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Guest idntw

Hi all

My GP has diagnosed me with OCD, which he described as mild, and referred me to a psychologist (no idea how long the waiting list is though). I've been reading a lot since then, though, and am really unsure as to exactly what I've got. There are some things that are definitely OCD, to do with worries about food, contamination, checking - and things I didn't mention to the GP but now think are OCD like repeated rereading of things I've written (as a kind of checking?), maybe hundreds of times. But they are mild compared to most of the stories I've read here - definitely OCD, but mild. And what I really went to the GP about was depression, mainly due to worries I just can't seem to stop but which seem to fit much more a description of general anxiety, except that one of the main things that I worry about a lot to the extent of it making me depressed is (as I can see if I step back and compare myself to others) just not something that other people worry about. They may find it equally frightening if they do focus on it, but they somehow don't worry about it all the time and let it dominate their life. The contamination etc. OCD symptoms were really a secondary reason for me going to the GP, as they've been getting a bit worse.

One book I got is 'Understanding obsessions and compulsions', and in that one I did find something that described the way I worry a bit more, as 'morbid preoccupations' and 'catastrophic thinking', which the book describes as being in many ways very similar to excessive worry, but that was published in 1992 and more recent OCD definitions are very clear that 'obsessive thoughts' aren't just excessive worries about real life risks. The Imp of the Mind lists a range of obsessive thoughts there that are all to do with inappropriateness - again it's something I've experienced (mainly when I was younger: I'm now 37), though not been incapacitated by, but the big things that worry me aren't things like that but are more like external disastrous events or situations, which I may think of many times a day, worry over, and which give me a permanent feeling of approaching doom, and depression.

I know in one sense it doesn't matter what's what, and perhaps the psychologist will make sense of it, except that I felt so relieved at first when I thought I could put a lot of what's been making me depressed down to OCD, and quite empowered when I read about some of the techniques that might help. My brain really does just seem to get stuck on things, and some things I've read in Brain Lock have made sense in relation to these obsessive/anxious worries, as ways of stopping thoughts. It also seems to make sense to me that if I've got an OCDish sort of brain, then obsessiveness can't be neatly separated from anxiety, and any kind of anxiety must be affected by that too. But how? How do I tell what's what and work out the best things to do to help?? Aaargh! I really wish I could get a handle on this.

I suppose my questions are these:

- How do you tell when a worry is OCD or not, if it's about something quite real and external to yourself (even if not something most people are preoccupied with)? (I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a reply saying if I'm not sure it must be OCD, but I don't see how it can be that simple - after all general anxiety does exist as something separate so presumably a worry can be more down to that than OCD?)

- How do you judge when a problem-solving approach might actually be best, rather than an approach that says the worry is senseless (and what you need to do is learn to live with the uncertainty that comes from not having 'solved' it)?

- Does having OCD inform general anxiety to the extent that anti-OCD techniques should help to defeat the kinds of worries that aren't 'pure-O' ones (aren't sexual, blasphemous, about harming self or others etc.), but that don't have any accompanying compulsions, i.e. may be anxiety rather than OCD?

I would really appreciate any help anyone can give me understanding this stuff, as I'm finding it very confusing at the moment! I feel like a bit of a fraud, as the main way I worry, the one that's really affecting my life a lot, doesn't seem to fit an OCD description (and yet I've clearly got an OCDish brain and have had for most of my life).

I.

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Hi

OCD is sometimes referred to as the doubting disease. There is loads of doubt in your mail, so i am fairly confident (without being a specialist) that waht you suffer from is OCD. I dont think you are alone in questioning whether what you have is OCD or perhaps another problem. In the past year or so my OCD has morphed onto my past, and i began to worry that because it was baout my real past as it were that maybe i don't have ocd either. But that is the trick that 'The Imp of the Mind' as it were likes to play on you. It focusses on the one thing it can trigger an excessive amount of worry within you and then bang!!! If youre pure o you will go round and round in mental circles trying to resolve this issue in your mind...that is basically your compulsion. Of course the more physical ocd will manifest itself in different ways.

My own personal advice is to try to not to look at your situation through a different set of spectacles for ocd, anxiety and depression. They are not mutually exclusive. OCD is part of the anxiety disorders spectrum and dealing with this everyday would depress most people.

On a positive you do seem to be moving in the right directions re: treatment and certainly appear to be helping yourself out too. Keep on going!!

Have a nice day

Adam

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Hi I,

The things you've described do sound like OCD to me (again not a doctor) but things you've talked about - the checking, contamination, re-reading and the thoughts that keep repeating.

Probably if you read another book, your symptoms may seem to more closely match OCD, or indeed may not seem so like it. Doubting, though, as Adamski says is all part and parcel of OCD as is 'feeling a fraud' - I've been there a few times too.

I know in one sense it doesn't matter what's what, and perhaps the psychologist will make sense of it

It's good you have a referral to a specialist who may be able to tease out the main components of your anxiety, but at the end of the day, the main thing is for you to be free of your obsessions whether they are OCD or GAD; they're probably both part and parcel of the same thing.

Depression, too, is common with OCD; it is also a horrible companion to have, so again I think a specialist will be able to help you with that. Once the depression has lifted, other problems don't seem quite so bad (in my experience).

I haven't addressed your questions because I'm not sure enough of all the specifics involved and will probably tie myself up in knots :( .

Anyway, welcome to the board :) and hopefully you will find that posting here and reading others' posts will help - there's nearly always someone around to listen, share and support.

Take care

whitebeam

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Guest idntw

Thanks for the replies and the welcome :(

I'm currently in a state of mainly being relieved to know where some of my weirdnesses come from (and I'm confident with a lot that they're OCD), especially now that some are really interfering with daily life a bit (and causing arguments with my partner). I haven't really managed to change anything yet, but now it seems like I know the way in even though I can see it's going to be hard work actually travelling that path. I would still like to know whether some of the particular worrying is best looked at, as an individual thing purely for the purpose of working out the best technique to improve that one thing, as OCD or anxiety, but I think perhaps as Adamski said not trying to change spectacles is best. I'll try the ideas I get from Brain Lock on everything, on the basis that I obviously have a brain that gets stuck and needs help moving on from things, whether what I'm worrying about seems to fit perfectly with the other more definitely OCD things or not, and hopefully it'll help a bit.

Thanks again.

I.

PS My GP said OCD will vary over a lifetime but doesn't generally get worse. Does that fit with other people's experience here?

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Thanks for the replies and the welcome :(

PS My GP said OCD will vary over a lifetime but doesn't generally get worse. Does that fit with other people's experience here?

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Hi

Don't want to say you GP is wrong but my OCD has gotten worse and worse, mainly because I haven't kept it in check. The more you give in to it the more ways it creeps into you life. It does change and some things are easier to hide or to cope with but they are all unpleasant.

Sorry I wasn't more positive.

Twoshoes

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Guest idntw
Sorry I wasn't more positive.

Twoshoes

Don't be sorry - thanks for the information. It's something I need to work on anyway but being aware of the fact it might get worse will help me not to be complacent.

Katie

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Hi

I see that you are going to use Brainlock as part of your help programme for this. One of the key themes that this book is going to emphasise is no pain, no gain. All recovery has an element of pain about it. I suppose you have got to go there to come back again as it were. Expect the discomfort as much as you expect to have these bloody awful thoughts and you start out i feel with a pretty level playing field for combatting your ocd.

And share with us how you get on with it all. The one thing i have learnt from having this condition is that you never stop learning about how to beat it or control it. Sometimes for me it is as if i am utilising the problem for my own benefit. Doesnt work all the time, but hey knowledge is power.

Have a nice day

Adam

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hi!

i just wanted to say that i identified with some of the things in your post, i have a similar preoccupation with an external fear that is real and which other people are frightened by but somehow do not let it dominate their lives.

it is the underlying cause of my compulsions, i feel i have to do things to try and prevent it happening, my brain tells me that if i don't then it will seem that i'm being blase about it and then it might happen as a kind of punishment for this. but as the fear is real, i don't see how i can cope with it like other people do.

i also feel sometimes that it isn't ocd, that i am right to worry to this extent and that my behaviour has some kind of influence on external events. i know that logically this makes no sense but then not everything in this life is logical is it?!

but then in other ways my lesser obsessions and compulsions do seem to fit ocd and i can recognise them as being caused by ocd... i certainly identify with your confusion! :(

sorry if this wasnt much help!

lisa xx

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