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WhenItRains

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I've had intrusive, obsessive thoughts since I was a very young child. The first time I remember obsessing over a thought was when I was 5 years old. I remember the thought I had, and situation I was in, vividly. I was playing with my sisters, having a great time, and all of the sudden I became overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame. I thought I was going to become a drug addict, I could not get the thought out of my mind. I don't even know how I knew what drugs were. I remember bursting into tears and running to my Mom to tell her what I was thinking. I don't remember what she said to me, but that was the first time I remember feeling that way.

The second time I obsessed about something, was when I was 7. I was in summer camp. I was playing with one of my friends and she sneezed on me. I thought she had given me AIDS and I obsessed about it for weeks. I remember asking her if she was healthy, and when her last doctor visit was. She just looked at me like I was crazy. After that I obsessed about AIDS whenever I came into contact with a stranger.

My next obsession was with being molested. I was sure that everyone was out to get me. When there were lots of people around I always thought they were trying to touch me. I would try to cover myself and keep a distance. When I was alone, I would think back to the situations I was in and try to remember if I was touched or not.

When I was younger I kept most of these obsessions to myself. They consumed my thoughts and drove me crazy. I didn't know that I had a problem. All I knew was that I was very unhappy.
For a couple of years I can't remember having any obsessions. I was depressed, but can't remember obsessing over anything in particular. When I was 16 the obsessions returned.

I was sitting on my bed watching the news, this was around the time when all of these children were being abducted. I was watching the mother of a child who had been abducted, raped, and murdered, talk to a news reporter about what had happened. She was saying that pedophilia was an illness and that the person who took her child was a sick man. At that moment, something snapped in my head. I thought I was a child molester. I remember feeling sick to my stomach and having to run to the bathroom.

This obsession was particularly disturbing to me. I can't think of a more horrible thing in the world than a child molester. My dream had always been to be a preschool teacher and have children of my own. I felt like my life was over. I really did not want to live at that point.

The hardest part about these thoughts is that somewhere deep down you know they aren't true. You realize how irrational they are, yet you can't stop thinking and obsessing about them. I try to explain to my family that it doesn't matter that I've never done drugs, I still was scared that I was going to become addicted. And that, it doesn't matter that I have never touched a child in an inappropriate way, nor would I ever want to, yet I still think I'm a pedophile. And I know that you have to have sexual contact with a person in order to contract AIDS, but that does not matter, I still feel that I do have AIDS. This is really crazy making. I know how crazy it sounds, but my head will not let go of these crazy things. I feel like they go around and around and around. There is no stopping theses thoughts.

I obsessed about this for about a month until I got help. I had to tell someone. I felt worthless and depressed and I wanted to die. One of the hardest things I've had to do in my life was tell my Mom about this intrusive thought I had. She was very understanding, and knew that my thoughts were irrational. A big part of this whole OCD thing, I have found, is the need to confess. I had to confess everything I was thinking. It helped some, but I still felt hopeless. I would try to rationalize and analyze every thought to make myself feel better. Nothing worked.

I've been on every medication imaginable, and that help is only temporary. The meds don't fix anything. They only make you numb, and the second you go off, the negative thoughts come right back. I am seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist now, but I feel like the only relief I have, has come from relating to others who suffer with this crap.

If anyone has had any similar obsessions, please tell me how you deal. Any words of wisdom or any information you have to offer is helpful. This will be the hardest thing I will ever have to overcome in my life, but I am set on getting better. Also, if anyone has any questions about anything I had to say, I'd be happy to answer.
 

David Baxter

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What you are describing are classic OCD symptoms, or at least one form of OCD (primarily obsessive intrusive thoughts rather than the compulsions). It's also becoming clearer that it is not at all uncommon for them to start in childhood.

When you say you've been on "every medication imaginable", can you tell me what those were?
 

WhenItRains

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Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, Wellburtin, Buspar, Lexapro, Luvox, Risperdal, Ritalin, Provil, there are others but i can't remember their names.
 

David Baxter

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Holy cow... you have been through the ringer... even Ritalin? Curious... I suspect you've been through a series of different diagnoses when I look at that list...

1. Do you recall whether these medications were generic forms or "brand names"?
2. Did ANY of these make even a small difference? Did any of them make it worse?
 

WhenItRains

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I have been diagnosed with OCD, depression, BDD, and social phobia. I used the brand names, not the generic forms.

With most of the SSRIs I had temporary relief, but within 6 months or less the symptoms returned. I also gained about 50lbs trying all these different meds.

The Ritalin made me crazy. I would get really angry and I wouldn't know why. I would blow up about the littlest things. It made me act like a completely different person.

The last medication I tried, which I am currently still on as of now is Luvox. I get extremely depressed at night on this, but it seems to help a little with the OCD.
 

David Baxter

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With treatment resistant OCD, the best of those does seem to be Luvox but some recent research suggests that the brand name is significantly better than the generic and that for some people the generic version does not work. I suggest that you double check that the pharmacist isn't sibstituting a generic...

How long have you been on the Luvox and at what dose?
 

WhenItRains

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I've been taking the Luvox for about 3 months now. I got up to 150MG but recently decided to stop taking it. I slowly weaned myself off of it and got down to 50MG a day. After 2 days of not taking it, the OCD got so bad I had to get back on it. So as of now, I'm on 50MG a day.
 

David Baxter

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Why did you decide to decrease it from 150mg? were you experiencing side effects?

(got to run for now... back later)
 

WhenItRains

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On the Luvox I'm tired and moody. I feel like I'm in a daze every day. I just feel numb. I hate being dependent on medicine to feel "normal." It's really upsetting that I have to take this, but it's better than the alternative I guess.
 

David Baxter

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Who is managing/monitoring/prescribing your medications, Rains... is it a GP or a psychiatrist?
 

lammers1980

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Oh boy, you seem to have dealt with a lot of the same intrusive thoughts as I do. The AIDS thing still bothers me frequently, and I often have very irrational thoughts about ways of contracting it. Here are some of the more rediculous ones:

10. I thought I could get AIDS from giving a homeless man a cigarette.

9. I get scared sometimes when I am near someone who looks ill; so some reason, I'm afraid I will lose control of myself and somehow expose myself to their germs by either kissing them or touching them.

8. I am often afraid of sitting on needles, as a result I often thouroughly check any bus seats or park benches before I sit on them.

7. I get afraid that I will somehow be infected by the virus and get amnesia therefore not remembering how I got it.

6. If I accidentally share someone else's drink, I am afraid of getting AIDS.

5. I hate leaving a drink unattended, because I am afraid of AIDS somehow getting into it.

4. Getting cuts on my hands or feet can cause major anxiety.

3. I construct long, improbable chains of events that will somehow cause me to get AIDS.

2. I was afraid at one time that you could get AIDS from masturbation.

1. I once dropped a chocolate bar and I pick it off the ground, dusted it off and ate it anyway. Afterwards, I obsessed over whether I had gotten AIDS.

It seems remarkably common that people with OCD have fears surrounding AIDS. I know many of my obsessions started in childhood too. Over the years I have managed to learn how to cope by either telling myself "It is just the OCD talking" or by doing cognitive therapy exercises, whereby I'd describe the scenerio, explain why it made be afraid and then right down the evidence that would counter my thoughts. This is remarkably potent and helps me clear out obsessions. I'd carry the paper around with me for a few days and every time the obsession came back, I would read it. This would usually lay the obsession to rest.

I was also wondering how old you are? I remember I did not really develop good coping skill until I was about 22 years old. Unfortunately, between the ages of 18-21, I chose the old self-medication route and that does not work, believe me.
 

WhenItRains

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I struggle with the AIDS obsession daily. Pretty much anything I touch, I think could be infected in some way.

All of the situations you listed are very familiar to me, those things would bother me as well. This obsessive thought has been a little easier than the others for me to discredit, but it's still a daily struggle.

I am 18 now. I started with the medication when I was 16. Trying all of these medications has been exhausting!
 

David Baxter

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I certainly understand your frustration with the medication issues, Rain... and yes, some people don't respond as well as others to these medications. However, as you mentioned yourself, not having the medications can be worse. One thing that is clear is that medication alone isn't the answer -- but with the right medication for you and psychotherapy to help you learn how to better manage the symptoms, you can definitely be helped. It takes time, though, especially with these types of medications which are gradual and cumulative in their effects.

Regarding the side-effects, sometimes there are ways to get around them. As just one example, some people find that taking a small amount of Wellbutrin along with something like Luvox (NOT instead of Luvox) can help to counteract side-effects. Of course, it is also possible that the specific side-effects you mentioned are not being caused by the medications but by something else, e.g., high anxiety or sleep disruption.
 

WhenItRains

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In a couple months I will be working with a doctor who runs the OCD treatment center at UCLA. I've met with him a couple times, and he seems to think that with some people, the treatment works best when the patient is not taking any medication.

I'm hoping that after I finish with him I won't need to be dependent on the meds.

I think a lot of medications have the opposite effect on me. Wellbutrin, and a few other that are supposed to give you a little extra energy, made me really sleepy.

I have always slept a lot. I know depression makes you sleep a lot, and I have certainly been depressed most of my life, but is there anything else that could cause me to constantly be tired?
 

David Baxter

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Yes, several things, like low iron or B12, or a thyroid condition, or a sleep disorder, or hypoglycemia... these should be checked out if they haven't already...

You might also take a look at your diet/nutrition: See the articles in this forum on omega-3 esential fatty acids in particular. If you consume a lot of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, many soft drinks), that's another factor that can give you a short term boost but cause fatigue.
 

WhenItRains

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I know there is some genetic evidence that OCD can run in families, but why do some family members get it and not others?

I have 2 sisters, both of which are pretty "normal," they don't suffer from OCD or depression, or any of the other things I have. My Mom has panic attacks and my dad has OCD, did I just get lucky or something?
 

David Baxter

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OCD is an axiety disorder -- since both your parents have this problem, it is likely that you have inherited a vulnerability or predisposition to some form of anxiety disorder or depression or both, possibly because of a biochemical (neurotransmitter) problem. Your sisters may have inherited the same vulnerabilities but have not yet shown (and possibly may never show) any symptoms: In many or most cases, it may be an interaction between genetics and life experience.
 

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