An example of this happening is my family, my sister has OCD, my mom has an anxiety disorder and I have pretty bad anxiety. This affects our entire family and some of our close friends. But they help support us, and we help support the International OCD Foundation. We donate money to work towards a cure for all the many people affected with this awful disorder. In the US about 3.3 million people suffer from OCD.
My sister’s life is very affected by OCD. What causes her OCD is what she thinks is germs. When the ‘germs’ get on her, her compulsion is to ‘clean’ herself.
Life is very hard with OCD. Her having it affects our whole family not just her. We went through a really rough period of time, where everything would cause a meltdown, or fit, or give her a hard time. Then we found Mayo clinic.
My sister and mom went to Minnesota where Mayo is located. Mayo Clinic has a five day intensive program, that my sister did. When she came home, after five days of hard work and perspiration, I saw an immediate change.
Me: "How does OCD make you feel?" Her: "OCD is a big bully to me and it tells me different stuff at different times. It's like a seesaw, sometimes I'm sitting on the lower end and the OCD is winning me over, other times I am winning, the OCD doesn't control me. Sometimes though I just have to fight and it is balanced out."
Me: "How do your friends feel about your OCD?" Her: "My friends support me and help me fight. They are proud of my success and growth. My friends help me feel good and feel like I'm improving. They celebrate when I face a fear."
Me: "How was Mayo Clinic?" Her: "I hated Mayo! It was so hard but it was definitely worth it. I learned so much about fighting my OCD. I had to do exposures to stuff I didn't like. I had to face my fears and lower my anxiety. It was really hard at first but it got easier as I learned nothing bad would happen. I learned not to distract myself with happy thoughts, that I had to think of the fear and what was going on."
So OCD is hard on the whole family, not just the person who has it. Often you can't find good treatment close to you and you have to travel to get help. While we are no where near done with treatments we are so much better than we were 3 years ago, or even just last summer. We've come a very, very long way.