I have had OCD as long as I can remember in the form of checking things such as doors, heat sourses, lights etc. It isn't so bad that normal day functioning is effected. What I do find to be detrimental to my mental health is the overwhelming feelings of guilt and being solely responsible for things that go wrong in my life. This creates such anxiety that I lose my appetite and sleep as a result. Is this a form of OCD as well or something else?
I'm no doctor but it sounds like a form of OCD but you are one of the lucky people where it doesn't affect your normal daily function that much.The fear of contamination type OCD is a real tough one,it's one we would all love to defeat.
I think checking is a form of pre-guilt if that makes any sense. I know because I was a checker and what I was doing was checking to make sure I wasn't going to be the one responsible for letting the house get robbed or burn down because I left the iron on. In my mind, if I called home and said "check the iron" and they chose not to, then the fault was with them and not with me any longer if indeed the house did burn down. What is it exactly that you feel guilty about? What have you been solely responsible for that has gone wrong in your life? Because I think your checking is more than likely associated with these other feelings of guilt and therefore they would both be OCD related.
Guilt comes hand in hand with my OCD. It's this that makes me feel the worst and is what turns mole hills into mountains for me.
The over responsibility can also be attributed to OCD. Causing something to happen is in my eyes a general fear amongst everyone. It's just with OCD it goes to the next level and because of that fear you will try everything possible to prevent it.
That said, I'm no expert in the field and the comments above will be some of the best advice you'll receive on this matter.
I have this fear that I will do something to harm my cat or my family indirectly.
You would be surprised to find out how many things are toxic to cats, now of course in a real world setting you just avoid these things and your cat, but in an OCD setting things get out of control. I stopped using fabric softener because it is toxic to cats, however I am not feeding it to him I am using it on my clothing. I had fears that the clothing would be contaminated with the softerner and would poison him. I have moved past that with my own form of CBT and I realize that I am not going to harm him in this way.
I can also relate to feeling responsible if the house burned down, I am always thinking did I turn the hair straightener off... if I didn't I am guilty. I left my keys in my door last month all day ( I know who with OCD manages that) the guilt I felt afterwards was bad. I felt so guilty that someone could have robbed us, or done whatever they pleased in our house putting us all at risk because I forgot the keys in the door. It was my fault.
I agree with JGF that checking is like a pre-guilt. And I as well am curious to know what it is that you feel guilty about.
Thank you for the welcome. I have never joined a forum before, but felt the need to see if there was anyone out there that might understand. Your point completely makes sense! Very interesting interpretation. When I'm so tired at night and don't have the mental energy to go through the whole checking routine, I'll often ask my family members to verify various things for me. Sometimes this passing off of the responsibility will work and I can be reassured of our safety etc, but often I have to recheck as I'm not totally trusting their judgement.
My feelings of guilt and being solely responsible pertain to all living creatures. It is difficult to explain, but I am tormented by the need to rescue all creatures in distress (mice, bugs, birds etc). I have stopped many a time while driving to help creatures on the road - alive, injured and even deceased. If my attempts to help them fail, I am in such turmoil and beat myself up to the point of losing sleep over it. As far as my family pets go, I will distress over their passing for a year or more. What could I have done differently, why didn't I do more for them etc. It constantly eats away at me and I struggle to let it all go.
Thank you for your response. You are totally correct - the smallest of things can manifest in my mind as a huge obstacle or challenge. I have been called a control freak in my past, but I wonder if I feel the need to take on all responsibilities to ensure that everything is done properly. Maybe a little perfectionism in there too. It's really hard to pinpoint it all. With all that responsibility hanging over your head, it's inevitable to be accompanied by guilt, I would think.
Your views make total sense to me. With most people, simple precautions would be enough to ensure the safety of your cat and family. But with OCD, things are kind of blown out of proportion and are viewed in a much more extreme way. It's like you to have to think of all the different angles on each issue, because if anything went wrong, you would be left with contending with all the guilt that comes with that mistake.
I think part of OCD is habit. I used to need to lock doors at night and now I don't have that overwhelming need so much. I've gotten out of the habit and it doesn't bother me. However whn I lock up at work I check doors over and over and I feel I hav to to relieve anxiety. If we can train our minds to get out of the habit it helps one aspect but it seems it can land on something else. I think fear and guilt play a role as well. I wish u all the best and talk to us again . Hobby
Hi Lily...What the others have said is so true. OCD is all about control. We want to control everything in our lives and when we can't we feel guilty or we try to pass the buck on to somebody else to alleviate the anxiety and possibly guilt if something goes wrong. What you have to realize is that the things you are trying to control, whether these animals live or die, really is not under your control. It is part of life. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that these are helpless creatures...they have no control at all and so you are trying to do that for them.
You said you have had OCD for a long time. I'm assuming you have seen a therapist before at least to get a diagnosis. Have you learned CBT or taken medication? The checking isn't your downfall right now but the helplessness at being able to control certain elements of your environment is. You need to get to the point where "life" doesn't bring you down. Companion pets are a different story. They become a huge part of our family and so when they pass we do mourn. But there is mourning and then there is YOUR type of mourning which I"m sure you will admit is on the side of extreme.
So if you have not seen a psychologist in a while or ever, that should be your first step. You can get past this it's just that you need some outside help to do so. This time, you need to take care of you.
I appreciate your views. Some days seem to be better than others as far as the extent of my checking. If I am really tired and don't trust myself, the ritual takes a lot longer. I do try and convince myself that everything is in order - oven off, doors locked, lights off etc. But then I catch one of these things that I did in fact forget and then I regress to needing to check and recheck to feel convinced again. I can totally relate to your extra checking in the workplace - I'm the same. More responsibility I suppose. I don't find this form of OCD to be debilitating, just inconvenient (with me anyways). Thanks for your posting.
To be completely honest, I haven't told anyone about how I feel or what I have to do to feel comfortable with things. My friends and even my parents don't know. I would have to go through my family doctor in order to get an appointment with a specialist in order to receive help. He's a great doctor if you have anything concrete or physically wrong, but as far as mental or emotional, not so much.
My daughter was officially diagnosed a few years ago and through this process, did quite a bit of research to be knowledgeable on the subject. She was the one that thought that my over sensitivity to the preservation of wildlife and feeling guilt if things did not go well was a form of OCD. I just thought I cared to the extreme. Obviously this is an intermittent occurrence as I am not coming into contact with creatures needing to be rescued on a daily basis. I do however have 9 pets at home in which I need be extra cautious with.
I have seen a psychologist years ago with various issues, mostly depression. His conclusion or observation was that I was over sensitive. I don't know where to go with that one. I wish I could have a more relaxed approach to things in my life. I have been on medication for about 3 years now to assist with sleeping as I will often be up a good portion of the night with anxious and guilty thoughts.
Try the workbook first then. But if in the end you have to get a referral, then get one. I cannot tell you all the stupid absurd things I have thought over the last 30 years or so living with OCD that I had to then sit down with a psychologist and psychiatrist and spill my guts about. They have heard it all and then some so it is nothing to be embarassed about. I also cannot sleep without the help of Klonopin, a benzodiazepine, which I take every night. I also have to take Wellbutrin for my OCD. I went years without meds but life just got a bit too stressful for me. In addition I learned CBT years ago and I do fall back on that as well.
I guess what I am saying is that I do think you have OCD just based on your checking problem. More things get added to the plate as our lives change. I just think it is never too late to get the right help.
So try the book and good luck to you. I'm getting ready to go with my son to his future college...God help me that I don't have a panic attack in the car on the way there...but if I do...then I will simply breathe! :) Take care of you.
OCD can start off slowly at first, and left untreated can turn into a monster that is very hard to control.
If you are experiencing problems sleeping at night due to your anxiety and guilt, then perhaps it is time to seek help for that referral. It's not always easy to do, but I think it would be the best for you. I also agree that you should check out the OCD Workbook... It is very reasonably priced on Amazon and shipped right to your door in no time at all.
In time, when you feel more comfortable you will be able to tell friends and family about how you feel. It took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that there was a problem. The OCD snuck up on me and the next thing you knew I was full blown.
9 pets.. that sounds a lot like my mom. I often wondered where I got the OCD perhaps it is hereditary. What pets do you have? They are such a blessing and they truly enlighten our lives. saying goodbye is not an easy thing and it tears us up inside and feelings of guilt are normal with loss but to what point. I lost my kitty of 11 years over a year ago, and I am still heartbroken beyond belief over it. I truly know how you feel.
Thank you for your thoughts. I will look into that book, but I am not quite ready to involve others in this part of my life. My daughter who suffers from the fear of germs and contamination is often a comfort to me when I feel like I'm out of control or going crazy. I am a good listening ear for her too.
We have 5 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 1 bunny and an African dwarf frog. We have had many pets over the years and I can accept the passing of them as long as I don't feel that I should have done more for them in the end. I'm sorry for the loss of your kitty - it is really rough to say good-bye.
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