My name is Christine and I live in Preston, Lancashire. My youngest daughter is 22 and is affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which revolves around contamination.
I had always noticed that my daughter had strange little habits but I thought it was normal childlike behaviours; I had similar quirks when I was little so didn’t think much of it. It became obvious to me that she had a serious problem when she was aged 15/16. Due to a traumatic family loss, her OCD got worse. I immediately took her to her GP who referred her to a Child Psychologist.
Despite knowing that my house was clean, her OCD made me doubt that I was cleaning enough, because of how much distress it caused her. I felt nervous in my own home – anxious that I would cause her more upset if touched something I shouldn’t or put something in the wrong place; I desperately wanted to prevent her from being distressed so obeyed the rituals she asked me to help with. It took over my life. I lost concentration at my job; I was working in a school at the time and could think of little apart from the stress OCD was causing Olivia at home. I was constantly on edge that she may ring up in a panic and I’d have to rush home to help.
After doing my research on OCD, I realised that I was giving into my daughters OCD too much and in the long run it would not help her. I decided to go to the doctors myself to see if they could give me any advice on how to help her. They told me I was the one who needed help and not her; I don’t think they understood what I was asking. I wish I had been given more support at the time. OCD affects so many people who are involved as well as the person directly affected by the condition. After numerous therapists, my daughter found the one who was right for her. This particular therapist also invited me and other family members to attend a session with her; we found this extremely helpful.
I am proud of everything my daughter has done. She is unrecognisable to the girl she was 18 months ago as there is such an improvement. She’s now completed university and I’m so immensely proud of her. I no longer feel nervous when she comes home to visit!
My advice would be to do your research on OCD and look at case studies because that will help you understand the condition. I also found going to conventions very helpful as I was able to meet other people in a similar position as myself. I would advise other family members or friends to go and get help as soon as possible.