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Heather

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My flat mate has OCD and I am wondering is there any way to help her or is this being stupid because you would need to know what she does? Just curious and once you have it you have it for life right??? (my mum had it as well)...

Heather...
 

Heather

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My flat mate has OCD and I am wondering is there any way to help her or is this being stupid because you would need to know what she does? Just curious and once you have it you have it for life right??? (my mum had it as well)...

Heather...
 

David Baxter

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Yes. One can learn to manage OCD and the symptoms/intensity will wax and wane over time, especially according to how much general stress or anxiety the individual is experiencing at the time, but in the vast majority of cases it will not vanish entirely.

As for how to help her, other than by encouraging her to seek the help of an expoerfienced therapist and reassuring her that there are things she can learn to do and medications that will help her, I'd say the best way to help her is to do what is possible to help her problem-solve and reduce stress - focusing on the OCD itself isn't likely to help and may make it worse by drawing attention to it.
 

David Baxter

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Yes. One can learn to manage OCD and the symptoms/intensity will wax and wane over time, especially according to how much general stress or anxiety the individual is experiencing at the time, but in the vast majority of cases it will not vanish entirely.

As for how to help her, other than by encouraging her to seek the help of an expoerfienced therapist and reassuring her that there are things she can learn to do and medications that will help her, I'd say the best way to help her is to do what is possible to help her problem-solve and reduce stress - focusing on the OCD itself isn't likely to help and may make it worse by drawing attention to it.
 

Eunoia

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hey Heather! one of my best friends has OCD and she was diagnosed w/ this since her early teen years I guess? anyways, she's on meds (and did go to therapy a little I think a long time ago) and has definitely learned to manager her symptoms and the disorder and has a great life despite of it. She knows she has it, she's learned good coping mechanisms, and she's ok most of the time- as her friend though I do notice when she isn't ok and when she's just really stressed out about things or obsessed w/ things. as David said, helping to decrease the stress (by listening, offering suggestions to manage time better, help her out w/ something, talking things through) help a lot.. we don't really mention her OCD and most of our friends don't know she has it, but I think there;s still many ways you can help her w/out making it so obvious or throwing it in her face that she has OCD (not that you would do this). also, not everything she does is b/c of the OCD, which is an important thing to remember, it's the same for a depressed person, not every time they're sad means they're in a clinically depressive state. hope that helps!
 

Eunoia

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hey Heather! one of my best friends has OCD and she was diagnosed w/ this since her early teen years I guess? anyways, she's on meds (and did go to therapy a little I think a long time ago) and has definitely learned to manager her symptoms and the disorder and has a great life despite of it. She knows she has it, she's learned good coping mechanisms, and she's ok most of the time- as her friend though I do notice when she isn't ok and when she's just really stressed out about things or obsessed w/ things. as David said, helping to decrease the stress (by listening, offering suggestions to manage time better, help her out w/ something, talking things through) help a lot.. we don't really mention her OCD and most of our friends don't know she has it, but I think there;s still many ways you can help her w/out making it so obvious or throwing it in her face that she has OCD (not that you would do this). also, not everything she does is b/c of the OCD, which is an important thing to remember, it's the same for a depressed person, not every time they're sad means they're in a clinically depressive state. hope that helps!
 

Heather

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Thanks David and Eunoia,

I really want to help her because at some of the places that she goes people are so cruel to her and do not give her a chance, some people find it hard to see through the OCD. And she is starting to get annoyed by it as well. I don't throw it in her face that she has it, I wouldn't like her doing that to me re: my depression so give her what I would expect I guess!

I have to admit that it is hard to live with her at times because of it, as my mum had it and some of the things she does remind me of mum (and this isn't a good thing)! I do know that not all she does is related to the OCD but thanks anyway.

Thanks for the replies, Heather :)
 

Heather

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Thanks David and Eunoia,

I really want to help her because at some of the places that she goes people are so cruel to her and do not give her a chance, some people find it hard to see through the OCD. And she is starting to get annoyed by it as well. I don't throw it in her face that she has it, I wouldn't like her doing that to me re: my depression so give her what I would expect I guess!

I have to admit that it is hard to live with her at times because of it, as my mum had it and some of the things she does remind me of mum (and this isn't a good thing)! I do know that not all she does is related to the OCD but thanks anyway.

Thanks for the replies, Heather :)
 

Eunoia

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sometimes the only thing you can do in situations where people are being inconsiderate or just getting on your nerves is to walk away. this doesn't mean giving up or giving in to them, but sometimes it means you're the bigger person in the end. as easy as it sounds (even though it's not) I think a big part of life is surrounding yourself w/ people that genuinely care about you and vice versa and who are honest and non-judgmental. Some people will just not get it, you know? No matter how much you try or think it's your fault, it's not. Depending on what these places are that you talked about, maybe you or another supportive friend can go w/ her so that she's not completely alone, even if just for the first while... if she has a good social support network set up it'll help some...

I don't know about the things that she does that remind you of your mom... I guess it's a sign of OCD so there's nothing you can really do, maybe some of them wil get better if she goes sees someone, might take some meds... etc. does she know about your mom? how would she react if you were to bring her up (I understand thinking of your mom isn't a good thing, so obviously don't do this if it's too much pain, stress...)? I think if you read up on OCD stuff it might give you suggestions on how best to handle some of those things....she's lucky to have you!
 

Eunoia

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sometimes the only thing you can do in situations where people are being inconsiderate or just getting on your nerves is to walk away. this doesn't mean giving up or giving in to them, but sometimes it means you're the bigger person in the end. as easy as it sounds (even though it's not) I think a big part of life is surrounding yourself w/ people that genuinely care about you and vice versa and who are honest and non-judgmental. Some people will just not get it, you know? No matter how much you try or think it's your fault, it's not. Depending on what these places are that you talked about, maybe you or another supportive friend can go w/ her so that she's not completely alone, even if just for the first while... if she has a good social support network set up it'll help some...

I don't know about the things that she does that remind you of your mom... I guess it's a sign of OCD so there's nothing you can really do, maybe some of them wil get better if she goes sees someone, might take some meds... etc. does she know about your mom? how would she react if you were to bring her up (I understand thinking of your mom isn't a good thing, so obviously don't do this if it's too much pain, stress...)? I think if you read up on OCD stuff it might give you suggestions on how best to handle some of those things....she's lucky to have you!
 

Heather

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Yeah I could go with her how dumb that I didn't think of that, thanks for the idea! The main place is uni and I go to the same uni, doing a totally different degree but to make it not obvious I could meet her for lunch and stuff! Thanks good idea :)

The mum thing there isn't a lot that I can do, she knows my mum has OCD and she knows my mum (they hate each other) but I would never tell her that some of what she does reminds me of my mum it would really hurt her and I want to help her not hurt her. She is on anti-depressants but she has been for 6 years and even she is wondering whether a change is needed! She see's a psychirist but only once in a blue moon and when she does they talk of meds etc... mostly and the longest appointment you can have with this psychirist is 30 mins so she only goes for appointments of up to 15 to 30 mins once in a blue moon! I think she needs to actually properly see someone!!!

Heather...
 

Heather

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Yeah I could go with her how dumb that I didn't think of that, thanks for the idea! The main place is uni and I go to the same uni, doing a totally different degree but to make it not obvious I could meet her for lunch and stuff! Thanks good idea :)

The mum thing there isn't a lot that I can do, she knows my mum has OCD and she knows my mum (they hate each other) but I would never tell her that some of what she does reminds me of my mum it would really hurt her and I want to help her not hurt her. She is on anti-depressants but she has been for 6 years and even she is wondering whether a change is needed! She see's a psychirist but only once in a blue moon and when she does they talk of meds etc... mostly and the longest appointment you can have with this psychirist is 30 mins so she only goes for appointments of up to 15 to 30 mins once in a blue moon! I think she needs to actually properly see someone!!!

Heather...
 

Eunoia

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yeah that makes sense why bringing up your mom wouldn't be a good idea... you said she's been on anti-depressants since 6 yrs and is wondering whether a change is needed- do you mean in terms of her meds? b.c they're not working (anymore)? or in terms of her getting some more help (w/ her OCD)? you're right, if she were to go see a psychiatrist for more time and more consitantlt and w/ less time inbtwn sessions that'd probabaly help a lot. maybe she can talk to the person she's seeing already and if not try to find someone else... maybe someone who is familiar w/ OCD and not just depression... fifteen mins is definitely not enough!
 

Eunoia

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yeah that makes sense why bringing up your mom wouldn't be a good idea... you said she's been on anti-depressants since 6 yrs and is wondering whether a change is needed- do you mean in terms of her meds? b.c they're not working (anymore)? or in terms of her getting some more help (w/ her OCD)? you're right, if she were to go see a psychiatrist for more time and more consitantlt and w/ less time inbtwn sessions that'd probabaly help a lot. maybe she can talk to the person she's seeing already and if not try to find someone else... maybe someone who is familiar w/ OCD and not just depression... fifteen mins is definitely not enough!
 

Heather

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She has been on the meds for 6 years, not since she was 6 years, but this is still a while!

Change in meds and more help I think, but I am no expert.

Am going to talk to her about it again but will wait for appropriate timing.

Heather...
 

Heather

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She has been on the meds for 6 years, not since she was 6 years, but this is still a while!

Change in meds and more help I think, but I am no expert.

Am going to talk to her about it again but will wait for appropriate timing.

Heather...
 

Heather

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Now having said that I didn't want to throw this up in her face what does she do to me!!! I was in a chat room and was actually enjoying it and she went off at me because I wasn't doing uni work, and I said well neither are you and she said yeah but you are always in chat rooms and never go out at least I go out and talk to people! How annoying and what she said isn't true for the record!!! But after my friend died yes I have been staying home more am I not meant to be upset at all? And then on top of that the guy who comes and stays with us once a week (due to work commitments) is making jokes about rape (and yes I have been).

I am so annoyed!

Heather...
 

David Baxter

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Sometimes, a calm but clear statement to the fact that certain topics are distressing to you (I don't think it requires any elaboration beyond that) is sufficient. He may not know anything about your background or, if he does, it may have slipped his mind at the moment - often, it's not deliberate insensitivity.

As for your friend's comments, maybe (again calmly) simply tell her that for the moment you're more comfortable staying home than going out, that you prefer it that way for now.

There's very little either of them can say in response to that. The key is to convey those positions to them calmly rather than in anger, since the latter is likely to only accelerate a conflict.
 

Eunoia

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no, I understood that you mean that she's been on the meds for 6 yrs not since 6 yrs. anyways, she's your roomate and friend so it's not up to her to make sure you follow your schedule and study, but maybe she was just trying to remind you of ie. an upcoming midterm you have to study for etc. but besides from reminding you and being there for you to de-stress that's all she can do. depending on how close you are and how long you have known each other I think sometimes it can help to discuss things, but as David said, there's no use getting mad b/c she'll just get defensive. discuss your feelings about an issue instead of saying "you are X, b/c of your X".. you know? b/c if you discuss feelings specific to a situation in terms of how you feel it's a much better strategy than blaming everything on a person in terms of their personality or just getting mad... I'm sure you guys have your good and bad days together, that makes sense and it's normal. and living as roomates using effective communication skills is the key. if you feel comfortable you could almost remind her of ie. your friend's death b/c I find sometimes people forget what happened if it does not directly effect them and therefore expect others to be ok as well, especially if you don't show your emotions (in regards to this) a lot/at all... she probably did not mean to be insensitive though.


about the friend who stays over, I think saying something is not only to stand up for yourself but (hate to say this) for all women and people in general having been raped. he shouldn't say comments like that, but again, even though unconsciously or unintentionally, they also shouldn't be ignored. ignorance and acceptance feeds hatred/racism etc.
 

Heather

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Hi and thanks for the replies,

I didn't get mad, it is very rare that I show anger it isn't my character!

I appreciate what both of you have said, but I can tell you that knowing these 2 people like I do it wasn't out of accident nor kindness.

The rape jokes went on for a very long time, even asking him to stop and he does know my past, he told me that because it was about 8 months ago I should be over it by now!

And as for the uni thing I did work all day and she didn't so it was a guilt thing (she does this to me often -- I am used to the comments it was the going out thing that hurts). And the friend who died used to come and stay at our place so she knows her as well! And the thing that annoyed me is what she said wasn't true I actually go out quite a lot and I go to more places then she does.

I am still annoyed, but I didn't show them that!

Heather...
 

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