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  • Is fear of germs OCD?

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    Old 07-10-2006, 06:06 PM   #1
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    Question Is fear of germs OCD?

    I came from the bipolar board, I have a few questions about OCD.

    My aunt had this terrible fear of germs. She would open doors with kleenex, which had to be thrown away after that.
    She would not touch anything directly.
    She would do the same with the telephone if she really had to take it, she would not touch it.

    She was a very sweet person, I loved her very much, but my family was wierd about that. They just would be polite but not look for her company.
    I was surprised when I went to her house the firts and last time. Everything was covered in dust, and things looked like they hadn't been touched for ages.

    My uncle was very loving and very sweet to her. Needless to say they never had children. They did seem happy just with each other.
    Nobody mentioned that she was different, nobody talked about it, we all just let her be.

    I am just curious as what she may have had.
    When I was little, I asked my mom, and she said that my aunt had an illness, that she needs help, but she needs to realize that first. Being a kid, I asked, why don't you tell her? She said she already brought it up and my aunt said she did not need help, she was O.K.
    She said that we don't talk about it, that she knows what needs to be done, it is her choice.

    Now they both are gone, and I would like to know. It seems something is running in our family. I just found out one of my cousins almost died from anorexia, also by being in denial, she did not tell anyone until it was almost too late. ANd she's a psychologist!

    One of her sisters organizes the shirts in her drawers perfectly, so if you touch one, she knows, because it's "a little more to the right".
    She would catalog her sweaters in zip lock bags, in order, as well as her shoes, which remained in the original boxes, with the date of when she got them and what clothes they go with.

    Another cousin, sister of theirs,(I used to live with her when I was a teenager) had me write from the time I wake, up a log that would account for each and every minute of my day. She would time me on everything. One day, I took a minute longer than my allowed 5 minutes in the shower, she came in and dragged me out.
    I still can't take my time in the shower, I get scared. (I am 36 now)
    She would also give me 3 minutes for using the toilet, so that, as well, I do very quickly. For some reason I cannot change these habits now.
    I cannot take a bath, I get so anxious, almost panicky if I stay in there more than a couple of minutes, I have tried. My husband says it's rlaxing and had me try it. Id doesn't work, I've tried several times, I Sort of get frightened.

    I was just diagnosed Bipolar, is this all related and passed down? Is this OCD in my cousins and aunt?
    One of their brothers was depressive, and had an alcohol problem. Another one of my uncles was depressive, and unfortunately in Mexico (where he lived) this is not talked about, so they over medicated him with lithium until he just could not take it, his body just could not process it. I am afraid for my cousins (his sons) if they don't have the information they need, they may go through something similar.

    Sorry, this is too long, isn't it?
    By the way, I have always wondered if I would ever grow up and be like my aunt or my cousins. I still am afraid of being too picky and too careful.
    I keep worrying about "did I leave anything on at home?" "is the house going to burn down?" "Is someone going to break in while we're out?" I check the lock 2 or 3 times. make sure I locked it.

    I used to wash my hands a lot, I tried so hard to get over the fear of eating germs. Now I'm not so afraid, but I still know when my hands are dirty. I just keep telling myself I won't die from it.

    O.K., thanks, I appologize for the long post. This is years and a whole family compiled.

    PS Just to make you laugh, I am afraid of napkins, they make this horrible little sound!
    I want to know if this is all related.

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    Old 07-10-2006, 06:26 PM   #2
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    Re: Is fear of germs OCD?

    Dear Strawberry.Hill,

    I am very sorry to hear about all the difficulties you and your family have had. It sounds like it's been very trying. I can relate to some of the things you were saying about your aunt I think it was - the fear of germs. I've had this issue for a long time and it comes and goes. I don't know if she had OCD, but I know in my case it's more how it makes me feel than what I do. It's the horribly terrifying feeling that comes with the obsessions and compulsions that makes it OCD for me. The anxiety that comes from the thought of not carrying out what you feel you have to do to make the situation right.

    Seems like there is a fine line between being a perfectionist (which I am also) and having the obsessions and/or compulsions. From the research I've done it sounds like if it honestly doesn't bother the person doing it (i.e. not denial) then it really isn't OCD.

    I hope this makes sense; I wish the best for you and your family...

    Old 07-10-2006, 07:36 PM   #3
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    Re: Is fear of germs OCD?

    I'm sure it bothered her, but she did not want to be labeled I guess. In Mexico it's bad to have or even talk about mental ilness.
    Don't worry, I have not seen anyone in my family since I was 19. I ran away.
    I started e-mailing one of my aunts a few years ago because I thought I had to for some reason. I found out that another aunt of mine was very sick and I sent her a letter, she had disowned me when I left. So I wrote to her and told her I really loved her, even if I did not show it. And some more things. She said she was sorry things didn't work out, she sent a message through her daughter. I will never forget, she said she had no idea I was such a noble person. She died 2 days later. I guess I felt something was wrong and I had to say good bye. That's when I started writing regularly.
    But we are not that close, I've been away for so long, and I grew up differently, I grew up in the US and raised in a very different way. So we have a problem understanding each other, but we are O.K. now.
    I just sent a letter telling them I was diagnosed, and maybe they can accept that these things can happen.
    I am worried about 2 cousins which seem depressed and reclusive. Sons of the uncle that was depressed. I would like to tell them there is help, if they think they are depressed.
    There is not much information out there for them. I don't want them to die too. (I know we all go sooner or later, but they are young still, and have a whole life ahead of them)

    Well thanks

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