Current OCD Symptoms
The symptoms started after the birth of her child about a year ago. Her main fears are that her child might be accidentally harmed by her, other people, or other events.
I’ll go through examples of Anne’s symptoms to give you a sense of what that looks like for her:
- The checking that Anne did at night as a child is similar to what she’s doing now to ensure her daughter’s safety.
- She checks on her daughter about five to seven times a night to make sure that she’s breathing.
- She holds a small mirror up to her daughter’s nose to ensure that there is fog from the breath. When the fog covers half of the mirror, she considers that to be enough breathing. And if it doesn’t cover that amount, she goes back in and checks again.
- Anne records a video of her daughter breathing in the mirror to look at when she’s back in bed. Usually, when she gets back into bed, she’s not sure if she saw that the breathing was happening enough. So this is one way she can check without having to get up again. Anne has adapted that compulsion to help herself get more sleep, but it has become a more complex set of compulsions.
- Anne doesn’t allow any objects to be within four feet of her daughter’s crib when she’s unattended, because she’s worried that something could harm her daughter.
- She’s concerned that she might sleepwalk and unknowingly harm her daughter. So she has set up an elaborate system to ensure that she or her husband will wake up if she ever does that. She places a heavy chair up against her bedroom door and puts bells on top of it so that, if she sleepwalks, it will make enough noise to wake her or her husband up.