• Quote of the Day
    "Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all."
    Emily Dickinson, posted by Daniel

lammers1980

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Today I was confronted with my worst fear. As you all may know, I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. My obsessions almost exclusively revolve around the fear of HIV/AIDS. It seems not a day goes by in my life that I am not haunted by such obsessions. Lately, my anxiety has reached new heights, almost to the point of paralysis.

Just when I thought things could not get any worse, I was confronted by a panhandler. He asked for a cigarette, which I refused to give. I told him I couldn't afford it and he went on to a lengthy tirade about how I didn't know what it was like to have it tough. While having me backed into a corner, in which there was no route of escape, he told me that he had AIDS and Hepatitis C. This sent lightning shocks through my mind. I had no escape, I didn't know what he was going to do next and was totally at his mercy. He left after a few minutes, at which time I went inside the building where I was standing.

After this happened, I was litterally shacking. I must have looked like soemone with Parkinson's disease. Anyhow, I spent the next 5 minutes washing my hands. I have mostly only had the obsessive aspect but now this seems to bring out the compulsions too.

I am now left in a very weird state. I am imagining that he may have jabbed me with a needle and I didn't even know it or somehow he secretly infected me. I suffer from so much self-doubt; I am even wondering if the whole thing is a hallucination and perhaps I am entering a psychotic state. This is the second time this person has accosted me. The first time he didn't corner me and never mentioned AIDS. There is also another part of me thinking that God may have sent him to confront me in order to teach me NOT to be afraid. I am very confused.
 

Daniel

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I am imagining that he may have jabbed me with a needle and I didn't even know it or somehow he secretly infected me.

The keyword there is "imagining." My guess, as someone who has had obsessions about germs, is that your imagination took over when your rational mind didn't see anything to worry about after you were accosted. Similarly, some people with OCD will imagine they ran over someone if they hit a pothole, etc.

I suffer from so much self-doubt; I am even wondering if the whole thing is a hallucination and perhaps I am entering a psychotic state.
It seems doubtful that you were hallucinating per se since you haven't mentioned a history of psychosis in your previous posts.

Lately, my anxiety has reached new heights, almost to the point of paralysis.
Of course, with anxiety, the sad irony is that the anxiety is often worse than that which is feared, even if the object of fear is a terminal illness.
 

ThatLady

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Ouch, hon! Sounds like you're having a hard time of it. Being confronted by a stranger in such an aggressive manner would be frightening to most of us, I'd guess. Dont' be too hard on yourself for being afraid. It was probably the fear that triggered your OC response.

I don't know if it will help, but AIDS is just not that easy to "catch". Try to use your logical mind to counteract the games being played by your imagination. Your logical mind will realize that the chance that you were stabbed without realizing it, or that you got AIDS from this person in some other manner is virtually zero. Just keep up a logical dialogue with yourself about what actually happened.

As for God having sent this person to confront you in order to "teach you a lesson", you can really do the same with that one. In his omniscience, God would surely find a better way to teach you than that. I know I would, and God outranks me by a long shot! ;-)
 

lammers1980

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I guess I just don't believe anything my mind says anymore. I have a hard time trusting my own memory, what with the anxiety wreaking havoc with everything and all. Strangely, my recollection of the event is very fuzzy, like I can't make out the details. Perhaps my mind is trying to bury the memory. Also, my senses are extremely keen at this moment. I can see, hear, and experience everything very clearly. I think they call this state hypervigilance. Sometimes, I feel like I want to barricade myself at home, much like Brian Wilson did. Home is the only place I feel safe. =(
 

Daniel

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Also, my senses are extremely keen at this moment. I can see, hear, and experience everything very clearly. I think they call this state hypervigilance.

When I am physically anxious and in fight-or-flight mode, I find running or jogging to be helpful since that is what the body seemingly wants to do.
 

ThatLady

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It's really not all that odd for the memory of a fearful event to be fuzzy and disjointed.

Also, I agree with Daniel. A good jog/run would probably do you a world of good.
 

Daniel

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Coincidentally, there was just a "give me a break" segment on ABC News (20/20) about the problems of aggressive panhandling in Chicago and other cities.
 

lammers1980

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There is a law against aggressive panhandling in Ontario, but it only work if a police officer happens to be passing by. Since transients move around so much, it is really hard to enforce.
 

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