OCD and Lack of Family Support

FreeDigitalPhotos.net by David Castillo Dominici

FreeDigitalPhotos.net by David Castillo Dominici

Last week I wrote about OCD and the importance of family involvement in treatment, and some of the comments I received proved to be real eye-openers for me. I realize that while I’ve previously acknowledged that writing about obsessive-compulsive disorder is a lot easier than having it, I am still somewhat naive when it comes to certain aspects of OCD. My general assumption has always been that family members, especially parents, are totally supportive of their loved one with OCD. This theory has been backed up over and over. I get comments and emails from family and friends of OCD sufferers who desperately want to help them. I connect with people at OCD conferences who want to learn whatever they can about the disorder so they can encourage and advocate for their loved one. I think of my own extended family who, when things were rough for Dan, offered to help out in any way they could.

While my own experiences are real, perhaps my view is skewed. Obviously I don’t hear from parents who are not supportive of their children. Why would I? And these same people are not attending conferences or reaching out to others or advocating for their loved ones. There are many reasons why this might be, such as believing their child should just “get over it,” or not acknowledging they are dealing with an actual illness. Maybe they’re embarrassed. To me, the reasons don’t matter much. What matters is there are people with OCD out there who are not only suffering, they are suffering alone.

This is heartbreaking. Even with all of the support in the world, OCD can be a devastating illness. But having to deal with OCD without that support? It’s hard for me to even imagine. And my guess is that many OCD sufferers who are unsupported are also ridiculed and totally misunderstood by those they love. Nobody deserves to be treated that way.

I want to make it clear that I am not talking about ignorance here. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge. Most of us who find ourselves catapulted into the world of OCD start off ignorant. I sure did. But we do what we’d do if our loved one had been diagnosed with any illness. We learn as much as we can about it and try to find appropriate help. Of course I know there is stigma to deal with. I know there are a lot of preconceived notions about OCD as well as a lot of misinformation. I know families and their histories can be complicated. I get this. But it shouldn’t matter. When your child is suffering you need to put all that baggage aside, learn the truth about OCD, and take appropriate action.

For those suffering with OCD who have not gotten the support they need from their families, it might be appropriate to take a step back and try to develop the support system they deserve. Good friends, clergy, social workers and teachers are some examples of people who could be helpful.

Unfortunately, I know I am likely preaching to the choir here. Those who have no interest in learning about OCD or helping their loved ones are probably not reading my blog. I just wish there was some way to reach them.

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40 Responses to OCD and Lack of Family Support

  1. Thanks for this post, Janet. As you know, I went through the worst OCD times alone. My family alternately yelled at me and ridiculed me. My mother’s excuse? “People didn’t know about such things back then.” But people did know, and my parents didn’t bother to find out. Do I sound bitter? Yes, I am still somewhat bitter. But it’s also just the way my family was. I can’t do anything about it now. What I can do is draw support from the online community I’ve found–and that includes you! 🙂 And maybe I can be part of someone else’s support system. I don’t want anyone else to feel alone like I did.

    • Thanks for sharing, Tina, and I think you have a great attitude. Instead of dwelling on the past you use it to help others have an easier time than you did. I think you’re amazing!

  2. My dad would get angry if I even *mentioned* going to the psychiatrist or taking medication. I think it is because it was a problem he knew he couldn’t fix, and that frustrated him. Still, it was really hard to feel I couldn’t talk about my problems (or possible solutions) with my dad. Things are much better today, on the other side of ERP.

    • Thanks for commenting, Jackie. I guess even caring parents make mistakes, and it’s not as black and white as either having “supportive parents” or “unsupportive parents.” There’s a lot of gray. So glad things are better for your family now.

  3. Thank you for a post on a really tough subject. Of course, when I see children or teens in my practice, it is generally because their parents want to help and provide support. On the other hand, sometimes I only get to see the parent who is able to be supportive, as there may be another who is struggling in this realm. Sometimes, there are grandparents, or aunts/uncles, etc., who are unsupportive or belittling and this takes a real toll on the whole family. Even so, I’m certain that there are folks who come across your articles and their eyes are opened, Janet. So, I’ll bet that, in some way, without you knowing it, you do reach some of them. And that makes a difference! – Angie

  4. 71 & Sunny says:

    Amen, Janet! I am very blessed as my parents, husband, and adult child are very supportive of my struggles and recovery. I also have received unconditional support from my church leadership and the fellow believers that I worship with. What an incredible gift! But I am very aware of many people who unfortunately live without a fraction of the support that I have. I don’t know how else to help change that, except to educate as many people that I come across as I can.

  5. PurplesShade says:

    Those who went through it alone might be though, and that’s very valuable.
    I’m lucky enough to have not been one of those people, my family were involved and supportive, even if they didn’t always/often understand.

    But because there are people out there who aren’t, it’s good that posts like this are laid out, waiting to be discovered by someone who really needs a kind word and to know that they don’t have to be alone and forgotten. Not having family support doesn’t always mean not having support, as you point out in here.

    Thanks for writing this post. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective and for your kind words, Purple Shade. Everyone needs and deserves support and I agree it can be gotten in a number of ways.By the way, I appreciate YOUR support :)!

  6. Amelia says:

    Great Post! Support is so important, Unfortunately it is not always given!! Thanks to blogs like this one , people often can find their comfort zone online.

  7. Teri says:

    I’m one of the ones who commented on your last post, and as always, I agree with the things you have said.

    The one thing I will say is that I know my family has tried to educate themselves. They have read books, connected me to a support group, and I like to believe that they really did have good intentions bringing me back home. But when it comes down to it, I just don’t think they’re capable of really having any empathy for what I’m going through. I really believe they think this is a weakness in my character rather than a genuine illness. And I know that they all have their own issues that they’re dealing with, and they have always tended to use me as a punching bag. The thing is, before, I was strong enough to deal with it, and now I’m trying to recover from a serious illness, and I just can’t do it anymore – I can’t be their punching bag anymore. With my OCD and depression, I’m just not strong enough for it, but I’m forced to take it all the time anyway.

    My OCD revolves around an intense fear of losing something. It started with hoarding trash, and then it got to the point where when I went outside, I couldn’t take anything with me. Then, it advanced to the point where even if I wasn’t taking anything with me, I was paranoid that there was something stuck to my clothes or shoes – so I eventually stopped leaving the house at all and have been housebound for over a year now. They keep talking about how much my OCD is affecting them – do they not understand that it affects me MORE?? I can’t even leave the house!

    The worst part is that their lack of support, in fact derision and disgust with me at times, is actually HINDERING my recovery. I really, really feel like I would have been out of here, living my own life, several months ago if I had a more supportive, or even neutral, family. I have had to expend more energy dealing with THEM than focusing on my recovery. Because of not only my OCD but my depression, when they yell at me, I usually end up immobilized and unable to do anything but lie in bed for several days. Then, I get yelled at for that – for being “lazy” and not doing anything. Basically, they’re breaking my leg with a sledgehammer and getting mad when I’m not able to run a marathon the next day.

    And honestly, this makes me angry. When I think of all the experiences I could be having, hanging out with friends, living my life, etc. and see that I’m just stuck in this hellhole instead because they can’t get past their own ignorance, I’m angry at what is being taken from me every single day.

    I KNOW it is not easy to live with me right now. I’m constantly checking, and I’ve started to hoard trash again (I did this at the beginning) as well. I know it’s a health hazard, and it drives them crazy, and I really do feel awful about that. But honestly it started again because a little over a month ago, they thought it was okay to go into my backpack and throw things out without telling me. Now I’m paranoid that in every bag of trash might be something of mine. And my intention is always to go through it and get rid of it, but because I’m so paranoid that there could be something on me that falls in the trash while I’m checking, it has proven fruitless so far. I was really getting better – for months I was fine with the trash being put out, and now I’ve had a backslide. And every one of my steps back has been a direct result of something they’ve done – throwing out my stuff, yelling at and demoralizing me, etc. And then, on top of it, they yell at me for backsliding, which continues the downward spiral. Which is why I really, really believe that if it hadn’t been for them, I would have been out and able to function sometime last year. Any progress I have made has been in spite of them, not with their help in any way.

    I have been called lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, etc. If I appear lazy, it’s because of my depression – back when I was healthy, I was a workaholic, which is why it’s ridiculous that anyone would call me lazy. I think they really believe that I’m doing this because I want to, and I should be able to stop – why can’t they understand that I WANT to stop more than they want me to, but I just can’t, especially not in an environment that where people are being so unsupportive and raising my anxiety to the ceiling every day??

    It’s hard, because I want to get better more than anything in the world so I can GET OUT OF HERE and live my life. There are so many things I wanted to do before I turned 30, and now that’s ten months away – every day that I’m here is just a day that is utterly wasted, and it’s becoming less and less feasible that any of the things I want are actually going to materialize before that deadline. I’ve tried several things – talking to them, explaining, etc. but all to no avail. I even had them agree to not give me any negative comments or yell at me for just one week, to see how much progress I could make – they didn’t even last ONE DAY before blowing up at me again.

    Honestly, I wish I were just dealing with my OCD alone. Then, at least I could motivate myself. But I can’t even do that in this environment where I am being beaten down every day by other people.

    I’ve said multiple times to them that they are making it impossible for me to get better – to which they angrily respond that I should just leave then. Are they kidding??? Do they not understand that I can’t even walk out of the driveway?? If I could leave, I wouldn’t even spend another minute here – I would check into a hotel and max out my credit cards living there rather than here!

    Basically, they’re keeping me here and making it impossible for me to get better. Any progress that I make is lost when they do what they do, because I end up in bed for a week rather than up and able to continue with the work I need to do to get better.

    They hate having me here, and I HATE BEING HERE EVEN MORE, but they’re just not letting me get to a point where I can leave. I really don’t know if anything is ever going to get better, or if I’m even meant to get my life back. There are outside people who are supportive, but even they can’t make up for the environment in which I’m living day in and day out. The worst part is, because of the nature of my OCD, I can’t even leave – so I literally am just stuck here taking their abuse with no options. This is why I am starting to believe, more and more, that maybe suicide is the only option – I can’t leave, and they’re not letting me get better so I can leave, so that might really be the only escape. I don’t think I’ll actually do it, but it seems like a better and better idea every day.

    I’m sorry for this long rant – I hope it’s okay that I’m venting here, because my family won’t listen to any of it without rolling their eyes. I’m glad that some people with OCD have supportive family members like you to help them – I just really, really wish I was one of them. Your son is so incredibly lucky to have a mother like you.

    • Teri, Of course it’s okay for you to vent here, and I’m so sorry things are so difficult for you now. I don’t remember if you said you had a good therapist at one point, and I truly hope you can find a professional who can help you (making home visits, perhaps?), and your family. You are in my thoughts and please stay in touch to let me know how things are going.

  8. Patty says:

    Thanks for your post Janet! I think that you do a wonderful job being empathetic to those of us with OCD, and your closing remark of a biased reader base is something that I feel is so on point. I am so fortunate to have a husband that supports me in my recovery! In the past, however, my mom and brothers teased me a bit about some of my OCD rituals. My mom passed away 10 years ago, and my brothers now give me the “uh huh, call me if you need to talk”, so it can definitely be a lonely battle. In my case, I believe that I conditioned my family to minimize my OCD, as I never fully admitted to the extent of my inner turmoil. It took me years (~35) to stop isolating myself with my OCD and ask for real help. I do get frustrated now when I tell friends and extended family about the work I am currently doing (ERP/CBT) and everyone immediately says something like “What? You don’t have OCD! Are you sure?”. I’d like to take the walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes and switch it to try-living-a-day-with-my-mind.
    Thanks so much for your support and advocacy! Best wishes, Patty

    • Thanks for your kind words, Patty. I have to admit that when my son first told me he head OCD, I also asked, “Are you sure?” My comment stemmed from ignorance, not a lack of caring or support. That’s why we need to continue to educate people, and you are doing that, just by talking about your OCD and therapy. So thank YOU!

  9. Dalton says:

    Hi, I’m Dalton (a girl just to make it clear) and I turned seventeen not too long ago. I’m not sure how to start this since I’ve never commented to a blog like this before but after reading this I felt like I needed to say something. I had (well still have but it’s very minor now, just having to open and close the fridge twice or flip the light switch off a couple times until it feels “okay enough” ) but my OCD was much worse when I was younger. I’m not even sure how old I was.. middle school? Or sometime in Jr. High? Around eleven or twelve I think because those were the number of times I’d have to do something before it “felt right” and I could stop, and if I messed up I’d have to recount over and over (Whether it was turning on a light switch or picking up a pencil or retying my shoes or even sometimes just swallowing, usually til my throat was raw). I felt like I could stop on the numbers around my age because it would only hurt me if it hurt anyone. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, I just was scared and usually ended up crying because I couldn’t stop. I never cried in front of my parents or siblings though.. Not unless they were yelling at me directly for it. I remember I was tying my shoe once, and of course I kept untying and retying it.. I can’t remember if they were waiting on me or not or if he just happened to be in the same room as me but he yelled at me to “Cut it out!” and to “Quit acting like that!” and I just couldn’t leaving it. I cried until I forced myself away from it, scared to get yelled at and ended up making up for not making tying my shoe “feel right” in any way I could for the rest of the day (this was usually where the swallowing came in because my parents and siblings couldn’t really notice that.) I never talked to them about it (or anyone besides myself until now), or even acknowledged it, usually just shrugging it off or making excuses when they saw me because I didn’t want them to know and think something was wrong with me. I think they mostly chose to ignore it, only calling it out when it inconvenienced them or they got sick of watching me do something, and each time they did it was scornful like “Dalton, stop acting like a freak.” or yelling until I was in tears and too embarrassed to even attempt to alleviate the anxiety I was fighting. This scared me so much, that people wouldn’t like be because of it, that I never said a word and I kept it to myself for years. I don’t think it was until I was in high school that it became bearable. I was putting all my trust in my religion and praying so that me not repeating something again wouldn’t hurt my family. Even then it still took all those years to slowly get to where I /can/ fight it and just force myself to stop (usually with a OCD’d quick prayer too, like repeating Amen over and over). I still have the ticks though.. normally when I get too excited or am going through depression it’ll come through (my parents don’t know about that either because I’m afraid of what they’ll say.. or what they won’t do.) I just wanted to get this off my chest so, if you read this thank you, and thank you for writing what you did as well, it’s made me realize some things.

    • Hi Dalton, Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story, and I am so sorry you did not have the support you desperately needed when your OCD was bad. You sound like an amazing young woman! I know your OCD is mild now, but maybe this would be a good time to look into some self-help books on Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy if meeting with a therapist isn’t a possibility? You sound like you’ve done a good job fighting your OCD so far, so maybe some extra help could help you beat it down even more. Just a thought. I also hope there are people in your life who you feel you could go to to discuss your OCD and all it entails. I wish you all the best as you forge ahead and would love to hear from you again!

  10. Geoff says:

    It is so sad to see the responses here, we have a daughter suffering with OCD and refusing treatment of any kind, We have paid for her to have CBT and visit a psychiatrist that specializes in OCD but she will not take on board any of the advice or treatment. We are involved with many of her routines and some are impossible to achieve, ( our eyes have to be in the “right” place as well as the way we stand and do the routines everything has to be “the same” ) we have tried to be supportive loving and caring and have followed the painful advice to withdraw the enabling on her main routine the night time one and to listen to her say we would if we loved her, she is in a dark place and we are not helping, if only we would just do it etc etc. This is beyond pain and hurt but I feel this is right we are not stopping all of them but they are impossible they have taken until 5am to get done on the worst days and with no sleep for any of us for 5 days very hard to deal with. I know she is hurting I know she is anxious and I hope the “lashing out verbally” is just the OCD but she tells the GP, the therapist and Psychiatrist she wants to deal with it herself her school work has suffered and we now face a fight with the school to let her stay there as her routines do not need to be done outside of the home she can “switch” off but only externally she said she still does them but later when no-one around or internally.so staying at School at least would give her a break.

    It feels right to do what we are doing but to see your child in pain the instinct is to do the routine but the professionals are saying stop this one she knows we love her and want to help, we will always be there for her but she feels the exact opposite!!

    So has anyone else been here ? it hurts like hell as a parent and we want to support her recovery but not continue to support the routines as the pros put it

    • Geoff, I am so sorry your family is going through such a difficult time. You are certainly not alone. I know there are many parents out there reading your comment and nodding their heads in agreement. I believe your decision to work on not enabling your daughter is truly an act of love. As difficult as it is, it is in her best interests, even though it might not seem that way right now. Maybe this article on recovery avoidance might help you out:
      http://psychcentral.com/lib/understanding-recovery-avoidance-in-ocd/0008964. I wish you and your daughter all the best as you move forward. You sound like wonderful parents.

  11. Geoff says:

    Hi Janet, thank you so much for the response and for the link. It will be hard I guess everyone else knows that already, but as we are not doing the night routine which we only told her last night we do not now exist as ” we can’t exist otherwise nothing can work” so hopefully this will not be permanent as she “can not” talk to us or acknowledge us in any way but as you say , as very hard and painful as this is it is the start on a very long road hopefully to recovery even if “I can’t handle the thought of never speaking to you both again my wedding day will be horrible ( she is not engaged this is her prediction of how the future looks ) just do the routines ! this illness is just so horrible, but thank you for your words and help It is comforting to read about people who have light at the end of the tunnel

  12. Kenny says:

    Dear Janet,
    Thank you for this article,
    This pretty much hits home as to what I am going through right now. I am 23 and have been diagnosed with OCD and at the time I needed them the most, I felt like they weren’t there for me. little did I know that they never really understood what I was going through. Also during that same time my girlfriend of 6 years said she couldn’t take it anymore and left ( although she ended up coming back) So once I found out the type of help that I needed I proceeded to talk to my parents about it because the expenses are more than I can cover at the moment. but I was only confronted with resistance by my parents about therapy and their views on therapy. lets just say the don’t believe I need therapy and had a lot of mean things to say about the subject which caused a lot of worrying and obsessing for me. So yes, I guess my parents don’t understand me and think that I am fine. But what they don’t understand is that the hurtful things they have said don’t go away. And I feel like its hard to look at them the same before this all started. There have been times where I felt like I needed to move out even though I cant afford it. so even though they have agreed to help pay for treatment, I feel like they are just here to help just pay the bill and stop there like nothing is going on. it really hurts.

    • Hi Kenny, Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I am so sorry you are not receiving the support you deserve from your family. As I’ve said, it’s heartbreaking. I think you should be very proud of yourself, because even with the obstacles you discuss, you have chosen to fight your OCD. I wish you all the best and know you can do this! Please keep in touch as you move forward with treatment.

  13. Marysa says:

    I am suffering with OCD and general anxiety disorder. Sometimes I have difficulty getting dressed in the m

  14. Marysa says:

    Apologies, I tried to leave a post yesterday but sent it before I had finished typing. I am in my early thirties and suffer from OCD and general anxiety disorder (GAD). My OCD is primarily mental rituals, which makes it difficult because people don’t think there is anything wrong. The GAD means that I feel anxious every time I have to do a non automatic task, I struggle a lot a work, I’m a project manager which means that proactiveness is key. Some days it is so bad that I struggle to get dressed in the morning.

    My mum financed my therapy for a while, which I am grateful for. However, no one in my family ever asks me how I am. Ever. It is simply brushed under the carpet. Meanwhile, I am expected to be supportive of other people’s issues. An example is this Christmas where I was asked repeatedly if my younger brother who is at uni would cope with breaking up from his girlfriend of one year. The mind boggles. I have a mental health disorder but my brother’s uni relationship is considered more important.

    For a long long time I have felt a deep resentment but have not said anything and tried to just accept the situation. My brothers are best friends so I often feel left out, I didn’t want to rock the boat. But my family has not even bothered to research OCD and I’m positive my dad doesn’t know what it stands for. My family is Asian, but still, my brothers are British, you would have thought that they would use a bit of initiative.

    Yesterday I flipped. A friend sent me an article on OCD, I forwarded it to my older brother who commented on the good writing style. I spelt it out, my life is hell. Apparently it was my fault for not bringing it up. Surely, it is etiquette to ask someone with a mental health disorder how they are coping ? How is therapy for example. At least once a year, maybe for Christmas.

    I must admit that my anger came out. But he was more bothered about being blamed unfairly than the fact that I am not coping and I am suffering alone.

    When I spoke to my friend about this he told me that I expect too much from my family, I am being unfair, because people don’t understand mental health. Why is that an acceptable excuse? We have the marvels of the internet. Even doing a google search on OCD would be something! I find this unacceptable. If someone close to you has a physical illness you would find out about it, why is this any different?

    And I am not asking to be saved, I would just like a little empathy and concern. Apparently too much to ask in today’s emotionally stunted society.

    It makes me very angry and I don’t know if I can get past the anger and bitterness. I could go on and on :).

    Why should people who are suffering from a very real illness be left to cope emotionally on their own? And if families can’t provide the most basic of support, what is the point of them?

    • Hi Marysa, Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I’m sorry you have not had the support from your family that you deserve. I agree that there is no reason for ignorance, and it would be in everyone’s best interests to learn whatever they can about OCD. While I don’t condone your family “ignoring” your health issues, I don’t think it’s that unusual. There is still such a stigma with mental illness, that I think people think the person suffering might not want to talk about, or even acknowledge, their illness. Or people are just uncomfortable talking about it themselves, so they keep quiet. I don’t know if you have a good therapist who knows how to treat OCD, but if you do, he or she could be helpful in learning how to deal best with your family. If no progress is made, I hope you can get some support from other important people in your life. No one should have to suffer alone. I wish you all the best as you move forward.

      • Marysa says:

        Thank you for your reply Janet and apologies, my message was quite moany. I am in a better position than some people here as in I am not often ridiculed by my family and they do not make any comments about me going for therapy.

        I suppose I don’t expect any actual help, just acknowledgement of what I’m going through, but I guess that is something that I need to lead on by actively making them aware of the situation.

        Thank you for your advice, I will ask my therapist for ways that I can do this.

      • I don’t think you were moany at all, Marysa :). I understand what you are saying about just wanting to be acknowledged; I would feel the same way. I’m hoping you and your therapist can work together to improve communication between you and your family.

  15. Bri C. says:

    One of my best friends online has been dealing with OCD since childhood, and she has absolutely zero support from her family. I feel terrible for her because she so very much wants her family to understand what she’s going through, but they outright refuse to even try (and tend to say some rather nasty, damaging things to her instead). She has a very small, close circle of friends (myself included) that understand and she can confide in but it feels like it’s not enough. We try our best to help her but we also worry, a lot. I always wish there was more I could do for her to help.

    • Hi Bri, Thank you for sharing. I have a feeling you are helping your friend in more ways than you know. It is very sad that her family is not supportive. I hope she has a good therapist who specializes in treating OCD and can also help her deal with the issues she has with her family. I know it can be frustrating to feel so helpless…..you sound like a great friend.

  16. Phoebe says:

    My family has been not only unsupportive but downright abusive towards me. They know I have OCD, yet they yell at me all the time and say the most hurtful things. They have told me they wish I would leave and never come back, so they could just be a happy family without me. Being stabbed in the throat would have hurt less than hearing that. And they’re so supportive of one another too, which makes me wonder what I did wrong to deserve their treatment of me. When people outside of the family have treated me like dirt for my compulsions – my parents have actually apologized TO THEM FOR ME, for having to put up with me. When I feel like loving parents would have chewed them out for treating me so terribly for things I couldn’t help. Apparently I don’t deserve for my parents to love me enough to stand up for me. I cry sometimes at night just wondering what I could have done that makes me so undeserving, so unworthy of love and support from my family. They make me feel like maybe I just don’t even deserve to get better.

    • Hi Phoebe, I am so sorry to hear that you are not only not getting the support you absolutely deserve, but you are living in an abusive situation as well. I hope that you are able to find some support elsewhere: a friend, clergy, mentor, health care provider?? Nobody deserves to be treated as you describe, and I hope you can find the strength to be able to move forward, in fighting your OCD and dealing with your family. I wish you all the best.

  17. Marie says:

    I came across your site because I’m desperate for a little compassion. I am really, really trying my best to just “get over it.” But just a few minutes ago, my husband who I’ve tried to educate about OCD over and over again, yelled at me for asking him to check if I dirtied our son’s feeding bottle when I poured water into it and I spilled some. He said, “When you have to use your brain, you don’t!!!!” I work. I earn good money. I am able to help provide for the family. I am the sole caretaker of our AUTISTIC son (whose autism was inherited from his side of the family). But I suffer from OCD. I constantly have to check the time to make sure that I won’t do anything at all during “unlucky” minutes. I repeat sentences in my head while counting the syllables with my hands. If the syllables run out before I could use up all my fingers, I start over and ad a word or two to make it “even.” I overwash my hands and go through 3 bottles of rubbing alcohol in a week. Skin is constantly peeling off my hands and they’re always raw. All through this, I suffer in silence and alone. Not because my family is ignorant bu because they apparently just don’t think this matters. I’m at my wit’s end. All I can do is cry because if I even try to explain, they ridicule me more.

    • Hi Marie, I am so sorry things are so difficult for you now, and you do not have the family support you deserve. You sound as if you have a lot on your plate even without dealing with your OCD! I would strongly recommend trying to find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD so that he/she can work with you (and hopefully your family) to get your OCD under control. A good place to start is the IOCDF, which you can link to under Resources on my sidebar. Good luck! OCD is treatable!

  18. Anamika says:

    I am an Indian girl suffering from OCD. My family support is zero. Worst is the psychiatrist isn’t willing to counsel my family… And I don’t understand why. Medicines are too expensive and are exhausting my savings. When I told mom to tell my brothers who are both computer engineers and earning so well that they don’t know where to keep the money…. To pay for my medicines mom bluntly said why should they pay for you. You earn n pay while she knows I don’t have a job and am not getting one inspite of being educated n trying hard. I was shocked. Moreover mom called me a beggar n said are you not ashamed to beg. My brothers don’t speak to me forget helping me in any way. My father is living with a mistress n only taunts me.
    I know the best thing would be to leave the house n go. But I am not able to pay rent, moreover due to my OCD i can’t live in a shared accommodation. I have no one to turn to. Many times I feel suicide is the only solution and will end all my problems but i am not going to commit suicide.
    But I really feel helpless specially when doctor says it’s not his job to counsel my family while he’s counseling other patients families.
    I am taunted at home and cursed to suffer. I am told my past life’s deeds (karma) are very bad so i am suffering. Ignorance is just a false excuse. There is lots of material on Google to learn about OCD. I am always wondering when will all this end. I don’t see light anymore at the end of a dark tunnel. -Anamika

    • Hi Anamika, I am so sorry things are so difficult for you. Is there anyone you are close to who you could confide in……..clergy, teachers, friends, other relatives? Maybe someone who would be willing to learn about OCD and educate your family more. I am so sorry they are being so unsupportive. I don’t know where you live, but are there no ERP therapists around? That is the best psychological treatment for OCD. I don’t know if you have looked into self-help books or web sites to get you started on ERP, but there are resources listed on my blog, in my book, and on the IOCDF website. Please do not give up hope and do what you can to battle your OCD so that you can move forward with your life. I wish you all the best.

  19. Amy says:

    What do you think of a brother and mum
    That say to me to wash my hands many times after my daughter weed on the floor ( they know i suffer from OCD in managing without medication) in another incident mum going to the toilet I say to her take my slipper she say no your slipper is sticky!
    I feel very unclean now
    That I want to die actually !!

  20. Hi Amy, I’m sorry to hear you are not getting the support you need from your family. My guess is they are not hurting you intentionally but rather don’t have a good understanding of OCD and how it affects you. I don’t know if you are getting professional help but that would be my suggestion – to find a therapist who treats OCD using ERP therapy and can work with you (and your family) to help you beat OCD. I wish you all the best as you move forward.

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