Postpartum OCD

What if I harm my child? An OCD Story

I will never quit and you should never quit either.

I have had OCD for as long as I can remember. My first memory is when I was 11. I watched a movie and became obsessed with being hurt sexually like the person in the movie. It was a unhealthy fear. I told my parents and they took me to a counselor, and they psychoanalyzed me.  This did eventually go away. I became obsessed with my health in my teen years. I thought that I would die from some sickness even if I had no symptom of anything. It was ridiculous.

Then when I had my 1st baby at 19 years old was when I really met OCD like no other.  I remember walking with my 4 month old baby and all of a sudden a thought came to me “What if you accidentally dropped the baby” and then it went to “what if you purposely dropped the baby”. These thoughts of harming my baby almost destroyed me. I knew that I would never hurt my child. I thought I must never tell anyone or I will loose my child. So I suffered in silence. This OCD fear did did loosen its grip eventually.

But OCD started to make me think that I was a lesbian. I knew that I wasnt but the thoughts were so strong. I recognized the feeling of fear was a similar feeling I had with the harm thoughts of my child. It still felt so real. This also did eventually lose its power and things were normal for a bit. Then I had a 3rd child and 5 days after he was born.. the harm thoughts came back with a vengeance. I became extremely depressed for I recognized the feeling and I was overcome with sadness. This was my first episode of a major depressive episode. It was awful. I lost a lot of weight. I finally was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with OCD. It made so much sense. I was relieved that I was not crazy.  She put me on medication and it was helpful with the depression but not so much with the OCD.

I knew nothing of ERP. No one brought it up. I just thought that this is the way my life is going to be. Through the years my OCD  had some good years where OCD did not effect me too dramatically. This past May I had a setback with my OCD. It had been a few years since it adversly affected me too bad. But it came back hard this time. I had a 2nd major depressive episode. I had to take 6 weeks off of work to go to a intensive outpatient program. I learned about ERP. It was effective in habituating from the physical anxiety that I was experiencing. However, the OCD did not go away like I had hoped. That is where Acceptance and commitment therapy helped. Learning to radically accept that I have OCD and it is beyond my control was so helpful. Recognizing that acceptance does not equal approval helped me tons. Having hope has helped me. Having faith in God has helped me to never give up. Knowing that we all have challenges in this life, and this is mine. I will not let OCD define me. I have OCD, but it is not who I am. I am a mom, wife, and sister who will fight this OCD till the day I die!! I have more tools to help me. ERP and Acceptance and commitment therapy have become apart of my life. Being more compassionate to myself is a must. I am still in recovery.. Some days are better than others. But I will never quit and you should never quit either. You are worth it and life is worth fighting!!!  Please do not get so caught up in OCD themes… its all just OCD… Just a different mask to scare us with!!

Keep fighting!!!

Maria

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2 Comments

  • Reply Ashley December 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Maria, thank you for being so brave to share your story. My own OCD story is similar to yours. I was consumed with harm ocd toward my son for several years, and I’ve also found it difficult to find really good OCD therapy (like ERP and ACT). I know there are more mothers out there who need to know that they are not alone and to hear your encouragement to not give up! You rock!!

  • Reply Silence January 19, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    I also suffered through Harm OCD too. It literally was to the point, where I was in the middle of a vacation, and we were on a balcony, and I thought to myself “should I jump off this balcony, and kill myself before I kill my parents”? I was crying, and going out of my mind.

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