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MY OCD about germs


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I have had OCD since age 10. Its been in remission pretty much since getting lyme thanks to fatigue and pain.

 

But I am having a really hard time with germs and contamination since PANDAS came about a year ago. I mean germs are the trigger so why SHOULDNT I be OCD?

 

I am finding it hard to balance real threat vs. Perceived threat

The NIH told me "you cant keep him in a bubble"

 

But I would like to.

 

Trying not to get my son freaked out about germs

 

How do you all cope

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Hey bulldog-

 

Honestly- we cannot keep our kids or ourselves in a bubble. I am not a scientist- but we NEED exposure to bacteria. Living a normal, healthy life is all about really, honestly assessing risk vs reward, and the reality of the risk. To me, good old fashioned precautions are the best. Wash with soap and water, don't share foods/ shake hands/ kiss a sick person- BUT in order to live a normal life (just think public transportation alone!) you will need to let go. It is NOT healthy to worry about germs all of the time.

 

As Ruby Redfort says (in my daughters fave book Clarice Bean) - It is the worry that you didn't even think about that will be your worst worry!

 

We cannot keep our kids from getting sick- I believe ALL of our focus and energy should be on WHAT to do, and HOW to recover them when they do get sick. Once you recover them from an episode a couple of times- you will feel more confident.

 

Honestly- If I were you I would see a psych. You need an impartial person who could discuss with you what would be "normal" precautions for germs, and what would be going overboard. Now that you have a child with ocd you don't knowingly want to reinforce any germaphobia. I would find a psych who specializes in OCD therapy. You know, our psych threw a skittle on the floor, stepped on it with his shoe and ate it! He did not die, nor did he get sick (we saw him everyday for the next 2 weeks). The thing with ocd is that you have to go BEYOND what would be "normal" in order for the cbt to stick.

 

Think of it with people who have a fear of flying. The reality is you are safer in the air than in a car. The reality is - sure- there could be a crash- but it is NOT likely. Is it worth living your life avoiding planes because of a "perceived" risk. I say no. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow- and you would never have gotten to travel. It is the worry you didn't even think to worry about that is going to get you!

 

I will tell you, if you really do have some ocd- you will need therapy. If this has all come about because of pandas, I think in time (a few years) you will slowly move back to a slightly more anxious person than you were before.

 

I know I am rambling- but I hope this helps. My daughter had a fear of germs during her first episode (among other things)- so I know how limiting it can be. It is NOT the life I wanted for her, or for anyone on this board.

 

Good luck!

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I do see a psych and a therapist. Havent been in a month so I guess its time. I am on meds too. Did I mention I am horribly afraid of planes but to get my son in the study I went. It still scares me to no end but you gotta do what you gotta do.

 

Thanks for your advice! I just domt want my son to freak over germs.

 

I do enough freaking out for all of us

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I tend to lean towards dcmoms train of thought about it being good to be exposed to some things. I was always the mom that was like "eh, a little dirt never killed anybody" but often my son would be very OCD about washing things off his hands. No germ fears just a "get it off of me" type of thing".

 

Anyway, just wanted to say I feel for you. I can't imagine having such anxiety over germs already and then having to deal with this type of illness. It's like a double whammy! So sorry you are delaing with this.

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So sorry you are dealing with all this. I agree with fightingmom and dcmom.

My dd17 spent 7 weeks last year at OCDI with Dr. Jenike (before we knew she had PANDAS) I witnessed first hand the amazing work they do there. It is mostly ERP and CBT. I would try to find a therapist who does ERP. There were many,many germaphobes there that were able to regain control over this issue.

Best of luck to you.

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I don't think I've ever been clinical OCD, but my family will tell you that I definitely have some behaviors that are characteristic nonetheless. Like the beds needs to be made in the morning (keep the dust out of the sheets), the furniture placement is "just so," etc. I have my moments with germs, too, mostly after using a public washroom or filling up at the gas station. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse.

 

Still, I try to look at the whole germ/exposure thing with my DS in a slightly homeopathic light; give him a little of what ails him, and perhaps over time, his body will learn to identify it properly and manage it properly. I don't want him exposed to an overwhelming dose, obviously, so I'm not going to let him go over to his friend's house the day after his friend is diagnosed with strep! But he's bound to come into contact with some of that stuff at school, and I have to make my peace with it, even if at points it makes my skin crawl.

 

I have to say (knock on wood) thus far it has worked out. We do use olive leaf extract to try and help ward off germs, and I just recently read that NAC, which he also takes, was found to successfuly ward of influenza, but we've all been miraculously healthy through this past winter.

 

If your OCD is at the clinical level where self-talk and the meds you have available aren't enough, then I would definitely try some ERP. Quality of life is SO important for you and your family . . . you don't want to hand that over to OCD!

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I do see a psych and a therapist. Havent been in a month so I guess its time. I am on meds too. Did I mention I am horribly afraid of planes but to get my son in the study I went. It still scares me to no end but you gotta do what you gotta do.

 

Thanks for your advice! I just domt want my son to freak over germs.

 

I do enough freaking out for all of us

 

What a great ERP. You flew!

I am also extremely anxious about flying, among other things. I did an online course fear of flying help.com a few days before I flew. It was so helpful. I had to fly for a PANDAS-related issue. It is amazing what we can do for our kids;)

Kind of OT, but check it out. It is by a pilot and you can read it for free and make a donation if you want. I did that and bought his book, again very helpful. There will be more flying in my future, due to PANDAS, and I am still convinced I am going to perish at the bottom of the Great lakes and if i don't stare out the window we will crash,--you think I might have some is OCD?;)- but I DID IT and can do it again.

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I'm OCD about how my house is cleaned - always have been. For example, I clean the ktichen counters/stove etc...3 times with 3 seperate cleaners (one with bleach, one without and finally with Windex to make them look nice.) I know I'm OCD about it, and was trying to work through it until Bum got sick, now I embrace my own brand of OCD because it's helpful to trying to keep him healthy - I've even added steam cleaning the carpets (not EVERY time I clean, maybe every 2-3 times) and lysol-ing down the house after I clean for good measure.

 

My husband takes the kids out of the house while I clean, and since this is the way I've always cleaned - for the most part they haven't noticed a difference in habits since getting sick.

 

I also just recently got a new washer and dryer with sanitize settings on them - that can even sanitize pillows and stuffed animals (helps keep me from using the lysol on those - which I don't like to do...).

 

As far as making my kids germ-phobic. We try not to freak them out. We teach them not to share food/drinks, etc... focus on good hand washing, no water fountains and such. But we try not to freak them out when we catch them doing these things - just a gentle reminder - just like we would give them for saying "please" and "thank you". Niether of my PANDAS kids has any overt germ OCD - so we're trying not to create it. My anxiety levels go through the roof when my son runs for the water fountain (he LOVES them) but I try not to pass that along to him :)

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