It often looks silly. The sufferer will spend an entire day worrying about whether or not he contracted a fatal disease by touching his nose after holding a railing in a subway. Obviously he didn't, and it's kind of comical that he would get so worried about something so unlikely and weird. However, to the sufferer himself it feels almost identical to a real catastrophe. I've had some actual tragedies happen in my life. Some of the OCD fears I've experience have felt almost as bad (maybe worse?). I'd try your best to be sympathetic even though what your sister is worried about might seem to make absolutely no sense. You are probably not going to be able to convince her out of it. I think most people with OCD just get annoyed when someone tells them "No, that didn't happen, stop worrying about it." It's hard to explain why. The problem just isn't that simple.
Also, I'd highly recommend she reads this book:
You might want to read it too. I've read 9 books on OCD and this one understood it the best. Some of the things the author wrote really helped me and I haven't heard anyone else say them.
Lastly, I'd be very cautious about medications. I took them for a while when I was younger and they not only didn't help but seemed to make things a lot worse. I honestly haven't felt the same since using them. Admittedly, there was a lot going on at that time, maybe something else caused my problems, but I'm very suspicious that it was the drugs that did it. I have a close friend who had a very similar experience. People think medication is the responsible and adult thing to do. But really, any qualified clinician will tell you that the science behind it is weak and therapy (specifically something called Exposure with Response Prevention) is the real treatment. Certainly, I'd recommend giving therapy a serious try (like a year with a competent therapist) before turning to that crap.
From what I've read, relationship OCD is pretty common. People with the condition feel that they can never be sure that they have chosen "the one". They doubt if they truly love their partner. How can you ever be sure that you really love someone? They also sometimes feel the need to confess to their partner their doubts which can cause turbulence in the relationship. It's frustrating that your parents won't pay for treatment. OCD ruins lives (it ruined my life). Sadly, in most cases it's also very treatable. In the last two months, I started reading books about the condition. Reading has been extremely helpful and in a short amount of time I've come to understand much more about my problems. I would highly recommend that you do this. Also, when you read a few books on the topic, you'll be able to show your parents experts' opinions on the condition. When they see that, they hopefully be more likely to give treatment a chance. Furthermore, to be honest, most treatment out there is complete crap. I saw a therapist for 6 years and made no progress. I only realized in the last year or so that the reason for this is that he had no formal training in OCD and therefore was not equipped to treat it. Going to regular "talk therapy" for OCD is generally considered to be a waste of time. Exposure with response prevention therapy is the only method that works. Anyone how says they treat OCD but doesn not do ERP is just a fraud.
This is the best book I read on the disorder:
These three were very good as well:
There are a lot of good books on OCD. For me they've been almost as helpful as therapy (in some ways, maybe more). There's some research to support the idea that people can do ERP on their own and see the same results as someone seeing a therapist, provided that they really understand the method. I'd still see a therapist if possible, but if she can't, then reading extensively is probably the best idea. Here are three books that I highly recommend:
I think the fact that you're are thinking about this stuff and posting here shows that you are a good person and really care about him. Honestly, that's probably enough. As long as your supportive, you'll probably be very helpful to him. In regards to the reassurance stuff, in general you don't want to be enabling that. However, it's most important the he understands that it is a detrimental thing and that he personally wants to stop doing it. If he doesn't have that insight, then he will probably just get very frustrated if you don't answer his questions. A really important thing for me was reading about OCD. Most of the popular books on it are actually quite good.
This one is my favorite:
I've had OCD for many years and it was only last year, when I started learning about it myself and really began to understand how my mind works, that I started to get better. In my opinion, the best thing you could do for your brother is to try to get him to read a book about it (if he really doesn't want to, there are even some youtube videos that are pretty good).
This book helped me a lot:
I've found that a lot of therapists really don't understand OCD. I saw one for years and got nowhere. The information in this book was enormously helpful and got me on the right track. It also gave me a guideline for what I should look for in therapy.
Also, I actually am seeing a therapist over skype right now. So far, it seems pretty good. I wish I could do it in person but I too couldn't find anyone in my area.
This is the group I contacted for the skype therapy:
I have had this worry before myself and actually have a friend who went through the same thing. I talked with my therapist about it and he mentioned that he had another client struggling with the same issue. I read a lot about OCD and I've never seen this mentioned, but with how prevalent pornography is in our society, I would guess that it's actually pretty common.
I've been recovering from OCD for about a year now (I've had it for a decade, but wasn't diagnosed). One of the main things that I've learned is that you have to live with the painful uncertainty that the fears elicit. When an OCD worry comes up, debating with it is just going to make it worse. In the pornography example, when I get the fear "oh no, that girl could have been underage. I'm a terrible person", I have to just respond with something like "yeah, maybe". Because, that is the reality of the situation. It's very unlikely that you watched illegal porn and even if you did, it's very unlikely that you are at all responsible for that, but you really can't be sure. Trying to find certainty by reviewing your memories again and again, or going back to those websites and trying to find the video to verify it did not contain immoral content is just going to feed the obsession. You will never be able to get absolute certainty. All that you accomplish in trying is to rile up your worries and dig yourself into a deeper rumination hole.
This is the best book I've read on OCD. I like to recommend it to people because it helped me tremendously and I really wish I had found it when I was younger:
Are you seeing a therapist? If not I highly suggest you do so.
There's a lot I can say but I'm just going to point you to a book that I think nails OCD pretty well. It even has it's own recovery program you can follow without a therapist.
Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, Updated Edition https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/042527389X
I read your whole list and while I'm not too familiar with medication but it's good to hear you have access to Psychiatrist's. If the "voices" in your head aren't your "thinking voice" I would talk to your psychiatrist immediately. it won't hurt to at least check up with them. Just remember overcoming OCD is a long process and not a "smooth" road you might have set back, days that are worse than others, etc... I would buy this book by Dr. Jonathan Grayson Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, Updated Edition https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/042527389X
It's the best piece of literature on OCD that I've read, you would think the author has OCD himself. It also gives you the tools to and shows you how to make your own recovery program. And if you have access to Psychiatrist's/ Therapists even better because you can work through it with them.
PS A general rule of thumb is to accept uncertainty and do the opposite of whatever your fear/obsession for example, "yeah, maybe the devil wants me to do this and maybe this makes me a bad/sinful person"
I would do the recovery program with a therapist I think that would be best.
Best of luck
I always like to point people to this book because the author describes OCD so we'll you'd think he has the disease himself.
Just another vote for https://iocdf.org/find-help
Call some providers in your area and talk to them and ask them how they treat OCD. Anyone listed on the IOCDF website should have good answers.
Also consider this book -- https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/042527389X
It is designed for people who aren't or can't work with an OCD specialist, but it's a great resource for people who are working with a specialist, too.
I'm really sorry to hear all that you're going through, it sounds absolutely awful. Major props to you for pressing on in such hard circumstances.
Have you ever seen this book? https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/042527389X
It is written by one of the leading OCD experts and is designed for people who cannot get to therapy. It's designed to help someone build up their own therapy program so they can start treatment. It's easier with a therapist, of course, but sometimes that just isn't possible, and this book was written for those situations. It does a lot of the things a therapist would do, such as showing you how to face the difficulty of the obsessions and showing you how to encourage yourself to move forward. More importantly it gives you an evidence-based way to confront the obsessions and begin to overcome this horrible disorder. I could not recommend it strongly enough.
Good luck... please keep posting and reaching out for support.
I had a lot of fear and anxiety about ERP. I was terrified that I would be forced to do awful things, or that I would lose myself as I attempted to do this, or that it was just an awful idea that wouldn't work. I used ERP to counter my anxiety about ERP. I would tell myself things like, "It's possible that ERP is a huge mistake. It's possible that I will undergo painful and difficult treatment and that it will ultimately be unsuccessful and that I will have to live with this awful disorder forever." Then I would encourage myself that it was worth taking the chance: "But if I'm going to recover from OCD, I have to be willing to live with the reality that it might not work, and risk trying it anyway."
For me, the core of the fear was my desire for certainty that ERP would work -- wanting to be certain that the effort I expended toward that end would help me get better. It sounds like that's what you're describing, based on your statement that you've been reading about ERP to try to reassure yourself it will work. Unfortunately, as with literally everything else in the world, 100% certainty can never be achieved. It's possible ERP was a disaster waiting to happen for me. It's possible that it could totally work for everyone else in the world but not work for me. Facing and accepting that uncertainty, and habituating to the anxiety that went along with it, got me over that obsessive fear and helped me move forward. I meta-ERP'd my fear of ERP and it saved my life.
I really recommend this book to help you better understand OCD, how it works, and how it can be treated effectively, written by a foremost expert on the disorder: https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/042527389X