An Obsessive Compulsive Family

The Crutcher family has a long history of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder.  Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

It seems to have surfaced on my fathers side of the family many generations ago. He told me years ago that his Aunt Helen had a hand washing compulsion because of her fear of germs. My sister, Julie, is obsessed with exercise, and a niece suffers from severe OCD and is on anti-anxiety medication. My own OCD surfaced when I was in college, and the way I dealt with my obsessions was to plan every detail of my life, leaving very little to chance. When things were in order, like the jelly beans in the picture above, I felt in control which lowered my anxiety.

Well, when Huntington’s disease entered by life, I was thrown into a tizzy because, guess what, HD is not a force to be controlled! My planning strategies were thrown out the window because of John’s unknown gene status, along with his three sisters. With the strong bond and deep love John and I shared, we drew strength and clung to each other which calmed my OCD. As I accepted the fact that I couldn’t control everything in my life, and that wasn’t easy and took years, I learned to overlook shortcomings and to compromise, to let go of anger, to find joy in the simple things.

You will find HOPE and MINDFULNESS weaved throughout in my book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, A Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s.  It’s coming soon!

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Have a good day!   Therese

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ingrid February 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Mindfulness is so important to me! I started doing this two years ago and I can’t miss it. It gives me a quite mind for a moment. And every moment is profit. Staying in the ‘now’, not in the past with his pains and sadness. The future is abstract. It takes practice almost every day but worth it. Guided meditation is also important to me. And of course hope for a medicin for HD. A little of OCD is also not strange to me but livible. Anxiety the same, after many years I can cope. Letting go….our oldest son who died of an braintumor. And being diagnosed with HD together with my twinsister. But I still find life and most of all nature beautiful! Thankfull for that. Therese, thank you for sharing your stories.

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