Living with Obsessive compulsive disorder is difficult and complex, but even more so when living with your family. Often my family will say, you’re having therapy why aren’t you better yet? Oh my if only It were that easy. The First thing I have to say about this, is put yourself in my shoes. Many of us live with these obsessions and compulsive for years before even getting a diagnosis, let alone finding help. Even then therapy isn’t foolproof. In fact therapy is very distressing for most people, as it makes you face up to things you may actively avoid. So if you have finally built up the courage to ask for help (believe me its not easy) and attend therapy, there is nothing more deflating than hearing “why aren’t you better yet?”
For some people the change they experience in there symptoms may be mild, or not at all. For others they may feel change emotionally, instead of crippling anxiety through not completing a compulsion, they may feel less stressed during the completion of their compulsions. Or perhaps simply there mood is lifted, and they feel more optimistic about the future and facing their OCD head on. Either way for the sufferer this is huge progress.
For an example if someone is out and trying to do their shopping but is so worried about contamination that even with gloves on picking up an item is very distressing, how do you think they would feel if they managed to pick up two items. Managing to stave off a panic attack in the meantime? Would you call that progress if you knew how it felt. If you experienced it prseonally, I guarantee that you would. To an outside it would seem like nothing has changed. To the sufferer they may have done something that they haven’t done in years, so to then hear negativity is very discouraging. Saying “why cant you just do it?” is not helpful. At all.
As difficult as it may be I do believe communication is key. You need to properly explain to your family just how your condition affects you, and how it impacts your daily life. As if they do not know the full impact, they will not understand what equates as progress to you. Let them know that their disregard for your progress hurts. Unfortunately for many even explaining it to your family will not be enough as they have no way to understand what it feels like. I would encourage your family to read up on Obsessive compulsive disorder to try and have at least a little understanding of the challenges you face. Perhaps keep a diary of progress that you notice, as and when it happens. Then you can keep accurate updates on your progress.
I understand that for families it makes things remarkably difficult. You may be irritable, depressed, constantly stressed, anxious, twitchy, fearful and much much more and your family may be worried about “setting you off” or “triggering” you. However if you are able to come to an understanding with your family, they may understand your progress better and family life will be easier.
I hope this helps at least a little and good luck xx