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About bluecanary

  • Birthday 09/11/1981

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  • OCD Status

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  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Interests
    Writing, reading, crafts, baking
  1. Hello all, It's been a while since I've posted, and in many ways that's probably a good thing. My OCD is mostly episodic in that I have long periods where I'm able to manage it without much suffering. It seems that I do go through phases where it gets rough, though. My life has seen some real ups and downs recently - I've been doing a LOT of cross-country traveling for weddings, funerals, birthdays, and other holidays, and it's taking its toll on me. My dad just got married, my grandmother passed away, and I have recently become engaged. It seems to me like even the happy occasions can be exhausting, though, just because my emotions have been all over the place between grief and joy. I find myself longing for at least a few weeks' worth of "boredom," just so my brain can take a rest. Recently, one thing I've been obsessing over is my migraines. I've had them since I was eleven years old, so it's not a new thing, but I've had two in the last couple of months, which is somewhat unusual for me. I believe mine are hormonal, and since I recently stopped taking birth control pills, I feel this may have been a contributing factor. The problem is that my migraines always start with a loss of peripheral vision and a visual phenomena called a scintillating scotoma (Wikipedia has a page that illustrates this pretty well). The phenomenon has triggered a panic reflex in me because it's always a sure sign that a migraine is coming, and I'm going to be debilitated for the next several hours. The headache itself is bad enough, but I don't think it's what truly scares me. I also experience numbness in my face and hands, which I hate, and when a migraine hits, I can't even function well enough to drive a car safely, so one of my biggest fears is that I'll be out somewhere and start experiencing one with no way to get home. As a result, I am constantly obsessing over my vision and whether it's functioning properly, and I start to feel very panicky if I think there's anything wrong with my vision - even an afterimage from a camera flash or any other bright light makes me a little nervous until it goes away. Another thing I've been worrying about is the "out of it" feeling I get after reading a book, watching a movie, or staring at the computer screen too long. Some people refer to this as "subliminal distraction," and have cited it as the reason that cubicles were invented. The theory is that people get so drawn in to whatever it is that they're doing that they cease to consciously notice other things going on around them, and the brain only registers these things subliminally. It even goes so far as to claim that some of these school shooters and other mass killers were experiencing a psychotic episode brought on by this phenomena. Since one of my biggest fears has always been that I'm some sort of "crazy," reading things like that tends to freak me out. Most of the psychological community dismisses this as bunk, and there doesn't appear to be much compelling evidence to sell it, but the possibility is out there, I guess. There's not much info out there on the web, except for a website this guy wrote after his wife suffered from it at http://visionandpsychosis.net. It's probably not helpful for me to be reading these things, because it just freaks me out, but the anxiety in me says that maybe if I'm aware of it, I can prevent it. Has anyone else ever heard of this phenomena? Do you have any thoughts on it?
  2. Most of the time, I feel like I'm two different people. I worry that I must have multiple personalities. I have a tendency to overreact to things, and if I'm in an especially good or bad mood, I worry that I have bipolar disorder. If I think I spot movement out of the corner of my eye and turn my head to look, but don't see anything, I worry that I'm hallucinating. Gosh, I'm so tired of obsessing over whether or not I'm crazy. I really do feel like two people most of the time. One is logical, and understands that if it weren't for my anxiety, I'd really be such a happy person, because I think I've got a good grip on the important things in life. I tend to spout out these deep, inspirational ideas, but how is it that I can be reduced to a trembling, miserable mess just a matter of hours or days afterward? I had a pretty high level of anxiety yesterday, and I'm really not sure why. My stomach was feeling off earlier in the afternoon, so I drank some ginger tea and took some antacids, hoping it would help me feel better, because my boyfriend and I were meeting friends out for dinner that night. My stomach felt better, but on the drive to the restaurant, I started getting a vague "unwell" feeling - I felt flushed, my chest tightened, and I started getting that woozy, carsick feeling, even though I rarely get carsick. I kept trying to chalk it up to anxiety, but the only thing I was feeling anxious about was not feeling well, and that just seemed to make things worse. Once we got to the restaurant, I told myself over and over in my head that I was overthinking things yet again and that everything would be fine. I ordered a glass of wine with dinner and sipped it quickly in an effort to calm down (I know, using alcohol as a crutch for anxiety is a very dangerous habit to get into) and forced myself to focus on the conversation. Eventually, I calmed down and enjoyed the evening. One of my boyfriend's favorite things to tell me is "Don't think about it so much." It's very, very simple in theory, and I think it's the basic piece of advice that all OCD sufferers need to try to follow, but that's the whole problem - OCD is, in a way, an addiction to thinking. Alcoholics cope with their addiction by not drinking alcohol. The same goes for people who have an addiction to drugs, smoking, gambling, etc. They cannot control their addictive behavior, so they have to give it up entirely. But we're in a difficult spot here, because it's impossible to not think. Even telling yourself not to think is thinking! It just seems to me like I'm always fighting a losing battle. I think right now my biggest fear is that I'm "crazy," whatever that means. If I had to define it, I'd say that "crazy" means losing control of my own behavior. That thought terrifies me more than anything else. Crazy people hear voices and see things that aren't there. Crazy people drown their children in bathtubs. Crazy people spend their lives in institutions. And crazy people don't think clearly. I think I use my anxiety as a way of controlling my thoughts and emotions (or attempting to, anyway). If I'm worried that my mood is too high/low for any given circumstance, I'm aware of it and therefore cannot be "crazy." If I worry about any specific thing happening, I'll take whatever steps I can to prevent it; therefore I'm in control of the situation. Anyone reading this might thing that I seem to have a good understanding of my thought patterns. But that does nothing to stop them. That's where the "other half" of my personality steps in. I can't even tell where the fear comes from most of the time, but it's suddenly there, and all that good logic just goes out the window. It builds momentum like a runaway train and there's nothing I can do to stop it. The world and everything around me suddenly becomes horrifying, even though logically, I know there's nothing to be afraid of. And for the life of me, I can't understand how a person who seems to have a pretty good grasp of logic can spiral so quickly out of control in their own head. I was in a lousy mood the other night, and the whole time I was trying to be rational and tell myself that I shouldn't be so upset, but that did little to stop me from being upset. I just continued to mope and pout and figured it'd run its course eventually. The next morning I woke up feeling more positive, and immediately started chastising myself for being so upset, wondering why I'd overreacted. Then, of course, I started to worry again, because it seemed to me that I wasn't even in full control of my own emotions. I want so much to stop being so hard on myself, but I just can't seem to make it happen. Sorry for the rambling. I'm sure that much of this seems disjointed and disorganized - I'm just following a jumbled train of thought. Has anyone else ever felt these things? It'd be nice to know I'm not alone.
  3. Hi Hunnibee, and welcome! I can definitely relate to what you're going through (I think we all can!), and I think part of what OCD does is it makes us question everything about our lives, things that other people normally take for granted. It's okay to wonder and even to analyze things now and then - it's a natural part of human curiosity - but the main problem with OCD is that it just doesn't know when to quit! I moved 3500 miles across the US to be with my boyfriend, and right now I've got no job and no money. He takes very good care of me, but naturally that makes me all the more afraid that I'll lose him. Every time he gets a text message or an email, I think to myself, "Is that another girl? Is he cheating on me?" even though he has never given me any reason at all not to trust him. I think part of what kicks my worrying into overdrive is that I've got so much at stake. It definitely presents an obstacle, but I think just realizing that my OCD is what's causing me to worry about all of this is definitely helping. Good luck on your journey - I'm new here myself and I've found the folks here to be very helpful and supportive so far! :original:
  4. Hi Christian, I've been on 50mg of sertraline for a while now, and I don't recall that I had any major side effects from it, but a change in dosage will definitely do that to you. As others have mentioned, I think the side effects will go away once your body adjusts. I did have the "bedroom" side effects with it at one point when I was taking it years ago, and my doctor added Wellbutrin to counteract it - worked like a charm for me. Everyone's different, but if it persists I'd ask your doctor what he/she thinks.
  5. Hi tricky, and welcome to the forums. I tend to think of intrusive thoughts like flies buzzing around our heads. The OCD in us becomes immediately focused on catching the fly, to the point where we'll get up from whatever we're doing to follow it around the room to try to silence it. We quickly become frustrated, because the fly is just too darn fast, and we don't end up being able to focus on the things that matter. By letting the thoughts go, we're merely swatting at the fly (so to speak) when it comes near. Yes, you're responding, but you're responding briefly in a positive way that says, "I know you're there, I'm not going to try to destroy you, but I'm also not going to let you hover around in front of me, so get lost." Not a perfect analogy, but it's the one that immediately came to mind when I thought about it. My boyfriend gave me a very simple and very wise piece of advice once when I was expressing my worry over something silly: "Don't think about it so much." It's become my mantra. For me (and I'm sure this is true for many other folks as well), the biggest problem with my OCD is that I tend to start overthinking things that other people simply brush off. I think everyone has intrusive thoughts now and then. The main difference with OCD sufferers is that when they occur to us, instead of just releasing them like we're supposed to, we tend to try to overanalyze and pick them apart. As far as meds, I think I took fluoxetine once (that's Prozac, right?), but it was so long ago that I can't recall the dose or its exact effects on me. I'm currently on 50mg of sertraline (Zoloft) each day, and while I still have my rough times with anxiety and OCD, I think I'd probably be much worse off without it.
  6. I don't think it's medication - I do take sertraline (Zoloft) at bedtime, but I don't take it at the exact same time every night - just whenever I go to bed - and I haven't noticed any ill effects if the time I take it is off by a couple of hours. I noticed I did feel rather jumpy and anxious last night when I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. I'm guessing it's just something I'm going to have to learn to deal with.
  7. Hello all, I hope you've all had a happy and healthy holiday. I've had something happen to me recently which has also happened in the past and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this. Last night my boyfriend and I were planning to go to a midnight showing of my favorite movie, and lately I've been nodding off around 10pm or so, so I decided to make myself take a nap so that I'd have enough energy to stay awake for the film. I laid down at about 6pm and made myself sleep until 8. When I woke up, I felt very groggy and disoriented and generally "out of it" - typical waking-up sensations - but I also felt an extreme panic. Every little noise made me jump out of my skin, and I felt this inexplicable sense of fear. I don't know whether the groggy feeling caused the panic or if they happened at the same time, but I had some difficulty controlling it. I don't experience panic very much at all these days (I'm usually able to stop the anxiety in its tracks before it gets to that point), but I've noticed that I'm very vulnerable to it upon waking, especially if I've been sleeping in the middle of the day or am woken up suddenly. I suspect part of the reason is because I'm waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle rather than at a natural transition point, but I'm really not sure. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, what strategies do you use to overcome it?
  8. Thank you all for your kind and reassuring words. So much of what you've said has resonated with me. Sarah - I think this part hit home the hardest for me. I've often had the thought that perhaps the reason these thoughts are the most persistent is because they involve the people I love the most, and are therefore the things I fear happening more than anything. I've heard of CBT, and I think it's an avenue I'd really like to pursue. Once I get settled in California, I'll try to talk to a therapist who specializes in it. I'll also look for some books on the subject. In the meantime, it's a great comfort to be among people who know exactly where I'm coming from. :original:
  9. Hello all, First of all, I'd like to say that I'm grateful to find this site. I have suffered from intense amounts of anxiety for most of my life, and only within the last few years or so have I realized that a lot of my odd childhood behaviors (checking, avoiding anything that happened in multiples of 3, being terrified every day that I would be sick at school, etc.) were classic symptoms of OCD. I would say that I mostly "outgrew" my childhood OCD and these thoughts and behaviors generally went away, and things were fine up until my senior year of college. Maybe deep down I was afraid of graduation, the next steps of my life, etc., I don't know. But what I do know is that I suddenly became seized with terror for no apparent reason. I quite literally woke up one morning and everything looked different. Logically, I knew the world around me was the same, but it was almost as though I were looking at things through some kind of lens. I felt distanced from everyone and everything. I couldn't eat, had trouble sleeping, and was generally a mess. Eventually I went to a doctor, was prescribed Prozac for depression, started seeing a therapist, and life gradually got a bit better. In the ensuing years, I've had recurring "episodes" where the fear and panic attacks returned. I have suffered from what I now know is depersonalization and derealization. I had a lot of big, existential type of thoughts (what is life? Who am I?), and because I couldn't answer these questions (because they're pretty much unanswerable), I started to panic. Another disturbing thought was the harming thoughts. I'd pick up a knife and instantly a thought would flash in my head about stabbing someone. Or I'd be in my car and suddenly think about running someone over. I'd think about harming my pets for no apparent reason. These thoughts were instantly horrifying and upsetting to me, and when the OCD wasn't so bad, I'd just push them out of my mind. When I was already in a worried state, though, they took root and burrowed in, refusing to go. From there, I became obsessed with the idea of going crazy. I have imagined at one point or another that I've had just about every psychological disorder in the book. Mostly, though, my biggest fear has been that I'm a homicidal maniac and will end up hurting people. I enjoy watching true crime shows, and part of me thinks I must be secretly obsessed with these things because I'm sick in the head. I try my best to be a good person, but I figure I'm not a good person if I have these awful kinds of thoughts. I don't think I've ever really had the courage to share the "harmful" thoughts with therapists, because I was scared that they'd lock me up. So I've been living alone with these thoughts for years. I keep thinking that if I could just stop worrying for a while, I could be very happy. But in an odd way, it's as though constantly being aware of these thoughts and worrying about them is the only way I can control them. My fears and worries are attacking in a big way recently, and I'm pretty sure I know why - I'm going to be moving across the country in about a month to live with my boyfriend. Everything about my daily life is going to change, and while I love my boyfriend and I want to be with him, I'm also terrified that I'll be outside my comfort zone and I'll "lose it." I think down the road about getting married and having children. What if I'm not a good mother? What if I become one of those psychotic mothers who drowns their baby in a bathtub? The very thought of it makes me sick inside. And while I realize that the fact that it upsets me should be sufficient proof that I'm not, in fact, a horrible person or a psycho, but the fact that the thoughts occur to me at all still has me on the fence. Anyway, just getting this out of my system helps, as does finding a place where other people know what I'm going through. I've always felt so alone in this, and I've been mentally thrashing myself over it. I'd love to hear about others' experiences, as well as things you've tried that have helped you in your journey.
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