Prayers for DW’s health and my ability to endure
Just asking for prayer for my DW. Her OCD has continued to worsen in the last few months. She has set up an appointment with a therapist but its still a few weeks away.
I am now doing at least 95% of all chores and necessities (in addition to working full time) due to her being afraid of touching “contaminated” surfaces. Her requirements and her constant need for my reassurance and cooperation with her compulsions are stretching the limits of what I can bear.
There is so much that needs to be done and I can’t do it alone. I’ve begged her to let me ask her parents and sister (who live relatively close by) to come by one weekend and help us out but she has vehemently refused.
She has also caught something this weekend and is in bed recovering. It hurts so much to watch her suffer mentally and physically.
Please pray that she recovers mentally and physically and that God gives me the strength to make it through this time of trial without resentment and to be an encourager to her.
I will pray. OCD is a bear to deal with.
As a fellow sufferer, I would suggest that you do bring someone in to help you. She’s not in her right mind, and she needs someone to step in whether she likes it or not. I was so angry when my husband brought my parents in when I was at my worst (depression/anxiety/OCD). But he was right to do so. He couldn’t handle our situation on his own. I saw that later, after I was in recovery.
You have every right to care for your family as you see fit, because she’s not currently able to think rationally. The blessing is that there are very good treatment options for OCD.
I’m praying…I agree with DG…although your wife may be upset with your decision to bring in help, God has placed you in the leadership position and you need to make tough decisions that she may not like. You are not doing the decisions to be mean…you are setting boundaries on what you personally need. This is not being selfish. You are doing what you need to get reprieve and self-care too.
Speaking of self-care, counseling for yourself can be a help too. If time is a factor, I recommend Faithful Counseling (www.faithfulcounseling.com) as a resource. The service can be covered by your FSA or HSA. The counselor that the Lord directed me to helped me tremendously.
Praying for your wife and you this morning.
I think OCD is a lot more common than anyone cares to admit, and there are different levels of it and how it affects us and others. I grew up in a family where I experienced it so I am mindful of it. The problem is how far someone is in with it. When it starts to take root, this is a point where a call out in truth can be enough to say, look, that road you are going down is not a healthy one. I know that you have a desire to do this or do that (such as washing your hands one more time), but you need to resist it and stopping even this one time is a success. We get ourselves in a bad position slowly with bad decisions that amplify one another, and we can also get ourselves out of that position by making one good decision after another as well, but it takes time and making those small right decisions build upon one another.
A lot of OCD (and panic attacks) are rooted in fear. The fear of sickness or death can be overwhelming unless we put our Faith in Him. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow and if He allows it, whatever it is, I must trust Him and His goodness. I know He has me no matter what happens on this earth. This can become a prayer for her – “Lord, I trust in your goodness and I know you will take care of me no matter what happens.”
If you believe that it will help to bring in her parents or family, do it. It may be possible also that you can sit down with her and say that she can improve this, but that it will take effort and one step at a time of choosing to not do the wrong behavior at a time. She needs to fight this and she can. I understand that as much as you want to do it for her, you cannot, but what you can do is lead her and encourage her by watching what she does and calling it out when it needs to be called out. It may be worth letting her be put up to the challenge of fighting this to keep from having her parents help if this emboldens her to be active in fighting it.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.”
1 Timothy 1:12
Hang in there Brother! Will pray for you and your wife. I know the struggle of a wife with a chronic medical condition , and I know your heart is in the right place. Lean into God through all of this, and continue to call on your friends and this community to lift you up in prayer!
In addition to professional help, scripture and scripture-based written reminders can be helpful placed right where she struggles. I have trouble with drowning in paper because I’m always keeping too much of it. I eventually wrote a declaration for myself (based on what I know of scripture, even though it’s not a specific verse) and put it in front of me when I’m working in the office:
I can trust God to provide for all my needs. I have asked him for wisdom and he promised to give it. Therefore, as I attempt to let go of as much of this paper as I can, I can trust God to tell me if I’m about to toss something I should not. I can also trust him to provide a replacement of the information if I ever need it. My faith is in God, not my collection of papers.
This declaration reminding me of my accompanying change in attitude makes a HUGE difference for me when I work on purging the ocean of paperwork we have accumulated over 26 years.
I also deal with a combination of some germophobia combined with perfectionism (which results in a tendency to leave things that need to be cleaned to get worse and worse until I have the time and energy to put into cleaning it as thoroughly and perfectly as I feel like I have to. (These are not necessarily clinically diagnosed, rather just things I recognize about myself.) A useful phrase has been: Not perfect, but DONE.
Some practical steps I have taken for myself are to keep disposable gloves on hand and use them liberally. I also have dust masks, mostly for when I brush the cats, but I’ll use one if I feel like the air might be contaminated. I research cleaning products and use ones that make me feel confident of their effectiveness. (Method all purpose lavender scented was rated best by Consumer Reports, so I tried it. Went back to the internet recipe for “Blue Magic” or Clorox bleach spray for the toilet, but I like it okay for the bathroom sink.) Lysol gives me peace of mind, so I spray it wherever I think there might be germs. So do baby wipes–I keep those in every room of the house. I also indulge in really great smelling foaming soaps from Bath and Body works at all my sinks and just go ahead and wash as much as I feel like I need to. (My skin is dry, but not cracked and bleeding or anything, so I’m okay with that.) I use the sanitize cycles on my washer and dishwasher with abandon, indulged in a Eufy robot vacuum that I named Alfred, and have been known to hire cleaning help before. I go through tons of paper towels and while I wish I could be more earth-friendly and use re-usable rags instead, I cut myself some slack and do what I have to do, hoping someday I’ll be better able to conserve. I also try to practice a very short to-do list that I can cross off entirely so I feel the satisfaction of accomplishment. (A too-long list just overwhelms me and and I shut down.)
I don’t know if this will be right for her, but one other thing that has seriously helped my squeamishness about germs is…pets. I used to feel like if I touched a cat or a dog I had to go wash my hands immediately. If one licked me, it was over! Now we have 3 cats, 1 dog (we had 2 and I hope to get another one soon), and a guinea pig. Yes, they add “contaminated” messes, BUT there’s something about falling in love with an animal that makes the constant need to wash up after every single contact just…vanish. I think the body’s response of “Oh! We’re exchanging love!” sort of overrides the “Ugh! Dog germs!” Lucy vs. Snoopy response. (And I found a litter box that can be cleaned without touching the litter, even with a scooper.)
Feel free to discard/ignore/laugh at any ideas you already know won’t work for you; these are just some things that have helped me. Praying, too.
Thank you for all your prayers. Things have gotten a bit better over the past week as my wife got over her physical illness. She has made some effort to help with chores this week.
My wife has made it abundantly clear though that I cannot ask her parents for help. Basically it boils down to her fear of her mother finding out how bad things are (recent events have shown me that my wife holds some resentment for her mother for a number of reasons, one of which is not encouraging her to seek help when she exhibited OCD symptoms in the past). She is also scared to death that anybody else helping will end up “contaminating” every surface of the house.
I have resolved to wait and see how her first counseling session goes next week. If even minor progress is being made I think I can handle the current load. If things continue to worsen I may just have to get her to go visit her sister for the weekend and bring in help behind her back. It will be the devil to pay but I don’t know what else to do at this point.
Continued prayers would be appreciated, Please also pray for my own battle with OCD. I have exhibited very minor OCD tendencies in the past but the constant exposure to my wife’s condition and the forced necessity of participation in her cleaning compulsions have increased its presence in my life.