OCD, Ethics, and FATIGUE

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Juloo, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I've had CFS for about 7 years now. I work under 20 hours a week in a professional position and have a projects-manager position. The work I do requires long-term relationships with clients. Projects might take one or two years start to finish. I am currently in the midst of a project that has been going on for over a year and will likely be another 6 months before completion.

    My problem is this. My client has been very up front with me that she has OCD. She is a wonderful, warm, funny person, and I have dealt with our overly-long (check, check, and check again) meeting as a necessity. So far we have worked well together.

    At the moment, we are in a rather intense phase of the project that requires a lot of decisions (hers) being made in a timely manner. I have probably overcompensated by trying to be extremely organized (it makes things a little smoother and her a little calmer), but this is just wearing me out.

    If we have a meeting, it is three hours (with probably 15 hours of prep time on my part just to make it THAT short). If she calls, even with one question, it is a 30 minute affair. And she cannot call once. This past week she called four times in a row because she needed reassurance that she had made the decision and remembered things correctly.

    This is not the only project I have!

    She called on my day off three times -- trying to get my number -- even though the item she was worried about was irrelevant for at least another two months.

    I am becoming completely exhausted. I'm barely holding myself up with my professional 'demeanor'. I honestly like this client. When she enters a room, there are sparks -- she's that charismatic and friendly. I understand her getting 'stuck' and needing help to move past it. I KNOW she can't help this. I KNOW she doesn't mean to cause this, but she is a huge drain on my ability to deal with MY OWN life.

    Due to the structure of the work I do, there is no opportunity to pass this along to someone else. I have at least learned to let someone else make return calls with answers or to confirm appointment times. I am experiencing frustration with other members of the team that are unaware of the OCD factor, and since I was told in confidence, I cannot tell them.

    Does ANYONE have any ideas for me? If you have OCD, can you help me to plan better? If you have a loved one with OCD, can you give me any clues?

    This woman's energy level for perfectionism far outweighs my own (and I'm no lightweight!), but I'm afraid she's going to suck dry any remaining energy I have before I'm able to finish overseeing her project. I would really like to complete this and do right by her.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/25/2005]
  2. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    That's the kind of reinforcement I need to hear. It may be that there's nothing I can do differently, but I need to keep up setting limits and not let my fatigue let me get sloppy. She could run right over me!

    I have been trying to plan meeting times so that there is naturally a breaking point before MY 'breaking point'. She is inherently late to most appointments (so I get a bit of reprieve that way -- I plan it in), but one time she came an entire day early! On that occasion, I went ahead and took her since she is located out-of-town. It ended up being a FIVE HOUR meeting (and she came in the next day for another three to finish up).

    I have been really, really careful about crossing the line into 'friend', as she is a person I would like to have as a friend after the project is done. It's just that it's not a good idea, as you say, to have that sort of a relationship with a client. It makes things difficult (as well as painful) if the project gets adversarial at any point.

    She has asked me for lunch on numerous occasions, but I have turned her down (politely) for all of them. Working lunches are not really 'lunches' for me, and I need the downtime I get from a solitary lunch to make it through the afternoon. The one time we ended up working through lunch (apparently she doesn't get hungry and goes without a lunch break normally) taught me to have a backup with another co-worker.

    Can you believe that it takes, on average, 30 minutes to walk this client from the meeting space to the front door? It's like a foot a minute!

    Maybe this is just destined to be my 'learn a lot about limits' project!

    I've deliberately not said anything about my CFS because I don't want to be unprofessional (it's a need-to-know thing only).
    [This Message was Edited on 09/26/2005]
  3. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    She is used to working with people who don't have OCD, so she won't be surprised. I think you can continue to enjoy her and be kind, as well as taking care of yourself, once you make a schedule with her and stick to it.

    Aren't we a funny species? OCD meets CFS! Good luck!

    Francie
  4. EllenComstock

    EllenComstock New Member

    I have a brother with OCD that I am guardian for. I have to be firm with him. I don't hurry and return phone calls from him. He keeps telling me the same things over and over. It's taken awhile, but now he doesn't call me nearly as often. With OCD, you really have to set limits or they will definitely zap your time and energy.

    Ellen