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malina

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  1. Hey Cora, First of all, I'm sorry that you had such a tough few days and that you're feeling so distressed. I don't want to respond to the specific situation you described because I think that on some level you are seeking reassurance ("To be honest I still have the hope that there still are people who won't agree with me regarding all this"). You write this because you want someone to tell you that it isn't true. That is completely understandable and I think anyone in your situation would do the same, but I also don't think it's going to help you overcome this. Please please please don't take this as a criticism, there is no blame here, it's just that you need to be aware of how you're handling your problem so that you can use more constructive methods. At the moment, all of this is one big jumble. You are being bombarded with horrible thoughts, horrible bodily feelings, horrible urges. Things you don't want but seem very real to you. You are engaging with them every single time - you panic, you believe them to be true, you analyse them, you think you're a horrible person. Your response is only intensifying your experience. The more that you believe that these thoughts are bad and harmful and the more you engage with them, the more frequently they will come. It's quite simple, your brain is wired to respond to danger and if you believe this is dangerous, your mind will keep the danger alerts coming. Unfortunately, your mind and your emotions are working against you here. I completely understand this experience is incredibly overwhelming and that it's really hard to see past this and to stop yourself from engaging, but you can do it with baby steps and consistent effort. The first step is that you need to have trust in professionals. You have a diagnosis, you're seeing a therapist and you're actively talking to an OCD community. All of these are great steps you're taking, but you need to use these resources wisely and trust what everyone is telling you. Your mind wants to convince you that this isn't OCD, yet you have a lot of experienced people telling you that it is. Have faith in these people, they know what they are talking about. Second, you need to be aware that you are engaging in a lot of compulsions. These behaviours reinforce your OCD and make the problem worse. Just from your posts I can list a few compulsions that you are doing: - seeking reassurance - ruminating (you spend a lot of time analysing your thoughts, your reaction to them, what they mean etc) - testing (you're checking your feelings when you are with your brother) - blocking (you actively try to ignore the thoughts) Gradually, you need to reduce these. I think you need to accept that the thoughts will come and you should allow them to come. The more you try to block them or the more you panic when you get them, the more often they will come. My therapist taught me one nice metaphor for dealing with intrusive thoughts: Imagine that you are on the platform at a train station, you are standing near the edge waiting for your train to arrive. Then all of a sudden, a freight train comes along the tracks. It is fast and doesn't stop. Being so close to the edge of the platform, you feel the impact of the freight train - it shakes you and disorients you. How do you react? You could jump on the tracks and try to stop the train, but that would only get you hurt. Alternatively, you can wait it outand the freight train will move past the platform and further along the tracks and you will regain your orientation and balance. Well in this metaphor you are the person on the platform and the freight train represents your intrusive thoughts/urges/bodily sensations. You need to accept that the thoughts are coming, because you can't really stop them from coming, like the person on the platform cannot stop the train from coming. Like the person on the platform, you feel confused, shaken and disoriented by them. However, if you just wait it out and hold your ground, the thoughts will pass like that train and you will regain your balance. This may or may not resonate with you, but this is exactly it. You have this disorder, you will get the thoughts. The best thing you can do is to not react, don't even try to ignore them, don't analyse them, don't analyse how you're feeling. Just do nothing and wait it out. I hope this is a little bit helpful for you. I understand what you mean when you say that it's very hard to apply the strategies your therapist has taught you, but be aware that they won't help immediately. You have to keep doing them consistently. Therapy is a bit like exercise or weight loss. Not eating chocolate for one day won't make you lose weight, you have to stop eating chocolate for a few weeks or even months. Sorry that is a very sad analogy, who wants to live without chocolate? but you get my point. Also one tip about therapy - don't feel afraid to be honest with your therapist. After all, their job is to help you and if you are finding a particular approach unhelpful, it's important to say that so you can adjust the plan. Stay strong Cora! I know this is incredibly hard but you seem like a bright person and you'll get this figured out eventually, you just have to trust the professionals and put in the work!!
  2. Honestly, it's not frustrating that you are seeking reassurance, I completely understand why you are doing that, but it isn't good for you. When you say you're not "fighting back", I think that you need to be aware that trying to fight the feeling will make it even stronger. The only way to make this go away is to engage with your therapy, to learn NOT to be bothered by the thoughts and to get on with your life. It's hard but with practice you can do it!
  3. Hey Cora, I think that Polar Bear is right, what you are doing now is seeking reassurance. I understand that you are trying to understand OCD and how it feels. However, you need to also realise that OCD will generate more doubt and questions - we told you that how you're feeling sounds a lot like OCD, but in your mind it generates a new question rather than peace of mind. I think you should take a deep breath and try to accept that we have already answered your question and try to take in that response. As a rule of thumb, it doesn't matter it feels real, very real or very very very real. OCD will make it feel as real as it possibly can. I'm more than happy to talk to you Cora, so please don't take this the wrong way. It's just that this reassurance seeking behaviour is also a big problem in OCD and it won't help you to keep doing it.
  4. I hear you, it's tough. I struggle with having a lot of free time and little social contact so I'm dreading it a bit too. I think this is a good ERP exercise, though! In any case, there is a lot you can do - cook, read, watch films, do some work. Don't worry about what will be open, we aren't going to stop importing goods any time soon so we should have enough to keep us going until this clears up.
  5. It's okay Cora, I'm not offended and I understand what you mean. I often wish that I had other OCD symptoms because these are so difficult, I think everyone's experience is different and to each of us, our own seems to be the worst. I have to say that I have had thoughts about hurting other people too and they felt the same way as the thoughts about self harm. I remember once when I was about 10 years old, I had to wait for my parents in my neighbour's house, she was an old lady and was being so nice to me. As I was sitting in her kitchen, I kept having these horrible urges to stab her. I look back on this and laugh now because the idea of 10 year old me trying to hurt a lovely elderly lady is just absurd, but in that moment I felt that it was real and I was terrified. I had a similar urge to molest my little cousin. Of course I did no such thing but the thoughts were extremely depressing. All this was before I got diagnosed with OCD, so I didn't know what the cause was and I thought that I was just crazy. I didn't even seek help until the self harm thoughts got really bad, I was 20 then and I think that at the point I started to think that these thoughts were not normal, that something was very wrong and everything spiralled out of control. I couldn't sleep anymore or eat, everywhere I went, I felt unsafe. The reason that I'm telling you all this is firstly so you know that people do understand the pain you're in. It's easy for all of us to give advice and sound rational, but each of us has been in a very dark, frightening and sad place where you are now. Also, just because somebody has different types of thoughts to yours, doesn't make them any less painful for that person. Again, I am not offended at all by what you said, but you have to understand that your experience isn't unique, you are not alone in feeling the fear and pain that you feel. And, finally, things can get better. When I was 20 and experienced all of this, I felt like I had to climb a mountain just to get back to living my daily life. I had no idea how I was going to get better. And yet, it did get better! Sure, I am struggling now and recently had a relapse in my symptoms, but even at the height of this relapse, it only felt about a fraction as bad as it did when it first started. You have to stop this. You sound like a wonderful person too. I am also sorry that you are in so much pain. Hang in there, tell your therapist what you're feeling, and do the work you have to do. You will get better, these thoughts will stop, I promise you. Just keep moving forward, take it day by day and keep working at it. When I was at my worst, I used to imagine myself 10 years in the future, doing well and having a good life. For the most part it has turned out like that, with a few blips along the way. If I could survive, you can too!
  6. This is EXACTLY how I feel with my self harm thoughts. It's really bizarre because I don't want to do it, but when the thought takes hold it is like a strong urge that takes over my body and it makes complete sense in that moment. When it passes, I feel completely shaken and never want to feel it again, but then I do. I also understand the idea of acting on it to get rid of it, that makes complete sense when your mind is in OCD mode. Except you that that it isn't true, it's just another intrusion.
  7. I've had OCD for as long as I can remember, since I was about 4 or 5. It caused me a lot of inner distress but life was generally fine, I did well in school, had friends and nobody was concerned. It wasn't until I was 20 and alone at uni that it really hit me hard and I couldn't cope anymore, that is when I got a diagnosis and started getting help for the first time. I think it all came to a boiling point at that age because I suddenly realised that all these thoughts (which I'd had forever) weren't normal and I thought they were dangerous and I panicked, which made everything worse.
  8. Yes I do too, but I like your attitude - just assume that they will and, if they don't, so be it. Nothing is guaranteed for anyone, we all just have to do our best.
  9. Why do you read this stuff if it gives you panic attacks? What is the point? These are the stories of other people, they tell you absolutely nothing about yourself or your own situation.
  10. I had the same question and my therapist asked me to think about him winning the lottery, to really think hard about him winning. He hasn't won the lottery yet.
  11. I think that hallucinations of any kind can happen to healthy people and does not have to mean that you have schizophrenia. I'm sure that you've had lots of other situations where you think you have seen something that wasn't really there, especially when you're just waking up, but it wasn't related to your OCD so you don't remember it. I think having intrusive thoughts makes your mind more likely to interpret things in a way consistent with that intrusive thought, if that makes sense. For example, for a while I was completely obsessed with the idea that I was going to have a cockroach infestation, so every time I saw a shadow or something move, I thought that I was seeing a cockroach. You probably saw something like a shadow on your keyboard and your mind made you see the monster from your intrusive thoughts. I don't think this is a big deal, just a random sensory aberration that can really happen to anyone.
  12. Bruces, I live with these kinds of thoughts every single day and have done for a very long time. There really isn't any need to be concerned about it at all. It's terrifying and extremely tedious but not dangerous.
  13. I have observed some OCD type behaviours in people who I know, even though they do not actually have OCD, and sometimes it seems completely irrational and unsettling even to me, who actually has OCD. An example is a friend of mine who is absolutely obsessed with the corona virus, to the point where that is all she is able to talk about. I have come to the point of trying to explain to her how she needs to accept certain risk. This coming from ME, who has an incredibly difficult time accepting risk or uncertainty. It really does put it all into perspective!
  14. I think that in saying the word 'tempting' you have triggered your own OCD rather than any kind of reaction in your doctor. If I were you, I'd go around saying that it's very "tempting" to hurt everyone over and over and over again. Let it make you feel awful and keep saying it. Eventually, it should start to lose it's hold on you.
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