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About AmandaG

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    Health anxiety

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  1. Those all sound like positive steps, you can always tackle more once you've become acclimatised to those changes
  2. Hi Bbaby2929, sorry to hear you don't have support at home. Talking about your daily experiences of OCD here, and your daily life, is one way of connecting with people who can understanding what you are experiencing. Are you getting any support from a doctor or therapist, or medication? There are a couple of books recommended on the main OCD UK site too that can offer strategies for managnig OCD and improving your quality of life.
  3. Hi Hazel, it sounds like you made great progress and went out of your way to get support. A good many of us who have experienced bad bouts of OCD will likely tell you it's something that can come and go in intensity. The more you learn about it and exprience it, and about how your mind functions, the better you can get at spotting the signs, being able to recognise when OCD thought cycles are happening, and the better you can apply what you've leant about managing it. Even then, it's possible to have setbacks, reoccurences, and (my speciality!) find that the OCD thinking switches from one subject to another when I'm mastering the art of countering the first one! I personally think of it as temporary bouts of bad OCD, which can and will ease, rather than looking at OCD in terms of one bad spell followed by 100% permanent recovery and no symptoms again in future. It's also possible for medication to become slightly less effective over time as your body gets used to it. I've had this happen to me a few times. In fact, when I go onto fluoxetine, it works so well it will actually wipe out all OCD thinking and induce a state of calmness within a few weeks, to the extent that it's like I never had OCD in the first place. Then it wears off a little after a while. It was hard the first time that happened, because I wanted to be back to feeling 'cured'. These days I accept that it fluctuates, but through time, experience, and techniques for managing it, it is better overall. Sometimes doctors will increase the dose or change the type of medication.
  4. Are you getting any help for OCD at the moment, Donnahoney, do you have medication, or is there anyone you know and can talk to who understands OCD well? Talking about OCD itself and how to manage it, rather than the subject of the intrusive thoughts themselves, could be of some benefit. General relaxation exercises and physical exercises might not be enough to completely distract your mind from OCD thoughts, too, but can help alleviate wider anxiety that can build up and contribute to OCD. Doing any activities that are enjoyable in some way, and giving yourself some time, space, peace and quiet, can also contribute to general wellbeing, and that in turn may help against the cycle of OCD.
  5. Have you had a chance to discuss this with a therapist, Slowcoach? It might or might not have any connection with your OCD, but suppressed anger can be harmful to your mental and even your physical health eventually. Anger's a completely natural emotional response to loss, and to real or perceived threats, and needs to be expressed or worked through, ideally in a constructive and assertive way, rather than a loss of temper. But I'd say that not expressing it at all, or feeling guilt about this anger, can be just harmful as losing your temper with someone. It could exacerbate your OCD because of a buildup of emotion and stress. It might not simply be the case that OCD ruminations are making you experience anger - it could be the case that suppressed, unresolved anger and the intense stress of this is contributing to bad bouts of OCD.
  6. I suppose that depends if the diagnosis or non-diagnosis has actually become a focus of OCD-type thinking for you. From what you've written, it sounds like you're considering that possibility. What could be positive is looking at what specifically is disrupting your life or causing distress, and focusing on what can be done to address that short term, with or without a diagnosis or specialist treatment. A diagnosis itself isn't an answer, it's potentially a path to answers and a path to treatment. Or it's possible to try some therapeutic activities, like relaxation exercises or yoga, or lifestyle changes like exercise, spending more time on hobbies, and healthy eating, that can be of benefit to anyone and don't need to be specific to any diagnosis. I personally consider it very frustrating and quite unhelpful that specialist services can effectively 'reject' a patient for treatment on the grounds that they've pretty much formed an opinion that a different diagnosis would be more appropriate, but don't (or can't) make suggestions about other assessments that they feel might be more appriopriate. I've heard of this happening to someone who reported gender dysphoria and people who have reported potential autism - they didn't fit the specialists' criteria, so they were left without any diagnosis or support when they clearly needed some kind of support. If you feel you need a new assessment, looking at more potential diagnoses, because you'd like either treatment or guidance on appropriate self-help, or looking again at the possibility of OCD, it might be best to talk to your GP again and explain what's happened. (GPs often either can't or won't diagnose mental health conditions, but they could refer you to a general mental health specialist who could look into other possibilities, or look again at potential OCD.
  7. I don't have a diagnosis, but do have some traits. I'd actually be interested to know if ADHD medication helps with the intrusive thoughts and getting hung up on cycles of thoughts. I once talked to a researcher who believed that people with OCD might have sensory/stimulus gating characteristics that aren't neurotypical.
  8. That sounds like a really unhelpful experience of seeing the specialist. Did they offer an alternative diagnosis, something you could look towards treatment for, or do you have an existing diagnosis that they attribute your OCD symptoms to? I haven't had an experience like that, however, I can say that health professionals seemed very reluctant to give me an OCD diagnosis, instead putting it on paper as 'anxiety/depression with obsessive characteristics'. GPs have since discussed my symptoms and treatment with me in terms of OCD, though, made a point of prescribing medication 'because it's used to treat obsessive characteristics' and even called it OCD. That's not to say you definitely, definitely have OCD, though. I'm not a medical professional and couldn't possibly say that you did or didn't have OCD because I've never met you. If they disagree that you have OCD, or firmly conclude that you don't, the important thing, I would have thought, is that you do get some support and treatment for whatever they do want to diagnose you with. If they can't come to a firm conclusion about a single diagnosis, perhaps they can at the very least look at more generic treatment or therapeutic activity to help you?
  9. I've used an app before that included exercises (not physical!), a diary function and reading material based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. I seem to remember human support was available, although the person who answered was in the US, and some of the things she said weren't really relevant to UK life and culture. That was for general anxiety, not specifically OCD. I imagine they can be some use, but I found that once I'd seem much of the material on offer, I stopped getting much out of it. It might be best to find some reviews posted online independently by users.
  10. I like relaxation recordings and exercises for dealing with daily strong anxiety, and use meditation recordings that the University of Bangor have on the mindfulness section of their website. I also found that some exercise helped with anxiety, and I find the smell of lavender oil relaxing. Other than that. it's a case of waiting for things to settle down with the SSRI, as I always get a burst of anxiety at the start.
  11. As Doubt_It says. I definitely find I have a surge of worse anxiety for a while. It was initially about three weeks first time I took an SSRI, but last time I went onto SSRIs, the anxiety worsened within a couple days, and I actually started feeling the benefits of it within a week.
  12. The best answers I can think to give are 1) look at the national guidance, WHO guidance and your employer's guidance, and 2) what did you generally consider was sufficient cleaning (not during your worst periods of OCD thoughts) before the pandemic? Although you undoubtedly feel a lot more personal responsibility beyond basic duties, most people would think that following their employer's guidance would be enough. If you have concerns above and beyond that, and think others might also reasonably be concerned, reading the basic national and the WHO guidance, then discussing it with your employer if your work guidance is not compliant with even the basics of these, sounds reasonable to me. If you notice yourself reading into things too much and looking at potentially more worrying interpretations, then that's probably OCD talking. Without knowing exactly what your role and your line of work is, it's difficult to say what is and isn't overkill. Unless you're offering bespoke one-to-one services, it's probably not realistic to clean every part of a toilet and all touched surfaces between users. It *is* reasonable to disinfect and clean (in the same way as cleaners normally did before the pandemic) at more regular intervals, and advise everyone to wash their hands after using the toilet. And advise them to wash their hands before eating or touching their face after using shared equipment or touching surfaces regularly touched by others (such as door handles). The social situation is just an odd one for everyone at the moment. The national guidance actually says how many people/households you can meet from outside of your own household, and if distancing or other mitigations (like masks) are required. I don't think anyone is now completely locked down, even people who are shielding can meet some others in some circumstances, with distancing in place. So doing that is reasonable, and avoiding that may be avoidance. But I'm aware that an awful lot of people are waiving a lot of the rules now, visiting or going drinking whoever they like regardless of how many households they have contact with, letting their children play out with children from many different families etc. While it's the social norm now in some places for people to break the rules, I'd still say it's not OCD or social anxiety overkill to continue to abide by the rules.
  13. A lot better, thank you, but that could change if I get hauled back in to work (currently working from home). I'm not confident that they'll do distancing properly, or that even 2m distancing will work in an office with very poor ventilation and lots of people talking constantly on phones. A lot of people caught swine flu the other year. I do think any time off is a good idea if you're getting burnt out, whether that's holiday or sick leave. Another option, especially if you get a sick note from your doctor, or your employer already knows you have OCD, is to ask for adjustments temporarily to alleviate work stress. It's no good if staff are getting so overwhelmed they can't work any more.
  14. I haven't been in the workplace, thankfully, but just before restrictions came in on people with certain health conditions, I was very much in this situation. I was walking to and from work, too stressed to concentrate on or do anything outside of work time, getting very stressed at work, panicking constantly at home about being infected, and hardly eating a thing. I lost a lot of weight and was getting what were either anxiety attacks or faints through not eating enough. Time off is definitiely what you need
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