On the last day of school before Christmas our group of friends exchanged gifts. I gave one of my friends rolling tobacco. Before leaving the school we rolled a few cigarettes in the wardrobe, put them in our cigarette cases and left. Now I keep worrying that a camera caught us and we'll get into trouble and be expelled. I understand that it's very dumb, first of all I'm 18 and can possess tobacco and possession isn't illegal in our school, second of all we didn't smoke, just rolled them. I keep going over and over that moment in my mind and wondering about the "what if's".
Can someone please give me some advice how to convince myself that everything is going to be alright?
Yeah, it definitely isn't the only one I've had. I keep worrying about things other people wouldn't even think about. For some time I had OCD about HIV where I kept worrying about getting infected (what if the person who touched me was bleeding, etc). Then I read some responses from HIV experts and understood that my worrying is completely pointless and I'm fine.
I often concentrate on the worst case scenarios and become obsessed with them.
Okay, now it makes more sense. Have you been formally diagnosed with OCD? Typically we move from one thing to the next pretty quickly after we finally get "closure" on an irrational thought. I find that stress makes it worse. Do you notice that it spikes in times of stress? I am a catastrophizer as are you. We take anything and make it into the worst case scenario...not a fun way to live.
So if you have not been formally diagnosed, I suggest you think about seeing a psychologist. They can teach you CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). With this you will learn how to breath through these anxiety attacks that the thoughts bring on. I also highly recommend meditation and there are wonderful videos on YouTube. Also, there is a book you can get called The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free of OCD.
I caution you to get help now because for me it really started to kick into high gear as a teenager and it just kind of snowballed from there. It isn't something that goes away because it is a neurotransmitter disorder in that there isn't enough serotonin in our brains which is why selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help control the disorder. But I don't think you should look at meds right now. The CBT is invaluable and that is the first and best place to start.
Here is the breathing technique that you can try to see if it helps calm you down...I use it all the time. You take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds and count this out in your head, and then let it all out through your mouth. You can do this sitting or laying down. If you are out and about and need to do it, nobody will even know you are doing it. Also, it is helpful to self-coach yourself. So for instance I'm afraid I will have a panic attack in the car sometimes and when I start to think about it I automatically start talking to myself in my head by saying things like "I drive all the time without a problem" and also "Bring it on, I can handle it" because the thought stays around because we are giving into it. We need to say "WHATEVER" and make ourselves think about something else. What I don't do is give into this thought. I don't care if I'm panicing for ten minutes...I'm not going to pull over because once you start doing that avoidance behavior you get into more trouble.
No, I have not been formally diagnosed with OCD but I'm convinced that I have it. I have other symptoms like constant re-checking, re-doing something until it "feels" right, etc.
Yes, I think it's worse when I'm stressed out.
Sometimes I feel like I live from one obsession to the next.
I know what you mean. To be honest, you really do need to get help as soon as you can. To help with the checking try to do this. When I lock the door or turn off the iron, etc. I will say someting out loud like "The iron is off" so that when I have that moment of shear panic in the car on the way to work I can remember that I said it out loud. What I don't do is go back. So after you say it, you have to leave it, and go in the other room and breathe. That breating is key. The same with "re-doing" things. You have to self-coach yourself and say "NO, I"M NOT DOING THAT AGAIN!" and get up and walk away.
Stress is a killer for people with OCD. If you cannot see a psychologist soon then please try to get the book. If you have an Ereader you can get it that way. I think you will find it very, very helpful.
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