Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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Avatar universal

One Messed Up 22 Year Old

I have so many problems I don’t even know where to start, or which board to post on.  

I have had eating disorders/disordered eating and depression since I was about 13.  Disordered eating started with an anorexic type phase/compulsive exercising, then it was replaced with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) during all four years of university.  I recently graduated and had a solid 3 month bulimic phase.  I have since stopped purging, for fear of my teeth/esophagus/digestive system, etc.  I have not been clinically diagnosed for any of these problems, but I have been studying them for years so I know very well what the problems are.  Last year, I went to a walk in clinic and received a prescription for 37.5 mg Effexor XR, which I only took for 5-6 months (no follow up with the doctor).  I also talked to a school counsellor about my BED, which helped slightly.  I stopped taking meds because I wanted to take the time to really work on improving myself and not rely on drugs to make me feel better.

Recently, I have been questioning if I am bipolar, which I never considered until now.  I definitely do experience phases of euphoria for periods of time, yet they are very short lived.  My depressive phases are longer lasting, far more intense and harder to “snap out of”, so I have always thought it was just depression.  I’m still quite certain it is depression rather than bipolar, as I have had intense suicidal thoughts for nearly two years now, and I usually have more signs of depression.

Next concern, I have been picking my scalp for I don’t know how long.  I was always embarrassed about it, and thus avoid other people touching my hair most of the time.  I mostly just pick at spots where there might be build-up or flaking skin.  It’s gross because it’s impossible to pick all the white flakes out of my hair afterwards, and I am certain my hair is thinning because of all the stress I’m putting on my scalp.  I fear that this might be a form of OCD (trichotillomania), as I also pick at my skin imperfections compulsively.  Which leads to my next problem...

ACNE!  I am so incredibly frustrated by my skin condition right now.  My skin has not been even semi clear in probably 8-10 months or so.  I have a lot of under the skin acne, as well as other little bumps, frequent cysts and some blackheads, dark circles under eyes, and sometimes dilated pores/uneven skin texture.  I have spent a fortune on countless skin regimens, and other topical products, as well as specially formulated vitamins for healthy skin.  I have even been to a dermatologist back home but three months in between follow ups just didn’t give us enough time before I moved.  I would love to go on acutance and fix this problem, but I am concerned about the side effects, as well as the cost.

On top of all these problems, I struggled with my sexuality for the past three years.  I am now comfortable with it, but all of these problems listed above have left me with zero self-esteem and no hope.  

I know this is a ton of rambling, but I am desperate for some advice as to where to start.  I am on the other side of the country, away from home, with my medical insurance ending at the end of 2009, so I am going to have to go to a walk-in clinic to begin with and start explaining how messed up I am.  I feel like all my problems are constantly making all the other problems worse and it just continues in a vicious cycle.  I need a starting point, but every day I change my mind as to what problem I should treat first.  If only there were a magical pill to treat depression, acne and OCD all in one go, I’d be set!  I’d appreciate any advice offered.  
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi there,

This is my first time on this site and my first response to anyone. I actually got on here to find out what could be wrong with my grandmother. Anyway.....

First let me appologize for my spelling :-)... I was diagnosed with OCD a few years ago and after that I read up alot on the subjest. My eating disorder was over-eating along with a great fear of germs. OCD can manifest itself in many different ways. I am 32 now but it started in my mid-20's. And with many traumatic life experiences it got progressively worse. I have had the diagnosis of depression since I was in my teens. In my 20's it went from depression to an uncontrolable fear of germs and contamination. After my child was born with an infection and stayed in the hospital for a week - I knew it was something I had done so all of my craziness got much worse. Then I started having uncontrolable thoughts about very disturbing things. Like one time my daughter tripped and was falling off my porch - my sister rushed up to get her but I just sat there and in my mind I was playing the out a senario of the trip and fall and her going down the stairs and getting seriously hurt. Then I snapped out of it. Another example, I would be driving and going around a big curve and would drift off into this situation of what if I just went straight instead of taking the curve. One more example, I was at the park with my daughter and I walked to the car to get her kite. While my mind drifted off again to me getting in my car and driving home without her. The difference between me, someone with OCD and someone with some kind of anti-social behavior problem is that I will never act on them. Most often, with OCD you have many distrurbing toughts about yourself of the ones you love but the difference is that you will not act on them. I know you feel like you are going crazy at times - I always tell people if I don't take my meds I feel like I should be in a straigh-jack rocking in a corner somewhere.

Your eating-disorders could be a form of compulsion - I am sure it reliefs anxiety. Like the way I explain it to people: my hand washing is my anti-anxiety medication.

There is so much more I could go on about but I will cut it short for now. I will check in later to see if there are anymore responses and go from there. I hope I could give you alittle comfort.

And just so you know the medications I am on are cymbalta for the depression and Zoloft for the OCD. The Zoloft has been a godsend. OCD effects the serotonin in your brain so an anti-drepressant that works on the serotonin reeuptake is what is needed.
Avatar universal
Well I'm very thankful you took the time to reply to my post, even though you are looking to help your grandmother!  I hope you find out what's the matter with her.

I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with OCD/EDs, etc, and I hope the meds are helping.  I definitely do not have obsessions about germs, but after reading your examples, I guess I might have other behaviours that are a little out of the ordinary.  I wouldn't go as far as to say mine are obsessions, but maybe they are?  I haven't done nearly as much research on OCD as I have on EDs and depression.  One example of a weird behaviour is that I always have to drink out of the same glass when am at home.  I had this one glass that was mine and I hated when my roommates would use it.  I mostly just thought it was because all of the dishes they brought to the house are plastic, and I hate drinking from plastic.  However, the other day my roommate was drunk, tripped and smashed my glass that I always drink from and I FREAKED OUT.  Is it weird that I had such an attachement to an everyday kitchen item?  Another example might be that I have to drive without my right shoe.  I rear ended someone a few years ago, and ever since, I HATE not being able to feel the pedal with my foot, so I have to drive in a sock foot or bare foot, even if I'm running late, or if my car is freezing.  I wouldn't really consider this an obsession though?  More of a quirk.  I also think I'm obsessed with the internet... I am always signed into msn (usually just appear offline; I just feel a sense of comfort when other people sign in, like I'm not alone), and find it hard to go even a few hours without checking facebook/e-mail.  I spend way too much time online, which I think is a big result from spending 4 years away at university.  I am really trying to cut my time on facebook, though, because I know that if I am constantly looking for people's approval and people to comment on my status updates/pictures, etc, then it is a sign of security issues and attachement issues.  So surely my obsession with the internet do not mean I have OCD, but rather a result of university lifestyle, and just society's dependence on technology?  Ugh, I don't know.  I'm probably just rambling at this point.  

I have not had any disturbing thoughts about the ones I love, but I do have disturbing thoughts about myself costantly.  I think about suicide multiple times each day, although I would never act on it.  I have always wanted harm to be done to myself, but I want someone else to do it.  For example, whenever I am out for a run, I just hope that a car will swerve off the road and seriously injure/kill me.  Or when I'm walking home late at night, I just think maybe it would be best if someone jumped me or worse.  I also sometimes think I would be happier if I was sitting in a hospital bed suffering from cancer or something of the like, rather than living this life.  I know that is a horrible thought, especially since I have watched three grandparents suffer and pass away from cancer.  I know all these thoughts are not right, but I thought they were more likely signs of depression.  Could those actually be signs of OCD, because I am obsessed with thinking of ways I would like to be harmed?  

Eating disorders as a form of compulsion/relieving anxiety totally makes sense.  When I was restricting, it was comforting knowing that if life wasn't going well, at least I was still focusing all my energy on "perfecting" my body.  Now that I binge, I definitely notice it relieves anxiety, and it gives me something different to focus on if I had a bad day.  (Things that went bad during the day might have been external, then I come home and binge so everything becomes internal.  Then it is easier to blame myself for messing up, rather than blaming external things if that makes any sense.)  

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me.  I have heard good things about Zoloft and will add it to the list of meds I want to research.  I definitely know I have a serotonin deficiency in my brain.  This is also a part of binge eating!  Consuming carbohydrates increases the serotonin activity in the brain, so when I binge, I get that stimulation that I need (but when you have too much, it makes you tired).
Avatar universal
I've had OCD throughout my life and it certainly can manifest itself as eating disorders, skin picking, and thoughts of harming self.  First of all, you need to know that you aren't messed up.  Some chemicals in your brain are messed up.  Cut yourself some slack!  Do you have any close friends you could confide in?

I suggest getting some help from a counselor.  Also, don't be afraid of medication.  I used to be really afraid of the side effects, but a doctor can help you find the medication with the least side effects that is the most effective.

As for the acne, I had a horrible bout of acne last summer that I'd never NEVER had before.  I tried several medications, even accutane.  Accutane gave me bad bad side effects so I quit it and started eating tons of fruits and vegetables, taking fish oil, Vitamin D, and eating whole grains instead of white flour.  I also went to the dermatologist and she prescribed two topical medications-finacea and aczone.  She also cleaned my face every two weeks.  A year later my skin has never been better.

I wish you luck and remember there's a lot of hope for these problems!!
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