother too. I think he still needs to work on the dog thing as it still causes many issues, and I explain that people walk their dogs. My hope is for the dog thing to go away, or maybe lessen a bit.


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  26. Hi Anonymous! Thanks for the update. Can I ask what issues he has with the dog specifically? That is great though that he is out voliunteering and riding the bus. Both require exposure to a lot of people and different possibilities that might pop up. I think when we start sheltering ourselves with the OCD is when we really start running into trouble, so I'm very happy to hear that he is out and about and doing things. That is great! :)

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  27. The issues with dogs has to deal with how clean they are, and the people that own them I think. He also has issues as they have to do their bathroom needs outside, and someone has to pick it up. I try to explain that the world isn't going to change for him, and he has to change in order to be part of the world. He's around his one friend's dog, and he seems to do alright. On Saturday my husband had him, and then were at target getting a pretzel. Then, there was a dog, so he didn't eat it. He was manic, they went home, and my husband went to get a pizza for my son instead. I sometimes wonder if it's connected to my dog, because he has issues with my dad and he has a dog> What do you think?

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