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malina

Health obsessions

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I've always had worries about health but this was never my main problem with OCD. However, in the last few weeks it has exploded. I'm having a weird sensation now, where I've been feeling weakness/stiffness in one side of my body for about 2 weeks. I actually think this is real and not anxiety related because it happens when I put pressure on a certain part of my back and then passes after about an hour or so. I went to see my GP, who took me seriously but couldn't give me an explanation. She didn't think it was anything serious but I'm going for a follow up in 2 weeks.

For the past 2 weeks, I've felt as if I'm dying, though! Logical me was thinking, ok this is a muscular or nerve thing. OCD me was thinking I have MS. It's still hard to shake the feeling without a concrete explanation. I've been crying thinking that I'm going to die or become physically disabled soon. 

Also, in the last few days I've started thinking I have problems with my vision. It has never bothered me before, but suddenly I look around me and things just look different, it feels like I'm looking at something far away, I find it especially hard when reading. But then, when I forget the problem, I don't notice any problems and when I'm anxious about it, it suddenly becomes a problem.

 

What is going on with me? It's driving me crazy, part of me really thinks I have something serious!! :( 

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Hi Malina, sorry to hear about your troubles.  I can relate as I have recently been through something similar.  OCD definitely can play havoc with our minds in situations like this so I understand your anxiety and frustration.  Here are some observations/realizations I had during my situation:

1. Stress and anxiety can cause physical symptoms.  I too believed I was having vision problems, and since it had been ages since I saw the eye doctor I decided it would be reasonable to schedule an appointment.  When they looked they found nothing serious but since it had been so long they had nothing to compare my current vision to so schedule a 1 month follow up to see if there would be any noticeable changes.  So one month later I went in (my OCD having subsided quite a bit for other reasons) and low and behold not only was my vision not worse, it was slightly better.  The doctor mentioned both times that vision can fluctuate based on physical illness, stress, etc. anyway PLUS when we notice something (in my case some slight blurriness in one eye) we tend to focus on it, even if it was always there before and we never just noticed it much.

2. Sometimes we just don't feel well.  Unfortunately our bodies aren't perfect and we sometimes get sick or injured.  Sometimes those are mild so we don't notice them directly but can feel the symptoms.  For example you might have a slight pinched nerve that is causing your sensations. And, like with the eye problem above, its entirely possible the physical sensations were always there, or are at lest not really that new, and you just didn't particularly notice them before, your OCD hadn't latched on to them.

3. Absent acute, significant symptoms, its often a good idea in my experience, when dealing with feeling just slightly "off" to assume its no big deal and any panic (including thoughts of things like MS, I TOTALLY went through that too by the way) is not productive and not really warranted.  In my case this time, as in basically every other time i've gone through this in the past, it was no big deal and I started to feel better before long.  Granted that doesn't mean serious things can't or won't happen, but when they do symptoms don't tend to resolve, they tend to escalate, so you'd notice over time.

Anyway, you did a reasonable thing by getting checked out by your doctor, now the best thing you can do is accept the answer you have been given and try not to dwell on it/ruminate on it.  My bet is in time it will pass, but if it doesn't that still doesn't mean its something fatal or severe.  Listen to your doctors advice, do whatever follow ups they suggest and chalk it up, for now, at least to being human and having an amazing, but complicated and imperfect body to live in.

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10 hours ago, dksea said:

Hi Malina, sorry to hear about your troubles.  I can relate as I have recently been through something similar.  OCD definitely can play havoc with our minds in situations like this so I understand your anxiety and frustration.  Here are some observations/realizations I had during my situation:

1. Stress and anxiety can cause physical symptoms.  I too believed I was having vision problems, and since it had been ages since I saw the eye doctor I decided it would be reasonable to schedule an appointment.  When they looked they found nothing serious but since it had been so long they had nothing to compare my current vision to so schedule a 1 month follow up to see if there would be any noticeable changes.  So one month later I went in (my OCD having subsided quite a bit for other reasons) and low and behold not only was my vision not worse, it was slightly better.  The doctor mentioned both times that vision can fluctuate based on physical illness, stress, etc. anyway PLUS when we notice something (in my case some slight blurriness in one eye) we tend to focus on it, even if it was always there before and we never just noticed it much.

2. Sometimes we just don't feel well.  Unfortunately our bodies aren't perfect and we sometimes get sick or injured.  Sometimes those are mild so we don't notice them directly but can feel the symptoms.  For example you might have a slight pinched nerve that is causing your sensations. And, like with the eye problem above, its entirely possible the physical sensations were always there, or are at lest not really that new, and you just didn't particularly notice them before, your OCD hadn't latched on to them.

3. Absent acute, significant symptoms, its often a good idea in my experience, when dealing with feeling just slightly "off" to assume its no big deal and any panic (including thoughts of things like MS, I TOTALLY went through that too by the way) is not productive and not really warranted.  In my case this time, as in basically every other time i've gone through this in the past, it was no big deal and I started to feel better before long.  Granted that doesn't mean serious things can't or won't happen, but when they do symptoms don't tend to resolve, they tend to escalate, so you'd notice over time.

Anyway, you did a reasonable thing by getting checked out by your doctor, now the best thing you can do is accept the answer you have been given and try not to dwell on it/ruminate on it.  My bet is in time it will pass, but if it doesn't that still doesn't mean its something fatal or severe.  Listen to your doctors advice, do whatever follow ups they suggest and chalk it up, for now, at least to being human and having an amazing, but complicated and imperfect body to live in.

Thank you!!! I really appreciate your insight. For the time being, I'm trying to do exactly what you said and just treat it as normal fluctuations in my body. It's just making me feel really down, especially the reading thing because I read all day long, for work and for fun, and now it's making me anxious every time I do it. And of course, as you said, the anxiety makes the problem worse. Deep breaths....

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