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  1. #1

    A little about myself...

    Hey all...my name is Dave, I'm a 20 y/o male...with all the symptoms of OCD. It makes sense that I have it, because my dad was the same way. He passed away when I was 4 tho. I've never been officially diagnosed, but it doesn't take a doctor to realize whats wrong with me. It first started when I was 12...and it stemmed from a lie that I told my mom. This fed my conscience, and it ate away at me for about a week until I confessed. I felt immediately better, and the burden was lifted off my shoulders...but a few days later, I started rethinking exactly what happened, and then I start to feel guilty about possible details I left out..and had a feeling that those should be confessed as well. After this incident, I wasn't bothered again until probably a few weeks or months (it's been so long I forgot) later, when basically my mind was bombarded with thoughts and guilt, and I didn't know what to do with them, and overnight I changed. I was tormented for about a year in this way, if I thought a bad thought, I would feel the need to confess it to my mom...if I didn't tell the truth about something 100% (in my mind) then I would have to confess as well. Most of my obsessions surrounded sin based activities. I am a christian, and therefore I am more aware of my actions. My mom didn't really know how to handle this...treatment was never sought for my father, and she never really understood why he was the way he was about some things. She basically taught me to battle it on a spiritual level...and to view it as demonic attact, etc. I would pray constantly (and I still do to this day), and ask for healing, and peace... which never came. After I turned about 13, it pretty much just fizzled out...and I sorta blocked it from my memory...when thinking back about that year, I rarely took into account how I suffered mentally.

    Until probably a year ago, I was relatively normal...but still had my good/bad days. I learned how to IDENTIFY the problems, and therefore could fight the urges. Now, I'm a wreck. I'm more scared than I've ever been, some days are better than others, but these feelings go deeper than they ever did when I was young...mainly because the obsessions take a hold of more important things, like relationships. My mind is constantly checking and rechecking every thought that goes in...it's really hard to explain, but once a thought enters my mind, I can't get it out. Usually what happens is doubt. I like to think of my brain, as a doubt amplifier...among other things. This has been leading to severe depression, on the brink of suicide at some times. I find it easy to find nothing to live for.

    About 3 months ago I met a girl named Mary...she is currently my girlfriend, and to both of our surprise...I've never met anyone as similiar to me as she is. Her brain works very much like mine does...and how she would describe her childhood obsessions, was astonishing because they were just like mine. We find comfort in this similarity...but on the other hand, there is a very big problem. If we are both depressed at the same time...it's not cool. She has been on prozac for awhile now, and it works very well for her. Recently her doctor decided she should try going off meds, to see how she handles it. She had stepped down to 1/2 dose previously...but now quit altogether. The results were scary. She became intensely depressed...and had severe doubts about all the choices she was about to make for her life (moving here to go to college). She was crying at a whim, and there was nothing I could do for her. I'm about 1800 miles away from her right now, so it kills me to know how depressed she is. I tried to keep things positive, and was thinking that because of the fact we are so similar, we tend to dwell on our problems more, and not try to think optomistically...but eventually I broke down as well. I started pouring out my issues, and current stresses...and we clashed. I was trying to help her, by telling her to identify her problem as her mind, instead of what she was stressing about...and using that to try to rise above it. However she lashed out at me, and told me never to tell her that she needed help, without first looking in a mirror. This really broke my heart...and she soon apologized for saying it, but it cut deep. All I've ever tried to do is encourage and help her, but no matter what I do...it fails me eventually. This type of thing only sinks me further down into depression, and I know that if Mary were to break up with me... suicide would weigh heavy on my mind. And I know that it isn't an answer, but it sure feels like one when it hurts so bad.

    You may think that I just suffer from situational depression...and that basically is what I have described above. However, the depression is the end result of my OCD...it's the reason i want help. My mind frustrates me, makes me tired, beats me down...this will inevitably put me in a bad mood...which leads further down the hole. Sometimes I get headaches... most of the time, all I want to do is sleep...it feels like an escape, and it is temporarily, but its always waiting for you when you wake up. If you've read all of this, I thank you...I just want to try to work through all of this, and find joy on the other side. There is so much more to tell...but any feedback would be appreciated, and I'll answer any questions that anyone here would have.

    Dave

  2. #2

    A little about myself...

    Hi, Dave:

    It seems to me there are at least two issues you're describing.

    The first is, of course, the OCD. You indicate that you have never been officially diagnosed with OCD and given that and some of your other comments I get the impression that you have been trying to cope with it on your own. And apparently you have had some success but it's obviously been an ongoing struggle for you and now that you have encountered another stressor or crisis in your life you are finding that the symptoms have increased significantly. This is common with OCD.

    As I said elsewhere in this forum, in my opinion the best, most effective treatment for OCD is a combination of medication as mecessary and psychotherapy, including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). I would strongly recommend that you start by seeing your doctor and asking his or her advice as to seeking appropriate counselling. It is simply not necessary that you feel as bad as you are feeling right now or that you try to struggle through it without assistance.

    The second is the relationship issue: it seems to me that, like many of us in relationships, when you were presented with the problem your girlfriend was experiencing your fist instinct was to "fix it". But inadvertently the message you seem to have conveyed to her is that she was "doing it wrong" and that she wasn't capable of figuring out what she needed on her own (or with the help of her doctor). Often, what your partner is really asking is that you listen, and not try to fix or advise, unless asked to do so of course. And then, it seems to me that when confronted about this, your anxiety skyrocketed at the possibility of losing her, bringing out all your obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and in trying to cope with this your focus became your own symptoms and distress instead of hers - not surprisingly, she felt let down.

    Again, what I strongly advise you to do is to seek help, first in managing your own OCD symptoms through whatever your doctor recommends, and second in gaining a better understanding of effective communication and active listening in relationships (as well as perhaps addressing your own insecurities about the relationship).

    In the meantime, you might find the following books helpful:
    [list]Baer, Lee. Getting Control: Overcoming Your Obsessions and Compulsions (Rev. Ed.). Plume, 2000
    Burns, David. The Feeling Good Handbook. Plume/Penguin, 1990
    Heitler, Susan. The Power Of Two: Secrets to a Strong and Loving Marriage. New Harbinger, 1997
    Hendrix, Harville. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. HarperCollins, 2001
    Hyman, Bruce M., & Pedrick, Cherry. The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. New Harbinger, 1999[/list:u]
    See also OCD Resources and Relationships.

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