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a little scared
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a little scared

Hello, I hope I am posting in the right forum.  Back in July I had this horrible thought.  It felt as though it was out of my control.  I realized that I was thinking this terrible thought but I could not make it go away. It scared me, so I started seeing a wonderful psychologist who diagnosed me with OCD.  My problem is I am not always sure this is OCD.  He keeps reassuring me that it is and i will be ok.  But what if he misdiagnosed me?  i have family history of mental illness and I worry a lot that I too will go completley insane.  Is this normal with OCD?  I am a professional and have a wonderful family.  I feel as though my life has turned up side down and it will never get better.  
By the way, this is a great site.  One of the best I have found.
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Avatar_m_tn
i dont know to much about OCD, but if you share your symptoms id be sure to try and help u research.
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Avatar_f_tn
thank you for responding.  i have researched hours upon hours and i do have all of the classic symptoms of ocd...terrible thoughts that i can't make go away.  i also spend the majority of my free time cleaning and tyding.  i have read other's experiences with ocd and it sounds just like me...right down to the single phrases.  i don't know why i ask myself over and over if this is ocd or not.  i am desperate to feel like i use to.  sometimes all i do is cry because i am scared.  my dr. is a wondreful dr. and i feel bad for always asking him if he is sure this is ocd.  i think i really need reassurance.  
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366811_tn?1217426272
Angie, Angie ...Angie.

The first thought that occurs to me in reading your post is that the doc is probably right about the OCD. And the reason I say that is this line: "But what if he misdiagnosed me?"  Spoken like a true OCD person. In other words, once the OCD person gets the answer, she will, by nature, question it! That's the way the thought process works. Print this out and take it to your next appointment.

Does that mean that nothing else is going on? No. Maybe so, maybe not. Does it mean your family history won't play a part somehow? Maybe. Maybe not.

The whole thing -life itself- is a big, "maybe."

With one exception, Angie. And that exception is, are you ready for it? YOU.

You and your psychologist can work out all the background psychology and the emotional landscape which has prompted your concerns of the moment. But for now, keep in mind that, since the only thing you can be CERTAIN about is yourself, then YOU are the appropriate focus for action. One of the problems with OCD is that it sometimes causes or supports hesitation -because we constantly check to see if something is right, or the way we left it -you know what I'm taking about. And so, it is sometimes tough to get any traction when it comes to doing something new or different. And if we have any reason to perceive doubt, uncertainty or a threat from somewhere, OCD type behaviors and thoughts are the first defense -a sort of "deer in the headlight" thing. Understandable that you might begin to question your own sanity, as you say.

But I see something you may NOT see, at first. You are marvelously self-aware; you really do have a grip on what's going on with you. AND you've got good professional help whom you trust. So NOW, whenever you find youself getting nervous about the family history or what else you might have going on, see if you can shift your focus to something you are going to do -something within your control -and hopefully, something from which you take great pleasure.

Remember this: the problem with the big "maybe" is that we don't know.

And the benefit is that we get to make it up as we go along.

How cool is that?

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Avatar_f_tn
thank you so much for you comments.  i feel that sometimes i just need to hear the words, "you are ocd".  there are times that i can't even believe that this is happening to me.  i have to call my dr. at least once a week for an appointment.  i keep thinking that maybe i have forgotten to tell him some important fact about myself that would change my diagnosis.  there are times that i try to diagnosis myself and my dr. gets a bit frusterated.

you know, i have so much hope for the world when i find caring people who really try to help others.  your words help more than you know.  thanks.  
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366811_tn?1217426272
Funny thing; I would expect an OCD to use the correct upper-case letter "I" when referring to the first person singular -and you use the rather casual lower case which I trust is NOT a statement of self-esteem.

In a sense, OCD is sort of a fashionable disorder these days -there's "Monk" on the TV, and then there was Felix Unger. A great many OCD folks are high functioning, as you obviously are. Then there's the automated phone attendent for the psychiatrists office, that says, "If you have OCD, please press the one key -repeatedly." I'm not making fun of you, Angie, but I can't help but remember how I, as a panic person, would laugh long and loud in my panic support group as we all made jokes about ourselves and our condition. There was one person who could drive west on the interstate, but not east. So, in other words, if she drove west out of town, she could never drive back! She talked about going to a specialist whose office was in the next town west of us, but then realized she could never drive back again! One of us did the driving for her. Another guy would have made a great comic -he came up with material instantly and delivered it perfectly. Of course, all the material was about the lives of panic victims, but he had a phobia about performance, so billed himself as the greatest comic who never performed. There was a woman who was a phlebotomist, drew blood all day long. To many folks that's kinda scary work. She was deathly afraid of thunder, so things got really interesting when she was drawing blood and a storm came up.

Angie, laugh, love life and love yourself. Do something special for you, put the focus on Angie. Hang in with your therapist, and as you work through the process, learn about yourself. While my therapy was successful in terms of the panic, the bonus was that I learned so much about why I am the way I am. So, look at your therapy time as a kind of adventure and exploration in its own right -as well as treatment.

Thanks for responding.

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Avatar_f_tn
Part of my issues with the ocd diagnosis is that before therapy, I had this preconcieved idea of what an ocd person might do.  I thought of an ocd'er counting to 100 and starting all over again, I thought of an ocd'er turning on and off light switches.  I thought of an ocd'er checking over and over again to make sure the gas is off on the stove.  I don't do all of these things.  I have had a lot of obsessive thoughts.  There are times when I would have to check my tires for blood or hair to make sure I have not run over a person.  There were times when I would drive down the road with my hand on top of my baby's head to make sure that I did not forget him in the driveway.  There is much more crazy, obsessive thoughts that I have that I will not get into, becuase then I would have a book for you to read.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I felt that I am not ocd because I really don't have rituals.  Yes, I clean; yes, I tidy.  The media portrays people with ocd having all of these rituals, and I feel that sometimes I just don't fall into this category.

Notice the capital "I".  I am also ADHD. I think that sometimes I try to rush.
Thanks for listening :-).
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366811_tn?1217426272
There's no question about it: the classification system of disorders, syndromes and the like is imperfect and, at best, an approximation. And there is some question as to whether certain "conditions" really belong in a "disorder" category in the first place. What is considered "far out" here is "tres ordinaire" elsewhere. So far as I can see, based on what you've reported about your own behavior, what you do (contact with the infant, checking the tires, etc.) is your particular "brand" of the OCD. Other people do other things. The common bond is that the actions are unnecessary given the circumstances -at least, in THIS culture. What you lose through your obsession is the energy that might have been put into something a bit more rewarding or productive -in YOUR estimation. You are very high-functioning.

Media portrayal of anything is usually aimed at a fairly low common denominator of comprehension, so I would be careful about basing my ideas on what I see on the TV. And whether or not you fall into this class or that class of "abnormal" behavior is really a labeling question. Who cares what we call it? But your focus on how you are categorized, in and if itself, is a good fit with an OCD disposition. Sort of like making sure the peas and potatoes aren't touching. By your own evaluation -some of your behaviors are non-productive and bother you, so you want to change them. Simple enough, makes perfect sense.

You are quite obviously much more "together" then not. I am inspired by reading what you have written -you go down the list of self-descriptions -you're an expert on you. It is very affirming to me that you would pass these things along so generously. And I think, that if you start at the top and read down through all that has been written, you will see a sort of therapeutic process at work. And guess what? YOU are the one doing all the work, so therefore, you will derive a benefit.

One thing my father always did, and which I try to do -and which I think you are doing- is to organize material before working with it or analyzing it. In his case (and mine) the subject matter is data of one kind or another, but it might just as well apply to cleaning house, the laundry or fixing dinner. Sometimes it seemed to me that the time spent organizing could have been more productively spent actually working with the material. But what I learned was that the mere act of organization tended to suggest patterns and outcomes and often made the process work better. As you go through your "inventory," I think I see the same thing at work. As you do so, new ideas and insights about the way you are, what you would like to change and how you are going to do it will emerge. With therapeutic support, the results should be very productive.

This is so richly rewarding -witnessing your self-actualization and self healing. Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
One thing about OCD is that the patient always ends up wondering, "hey, what if this isn't OCD? what if I'm consciously creating these thoughts and I'm a bad person/insane", etc. (not knowing your exact kind of thought, but it doesn't matter -we all end up wondering).

Think about it this way -if that thought had been produced by you, all willingly and voluntarily and because you thought it was a normal and positive thought, you wouldn't have posted about it here, you wouldn't have looked for help and you wouldn't be anxious and worried about it. It IS OCD and I'm sure your therapist is right and can help you.

Good luck.
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366811_tn?1217426272
That's a bingo, Moonflower (I can tell YOUR therapy really IS going well) because it is in the nature of OCD to question the validity of the diagnosis itself -THAT's what OCD is all about! But, to the person who HAS OCD, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate this fact. They'll agree with the logic easily enough, but still wonder, "What if its the wrong diagnosis?!" And they'd be right, because the diagnosis could, indeed, be wrong.

The only way out of (or around) this hall-of-mirrors that I know of (and I'd love to hear more) is to remind people that the whole classification system is, itself, a glorified system of labels that is just an approximation of what anyone's condition is. And that is why everyone's ultimate therapy and treatment is unique. You might argue that there are as many different, distinct, disorders and syndromes as there are people. Billions of 'em. And so, with particular reference to OCD folks, we can simply allow that the initial diagnosis MAY, in fact, be wrong when you get down to technicalities of interpretation. But how about the treatment and therapy? Is it helping? Are we getting anywhere? The therapist isn't reading instructions from a book, after all. No, he or she is interacting with the patient -taking cues right from the source. In fact, there should be little surprise that the coding of the diagnosis will change as one moves through therapy; mine went from panic disorder to depression; working on one sort of uncovered the other. And so, if the dedicated OCD'er can accept the validity of all this, it means that the diagnosis really doesn't matter -is irrelevant, very much like th other obsessions the patient has. The only external factor I'm aware of that enters the picture is reimbursement, and for that, codes can mean a lot. Just some thoughts.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for posting.  Personally, I need the diagnosis to be right.  If it is not, that could possibly mean some other terrible disorder.  I know how this sounds.  Every time I need to go to the dr. to ask him if he is sure, I feel like I am an unstable person...why can't I just accept the diagnosis and move on?  But for me, I feel like I need proof that this is ocd.  I am aware that this sounds a bit wierd.  I realize it and I am ashamed that I can't move past it.  I see the facts in front of me and for some reason I feel that although it describ
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Avatar_f_tn
...sorry about that.  Anyways...although it describes me to almost a T, I still can't get over the fact that maybe it just isn't me.  
I guess that is why I am in therapy.  I will move past this, I hope.  All I can do is hope.  Thank you JSGeare and moonflower.  You have offered a lot of insight and it makes me feel as though I am not the only person in the world that is going through this...not that I would wish this on anyone.
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366811_tn?1217426272
Listen up! There is nothing wrong, unstable, wacky or anything else about being stuck on the diagnosis question. That simply tells you -tells all of us on board with you- that this issue is where the action is for you right now. No need to force a push beyond; it is fine to stay where you are and take a good, long, hard look at it. Will you move past it? Of COURSE you will, when you're ready. You have already begun to do so, by asking for feedback and respinding to it. Your brain is at work. You will be amazed at how far you've moved along when you look back and see the distance between where you are and where you were. So girl, let it happen -we're all in this together!
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Avatar_f_tn
You're great, JSGeare.  Thank you for putting things into perspective for me.  You know, when I look back to July, there has been great improvments with me and how I feel.  OCD is still hanging on, but not nearly as bad as it was.  Happy Holidays.
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366811_tn?1217426272
Very good. Now, take your brain out and put it here on the table where I can insert something into it. Oops! Its slippery, don't drop it! OK, good. You can watch. Here's what we're going to put into your brain: the realization that YOU can change the way YOU think just by talking to YOURself. OK, done. You can put your brain back in now. Oops! The eyes are in the FRONT, OK, so the optic part of the brain goes here in the back, and no, I don't know why they designed it that way. Better fuel economy or something. Good. OK, lock your head. There!

Oh, you want proof? Want evidence? Demonstration, maybe? I knew you were going to say that. (I'm psychic). Here it is:

From my previous post: "You will be amazed at how far you've moved along when you look back and see the distance between where you are and where you were."

And now, from your response to it: "You know, when I look back to July, there has been great improvments with me and how I feel."

Seeee? Seeeeeee?????

I suggested the idea -and YOU validated it. So now, you can start making more helpful statements to yourself about yourself, as you begin the process of learning to be your own therapist. The best one you'll ever get.

And cheap, too.

Merry Christmas!
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Avatar_f_tn
I was happy to read your comment and think, "Yeah!  I am not paranoid that this is some sort of thought insertion!"  So, I guess I can cross schitzophrenia off my list of disorders.
Merry Christmas to you too!!
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366811_tn?1217426272
Exactly! Sorry, gotta run. The paranoids are after me!
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Avatar_m_tn
     OCD can come in many different forms. For me, personally, I had two different versions of it. One was the classic ritual one (doing things a certain number of times). The other was a more complicated one. It started about 15 years ago (I was a small kid). I would constantly have what I had called these...evil thoughts. I don't want to get into it here, because it still upsets me to think about them. But yeah, they were a form of OCD. Thankfully, after two years in a mental state of hell, I found a way past that. I still have the ritual OCD, though. I figure that will never go away.
     By the way, Angie, if you ever need to talk, you can always email me at jim_12345678910***@****. I'm only 19, but I know enough about anxiety/OCD/depression from about 15 years of personal experience.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Angie
I read your post and it made me cry. I don't know why. I have been tested for almost all the mental anxiety-related conditions in the book. They came up with, so far, ADD, depression and anxiety. The anxiety disorders clinic didn't know what to make of me. They eventually decided that I don't have a typical anxiety disorder. I don't get physical panic attacks: they describe what I have as "mental attacks", alarmingly for me, because they can't think of anything more accurate to describe them as. I don't have rituals. Like you, I always thought OCD meant turning lights on and off seven times. I don't tidy compulsively, or feel the need to be excessively clean. In fact a majority of the time my room is an absolute mess. This depresses me a whole lot more than it should, though i can never find the motivation to do...well anything. This "terrifying thoughts" and "ëvil thoughts" described here, however, sound to me, disturbingly familiar. As does this circular thinking you are displaying about questioning  the diagnosis, questioning everything. I have this horrible, firm belief that nobody knows. They think they know but they don't. Whatever they decide, nomatter how good it feels to hear it at the time, the diseased, subconscious part of my mind that poisons me is too dark, to strong, and too smart to feel good about it for long. I'll think a way out of everything positive, eventually, until there's nothing but me the darkness, my terror and insanity. I don't even know if insanity is what I fear. I don't know what I'm so afraid of. All i know is thatwhat I fear is endless and empty and unbearable. I want a diagnosis but I cannot accept it. I've been given several but they only make me feel better temporarily. Nothing makes me feel better when I'm in the midst of myself: I sound like a crazy person (I'm beginning to accept that I am) but I want to know if you understand my rantings. Does this make sense to you? Is it possible that I too could have an OCD?

-Lizzie
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey there.  Do you have disturbing thoughts a lot?  Do these thoughts bother you?  I am just learning about OCD but that is how I comprehend this disorder.  There are two parts of OCD (Please correct me if I am wrong...)  There are obsessions (thoughts that truly disturb you) and there are compulsions (actions to help aleviate the stress caused by obsessions.)  There are some people out there who do not have compulsions...they are called completley "O".  Just ask yourself the following questions to help yourself determine is this is ocd:  Do I enjoy these thoughts, or do I wish that I didn't have them?  Do these thoughts cause distress?  
I would bring up OCD to your dr.  
Listen, I am frightened quite often, too.  And there are times I just don't feel "right".  You are going to be ok.  There were times when I tried my hardest to convince my husband and psychologist that I was going insane, because this is what I felt.  I thought there is no other person in this world that could possibly be going through this.  I would cry hysterically on a daily basis because I was convinced that I was a unstable.  i HAVE BEEN THERE.  Are you on any meds?  Hang in there, it does and will get better.  I know it is so hard to take it day by day, but try to.  
Take Care Lizzie
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Avatar_n_tn
I sort of think that we could have characteristics of all the anxiety related disorders.  I had a friend who had a son diagnosed with OCD.  It took a while to get there.  His first diagnosis was ADHD.  I was diagnosed as PTSD.  Next came Panic Disorder and now Anxiety Disorder.  I think it can evolve.  I can read books about Panic disorder and fit the mold for all the different types of Anxiety.  Maybe that is why treating these conditions is so difficult.  I too can become obsessive about things.  Hang in there Angie.  I am struggling just like you, but maybe if we keep encouraging each other, we will get the upper hand of our disorders.
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