I know that those who have OCD aren't just postpartum moms, but I have found that many moms have a flare up of OCD, sometimes severe, sometimes not & I thought for those who are comfortable talking about it, it would be a good topic to bring up. I've no doubt that there are many lurkers out there who could benefit from such a conversation.
I know I've briefly spoken about it in the past, and mentioned that I'm OCD in posts but I don't think I've ever spoken about it in depth, as up until now it's been something that I've found quite embarrassing & shameful, but in reading this book I feel like I need to set those emotions aside & talk about this, my hope is that if I can help just one person by this post it will be worth making myself feel vulnerable.
I've spoken with several moms via PM's who are suffering from it so I know it's not just me, & the selfish side of me finds comfort in this, but the compassionate side of me aches for all of the other moms who are dealing with postpartum OCD. Up until 5 or so months ago I had no idea that I was even OCD, and I know that the first week postpartum when my symptoms came rolling in like a ton of bricks, I had no idea what was wrong with me, all I knew was that my anxiety was through the roof and my mind was being flooded with horrible thoughts - it was by far one of the scariest times of my life, and the most upsetting. I found it horrible that I couldn't look at my baby w/out feeling fear, I couldn't hold him, or touch him without my mind being insulted with intrusive thoughts & I had no idea how to get rid of them, because I had no idea WHY I was even having them in the first place. I can say though, that now at 9 months postpartum I am doing so much better, I have my moments still but having the knowledge of what is going on with me has helped calm the waves.
I'm currently reading a book by Bruce M. Hyman, Ph.D. & Cherry Pedrick, RN called The OCD Workbook 2nd edition. I've found it to be extremely fascinating & it's given me insight into the type of OCD that I'm currently dealing with, which is called "Pure-O" or Pure Obsession OCD which consists of intrusive thoughts & anxiety (sometimes extreme). I also teeter on the edge of being a "orderer" where I have to have things in perfect order, or it causes anxiety. What I found interesting was that as I was reading the book, it triggered memories from when I was a child & teen and in doing so I realized that I've been OCD since a young age, I'm not sure at which age it was triggered I've certain ideas as to when, but no real solid memory. The other interesting thing that I learned was that if you do have it as a child, it can go in remission and then triggered (relapse) in adulthood, in my case it was this last pregnancy & birth. I found it interesting how it said that eating disorders like bulemia and anorexia is linked to OCD, I was bulemic for much of my teenage years. It also spoke about your OCD changing "faces" in that you can go from being a "Pure-O" to a "checker" or "washer" - that it's not always a consistent "type" of OCD & often times you have a mixture of several, usually having a dominant "kind" and several very mild kinds, although this isn't always the case.
I've found a lot of hope in reading this book, the idea that I can live in peace with these thoughts is comforting, and that when I do have a little flare up I'll have to tools to deal with it. The other part of me is upset & scared at the fact that I will always have OCD, it's something I will always struggle with, but I also know that I'm strong enough to do it & that through fear, through the trials it will bring me, I have the choice to become stronger or weak. To play victim or conqueror, I hope I have the courage to always choose the road of strength.
I also sat down tonight & spoken with my dh about this, sharing with him what I've learned in the book. I've decided that I'm going to seek a therapist who is experienced with OCD and who is trained to do Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, the entire idea (really) scares me because I know I'll have to face some pretty ugly thoughts & fears, but my hope is that I can learn some invaluable tools that will teach me how to deal with my OCD better, especially when I have lapses. My other fear is that I will be unable to find a doctor who will not push medications on me, I know that they have and do help many many people, part of me is jealous about that b/c I would love to help that it brings some people - but with my last experience with Zoloft it was just FAR too scary to visit again, it would have to take some mighty (and I mean mighty) convicing to get me to go that route again & chances are I wont until I'm 100% finished having bio kids.
Anyhow. This has become quite lengthy! If you've made it this far I hand you lots and lots of kuddos lol I would also like to share some online resources that were given in the book, hopefully they'll help someone.
There are also a ton of OCD books listed, if anyone is interested I can list those too.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapist
Awareness Foundation for OCD and Related Disorders
Cherry's site (one of the authors of the book I spoke about)
Consumer Web site for Handling your mental illness at work and school, Denter for Dhychiatric rRhabilitation
Doubt & other Disorders
Internet Mental Health
Mental Health InfoSource
National Anxiety Foundation
Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous
Obsessive Compulsive INformation Center
OCD Action UK
OCD Resource Center of FLordia - This is the website for Dr. Hyman's treatment center in Flordia.
Psych Central - Dr. John Grohols Mental Health Page
OCD BOOK on Pure-O
And I wanted to share. When I first got pg, actually in the early mornings of the day I got my bfp (ad 7dpo no less! LOL) I had a horrible OCD episode with the anxiety/panic attack feelings to boot. Scared the life out of me and I thought oh nooo, if it's starting up this early into the pregnancy I am DOOMED. So I started getting proactive again with how well I took care of myself, and decided to start reading up again on OCD.
Well in doing so I decided to go through the links again, in the sticky post at the top of this page, as I did I came across a book called The Imp of the Mind, it's on the type of OCD I have which is called Pure-O or basically it's bad thoughts that run amock & cause huge amounts of anxiety or panic attacks, yea, not fun.
So I picked up this book, as well as another called Brain lock. I read Imp of the Mind in less than 3 days & was SO comforted by it! It gave me hope that when I do have my OCD episodes that I'll be okay, and ways to treat it without medications b/c med's don't seem to help much with this type of OCD, or if they do the amounts have to be rather large and it still doesn't keep the thoughts out, just takes the edge off.
Anyhow I thought it was an excellent book, it gets a lot of good stars on Amazon.com. I wish I had known about it when I was in my early ppd days with Seamus, so I thought I'd recommend it here incase anyone else is plagued with this annoying disease. Another thing I found interesting is they said this type of OCD is the most common, and I believe even more common than diseases like diabetes I didn't finish Brain Lock, I got through the first 30 or so pages & realised it wasn't going to help me as it had more to do with the other types of OCD, like washing, checking and so on but it too gets good reviews so for those who deal with that type of OCD it might be worth picking up.
Thanks for sharing all of that
Traveling life's highway with my love and partner, Bruce,
and Snacky, my sunshine boy.
Sweet angels in our hearts 6/09 & 9/10. I will always carry you.
Chimmy~I can really appreciate that you had the guts to post your OCD feelings. Being OCD myself it is humiliating for me to discuss. I have not read the book that you are talking about but I would be very interested in finding it. My OCD manifests itself in several ways; the most embarrassing for me is the counting. I hate that I can't function in normal life without counting. My DH is very supportive and he can always tell when I am having a bad day because he will notice that I am counting in my mind. I also have irrational fears that are very much because of my OCD. It is an awful disorder but I hope that anyone that is dealing with it can find comfort that they are not alone.
It really is/can be humiliating, I count too and like you when I get stressed or over worked it's like my brain put's up a "on vacation" sign & I start counting things in my mind. What I find the most humiliating is the pure-o obsessions, I really struggle with them.
My dh is really supportive too, I think it helps espeically when my anxiety is heightened.
I am not true OCD but I have generalised anxiety disorder and have suffered from mania in the past. It is really tough, in fact these post partnum feeling remind a lot of my mania. The way I just get obbsessive like my mania made me. Also I am a magical thinker, this means I feel like if I think something, then it is true. Like if I think something terrible will happen it will happen. I have found cognitive behaviour therapy very helpful, no it is not easy but it has helped me. I undrestand those feelings of anger that this is something you will always have to deal with. I had trouble with that when my therapist told me that I would always have tp deal with my anxiety. I think this why I am having a hard time coming to terms with these post partnum issues, I just did not want to go back to the bad places in my mind, I wanted to be done with that. A book that really helped me is linked to at the bottom. It also deals with OCD.
I'm going to make this a "Sticky" Chimmy.
Thanks for starting this thread. I admire all that you've accomplished so far. I am inspired by your determination to cope w/ OCD naturally. Thank you for sharing your journey w/ us. You never cease to amaze me! (And, I'm sure you're helping so many other women out there that we don't even *see*!)
Oh wow, I was suprised to see this as a sticky! lol Your so sweet Margaret - you've become such a good friend, I really appreciate all of the support and encouragement you've given me over these last 9 months, not sure what I would of done without this board!
Drake ~ it's good to ear that the CBT worked for you, that's encouraging to hear Right now, everytime I think about it I get really anxious - which obviously means I need it but oye! This is hard.
wow thanks Chimmy, what great resources