• Quote of the Day
    "For most people, transformation is slow. It happens without you realizing it."
    Marsha Linehan, posted by Daniel

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
I seem to be posting a lot of my thoughts about OCD lately. Well, here's another one. I have been studying the pattern of my obsessive/anxiety causing thoughts and have made a couple of interesting observations. A lot of my OCD type worries seem to be the result of a blurring between the imagination and reality. For example, a strange/obsessive/anxious thought will occur to me. At first I will try to dismiss it, knowing it is my imagination. Unfortunately, it will creep back into my consciousness and move to the forefront. At this point I will begin questioning whether or not I had in fact imagined the thought. I will begin to worry that perhaps this thought was actually real. What follows is a lengthy internal argument within my brain, which eventually results in me dismissing the thought, at which point my brain waits for the next opportunity to worry.

This makes me think that the area of the brain affected in OCD involves the same area as is responsible for imagination and daydreaming. My wife often says I live life like a child with many fears. Sadly, I agree.
 

Ash

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
261
Points
16
It's definitely all related. At least in the way that delusions and intrustive thoughts can be related. Not sure if that made ANY sense.

But I understand. The other night I couldn't sleep waiting for my bf and son to come home. My daughter was in her bedroom and I couldn't get the thought out of my mind that someone would break into the house and harm her. So I had her sleep with me. Not rational AT ALL. I had been doing so well, too. Hadn't had any of thoughts for awhile. I'm not sure what caused it.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,968
Points
113
That kind of internal dialogue is common in OCD -- it's what I call "predictive worrying".

We all worry -- "watch out for those sharp knives in the knife drawer". Someone with OCD takes it further: "Why did I just think that? What does it mean? Could it mean I actually want to hurt myself? Oh my god, I'm suicidal!" -- or "did I turn off the stove? why did I think that? because I didn't turn off the stove. better check." and then after checking, "did I check it? did I check it correctly? what if I missed something? oh my god, I DID miss something. if I don't check it again, properly this time, something terrible will happen!"

These of course are somewhat exaggerated but it's characteristic of the "obsessive-compulsive worrying style".
 

Ash

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
261
Points
16
Exaggerated? hehehe I've done that before. What it boils down to for me is that not only do I get intrusive, impulsive thoughts but I they must revolve around a belief that I can't trust myself, hence "Maybe I didnt' check right the first time."
 

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
Yes, it is insane! My mind seems to be coming up with very strange chains of events constantly. I am the most neurotic person I know. Sadly, though I know I am being completely irrational, it is very hard to dismiss these fears.
 

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
I may sound like a nutcase, but in fact I hide my symptoms really well. If you were to see me on the street or at work, there would be nothing outwardly unusual. I don't have the compulsive element and do not perform rituals or repeat words or anything. I keep it all on the inside. I remember actually watching a special a long time ago on CBS or something about people with OCD who were unable to leave their homes. One such person even locked himself in the bathroom for 6 weeks and had to have food slid under the door. I always wondered how some could manage a fairly normal life (though suffering in silence) while some are completely debilitated. I feel safe to share my bizarre thoughts in the anonymity of this forum, but I could never admit this to my coworkers for fear of being labelled as a "headcase" thus limiting my potential for advancement in the company in which I am employed. Incidentally, two of my colleagues have gone on mental health leave, thus putting me in a good position to show what I'm worth. I would never want to jeopardize that.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
stevel said:
I feel safe to share my bizarre thoughts in the anonymity of this forum, but I could never admit this to my coworkers for fear of being labelled as a "headcase" thus limiting my potential for advancement in the company in which I am employed.

I don't think you're a nutcase. And I can totally relate to feeling safe talking about my problems here because it is anonymous. I also don't think people in real life would ever think I have problems like I do. I believe lots of people have similar problems and just hide them like we do. Maybe?
 

Daniel

Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
19,169
Points
113
I believe lots of people have similar problems and just hide them like we do. Maybe?

Yes, it seems to be just a matter of degree, with the more serious cases like us seeking and receiving professional diagnoses. For example, a significant percentage of the clerks I see in stores seem mildly depressed.

Having said that, most people don't feel desperate enough to attempt suicide, though they may consider it at some point when things aren't going their way.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,968
Points
113
I often tell clients that the OCD "style" is not a discrete category, really, but a dimension: Most of us are a little obsessive or compulsive in some aspects of our lives, and sometimes we even manage to find careeres or activities where it's helpful, as long as it's controlled/managed. We generally only call it OCD when the symptoms reach a point where they cause serious distress to the individual or significant interference with day to day activities.
 

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
I'd say that the symptoms cause serious distress (at least for 1 hour plus per day), but they don't stop me from going about my day.
 

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
I just sort of had a revelation, I guess you could say. I am starting to think that at least on a cognitive level (notwithstanding differences in brain structure/chemistry) that my symptoms might arise due to my inability to come to terms with the risks that are inherent to being alive. Although my obsessions may be centered around the subject of AIDS, I perhaps think that this may be symbolic of the idea of risk in general. You see, all my self-invented "scenerios" for becoming infected all involve the idea of random misfortune, situations that do not involve my active choices in life (ie sexual habits, etc) which are generally the means for spreading this virus. All my scenerios arise out of things that I would have no control over.

As a result of this I got to thinking that what I actually fear is random misfortune. To deal with this I have told myself that things could go wrong in life, I could become sick, be hurt or die any day and there would be nothing I could do to stop it. Therefore, if there is nothing I could do to prevent random misfortune and my eventual demise, I must live my life without preoccupation of this unforseen event, as it would change nothing anyway.

So far I have been having a relatively calm day without too many (or too troubling obsessions).
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,968
Points
113
stevel said:
All my scenarios arise out of things that I would have no control over.

As a result of this I got to thinking that what I actually fear is random misfortune. To deal with this I have told myself that things could go wrong in life, I could become sick, be hurt or die any day and there would be nothing I could do to stop it. Therefore, if there is nothing I could do to prevent random misfortune and my eventual demise, I must live my life without preoccupation of this unforseen event, as it would change nothing anyway.
That is exactly it, Steve. The essence of OCD is an attempt to impose some control and predictability over an environment/universe which is fundamentally unpredictable and uncontrollable.

"If I could just do it one more time, or do it a little better, or do it a little different, or think a different thought... I could avoid whatever calamity or catastrophe waits around the next corner or the next moment."
 

lammers1980

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
177
Points
16
Interestingly enough, I have now gone through 3 days relatively obsession-free. It seems like it happens this way. I'll have three weeks or so of buildup, where the symptoms get close to the point where I can't take it anymore. Then when I think I am about to lose my mind, the clouds suddenly part and I am feeling better again.

A good analogy is in Forest Gump, where he is in Vietnam and the rainy season starts. "One day, it started raining, and it didn't stop for three months...then one day, for no reason at all, the rain just stopped" -Forest Gump.

It seems that when I have intrusive thoughts or imagery, if I fight against it, it persists, becoming more bothersome. However, if I just let the thought run through my head, it will come and go, and in fact stop bothering me. Now, when an uncomfortable thought strikes me, I allow it to happen, thus preventing it from causing me so much pain. It also reduces self doubt and diminishes the blurring between imagination and reality.

Perhaps it is just the drugs kicking in, I don't know.
 

Ash

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
261
Points
16
That's a wonderful way to handle it!

It's like meditation. You must clear your mind. Yes, a thought will intrude but the key is to acknowledge it and then clear your mind again. Just let it float away. It sounds a lot like what you're doing. I think it's important to acknowledge a thought and then bear in mind that "Hey, it's just a thought. It's not important. I can let it go."

I'm so glad that you're doing better!
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,968
Points
113
stevel said:
It seems that when I have intrusive thoughts or imagery, if I fight against it, it persists, becoming more bothersome. However, if I just let the thought run through my head, it will come and go, and in fact stop bothering me. Now, when an uncomfortable thought strikes me, I allow it to happen, thus preventing it from causing me so much pain. It also reduces self doubt and diminishes the blurring between imagination and reality.
Shhh... you've just discovered the core of my revolutionary approach to treating OCD... don't tell anyone or you'll put me out of business... ;o)

But you are absolutely right, I believe. The trick is to stop fighting them and recognize them for what they are -- just the O-C way of worrying.
 

dona

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
6
Points
1
Could this be relative to someone making plans and then at the last minute, decide, no, I can't do this, or can't go? Or making plans with someone and then just disappearing?
 

Mrs. King

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
42
Points
6
I was afraid people would think I was nuts, and I was so ashamed of my OCD for a long time (I am terrified of eating and drinking, incase I die. Not eating and drinking is a much better plan, if I want to stay alive!) After a while, I decided I was not going to be ashamed of it anymore. It is the person I am, and I am trying to deal with it, so everyone else can deal with it. Interestingly, the more honest I was, the more people said "oh, I'm a bit like that", or "my wife's just like that. Do you have to wash your hands all the time, too?" So honesty was good for me, but I had no career ladder to worry about.
I don't know if that helps you to understand why these things happen, Donna. The 'planner' probably really wants to go wherever is being suggested, but at the last minute cannot overcome his fear of going, even though he knows the fear is unfounded. This is very embarrassing, so he may avoid discussing it, incase people think he's nuts.
 

prayerbear

Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Messages
187
Points
16
Hey Ash, I agree wth "thats just a thought!" I tell myself if I have a strange scenario run thru
my head I just say, "Oh well, its just a thought!" I refuse to get upset when my brain misfires
signals!
The number 1 obsessive thought that used to go thru me about a mililion times a day was,"Whats wrong with me?" Now after meds and therapy, I think, here comes another thought" Ill just laugh it off" My mom always says, "Dont take yourself soo seriously!" or "Quit being so hard on yourself!"
One big confidence booster is that for a long time I used to think "Gee, I am so fat!" I am 5 foot 8 and 230 pounds! I used to be soo skinny (at 18). I overheard a man say, "Shes a little
overweight but shes very cute!" and he was staring at me!
I always wonder why men make glue-glue eyes at me although I am heavyset(90 pounds overweight) I figured it out-confidence is a real people magnet.
I used to be soo insecure due to the OCD thoughts rolling in my head, now I am determined
to be confident no matter what!

miss clean
 

Latest posts


Top Bottom