Do I have OCD?

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Hi all this is my story. I got married 2 years ago, up until then i had lived on my own for 21 years with my 2 children, my husband moved in with me shortly before the wedding, then had to move out again shortly afterwards due to his mum being ill and he had to care for his dad, then he moved back in again 2 months later., this pattern repeated itself once more. At this point i became obsessed with everything being in order. I don't want to drag this post on going into pages of symptoms and everything that stresses me out so i shall be brief. I was already starting to become pre obsessed with everything being clean and tidy, then 12 months ago i injured my back and could sit for no longer than 10 minutes, or sleep, so i was constantly on the go, finding anything to do to keep me mobile,to keep me pain free, as a result i get up early and have an overwhelming urge to clean the entire house.

I moan and complain if no one helps me, then when they offer i refuse because i NEED to do it myself, my husband helps out but i have to redo everything once he's out of the way. he's getting stressed with me.

 Apart from work i hate to be away from the house because i feel that if i'm not there its getting dirty. and i rush to get home.

I have also stopped socialising as a result of the above comment. 

I have overwhelming urges to clean the toilet all through the day, everything has to be wiped with antibac wipes,

I wont let anyone else hang the washing out, either on the line outside or on the airer, i have to redo it if they do.

I cannot for one minute sit down and chill out, i feel i need to be "doing something" constantly.

I went to the shop just 30 minutes ago to get my usual stack of anti bac wipes, and my usual brand was out of stock, and for the first time ever i found myself shaking!!!!

Earlier this month i was in bed ill for 5 days and found myself mentally cleaning the house, in the order i do it, my husband did it for me but i could still not settle.

Insomnia has started creeping in in the last 3 weeks, I get up very early and start cleaning, and don't feel like i deserve any me time untill a few hours work have been put in.

If anything get "rearranged" in the house different to how i place things it stresses me out and i start shouting at everyone.

Carpets have to be steamed on a daily basis, hairs and dust worry me.

The hoover has to be out several times a day, if not, i have the strongest of urges to do it, it takes over me and it's like a scratch i need to itch.

And more recently I am going away next year on holiday and leaving my 2 boys at home (they're adults) and i am starting to panic at the thought of not being at home and nothing being cleaned for 10 days, to the point i am considering bringing someone in to do it all for me whilst i'm away, (or not going at all)i'm stressing out at the thought of the toilet not being cleaned!! (my boys wont do it).

These are the main things which consume me, i don't know what to do about it, i feel ashamed and embarrassed so wont seek help, i tell myself that i don't have a probelm, and besides it's a good problem to have.

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  • Posted

    Lydia, I'm no expert - though, as a long-time volunteer on a crisis line, I've heard similar stories to yours many times - but I would urge you to seek help before this escalates even further. Obviously, I can't give you a diagnosis, but it does sound like OCD.

    You really don't need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. You wouldn't feel embarrassed if you had to go to the doctor with pneumonia, would you? And this is definitely not "a good problem to have", though I suspect you know that in your heart of hearts. It's a problem that will destroy your marriage and your family life if you don't do something about it, and could push you over into even more serious mental illness.

    You don't say whereabouts in the world you live, though I think most contributors to these forums are in the UK. You'll need to start with your GP. Don't play it down when you go. Tell him/her exactly what you've written here. You won't be forced to undergo treatment or locked up in a psychiatric hospital, or anything like that. Insist on getting psychiatric help rather than just pills. UK GPs do have a tendency to write a prescription for everything, which isn't always helpful. Medication can help you through the early stages, but you need to get to the root of this.

    It sounds to me as if it's been triggered by the enormous changes in your life over the last couple of years, and not least by your husband's rather unreasonable behaviour. This aspect will need to be explored. Preferably insist on starting with a therapist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a type of therapist who will help you come to terms with what's happening to you and deal with it yourself, rather than just medicating the problem away.

    Please pluck up the courage to see a doctor. This is the 21st century. No shame is attached to mental illness these days, and there is help out there for you.

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    • Posted

      Hi, yes I live in the uk, thank you for your reply lily. I was talking to my son today about it all, he went through something very similar when me and his dad split up, he got stress related OCD, he was 12 at the time, he had a fear of leaving windows open for the fear of insects getting in, he cleaned the garden all the time, cleaned the house and hid things away, anything that was on the side, and he also hoarded drinks cans and kept them lined up on his shelf perfectly, one day he lost 3 pairs of pants and he got so stressed he curled up in a ball on the floor crying uncontrollably, i sought help for him, and he eventually stopped, he understands how i feel......also i just want to ask, is it typical OCD behaviour to pace the house?..i do this all the time, i just can't sit down, i'm constantly looking for things to do, i just cannot relax,i also talk to myself all the time, my family think i am barmy, and laugh at me !!!!..its funny because i can stand my own mess, but if someone in the house was to do the same it tips me over the edge!!!...I have a messy drawer in the kitchen, well, actually 2, and i can stuff things away in there, but again, if anyone else does it drives me insane!!..is this "normal?" to be calm with my own clutter, but not others??
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    • Posted

      The only way i can describe it, is like i get feelings of unease, and cleaning takes them away, like a tablet or painkiller would, then its ok for a short while, then those feelings come back, and i have to start cleaning gain, and so on and so forth !
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    • Posted

      It does sound like OCD, Lydia. Also - possibly - that your OCD is a symptom of a more widespread disorder. Again, I'm not a professional, but have had a lot of training in mental health problems for my job, and I know that people with generalised schizo-affective disorders often get OCD as part of their disorder. I note you say your son has suffered something similar in the past. Disorders of this kind often run in families.

      The good news is that this type of illness can be managed relatively easily these days, and may well burn itself out in the course of middle age. I would, however, implore you to seek professional help before it gets any worse. With two sons entering adulthood and maybe starting their own families, you have so much to live for. Why not seek the help you need so you can enjoy your life again?

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