I don't have a question so much, its more that I need to explain to someone what's going through my head as I haven't been myself for six months now. Six months ago I found out that artex or textured coatings may contain a type of asbestos. This lead me to conduct research on the internet (bad idea I know). Since then I've thought back to times when there could have been a possible exposure, almost convincing myself that I've been exposed to the different forms of asbestos from the least dangerous to the most dangerous. I would then go on the internet to try and convince myself that in that particular situation there was no risk to myself. Its got to the point where I look for it everywhere now and it's beginning to affect my life in a big way. I even think that if I see a builder on the tube that they've come from a site containing asbestos. Right now I am probably at my lowest point. I work in an old building, they're offices. Today in the loo I saw a hatch in the ceiling, its been painted over but it obviously opens into some area of the ceiling perhaps air vents or pipes.There is still the slightest gap between the hatch and the ceiling which the paint does not cover which is fluffy from the dust gathering there. As asbestos was used everywhere back in the day, I've got it into my head that that
a) The hatch is asbestos board, or
b) that the hatch leads to a cavity in the ceiling where there are pipes covered in asbestos insulation.
In order to reassure myself that it's not asbestos I tapped (flicked with my nails) the hatch a few times (I have no idea how I would be able to tell by doing this), and I tried to have a proper look at the gap to see if it was dust build up where the gap between the hatch and the ceiling is.
Having done this I left the mens toilets only to return a few minutes later to do the same,
I have now convinced myself that I have exposed myself to asbestos dust by doing this. That by flicking the board (the vibrations) I have disturbed asbestos through the aforementioned board, or have disturbed asbestos on the pipes in the ceiling cavity and now I am in dread.
I think that in the years to come I will develop an asbestos related disease because of this. I understand that this may seem outrageous to whoever reads it but in my head this seems very real and also rational.
Like I said this isn't so much a question but I welcome comments and discussions and if anyone else wants to share. I'm trying to help myself by reading a book on anxiety and trying to stay away from the web but its hard and I keep being brought back to these thoughts.
Have you been diagnosed with anxiety and or OCD? It's sounds like you may have both, but I am not a Dr and can not diagnose you. Would it be possible for you to see a counselor? What your going through is not that unusual. Many people that have anxiety and especially OCD can develop fears of all kinds of different things.
I haven't been diagnosed but I think it's safe to say that i suffer from anxiety and the OCD is a part of that. I've always suffered with obsessive thoughts, usually health related but i've always been able to shake them away. However this one doesn't seem to want to go away and I know I make it worst. For instance today, I went back to the mens lavatory with the suspect ceiling hatch and proceeded to stick a corner of a tissue into the gap between the ceiling and the hatch. Again, at the time I was thinking by doing this and seeing that nothing comes out, it'll ease my anxiety. Nothing came out except some black dirt on the corner of the tissue. Having thought nothing of it I went back to my desk and this time I had a panic attack of sorts. Why did i stick the tissue in there??? what if I disturbed the asbestos (if there even is any)???
Later on in the day i noticed that there are warning stickers on several of the walls in the building warning that asbestos containing materials are present. Rather than freak me out even more I found this reassuring because I now knew that the building management were managing the problem and were aware of it. This also helped ease my anxiety as I reasoned that if there was asbestos on the hatch it would have been labelled, as the walls were. However it does not get rid of the anxiety of not knowing what is beneath the hatch.
Tomorrow is my last day in that building before I return to my regular office so I wont find out what is underneath the hatch and I don't know how that makes me feel.
The weird thing is I do not have an anxiety about death or dying. My anxiety is over the fear itself and not being able to get a definitive answer to it, hence why I obsess and constantly go back to that hatch. I know though, that if I wasn't obsessing about that it would be something else.
I could always put it to the back of my mind but then I feel like I'm not facing this head on and I need to find an answer to it.
Writing this down, and even talking about it helps me rationalise my thoughts. However this never lasts and I'm back to the what ifs.
I wonder what I'll end up doing tomorrow to set me off.
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