Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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Avatar universal

Is this normal anxiety or possibly OCD?

At an early age I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and panic disorder. This was in middle school, but didn't start seeking treatment for that along with other things until I was 19 (I'm 21 now). As a child, I always did weird little things like do things in threes, had to pick the first I saw of something (like if I was shopping, I'd have to pick the first shirt on the rack even if it had a rip and the second one didn't), had to look at certain things on pages before turning, touched my nose to my fork, and so fourth. I suppressed most of these for fear of being weird and the desire lessened with time. I remember feeling like something really bad would happen if I didn't do these things.
     I didn't worry about these things because they went away for the most part. Lately, I check things a lot (doors, locks), will freak out if I'm away from home and unsure about stoves or fear I've let a cat out, bang my teeth on cups, and rub my nose often. It comforts me.
     Those still don't worry me. I used to have a normal, healthy sex life. I used to pride on myself for safety and valued myself. Now, I'm overcome with a fear that I have a horrible STD. I have had no reason to feel that I could have contracted something. I know I am being irrational but this fear plagues me everyday. The doctors tell me that I have NOTHING to worry about. First it was HIV even though I had been tested so I got tested again. Then it was bacterial stuff so I got tested again. Now it is hepatitis C. I can't afford to keep taking these tests. I will be so scared that I have a disease and will spend hours looking up information on it just to keep myself calm.I knwo that once I give in I can't quit looking. It is interfering with my productivity and my happiness. I'm terrified that I have a disease and gave it to people. All I will have to do is think about it and if I see blood or hear HIV or HEP C my mind will keep racing. I got myself so worked up for my HIV results that my friend gave me 6 1 mg xanax pills and I took 2 each day for 3 days just to function. I came over to his house speaking so fast he could barely understand me. (I'm HIV negative, btw). I sit in class and find it hard to function. I just want my life way and to see myself as beautiful and healthy again instead of feeling like a stink bomb. Is this normal anxiety or a sign of something worse?
9 Responses
1699033 tn?1514113133
Hi there and welcome to the OCD forum.

Since we are not doctors on here, we are not qualified to diagnose you with OCD.  Having said that, my own personal opinion is that this sure does sound like OCD.  You have managed up to this point without too much problem but with your fears, rituals and irrational thoughts always lurking in the background.  That's definitely no fun.  

Usually when there is a spike in OCD symptoms it is because there is some sort of stressor in your life.  Can you think of anything that has changed?  You said you didn't have a real risk of contracting any of these diseases.  HIV, HepC, these are all diseases for which there is no cure and honestly if we are going to worry about disease in general these are the biggies.  They are scary, carry a stigma, and would mess up your life entirely.  That is why so many people worry and obsess about this.  

It doesn't sound as if you have sought help from a psychologist so my first suggestions is to do just that.  You can get officially diagnosed with OCD and they can start teaching you cognitive behavioral therapy.  The other thing you can do talk to the psychologist about getting a referral to a psychiatrist if medication is the route you can to take.  It is never a good idea to take somebody else's medication, Xanax or otherwise, without a written script.  

For myself, I am also a checker, castrophizer, etc.  I have been down the HIV anxiety road.  I take medication for my disorder.  I know CBT and I use it often.  I live a very normal life.  This is why I suggest you think about medication but if anything, you do need to spend your money on a psychologist as opposed to these tests that you keep doing.  Obviously, the negative test result only gives you a measure of peace for a short time and then you are back to where you began.  You need to have the right tools in place to help yourself.  

Lastly, pick up the book The OCD Workbook:  Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  I think you will find it very helpful.  

Post again if you need anything else, and make that call today to see a psychologist.  It is the first step to your recovery.  Take care.
Avatar universal
Hi and welcome to the forum. Like JGF said we are no doctors but with my personal experience I would say you definitely have OCD.  I am scared of so many other things. I keep doing rituals to keep myself calm.

But I am on medication currently and I feel better. I am waiting to have my CBT sessions started. Please see your doctor and start with medication. Also  start seeking a psychiatrist help to learn about CBT techniques.

OCD gets stronger more we give into it.We need to learn how to fight it. You cannot control your irrational thoughts but you can control how you respond to it.
Avatar universal
It ***** to hear that I've allowed my anxiety to get this bad but comforting to know that its something that I can learn to function with. I do see a counselor weekly but haven't brought up much of these fears. I think that several things have brought on this stress. About a year ago, I found out that my abusive boyfriend cheated on me and got tested for everything. We both showed up negative for everything but chlamydia. I ended up receiving oral sex from a couple shortly after the ordeal and later on that summer they contracted Hep C from sharing needles. I've never done any IV drugs and haven't had unprotected sex since I've been tested. I know the odds of me having anything are low and I know how the disease is transmitted but I'm so scared anyways. Things got really awful when I went in for my annual HIV test and the lady quizzed me on my life (I've had some pretty harsh circumstances) and told me that I was emotionally vulnerable to HIV, despite the fact that I have not done anything risky. The lady really hurt my feelings and made me feel that I'm damned and broken and defective because of my past. I feel like their must be a disease lurking in my blood because I'm "bad" and that my past will somehow come back to haunt me, even though I moved 3 hours away, started over, and am very happy.
But thank you both for responding. I'm going to bring this up with my therapist and go from there.
1699033 tn?1514113133
The past is the past and you have the power to NOT let her make you feel bad.  You have tested negative so there isn't anything lurking.  You are not a bad person.  We all have pasts.  I was a teenager in the late 70's early 80's....let me just say that things were pretty "free" back then.  I had the same worries as you because HIV was just coming on the scene.  

You are making a fresh start of it so good for you.  Also, don't hold back from the therapist...that is what they are there for and they certainly can't help with something they don't know about.  It is time to work on you.  Just concentrate on getting yourself back on your feet emotionally and physically and the rest will fall into place.  
Avatar universal
I totally understand what u mean by feeling like there's a disease lurking cos you've been 'bad''. Like you, I too have had hiv fear for abt 2 yrs now. But it all really started before I got married and regretted all my past life choices, which included unprotected sex with an abusive bf and drug abuse.Somehow, it suddenly occurred to me that my previous choices cld have life changing consequences and I was terrified of gettin hiv n passin it to my perfect husband. Since then, I have tested negative countless timesand  have had ocd over everything from cuts to being paranoid tt i might be a sleepwalker! I think what happens here is that we still have that element of guilt within us over our past choices and somewhat feel that we might get hiv as a sort of punishment for both past n present 'bad'' behaviour. Is it that way for u too?? I think this is what needs to be changed and it will take time but hang in there, we'll get through it. :)
Avatar universal
I do feel this way quite often. I'm glad that some one else is on my page here (not that I'd wish these fears on ANYONE, but its nice to know that I am not alone). I've never been regretful of my past until recently. I wouldn't even consider myself to be that promiscuous but for the first time in my adult life everything is going perfect and I am so afraid that its all going to get taken away because I had casual oral sex. I also have the same fears about sleepwalking. I'm reading up on controlling fearful thoughts and I am trying to work it out with my therapist. I may get tested for CMV and syphilis just to see if my fears are subsided any by this (if I can afford it). I wish you the best and I think that we will both get through it. Perhaps what is best for the both of us is to remember that even if the unlikely chances occurred that we caught anything that we would still be valuable, lovable, and still have plenty of options for our futures.
Avatar universal
Oh my goodness reading what umwrote abt things going good in ur life finally really struck a chord with me cos tts hw i feel too, things r going so well with my husband (whos from a diff country)i am so so afraid tt something wld happen to ruin all that n put us on diff countries again, tt it wld be all taken away from me, i am so terribly afraid I too did nt feel regretful over my oast till abt. 2 yrs ago. Whatever it is, i am glad u r seeing a therapist n wish u all e best i know we can get hrough this n have e happiness we deserve. Im here if u ever need anyone o talk to :)
Avatar universal
We both definitely deserve happiness and I'm sure we'll find it in due time. I'm here for you as well. I found a place that offers rapid testing and a payment plan so I'm getting tested for Hep C tomorrow to see if it eases my anxiety. It will be very stressful until I get the results, but I think I'll be better off. As for you, gin12345678, just try and remember that your husband loves you for you and not what you think you should be.
Avatar universal
Thank u so much for ur kind words n gd luck for the test tomorrow, do let me know it goes n im very sure ull be fine. Im goin for a hiv test in at e end of july n going to continue video recording at night, just o be sure. Hw did u get over ur fear of sleepwalking?
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