Hello, an incident that happened about a week ago, that I know should realistically be insignificant, is still very much upsetting me and consuming my thoughts and depressing me. I was walking my dog in our neighborhood when we came across what I considered to be a suspicious man walking our direction. I felt uncomfortable the moment I saw him and moved to the other side of the road, immediately thinking of disturbing scenarios that could happen to me (rape, murder, etc.) and as we got closer my dog acted very intimidated as well refusing to continue walking. In my mind I recall pullin gon his lead and when he wouldn't budge having to pick my dog up in order to walk past this man and to be polite I said Hello, and he said nothing other than 'Nice Dog', and I said Thanks, continuing to walk until we passed him completely and I put my dog back down, looking back to make sure he was still walking and not following us and soon after began talking to a neighbor friend, in which I told of the incident. Ever since, I am having fears that something bad happened and I am supressing the memory of it. I have to continuously rationalize why nothing happened between myself and this man, aggressively or not. I have not been able to walk since for fear of seeing him. I bought Pepper Spray. I tell everyone about how much it creeped me out, in part to validate my memory of what happened. I am a happily married woman completely uninterested in flirting or interacting with other men, with a phobia of other peoples' possible germs and diseases, so I have no reason to think or believe that I was in any way in inappropriate contact with this man whom I don't know, but I can't stop thinking something must have happened in order for this to bother me so much. I want to just tell myself, this is what happened and move on, but I can't seem to get past this and I am too embarrassed to talk to my usual therapist about it. Please help.
Hello there! I don't think this is phobic in nature, but rather extreme anxiety that is making you second guess your rational mind. That is common with anxiety, and also with disorders such as OCD.
You KNOW full well nothing happened, and that your recollection of events is accurate, but you cannot convince your brain of that. You keep inventing scenarios and are "what iffing" yourself like crazy.
Let me ask you, do you have any kind of history of anxiety, depression, any other mental disorder? If the answer is no, then this is likely an isolated incident that has just creeped you out to an extreme, and it should resolve with time.
If you DO have a history of any of the above, or things like this have happened to you before (irrational fears, or severe anxiety that is out of proportion to a situation), then it would probably be a good idea to seek some professional help. You may be dealing with OCD or an anxiety disorder, and things like that usually require some sort of treatment in order to keep them manageable.
In the meantime, when you find yourself thinking about this, or worrying about it, keep yourself busy. Distraction is great in these types of situations. The more idle time you have, the greater the likelihood that you will end up ruminating about it.
Very best to you, hope this leaves your noggin soon. Please come back to update us when you can!
Thank you so much for your answer, I appreciate it, and in fact I have had OCD and anxiety since I was about 8 years old and have had irrational fears in the past. I actually realize that this is also and I know eventually it will pass and seem very silly. I'm actually very happy in life, content, and sometimes I think my mind creates things to worry about. At this point, a week later, I am still dealing with it but not as badly. I have seen a therapist about anxiety and obsessiveness before, but I didn't feel like she told me anything I didn't already know, but affirmation from others definitely seems to help ease the suffering. Again, thank you for taking the time to answer. Have a blessed day!
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