Living with an OCD Sufferer

This morning as I was working my way through my busy daily routine I got this thought in my head saying “Fionnuala you should write a blog about caring for somebody with OCD “. It was a thought that really stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking about something that I’ve never thought of before. I actually do care for somebody with OCD. I don’t look at myself as a carer even though I am. I take care of my daughter who has physical disabilities but I do that out of love and as a mummy any mother would right? But I also care for my husband who suffers from OCD.

These kind of thoughts I call my God thoughts. A few years back Stephen and I went through one of the toughest and testing periods of our marriage and thankfully we came through it and on the back of that this blog was birthed which also came from a thought I woke up with one morning.

The purpose of this blog is to help others through our own personal experiences and to date Stephen has wrote about OCD and how it affects him as a sufferer but we’ve never touched on how it affects other family members around him.

I’ve mentioned thoughts a lot so far and I am going somewhere with it. I get thoughts popping up in my head some are good but sometimes I get bad thoughts we all do but the majority of people that get a bad thought forget about it as fast as it arrived. For somebody with OCD that gets a bad or nasty thought it doesn’t go away it runs on a loop round and round in that person’s head until they either act on it or take a panic attack and break down. That is the type of OCD that my husband has and that’s the OCD my children and I live with.

Living with somebody that suffers with OCD isn’t an easy one. OCD is a horrible nasty illness. Stephen once described our youngest Rebecca as a Tsunami because you could follow her trail right round the house! OCD is the exact same when it’s been acted on and it’s always left to the loved ones around the sufferer to clean up the wreck and devastation that it leaves behind.

To live with someone with OCD you always have to try and be three steps ahead of it:

Step one – keep a look out for something or somebody new that has captured their attention.

Step two – think of what dangers they could get themselves into and the repercussions it could have

Step three – keep a look out for warning signs of said mentioned dangers.

In step three you need to be careful with what you do because if you talk to the sufferer about your concerns out love to try and nip something in the butt it can actually start a thought process that will snowball out of control and backfire on you. That has happened to me many times so now I just keep quiet, pray for guidance and step in before things get out of control.

I hate OCD for me OCD is a mistress that takes control of my husbands mind and robs my children and I of his time and attention. Sometimes the children and I would be talking to Stephen and we get no response. He is there in body right in front of us but in his head he is a thousand miles away deep in thought fighting a battle in his mind that none of us know anything about.

Some people see me not as a carer but as a control freak because I have to keep a close eye on what Stephen does. At times I think it’s because I have trust issues with him and other people think that too but I’ve realised over the last few weeks as I’ve prayed and drew closer to God that it isn’t Stephen I don’t trust it’s the control that OCD has on him that I don’t trust and I can’t trust. I have to control some of things that he does because the repercussions affect not just Stephen but the children and myself so I don’t see it as control I see it as love and protection.

On the times that Stephen has acted on his OCD thoughts and I’m standing face to face with it starring down at me I don’t see my husband anymore he’s not there. Yes it may look like him but I can see in his eyes that something else is controlling him and that’s OCD. I’m the type of person that would get hurt or crumble if somebody came against me but say anything to my family and there is nothing that will stop me from fighting to protect them no matter how scary or frightening it looks.

I watch as the panic sets in the lies start to come out and continually asks questions until the truth comes out and Stephen reappears then it’s time to clean up the devastation left behind.

It’s not easy to care for someone with OCD it is hard work but I do it out of love for my husband and my family. Family and friends have came and went throughout our lives and can’t understand why I’ve stayed with Stephen and forgiven them. They have thought that have just took the easy the route and stayed with Stephen for the kids. This is all nonsense. If somebody you loved had an illness would you throw them out on the street? If they were diagnosed with cancer would you tell them right you are on your own now I don’t want to know? In my opinion the form of OCD Stephen has plants cancerous thoughts in his head to kill everything good that he has achieved in his life and what is coming to him.

I really hope this blog helps anybody that also cares for a loved one with OCD. If you do I’d love to hear how you cope with being their light in the darkness.

43 thoughts on “Living with an OCD Sufferer

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        1. Phew that is a relief I was starting to get concerned for you lol I know Stephen at times finds it difficult to switch off when he is under pressure at work or stressing about something. What we have found as a couple is how important it is for Stephen to talk to me about what is going on in his head and a lot of the time when he does he actually feels better afterwards. I’m sure you do that with your husband but if you don’t please think of giving it a go what have you go to loose. You really need to have that one person that you can trust can see things in rationale way that helps you x

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          1. I totally agree. Communication is vital. I find sometimes it is difficult to talk because it may sound silly or unimportant. So I keep it to myself and then it becomes a build up. Talking about our feelings and emotions helps always. You are amazing support to your husband♥️

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            1. You are exactly like Stephen he says that too but sometimes those silly or unimportant thoughts snowball into something huge I tell him it doesn’t matter if its silly or embarrassing he needs to off load it and if it gives us a giggle in the process then that’s ok x

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  1. What a vicious odious illness ocd is. Stephen is lucky /blessed to have you to help him care for himself. Being a carer is hard work!! I hope you get care and support for yourself too so you can stay strong for Stephen!! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. My mom has OCD and it has honestly shaped a lot of who I am. I with out thinking about do a lot of things in fours because that is the number she has to do things in. I help my dad take care of her and we always make sure we leave one day a week that we can play video game or just relax. It doesn’t have to be the whole it can be just a few hours but that little bit of self care makes it so much easier. It can be hard to step back but it becomes so much easier to care for those around you if you have cared for yourself.

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    1. It really is important to have that time for yourself and as you say you sometimes you feel like you have OCD yourself when you see yourself conforming to their patterns and rituals. I get my me time during the day when the kids are at school and Stephen is at work. If you ever want to talk drop me an email via our contact us link. Take care of yourself x

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  3. It’s good to hear from the outside what is seen. This is the kind of post I pass on to my husband, because we both hit those spots. I can tell when he’s there, because he’s in “neutral” – meaning he’s running a scenario over and over, at the loss of everything else. He knows it’s happening with me when I start to get panic ridden. You are a gift to your entire family – warmest wishes!

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      1. I am a very blessed woman, and i know it. There are days I’m insanely frustrated with him (or myself, or that cat) but at the end of the day, I am always thankful we found each other.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and passion for your family. I appreciate your raw and unfiltered description of your struggle. I respect your commitment to assist and stay strong. I understand the frustration of others saying you have “trust issues” when it’s really the illness you don’t trust. May God hold your hand and heart.

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  5. Great thoughts! I’m so glad you shared what it’s like for you living with someone who has OCD. I could relate a lot to what you had to say. I care for my husband who has Bipolar 1. I have to keep my eyes open about his behavior and his thoughts. I never know when the illness will start to spiral and take control. There’s nothing more difficult and heartbreaking than looking into the eyes of someone you love, and seeing mental illness looking back, in control, and somewhere in there, the terror of the one you love.
    Having mental illness is so difficult. Being a caregiver to someone who is mental ill is tremendously difficult too. It’s worth talking about!
    Thanks for writing! Your post encouraged me today.
    God bless,
    -Mrs. B.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there was me thinking I was the one and only Mrs B lol

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. This post was written to specifically reach other carers who just like you and I live a life like this. We need to start speaking out more and supporting each other as best we can because we matter too and a lot of what we do goes unnoticed to society. Our lives can be a lonely one also. If you ever want to chat privately you can drop me an email via our contact page.

      Praying for you Mrs B. God Bless

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure for I’ve never been with someone with OCD but by your description is sounds like a description or process that anyone with a mental sickness goes through to one extent or another. My Mom has late onset dementia and I see her and myself in some of what you described.

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    1. I’d say you could be right! It’s the constant worrying and looking out for them. Dementia is another life robbing illness that is horrible to watch as someone who you love just deteriorates gradually. I watched my grandfather battle with this and Stephen with his grandfather and it wasn’t easy. My thoughts are with you are your mum x

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