More threads by Silver


Well, for the past few years I have worried, and been doing things over and over at times. I recently emailed a doctor up in new york who says he specializes with ocd patients and described my fears and symptoms, While he says that theres is no certain diagnosis over the internet, he recommends strongly that I get myself checked out for it. I don't have the time or the money at the moment to do this, and while I gather both, I was hoping to get your opinions as well. I will cut and paste my email to him as I spent time on it and I believe it explains things better than I could if I tried again.

I have been grappling with the fear that I have ocd. When I leave for class in the morning I will repeatedly check and recheck my computer and TV to make sure they are off, usually for fear of setting off a fire or something. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes up involving 10+ checks sometimes. The process starts again when I leave for work. This is the first bit, the part I can basically live with, though it does cause me to be late half the time.

The second part is more severe and crippling to me. Whenever I drive anywhere no matter how short or long the drive is, I will somehow get it inro my head that A) I hit another car, B) I hit a pedestrian, or C) I ran a red light. It began when I was around 17 or so (I am 20 now) with the red lights, It would get really out of hand. I was so pathetic that I would turn around and go back to the light I thought I ran to try to predict the light cycle to find out if i ran it. After a year or so it faded away for the most part, but a month or about that after it did, it came back with a vengeance, I now everytime I go out will become afraid that I hit someone. Every few seconds I have to look into my rearview and see headlights and say "Clear" to myself. Every time I go through a light, I have to say "Green" as many times as i can, then I look back in the mirror and say it for the reverse light as confirmation. As much as it hurts me to, I refuse to turn around anymore and redrive distances, although I have had times when I thought I was going to just scream because I was sure I hit someone, even though in the back of my mind I knew I didn't. The thing is I am a very good driver in my opinion, I go the speed limit, I always know whats going on around me. When I get home however, I just can't get it out of my head and typically will affect my life at home, right now I have 3 paychecks sitting next to me because I refuse to go down to the bank even though it is a 5 minute drive because I dont want to put myself through that. I'm not sure, that could be some phobia.. heh, I'm pretty messed up I guess.

The third thing that worries me about having ocd is that when I come home or get to my destination, I will walk around my car checking all the windows to make sure they are closed and make sure there are no dents on the car. I will begin to walk away but then will have to go check again. and again. and again. I hate it but there doesnt seem to be any possible way to stop it. I've tried just leaving it but then I get completely paranoid about it. One time I tried that I ended up waking up at about 2 am throwing on some clothes and running out to check the windows. At 2 am in the morning... Checking the windows takes a while. not sure how long but typically I have to check at least 5 or 6 times if not more. And even then I am not satisfied.

There is more to it, other checks that I do, but these are the ones that jump to mind immediately.

Please let me know what you guys think:)


Hello Silver,
I just wanted to let you know that my heart completely goes out to you. I have more or less experienced what you are talking about and I remember how gut wrenching the anxiety associated with these thoughts can be. Reading your post, I could almost feel your anxiety (and mine all over again).

It sounds like you pretty much already know what the problem is (OCD). I believe the options for treatment are medication SSRI/SNRI/atypical antipsychotics, or therapy (like CBT), or both, or to just ride it out on your does sound like it is getting pretty debilitating for you though. Handling it on your own probably isn't the best option (but I think OCD does often subside eventually).

Also, this may sound lame but regular exercise could be the next best thing if you don't want or can't get treatment. Exercise has helped me a lot (and you wouldn't have to upset yourself by driving, you could bike or walk....)

I wish you the best, and I do think that it will get better eventually no matter what you do.



You say you don't have time or money for therapy... I don't know in wich country you live, but did you check to see if free resources where available? I know in Canada, free therapy is available, especially if you're patient (waiting lists can be long). As for time... You may be able to save enough of it just by not having to check everything twice 😉 As someone already has said, cognitive-behavioral therapy can be quite effective for OCD... and it only takes 1 hour/wk.

Good luck!

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Silver, those look like classic symptoms of OCD. You're email contact is correct, of course... one should not try to diagnose at a distance. But I do think it would e worth your while to arrange an evaluation. There is a lot that you can gain from medications and therapy in managing these sorts of rituals.
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