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BelAnna

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  1. That's brilliant! Well done! Although my contamination OCD focuses on different things (primarily Norovirus) I can really identify with your response to the contamination fears that you had the other day but I'm also really inspired by how you're facing it head-on. Gemma's idea sounds like a good one and might help to lessen the anxiety re. the car floor, really quickly over the next week or so.
  2. Welcome to the forum Lozra! I'm sorry you're struggling with anxiety- it's horrible! I think I agree with the posters above that your original post suggests you might be suffering from G.A.D. as OCD worries tend to be less realistic and involve either compulsions or mental attempts at neutralizing the thoughts. However it might just be that you've just not gone into much detail about your thoughts and that they actually are unrealistic obsessive thoughts. An example of G.A.D. re. work, would be a sense of impending doom and a feeling that something terrible will happen at work but without any compulsive response (other than worrying). An example of OCD re. work, would be an intrusive thought that you are going to blurt out an offensive phrase to your boss at work (i.e. it is quite specific and unrealistic/not a normal 'worry') and then completing compulsions such as avoiding the boss or mentally repeating 'I will not say anything offensive' inside your head (compulsion). This might also extend to avoiding wearing particular clothes because you think that you are more likely to blurt out something offensive if you are wearing those clothes. OCD is unrealistic and a bit ridiculous at times! An example of G.A.D re. parenting, would be worrying that your kids are going to fail at school or might fall ill or might not make friends. An example of OCD re. parenting, would be obsessing that one of your kids is going to develop cancer; looking for signs that they do have cancer and completing mental compulsions such as repeating the phrase 'my child won't die' or constantly googling/researching childhood cancers. For a diagnosis of OCD the symptoms need to involve: obsessions and/or compulsions; obsessions are intrusive thoughts that are not just exaggerated real-life worries; that occur as intrusive thoughts and that cause marked distress. Compulsions are actions that you take to undo/counteract obsessive thoughts or to relieve anxiety. G.A.D and OCD can be debilitating in their own ways so it's a really good idea to seek help from your GP.
  3. Anger issues can co-occur with OCD and sometimes do stem from OCD thinking but could also be caused by the injury (was it a head injury?) and by the residual effects of addiction. Nonetheless it is never okay to threaten someone and he definitely should be seeking help for both the OCD and the anger issues. What type of accident was it that he had? Perhaps he is still traumatised from the injury and surgery so the air filter means a lot to him as it gives him some control over how feel feels physically? Perhaps by moving the machine from your room, he feels that you are not bothered about the injury and surgery when in actual fact you just need to be able to sleep properly to function like a normal human being? Could you talk to him and make it clear that threatening to throw a cup of hot tea is not acceptable regardless of the intensity of his feelings? and that he needs to see a therapist for his own good as much as anything else? I have anger issues which are probably caused by ADHD but are definitely triggered by my OCD and I am sure there are other people that struggle too but it could be that it is the interaction of ADHD and OCD that causes problems for me and perhaps it's the combination of your partner's OCD + injury + prior addiction. Regardless of the cause though there is no excuse for threats of or actual violence.
  4. Hi All, I'm struggling at the moment. I have two major worries at the moment and I'm not sure whether they are OCD related or not really! The first is that my Mum keeps getting out of breath (it seems like this is getting progressively worse) and has crackle-like noises coming from her chest when she leans back. I am very scared that she might have secondary lung cancer. I have been asking her to go to the GP since June. Even when she does make an appointment she won't get one for a whole month and if it is cancer then that's a long time to wait. The second is that I've discovered Death Cap mushrooms on the flower bed in our garden. There are two fully grown ones and 10+ caps (they grow quickly). I have a lovely dog who I worry about a lot and although she only goes into the garden on a lead to do her business each day I am very scared that she might eat part of one. (It would only take half a cap or half a full mushroom to be fatally toxic and there's no remedy). I know that we should remove them from the garden but that in itself will cause immense anxiety so at the moment I have a line of chairs to indicate the area of the garden to be avoided and I go and check the grass each day to make sure they are confined to the flower beds. Basically I am spending a lot of time worrying that I will lose my Mum and/or my dog and have other OCD thoughts related to these worries. The problem is that there is some logical basis to each of the worries and I really don't know what to do!
  5. Thanks Dksea, you're completely right! I just meant that for me the perceived consequences or 'awfulness' of catching Norovirus are/is so great, that that explains why I take such extreme measures to avoid it, even when the likelihood is low. I'm not saying that that's justified. I was more just making a point that when assessing risk, you don't simply work with the likelihood of something happening but also with how severe the consequences would be. For example if there is a small risk of terrorist attack then precautions are still taken because the 'awfulness' of a terrorist attack is so great so as my brain is assessing the risk of norovirus as great (it's not, that's just my faulty brain!) then I'm taking precautions even when the risk is probably small because any risk is too much. I guess I have to challenge my appraisal of Norovirus as 'awful' and somehow appraise it as 'part of normal life' but I'm not sure how! It's really helpful to hear from you as a recovered Emetophobe because I often think of the phobia as a complicating factor in this condition (e.g. if you're scared that you'll die from contamination worries then a bit of ERP will reveal that that's not the case whereas if you're scared you'll contract Norovirus from ERP then there is probably about 1/730 chance of contracting norovirus each day when completing ERP tasks (based on the fact that people get one sickness bug every two years on average). I'm sorry if I've already asked this but have you had a sickness bug since you've recovered from Emetophobia? if so, how did you respond? Thanks Paradoxer; that's definitely true. The only thing I would say is that if something is very high up on my ERP hierarchy and causes a SUDs (subjective units of distress)/anxiety level of 8/10 or higher then I think that completing compulsions is probably OK until I face other ERP tasks that cause less significant anxiety. The idea would be that I would then work up to managing more difficult tasks without completing compulsions.
  6. Hi Leopard, I think it would really vary person to person. I have contamination OCD but re. a normal response, I think some people would Vax or steam clean the carpet after vacuuming whilst others would just vacuum up the mouse poo. If you haven't vacuumed the carpet for a very long time and have had a mouse infestation then I think it's reasonable to complete a comparable CBT task (picking up something from someone else's carpet or the floor at work?) rather than touching the floor without handwashing. However it could be that you need to do this to get over this fear so maybe not!
  7. That's brilliant though that you've been making progress each day. I can't use public toilets either. About five years ago I did do some CBT with another Psychologist and managed to walk into the loos in cafes (and even used the cleanest one with the no-touch approach (e.g. hovering and using tissues for the flush, door handles, taps)) but I've since gone back to being terrified of them again! I find multiple-cubicle toilets the most anxiety provoking because I've heard people vomiting in them in the past and every spillage and mark is a problem so for long car journeys I hold-it in (and avoiding drinking) for up to 10 hours as service station toilets are a no-go. Obviously though using loos on the go is a part of normal life so it's great that you're starting to tackle the fear. Are you having CBT with a therapist or doing self-directed CBT only?
  8. That's a great idea Leif. My Psychologist is nice and positive but has been doing EMDR rather than focusing on CBT and even in the past I think my 'Exposure Hierarchy' incorporated more of the big exposure tasks and less everyday stuff. Today I did sit in the seat that I felt was contaminated by that 'exposure' on Monday, which was an achievement. How is your CBT going at the moment?
  9. Thank you Closed for repairs! It's not that bad is it? The delivery guy really shouldn't have dumped it by our door! A family member was worried about the potential to cause a rift so I opened the package with gloves on again about an hour ago, placed the items in a box and then a bag so it looked less silly and then added a box of chocolates as an apology. I cannot speak to the neighbours but a family member took them over- all done now!! I wish there was a magic wand for my stupid phobia!
  10. Hi Leif, Thank you for your reply and support. It does sound like our contamination OCD thoughts are similar despite being based on different primary concerns. It definitely does help to do fewer compulsions in other situations but I think I failed this time! I left the package outside for hours and then at 12.30am I wore multiple pairs of gloves and opened the package on to some bin bags. It turns out it contains some sort of metal door hangers from China for our next door neighbours. The delivery guy had just dumped the package on a wet patch outside of our house. The problem is the address label was on the 'contaminated' bottom of the package so I only looked at it after opening the box, which is embarrassing if the neighbours come round for it later. I triple bagged (not bin bags) their package and am a bit worried about them coming over for it! I got to bed at 3.45am after all of my compulsions so it was very stressful. I was thinking to myself 'This really isn't worth it' as I was doing it and questioning my logic about the package being so contaminated but the fear of Norovirus won this time. Thanks Polarbear and thanks for empathising. It does actually help for you to say that it's make believe. I think in this instance that my fears were exaggerated although I would probably disagree with it being 'make believe' if I actually stood in vomit because there's a reasonable chance of it being Norovirus vomit and Norovirus vomit is objectively pathogenic/fully of viral particles (like a sneeze when someone has a cold). I do know that the rest of the world know nothing about Norovirus and just carry on as normal. When my eldest brother visited recently he had something that looked a bit puke-like on his shoe and his 'normal behaviour' around it actually really helped me. I want to be able to live a normal life. One of the issues I have is that sickness viruses are relatively common and the extreme fear I feel around them isn't something I can just ignore- I don't really know what to do about it! Thank you Gingerbreadgirl, that really helps actually! I often hear horror stories of people having food poisoning or norovirus and saying they felt like death/dying/the worst they'd ever felt and it just really reinforces my fears. I did have very severe sickness bugs in childhood, which have left me feeling terrified but originally my Emetophobia was triggered by vomiting in the car as a four year old on the way to visit my Mum in hospital and not being allowed to see her due to 'infection control'. As well as seeing a seriously ill family member vomit blood and my younger brother having breathing and choking issues due to a congenital condition. I have had lots of treatment for my Emetophobia but it doesn't seem to have helped! I have had over 20 years of OCD (starting at age 7) and probably spent fewer than 20 days sick during that time so logically I am wasting my life for nothing but I don't really know how to stop! Thank you Dksea. Yes you're right that I cannot avoid getting ill and I have had several other viruses this year already from family members and visiting family. I do know that life without OCD and with a sickness bug maybe every 2-5 years would be worth it (I haven't had Norovirus/sickness bugs now for 13 years) but it's got to a point where everything that anyone else has handled feels contaminated and 'dangerous'! I do definitely need to reduce my compulsions. I'm a bit worried now about the consequences of my compulsions because my neighbours delivery is now opened and in several bags! I don't know really what to do about it! The Ebola thingy was just an analogy- I know that there are currently no cases of Ebola in the UK. I just meant that if I was living in an Ebola region of Africa the advice would be to stay away from any vomit that might be from an Ebola sufferer, even if the chance of catching it from being vaguely close to the substance was low. In the same way because my fear of Norovirus is so high then I take more extreme measures to avoid it even if the chance of catching it from being close to it is low.
  11. Hi Ashley, I'm sorry you're having a cacky day. Don't downplay your successes though! Our biggest OCD-related fears are always going to be more challenging to face and I'm completely with you with the being paralysed by the worst ones however a few weeks ago it would have felt epic to place your phone on the contaminated floor so it's still a huge achievement. Hope you're ok now xx
  12. Hi PolarBear, I would actually have reacted in a more extreme way in the past (e.g. sprayed dettol/bleach on my shoes and my feet) but I did complete compulsions yes. I do know that my thinking and behaviour are keeping me trapped. The thing is though that a virus would be horrendous from my perspective and whilst my OCD does blow-up things and make them seem worse than they are; I don't think it's impossible to catch a virus in this way. If this was something like vomitus from Ebola, then official advice would be to stay well away from it; even if the chance of actually getting ill from being close to but not touching the substance might not be very high. The awfulness of the tiny possiblity of Ebola in that situation means that an unlikely situation is taken seriously and precautions are taken. In the same way my mind is assessing this situation to present a high risk of Norovirus infection, which is awful, if not likely and so my response is extreme. I think this might be too high up on my exposure hierarchy and I will probably just have to surrender to compulsions this time, whilst working on other more manageable tasks.
  13. I am in an OCD-state at the moment. On Monday I walked out of the CMHT from my Psychologist appointment and walked into the Car Park, which backs on to the GP Practice to wait for a lift home. I'm normally very careful and was careful leaving the practice, particularly outside the GP practice. However at one point I was walking around looking at my phone. I realised I needed to get out of the way of cars so I walked towards a little paving area, only to notice a fresh pile of vomit and back off away from it. QI had a segment on Norovirus recently and it demonstrated how far away from the actual visible vomit-substance, invisible particles of Norovirus can be found (I think it was the length of an average living room). Whilst I don't think I walked in the actual vomit (I might have done whilst looking at my phone but I don't think so); I might well have walked in the non-visible Norovirus particles as I was probably a foot away from it. I subsequently took my shoes off outside the door and decided not to wear them again, disposed of my socks and leggings AND showered for a long time. Now some company has unexpectedly left a package on top of my contaminated shoes by the front door. I am disgusted and scared. I realise that a normal person wouldn't think about it but I cannot help it. I know that it is impossible for me not to complete any compulsions for this one. I'm thinking of putting on rubber gloves, opening out a black bin bag onto the floor on the carpet by the door, gently placing the box in the bag, taking the gloves off replacing them, tying the bag up. Replacing the gloves and then putting that bin bag into another bag and storing it somewhere for a month or so until it is clean enough to deal with. However if the package is for a family member I very much doubt they'll let me and I literally feel a bit paralysed and don't know what to do! I know I won't die if I catch Norovirus but as a sufferer of severe Emetophobia the actual vomiting that the virus involves is absolutely terrifying. What should I do?
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