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Old 08-11-2018, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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OCD / Mental Health Issues


I wondered if anybody else here has mental health issues, particularly OCD and how it impacts your drinking / sobriety (and vice versa)?

I have a diagnosis of OCD, a form known as 'pure OCD' which is mainly characterised by very distressing intrusive thoughts, things like hurting other people or feeling like I am evil. I had a very traumatic childhood and my psychologist thinks it probably started at a very early age (5 or so) so it is very much part of my make-up and underlies everything about me, really.

Part of my drinking is about hushing the thoughts, which is does temporarily. Sometimes it feels like it's the only way to escape them. But obviously, it also feeds them, feeding into my ideas of being a bad person, and making the intrusive thoughts come more intensely and frequently when I'm not drunk.

When I was sober and pregnant, I had a lot of really quality mental health support and for the first time really started to understand my condition and manage it properly, doing CBT and thought-challenging exercises, and I can honestly say I was at the best point I had ever been in my life.

Over the past couple of years, as alcohol slowly crept it's way back in, it has chipped away at the progress I have made and started me back on the path towards the darkness (I have been extremely unwell with some periods of the OCD). I know being sober is the absolute best thing I can do for my illness, but the temptation of staving it off temporarily battles with it. Short term vs long term, I guess. It's being caught in that horrible cycle which it feels there is no escape from.

I relapsed yesterday, badly (stayed up until 7am drinking by myself, passed out). I think when I relapse after having a sobriety attempt, I kind of go a bit nuts and drink more than ever as if I need to make up for it, I don't know. I haven't drunk today, and I have found an AA meeting nearby tomorrow, which I have not tried before but think I am going to tomorrow.

I just wanted to share, I'm not sure why. I have been overthinking a lot today. I don't know anybody else with OCD, at least not the type I have, I would find it interesting to hear anybody else's experiences too.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi AK

I don;t have any experience with OCD but I know many of our members battle alcoholism or addiction along with mental illness. I has recurring depressive episodes, or at least I did when I was drinking - they are comparatively rare now.

I think we have a duty of self care to ourselves.

I'm not sure what you do for OCD or who you see but I really urge you to get help for it. It'll help you battle the other demons in your life.

A battle on two fronts is hard, but there's a ton of support here

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Quote:
I relapsed yesterday, badly (stayed up until 7am drinking by myself, passed out). I think when I relapse after having a sobriety attempt, I kind of go a bit nuts and drink more than ever as if I need to make up for it, I don't know.
I think most of us can identify with that trying to catch up kind of drinking - it's scary and dangerous.

I don't think it's exclusive to OCD folks?

D
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Awkwardkitty, It doesn't sound to me like you are overthinking it. It sounds like you have a good grasp of the situation.

I don't have OCD but I have depression and anxiety and I turned to alcohol to stop the negative thoughts that were running around in my mind. As you know, alcohol appears to help very briefly. I found that it made things worse because, as you said, it adds another level of negativity.

Do you have mental health support now or was it just during your pregnancy?

I'm glad that you're back and working on your sobriety.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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At the moment, I am not under any services. I take medication to help manage the symptoms. But I have been very well mostly, nowhere near as bad as I have been, have been back under services a few times in crisis, especially when the depression takes over / suicidal thoughts. I have coping mechanisms and strategies to use to deal with the thoughts but I'm not really using them at the moment, and I am not meditating which helps a lot too. I am pretty much ignoring it I think, and then drinking and thinking I'll deal with it in a couple of days / hoping it goes away... which is super frustrating because of course I know it won't.

I feel very depressed today. I have had a good talk with my husband and a cry. He has been supportive. We have agreed it's time to really do something now. I am going to spend tomorrow looking after myself I think - having a nice bath, doing my hair, going shopping for lots of nourishing food and cooking a good meal,then going to AA in the evening (which is terrifying me). I will spend time playing and reading with my son too, which is my favourite thing. I am a very good mum. I want it to stay that way.

I'm rambling a bit sorry, I am really tired. I think it's time for bed now. Thank you for the support.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't have OCD, but some severe anxiety that for sure was the pathway in for alcoholism. A very large number of us with co-occurring alcoholism and mental health issues are out there.
Otherwise AA sounds like a great plan to start attentending, along with getting back on track with your therapist also would be good.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I also drank to medicate depression and anxiety. Of course, it made both things worse.

I hope you can find it within you to get sober for good.
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Old 08-12-2018, 07:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I also did the same to medicate as you mention to forget and realise pressure for a moment. What i never realised alcohol affected my anxiety and was gasoline to mental health problems. I reached the stage i cannot realise the pressure as guilt coming with awerness of killing myself is bigger than realise. I think it is last stage of addiction when you hate it but also still struggling with damaged mental health through drinking. I see people advise to go day by day and be patient. Each lapse makes our mental issues worse and harder to recover. I m sending all my love and compassion. I started last night from square one and taking one day a time with patience. I cannot see another solution. A miracle or quick fix. Stay strong and let me know how you feel in a month and further AF. I let you know. Its horrid now as going through acute dts but strong and determined xD
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi - good question.

I suffer with depression and in my case it manifests itself mentally and physically. It makes working very hard and for a while I drank through this - effectively to begin with but (as with all of us!) less effectively as time went on. And of course depression got worse

Iím struggling at the minute as I canít Ďself-careí as my partner is not particularly supportive and sees me earning (therefore working full time) as my main contribution to the family. Weíve argued about it for a long time and in the end Iíve given in to keep the peace, but it is hard for me to work. It worries me that it will make my sobriety harder (harder I say, NOT impossible, as I wonít drink come what may).

Hey ho - if i could Ďjust beí sober for a bit it would be manageable. But Iíve got to get my work head on for tomorrow and Iím dreading it

Simple creatures arenít we?
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i have OCD and its hard for me to deal with thoughts i get drinking for me made things calm av not drank for a while now and sometimes getting the right meds can help but it dont make it go away but it can improve things therapy can help like cbt dbt etc mindfulness and meditation also helps me AA also helps me as well
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Iíve been sober 22 days and I have noticed Iíve been ocd about certainthings, but not everything.
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I struggle with ocd, particularly sensorimotor, but ocd in many forms generally and daily. Drinking was definitely a numbing agent for the compulsions, and I would imagine that as Pure-O itís the same sort of numbing factor as youíve mentioned. Being off alcohol awakens so many dormant mental senses that I imagine pure-o is worse than ever in this regard. It takes a lot of inner strength to avoid the anxieties that come with sobriety, and even more so for those with anxiety issues - but we do have it within us!
Falling off the wagon once is exactly that - falling off the wagon once. It doesnít negate all the hard work and progress youíve put in and thereís no wrong in admitting your brain, just this once, got the upper hand. You took it back; youíre sober now. Anxiety would be a foe even without the hangover. You should be proud it only got one hit in, and sometimes when we are truly at the end of our rope with anxiety it seems like ANYTHING will make it better. You are only human, donít forget that. I hope this ramble helps in some way and you give your Pure-O a swift kick in the metaphorical behind
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I suffer from 'pure ocd' as well. It started when I was very young as well. When I was younger it was mostly checking... Checking if the doors are locked, checking to make sure appliances were turned off or unplugged.... I would even take my hair straightener in the car to work some days because I would "get stuck" on it and couldn't leave the house because I couldn't be sure it was unplugged. When I got into my 20's the pure obsessional OCD set in. I didn't even know that was a form of OCD... I thought I was just going insane until I saw an OCD specialist and started group therapy where we did extensive CBT and ERP work. My anxiety disorder was a big reason for my drinking as well. My mind would go non-stop and it got to the point I would call in sick to work just because my OCD was so debilitating. It comes in waves. But a few years ago I started drinking excessively to drown all of these thoughts only to wake up being more anxious from drinking to just continue drinking again to numb the pain. It was a vicious cycle. I am sober almost 4 months now and I can say I am surprised at how good of a handle I have on my anxiety and OCD right now. I practice all of the methods I learned in therapy and my anxiety is actually a lot better without drinking. Alcohol was only fueling the fire. Not many people are aware of the pure obsessional form of OCD and how agonizing it can be. If you ever want to chat, I am here because I totally understand what you are going through. Keep pushing through. Things will get better!
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dearsobriety View Post
I suffer from 'pure ocd' as well. It started when I was very young as well. When I was younger it was mostly checking... Checking if the doors are locked, checking to make sure appliances were turned off or unplugged.... I would even take my hair straightener in the car to work some days because I would "get stuck" on it and couldn't leave the house because I couldn't be sure it was unplugged. When I got into my 20's the pure obsessional OCD set in. I didn't even know that was a form of OCD... I thought I was just going insane until I saw an OCD specialist and started group therapy where we did extensive CBT and ERP work. My anxiety disorder was a big reason for my drinking as well. My mind would go non-stop and it got to the point I would call in sick to work just because my OCD was so debilitating. It comes in waves. But a few years ago I started drinking excessively to drown all of these thoughts only to wake up being more anxious from drinking to just continue drinking again to numb the pain. It was a vicious cycle. I am sober almost 4 months now and I can say I am surprised at how good of a handle I have on my anxiety and OCD right now. I practice all of the methods I learned in therapy and my anxiety is actually a lot better without drinking. Alcohol was only fueling the fire. Not many people are aware of the pure obsessional form of OCD and how agonizing it can be. If you ever want to chat, I am here because I totally understand what you are going through. Keep pushing through. Things will get better!
I could have written every word of this!

I started the same as you, it was more ritualistic at first, carrying out rituals and checking routines to avoid danger / otherwise I would die or something would happen to my family. And like you, when the pure-o developed I thought I was evil and was going mad, I considered killing myself many times. I was drinking heavily around the time it developed (about 15 years ago at a v traumatic time) and I spiralled from there.

I didn't know what it was until 3 years ago when I was pregnant, and started seeing a specialist perinatal team (who diagnosed me with OCD). I never told anybody about the intrusive thoughts, I was too ashamed (even though I'd had mental health support throughout my life for depression and anxiety), but somehow my psychologist just knew and it was such a relief when I was able to say these things out loud and know it was an illness and not me. It saved my life, I was sober at the time (I didn't have a drink until my baby was 4 months, then it slowly crept back in). I was so so well, I was able to manage my illness better than ever, I was able to deal with the intrusive thoughts effectively. Drinking makes them go away at that moment (but actually makes me very maudlin and sad as well) but over time, the more I drink the more frequent and intense the OCD symptoms are, therefore the bigger temptation to drink. I think you are right about OCD being misunderstood - I HATE when people say 'I'm a bit OCD cos I like to tidy up' and when I've told people I have OCD they treat it as a bit of a joke. No I don't wash my hands all the time and my house is a mess! It's debilitating, lonely and frightening. You can't escape from yourself, it's terrifying.

I am so glad you are enjoying sobriety and doing well, keep up the good work!
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Awkwardkitty and dear sobriety, I am so glad that you can support each other and really understand the situation.
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