I am sure I'm not the first to post this kind of problem... I have read other similar posts and the answers given and yet my situation seems unique enough to post my own thread.
My boyfriend is 30 and has struggled with OCD for many years. He has taken the BAR 7 times and supposedly failing the first time triggered his OCD. I stayed with him throughout the worst of it, sacrificing a lot during those 2 years (even going on Lexapro to deal with his issues). He finally passed the BAR last April, and his OCD got worse.
His form of OCD:
He has a form of OCD that is tied in with severe bouts of anger. When we were first living together, I noticed he would always buy 4 tennis racquets and they'd disappear somehow. He finally admitted that he would "imagine" something on the racquet like a mark, and that would irritate him to the point where he would crush the racquet or slam it on the ground until it shattered and he would feel better. It also bothered him if they were not perfectly similar and would break them all in that case. He went through 5 sets of racquets in about 6 months and they are NOT cheap!! I later found out he was in financial trouble from just not caring and he would use his parent's money or credit cards to make big purchases like buying a brand new car on a whim when he got a raise at work, while keeping the other car he owes $16,000 on (it is worth maybe $5000).
He's ruined a few sets of golf clubs, he scratched up his car (the old one) because the headlight wouldn't go in right, and continued to go through more tennis racquets, all from the intrusive thoughts.
What his OCD caused
He finally got fired from his job because of his thoughts of not being able to turn in papers or files due to the fact he thinks he has written something terrible on it that will be embarrassing and get him fired. His boss thought he was lazy because he was not doing work fast enough. Checking checking checking checking, then finally turning work in. When he got fired, he seemed relieved.
At this point, I left. We got back together because he promised to get help. As of now, he has been seeing a therapist every 2 weeks and on medication for about 4 months and suddenly decided to get off. He was off for 2 weeks and it was a living hell for me. He was SO angry, so irritated, so miserable, I begged him to get back on.
So that's where we are now. He's been back on the zoloft for about 3 weeks now, he has never stopped showing signs that he's still struggling with the OCD throughout the past 2 years we've been together, meds or no meds. No more racquets, or golf clubs, or breaking things; but he still seems to be struggling with the paper situation.
Here's the thing: I'm miserable. I'm not happy. I have no job down there, (the one I had found didn't work out), I miss my hometown, I miss my parents, and I HATE the city we are currently living in. I don't know if I can go through this with him for the rest of my life.
I fear he will put us into debt, I fear he will lose THIS job, I fear he will lose control of his anger one day, I fear his unstability.
I need advice from those of you who have OCD or have been in my position before.... He keeps mentioning marriage, and I keep saying "when the time is right." Will this OCD ever go away? Will it keep going away and coming back like it has been the past 2 years??
Should I just "hang in there"? I love him; I really do. I wouldn't have quit my stable job of 3 years and moved 2 hours away for HIM if I didn't.
I really want to move back to my hometown; my parents have offered me the extra bedroom... but I don't want to tear him apart by leaving. Please help....
Last edited by skissy83; 05-07-2009 at 07:09 AM.
Reason: edited to add relevant info
Okay... I know my post was pretty long, so I'll condense it a bit. I need advice...
My boyfriend of 2 years with severe OCD and anger recently got on Zoloft and he claims the OCD is gone.
I don't believe him because he has lied to me about it in the past and I see him still being very "intense". I am having fears he will relapse even though he's on the medication, and my anxiety is keeping me from moving forward with the relationship.
So those of you that have been diagnosed with having OCD- are my fears rational or am I being too protective of myself and my future?
I didn't read the long version (sorry). I am very intense. People are afraid of me, but I never harmed anyone.
I've gotten into ton's of trouble because of my intense focus. How I think this works, is that my mind is ALWAYS running. When I'm under stress, my running mind is running close to full throttle. As the stress continues... (and the stress can be caused by the extra thought... , which brings on more stress - physically and mentally) the whole thing starts to cycle and feed on itself.
Little things that were already a nuisance begin to annoy me. When I'm in a train of thought, people interupting my train of thought, become a nuisance - criticism - anything that may beat on my self esteem, which is pretty shaky when I'm stressed will get my full (FULL THROTTLE) attention - immediately - without regard for my own social well-being. I have little to no control when this cycle spins up, and I try to distance myself from people.
On Zoloft - it doesn't happen. The cycle starts and ends pretty rapidly. However, I am still pretty intense. On Zoloft, I can usually spot it when it's bothering people, and poke fun at myself and say - "Sorry 'bout that, it's not me, it's my OCD". ( I've suffered so long -that I don't care if others know that I am OCD or not - for the most part).
I can't speak for your boyfriend - but I can say that if you think the intensity will bother you and you won't be able to live with it 2, 5, 10 or 20 years down the road, then maybe it's time to take another road.
How long has he been on Zoloft, is he also in therapy? Another factor to consider, is that if he shows the same intensity towards you in a loving way - is it also OCD?
Holy Catfish - I think my response is longer than your original post. Another thing to consider is what if you stick it out longer, and then decide to call it quits? Would it hurt him or you anymore?
When you've gone this far to ask others what they think - haven't you pretty much already made up your mind?
I (tried to) describe what he does in the longer version... his focus is on sports equipment... he imagines something is wrong with it, and it gets to the point where has to destroy the object. His main "thing" was tennis racquets, but also included golf clubs, fishing poles, etc.
He's not doing THAT anymore, but now it's different things like thinking he's written something horrible on any piece of paper he's about to hand someone... so he flips it over and over to make sure it's okay.
I SEE him do it, but he denies it completely. I think he denies it because he doesn't want me to leave him. when I came back to him after a week he promised it wouldn't get bad again (spending thousands of dollars on sports equipment and going into debt) and I believed him but told him I wouldn't be able to handle it a second time around.
I'm asking others because I need to hear it from someone with OCD; I need to hear that I'm either being too worried about the possibility of a relapse, or that a relapse is almost guaranteed once the Zoloft "poops out."
Yes, he is seeing a therapist every 2 weeks. He never tells me anything about his sessions, however, according to him, now they no longer talk about the OCD... they are now talking about him keeping promises (something he struggles with). And his therapist wants to drop it to every 3 weeks instead of every 2. This blows my mind, because I see him struggling with the OCD still....
I love him so much and would do anything for him, but I'm terrified of what the future has in store.
One thing to consider is that he is probably very aware of your feelings - even if you haven't laid them out to him. One of the tag alongs with OCD is being suspicious and being very aware - to the point where one seems to be able to sense things.
That being the case, it's likely that's adding stress. I'm sure it was a relief to get fired. Wouldn't it be to you relieved if you felt your boss was going to fire you - wouldn't it drive you to distraction, would you maybe lose your ability to concentrate? Now magnify that with OCD and you probably can't imagine the stress. Once he was fired, there's nothing more to obsess about. Except being fired - looking for a job.... and other things.
And imagine the mixture of emotions -both relief and a feeling of loss, it's absolute torture for the sufferer. Mind boggling and scary for the and probably difficult to relate to for an observer.
Questions: When he destroys things - what other stressors are going on for him.
Therapy: got to get rid of the stress. Working on something "else" or not "OCD" is in fact working on the OCD. What are the stressors that throw him overboard? Start to chip away at some of that and it can motivate him to tackle more, beef up his self-esteem and give him a sense of self worth.
You say when he failed he BAR it trigered the OCD - more than likely it was in full swing before that and the huge amount of stress became so overwhelming it surfaced. So, he probably had some sort of coping mechanism before, but it couldn't help him at that level of stress.
Now that it's out in the open, he has to learn to cope. Zoloft may lessen the symptoms, perhaps he needs a larger dose or something else - but the OCD won't "go away" - it may dimminish, but it will always require some sort of management.
As far as you - you gotta do for you. If you're not happy where you are, and the situation scares you... If he didn't have the problems would you want to suffer it out? Probably not, but maybe it would be more bearable. You have to figure out what you expect from life and whether you want to tough it out.
My suggestion for you - find yourself a therapist. It may sound strange, but at least you'd have someone who was on your side to help you cope with whatever you choose. Because it's going to be difficult either way.
You're an absolute angel. Thank you again for the responses...
What you said about him losing his job has opened my eyes to what he was probably going through during that time. And you're right, it was scary for both of us, but until now I never really understood how he must have felt.
When he was destroying things, (which he hasn't done for about 5 months that I know of) his only stress was studying for and taking the Bar. I was there the entire time to help him in any way I could.
His current job is VERY stressful; he's an attorney who travels all over the southeast US. He travels most days of the week, and trying to balance his work in the office with the hearings out of state is becoming more and more difficult because his firm is so busy. I do what I can to lessen the stress for him... all the household chores, making him breakfast lunch and dinner, suggesting relaxing by renting a movie or watching tv after work or rubbing his neck... It's just like it was when he was stressed from the Bar. I do what I can to help, but it doesn't ever seem to be enough.
I was seeing a great therapist back home for about a year to help deal with all this. Then I went on Lexapro because the therapy alone was not preventing me from secretly crying at all hours of the night... the Lexapro made me very emotionally numb and I just tapered off about 2 months ago after being on it a year and a half. I didn't think it was fair to myself to gain all this weight and be emotionally numb as a result of the drug for him - well, for our relationship. Now that I've been of the Lexapro, I'm almost regretting coming back to him in a way. It sounds horrible, I know.
I can't afford to see a therapist at the moment.. the whole unemployment thing However, I could email my therapist from back home... she'd probably tell me the same thing she told me then: "Do what's best for you!" She never flat out said that I should get out of the relationship, but she definitely hinted toward it every session. However, this was when he was refusing to get therapy or go on medication.
Your replies are helping tremendously! It's so great to be able to talk to someone about this... because he becomes extremely defensive and angry if I ever bring it up to him. I'm to the point where it just isn't worth it to ever bring it up.
What do you mean by - "If you're not happy where you are, and the situation scares you... If he didn't have the problems would you want to suffer it out? Probably not, but maybe it would be more bearable."
If he didn't have the OCD?
Please write back when you have time... this is almost better than therapy!!!
Sorry for not replying sooner. I'm glad you're finding my responses helpful (did you see - someone put an alert icon outside this topic (lol)).
Anyway, if you didn't see the A&E show on TV, maybe you should - even though his symtoms don't match what's on the show, it might give you some insight as to how he feels - and how they (those with OCD) hide their behaviors out of shame and the damage it causes to relationships.
One thing I've admitted to myself is that there are a lot of ... childish (ooh there goes another alert icon), almost immature responses that come from me when I'm forced to face something that isn't pleasant.
If you see the show, try to imagine the subjects as 8 year olds - and maybe see the childlike fear responses, and the "i can tie my own shoelaces mommy" kind of tantrums. It may be hard to spot. You may be able to see it in your bf if you try to look from a different perspective. << This is where the defensiveness comes in << you're the woman he wants to marry, not the one he wants looking over his shoulder to see whether he's done his homework, he doesn't want help tieing his shoelaces, he's a big boy and can do it on his own (kinda thing).
"Mary, did you do your homework?"
"Let me see."
"Ahhhhhh Mom, you never trust me with anything, leave me alone, you're always checking up on me, when will you trust me!!!!!!!!"
That might be a place to start a dialog.
I don't know. You're definitely in a hard place. Somehow you need to make him aware of your fear and frustration, without him pulling away.
On his side, there's a deal of shame involved, and a lot of fear.
Shame that he was "caught", fear that you don't trust him, fear that "it" may come back. Maybe watch the show together, and try to get a dialog going there?
As for what I was trying to say earlier with the "If you're not happy where you are, and the situation scares you... If he didn't have the problems would you want to suffer it out? Probably not, but maybe it would be more bearable."
Not sure where I was going with that - maybe "it makes it more bearable knowing he has OCD" and you may be sticking it out because you know it's OCD, and you might not have stuck it out had he not gotten a diagnosis........ it's kind of a derailed thought for me right now
Hoping you're still finding this helpful
- alert icons be damned!
Last edited by JomBobwe; 05-26-2009 at 10:34 PM.
Reason: Typos and expansion
To anyone reading this... here's an update. We broke up... We had a long discussion on the whole situation and it just kind of ended. Two and a half years later, I miss him so much. I tried to contact him recently but he won't respond... which I understand.
I'll never know if I made the "right" decision or not, but I do know that I will always hold a place for him in my heart.... I will always miss him. He was my best friend... my everything.