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Pranjali

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@dksea thank you for such a detailed explanation. It takes a lot to empathize and actually make someone understand. Thanks once again, really.

And now as much as I am trying to hold my grip (which sometimes I feel is more of result of medication and not may be my effort), I am riddled with another worry. And unlike so many other posts, this one does which I am going to narrate does not seem to under OCD and if it all does, then I cannot fathom how.

To tell you the gist, I have already spoken a lot about punishment, me feeling like a cheater, me feeling like not a nice soul and so on.  And as luck would have it, the feelings kind of strengthened today evening where I felt guilty and like criminal again.

A friend of mine (A), who was seeing someone (B), had confided in me about their relationship, assuming and trusting that I would not breathe a word. It so happened that I happened to speak about their relationship to a close friend (C) of mine who is fairly close to my friend too. I hope we are on the same page - my friend, her partner and my close friend. And unfortunately my friend and her partner broke up a few months back and one of the reasons which they had fought over was if I would have shared it with my close friend (C) as B (friend's partner) wanted to keep the relationship private. A and B knew my close friend C to an extent.

I had never told my friend (A) about this until now because this detail was redundant according to me for her to know. Today, out of the blue, she threw this question at me- if C asked me about it or if I told him. My face gave it away and she was visibly hurt. Though my close friend (C) has not breathed a word about this to anyone, then it dawned on me that this entire issue was one of the major reasons of their break up. 

And as much as no one is to blame in this, the only person who messed up is me. I broke her trust, I was a reason for their break up in a way though my close friend (C) has revealed nothing and it just suddenly occurred to my friend (A) to ask me. 

Now I am back to feeling miserable. This nagging thought which is surfacing that says if I played a role in their relationship, I should be punished and not be with my fiancé because I do not deserve it after spoiling their relationship.

I feel sick yet again, guilty this time of spoiling someone's life when I know my friend (A) still likes her ex.

This, does not seem like an OCD textbook case. I mean this is how everyone would feel right. My idea of self punishment scares me and makes me extremely anxious.

Thank you for your inputs. @dksea @St Mike and everyone else as well for their understanding, means a lot.

 

 

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Do not care if your compulsions/obsessions are not the same as others. If you do find that your ocmpulsions and obsessions are the exact same as someone else OCD will just twist it a little bit and you will be at the same spot again, doubting why you are not having the same as others and it will convince you of all kind of things so you keep on doing what you are used to.

Edited by OCDhavenobrain

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15 hours ago, Pranjali said:

A friend of mine (A), who was seeing someone (B), had confided in me about their relationship, assuming and trusting that I would not breathe a word. It so happened that I happened to speak about their relationship to a close friend (C) of mine who is fairly close to my friend too. I hope we are on the same page - my friend, her partner and my close friend. And unfortunately my friend and her partner broke up a few months back and one of the reasons which they had fought over was if I would have shared it with my close friend (C) as B (friend's partner) wanted to keep the relationship private. A and B knew my close friend C to an extent.

I had never told my friend (A) about this until now because this detail was redundant according to me for her to know. Today, out of the blue, she threw this question at me- if C asked me about it or if I told him. My face gave it away and she was visibly hurt. Though my close friend (C) has not breathed a word about this to anyone, then it dawned on me that this entire issue was one of the major reasons of their break up. 

And as much as no one is to blame in this, the only person who messed up is me. I broke her trust, I was a reason for their break up in a way though my close friend (C) has revealed nothing and it just suddenly occurred to my friend (A) to ask me. 

Now I am back to feeling miserable. This nagging thought which is surfacing that says if I played a role in their relationship, I should be punished and not be with my fiancé because I do not deserve it after spoiling their relationship.

I feel sick yet again, guilty this time of spoiling someone's life when I know my friend (A) still likes her ex.

This, does not seem like an OCD textbook case. I mean this is how everyone would feel right. My idea of self punishment scares me and makes me extremely anxious.

The part in bold is where I see OCD coming in to play.  There are two issues here, first that the thought is recurring.  Second, that you are taking such an extreme view of the situation, both in assigning yourself the guilt for their relationship not working out AND that you see that as a reason to punish yourself and your fiancé.

It is reasonable to feel bad, especially if you made a mistake.  If your friend asked (or it was more than reasonable to expect) that what she told you would be kept in confidence and you broke that confidence that was not the right thing to do.  Your friend would have the right to be upset at that, and you would be acting reasonably if you felt bad for doing that. It would be reasonable to remember this incident in the future and try to do a better job of respecting the privacy requests/expectations of others.

However, to blame yourself completely for their relationship not working out or to believe that the only fair punishment is to ruin your own relationship is not a reasonable response.

A pattern I see repeating here is holding yourself to an impossible standard and buying in to a false thought that in order to prove you are a good person, you must commit extreme acts of self-punishment.  This strikes me as OCDish behavior as well, the intrusive thought being "I'm a bad person" and the self punishment as a compulsive response to try and shed some of the anxiety you feel by "proving" you aren't bad, that you'll accept the punishment you "deserve".  Only it won't work, because you'll come up with another scenario or memory or false memory where you feel you have done something wrong and the cycle will start again.  It will truly be never-ending if you let it, and you definitely don't deserve that!

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On 04/12/2018 at 23:16, Pranjali said:

Thank you for your inputs. @dksea @St Mike and everyone else as well for their understanding, means a lot. 

You are most welcome.

Everyone here understands what you are going through at the moment because we have all been gone through it ourselves. I am using my knowledge and experience to help a family member overcome this dreaded condition. From my own oberservations, OCD can and do, run in families. I highly suspect that there is a genetic component to OCD. Anyway, I try my best to accompany the family member when they are visiting the psychiatrist and through my urging, managed to book an appointment with a psychologist (who has an office just next door to the psychiatrist) for CBT sessions. I highly recommend you go for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) when things in your life have settled down. Medication can alter and improve mood but it can't de-condition faulty/distorted thinking caused by OCD, this requires personal effort from ourselves and therapy gives you a good structured framework for overcoming this condition. 

The following are some changes which I made to my lifestyle that I think might be useful to you:

1. Quit or reduce Alochol consumption

From personal experience, alcohol made my OCD much worse, intrusive thoughts came on stronger and more frequently during my drinking years. I gave it altogether and I have never regretted doing so. It seems that alochol made my mind "mushy" even when I was sober. I tend to succumble to intruisve thoughts and subsequent compulsions more easily as compared to, after I quit alochol. 

2. Practise Mindfulness

Centring my mind and bringing it to the present is a daily practice for me. When I notice that I start to dwell on a thought for too long or when I start to ruminate unnecessarily, I gently bring myself back to the present. I strengthen this practice by doing my mindfulness of breath and Metta (loving-kindness) meditation. These 2 forms of meditation are by far the strongest weapons in my psychological arsenal against OCD and guard against any possible relapse.

3. Exercise

It is widely reported that exercise helps to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is already something I personally exeperience when I made exercise a regular activity. My mood improved so much when I stop slouching infront of my PC or TV after work and started going to the park or the hill to do calisthenics and/or hiking. Being around nature while exercising also gives me a chance to incorporate mindfulness. I put all my thoughts aside and just take in the sights and sounds of nature while doing warm-ups or hiking, it is a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoy it!

Take care and always, always be kind and forgiving to yourself.

 

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2 hours ago, St Mike said:

I put all my thoughts aside and just take in the sights and sounds of nature while doing warm-ups or hiking, it is a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoy it!

Take care and always, always be kind and forgiving to yourself.

Mindfulness is absolutely brilliant for me, especially so because it switches my mind away from active,doing, trying-to-solve mode, where we do our obsessing and carrying out compulsions, and into that calm benign brain area, where we just be, in the present in the moment. 

And adding self-love and kindness overcame all the nonsense of OCD saying "I am bad I should be punished"  for some misdemeanor, or alleged, misdemeanor. 

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On 05/12/2018 at 12:22, dksea said:

The part in bold is where I see OCD coming in to play.  There are two issues here, first that the thought is recurring.  Second, that you are taking such an extreme view of the situation, both in assigning yourself the guilt for their relationship not working out AND that you see that as a reason to punish yourself and your fiancé.

It is reasonable to feel bad, especially if you made a mistake.  If your friend asked (or it was more than reasonable to expect) that what she told you would be kept in confidence and you broke that confidence that was not the right thing to do.  Your friend would have the right to be upset at that, and you would be acting reasonably if you felt bad for doing that. It would be reasonable to remember this incident in the future and try to do a better job of respecting the privacy requests/expectations of others.

However, to blame yourself completely for their relationship not working out or to believe that the only fair punishment is to ruin your own relationship is not a reasonable response.

A pattern I see repeating here is holding yourself to an impossible standard and buying in to a false thought that in order to prove you are a good person, you must commit extreme acts of self-punishment.  This strikes me as OCDish behavior as well, the intrusive thought being "I'm a bad person" and the self punishment as a compulsive response to try and shed some of the anxiety you feel by "proving" you aren't bad, that you'll accept the punishment you "deserve".  Only it won't work, because you'll come up with another scenario or memory or false memory where you feel you have done something wrong and the cycle will start again.  It will truly be never-ending if you let it, and you definitely don't deserve that!

Thank you @dksea for your response. But I am really struggling at this moment. I tried to distract myself with work. Perhaps steadily my friend and I might start talking usual with some filters of course. But the guilt that I ended their relationship makes me want to punish myself that I expressed, and that idea of self punishment freezes me. But I feel wrong if I am happy with my fiancé after being so terrible with someone. Though in the beginning I was trying to justify myself to my friend, but after that I have apologized a number of times and I am ready to right now as well. But if she is ready to put that behind or rather I would say she is taking time to be normal with with because this is something, she would not forget, it is killing me. I am not able to make peace with the fact that it was me who was responsible for their break up. I told my fiancé too about this and he opined like the way you did. He was like you should not have let it out, but it is okay what is done is done. I am feeling feeling pathetic. And the minute I think about 1) me being the spoiler in their relationship 2) moving away from fiancé , both the points make my stomach churn. Almost a year back I was in the same state, I am back to square one. 

I cannot see the way you are seeing it. This is so real for me and my proposed response is so reasonable for me. I feel sick.

 

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20 hours ago, St Mike said:

You are most welcome.

Everyone here understands what you are going through at the moment because we have all been gone through it ourselves. I am using my knowledge and experience to help a family member overcome this dreaded condition. From my own oberservations, OCD can and do, run in families. I highly suspect that there is a genetic component to OCD. Anyway, I try my best to accompany the family member when they are visiting the psychiatrist and through my urging, managed to book an appointment with a psychologist (who has an office just next door to the psychiatrist) for CBT sessions. I highly recommend you go for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) when things in your life have settled down. Medication can alter and improve mood but it can't de-condition faulty/distorted thinking caused by OCD, this requires personal effort from ourselves and therapy gives you a good structured framework for overcoming this condition. 

The following are some changes which I made to my lifestyle that I think might be useful to you:

1. Quit or reduce Alochol consumption

From personal experience, alcohol made my OCD much worse, intrusive thoughts came on stronger and more frequently during my drinking years. I gave it altogether and I have never regretted doing so. It seems that alochol made my mind "mushy" even when I was sober. I tend to succumble to intruisve thoughts and subsequent compulsions more easily as compared to, after I quit alochol. 

2. Practise Mindfulness

Centring my mind and bringing it to the present is a daily practice for me. When I notice that I start to dwell on a thought for too long or when I start to ruminate unnecessarily, I gently bring myself back to the present. I strengthen this practice by doing my mindfulness of breath and Metta (loving-kindness) meditation. These 2 forms of meditation are by far the strongest weapons in my psychological arsenal against OCD and guard against any possible relapse.

3. Exercise

It is widely reported that exercise helps to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is already something I personally exeperience when I made exercise a regular activity. My mood improved so much when I stop slouching infront of my PC or TV after work and started going to the park or the hill to do calisthenics and/or hiking. Being around nature while exercising also gives me a chance to incorporate mindfulness. I put all my thoughts aside and just take in the sights and sounds of nature while doing warm-ups or hiking, it is a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoy it!

Take care and always, always be kind and forgiving to yourself.

 

@St Mike thanks for your advise. Yes, I have reduced my alcohol consumption because I am actually pretty scared. I mean I am capable of having a drink with a friend and thinking and believing multiple scenarios post that. Mindfulness, yes. But there is a part of which brings me back to feeling pathetic and the chain never stops. 

I am not sure if you read about the instance I shared on this thread which makes me guilty. Then my idea of self punishment of being away from my fiancé follows because I don't deserve to be having after spoiling someone's relationship. For me to believe that could be OCD feels like an excuse.

It is difficult for me. I am tired of this 

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1 minute ago, Pranjali said:

@St Mike thanks for your advise. Yes, I have reduced my alcohol consumption because I am actually pretty scared. I mean I am capable of having a drink with a friend and thinking and believing multiple scenarios post that. Mindfulness, yes. But there is a part of me which brings me back to feeling pathetic and the chain never stops. 

I am not sure if you read about the recent instance I shared on this thread only, which makes me guilty. Then my idea of self punishment of being away from my fiancé follows because I don't deserve to be having after spoiling someone's relationship, numbs me as well. For me to believe that could be OCD feels like an excuse. Seriously.

It is difficult for me. I am tired of this.

 

Edited by Pranjali

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18 hours ago, taurean said:

Mindfulness is absolutely brilliant for me, especially so because it switches my mind away from active,doing, trying-to-solve mode, where we do our obsessing and carrying out compulsions, and into that calm benign brain area, where we just be, in the present in the moment. 

And adding self-love and kindness overcame all the nonsense of OCD saying "I am bad I should be punished"  for some misdemeanor, or alleged, misdemeanor. 

@taurean thanks for the suggestions. But I am struggling. Why and how I can be kind and forgiving towards myself, when I hurt someone and broke their relationship? Shouldn't be punished for doing wrong to someone? For me, mindfulness seems as a short term help honestly. It is not being sustainable for me and I go back to feeling miserable. You may say keep trying, but really instances keep piling and I really lose the urge to persist because the instances which surface are actually real for me.

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2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

Thank you @dksea for your response. But I am really struggling at this moment. I tried to distract myself with work. Perhaps steadily my friend and I might start talking usual with some filters of course. But the guilt that I ended their relationship makes me want to punish myself that I expressed, and that idea of self punishment freezes me. But I feel wrong if I am happy with my fiancé after being so terrible with someone. Though in the beginning I was trying to justify myself to my friend, but after that I have apologized a number of times and I am ready to right now as well. But if she is ready to put that behind or rather I would say she is taking time to be normal with with because this is something, she would not forget, it is killing me. I am not able to make peace with the fact that it was me who was responsible for their break up. I told my fiancé too about this and he opined like the way you did. He was like you should not have let it out, but it is okay what is done is done. I am feeling feeling pathetic. And the minute I think about 1) me being the spoiler in their relationship 2) moving away from fiancé , both the points make my stomach churn. Almost a year back I was in the same state, I am back to square one. 

I cannot see the way you are seeing it. This is so real for me and my proposed response is so reasonable for me. I feel sick.

 

@dksea the friend (C) I shared it with did not breathe a word about this I am sure. So A and B know about this. So this was the last argument on which those two fought and after almost a year when my friend (A) asked me I had said yes I had told him friend (C) who did not share it with anyone. A and B had had their own share of fights before that too but after that this particular argument, B ended this. (A and B did not name this as relationship either as such as they wanted to keep it low key)

My fiance and close friend are saying it is not your fault because this would have happened anyway, you didn't have a role to play. Because A and B back then too did not know about this that C knows and I have told C. They broke regardless of that, is what they are saying. But this feels like an excuse to cover my wrongs. I feel guilty to be happy with someone because I still feel I was the cause for it. But if someone asks me how, I do not have a logical explanation.

I feel hopeless.

Edited by Pranjali

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5 hours ago, Pranjali said:

@taurean thanks for the suggestions. But I am struggling. Why and how I can be kind and forgiving towards myself, when I hurt someone and broke their relationship? Shouldn't be punished for doing wrong to someone? For me, mindfulness seems as a short term help honestly. It is not being sustainable for me and I go back to feeling miserable. You may say keep trying, but really instances keep piling and I really lose the urge to persist because the instances which surface are actually real for me.

Mindfulness is a long-term benefit to health and wellbeing and helps to keep me away from any attempts by OCD to muscle back in. 

Obsessing on an alleged ( or real) misdemeanor, exaggerating its importance then feeling we must be punished is classic OCD. 

And the more we, compulsively, think about it then maybe more "takes"  on it, or the theme, surface - like it seems for you. 

We, in OCD, can take some small thing then grossly exaggerate its importance and possible consequence.

I have a confident, very easy, friendly relationship with women. Am I being "unfaithful"  to my wife with this?  Should I be punished? 

Of course not. Such a thought would truly be the "worthless nonsense"  that our obsessions in OCD really are. 

OCD is so powerful a thought and feeling that I have had debates on here about all sorts of people's obsessions. 

Such as believing they scowled at a person in the supermarket, haven't seen that person since - so has that person committed suicide as a result? 

There is no end to the obsessional thoughts and resultant behavioural response OCD can evoke. 

But hang on. There is an end. Because when we truly commit to CBT and the addition of other helpful practices such as mindfulness, relaxation, keeping busy, and exercise, we can  break free from OCD. 

Without this therapy and add-ons, and the help of this wonderful charity and forums, I would still be stuck in the vice-like grip of OCD. 

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9 hours ago, Pranjali said:

Shouldn't be punished for doing wrong to someone? 

I can say with some confidence that there is not a single person alive who has not done wrong to someone, most of us repeatedly, sometimes unknowingly, sometimes selfishly - this is the human condition.  Do you think it is (a) logical and (b) beneficial for every single person on earth to walk around continually punishing themselves for an indefinite period? Who would this help? What would be the benefit? If you had a son or daughter who came to you and confessed they had done something "wrong", would you respond by telling them they must punish themselves for an indefinite amount of time and never be happy again? I seriously think not - any parent who did this would be considered a monster.  So if it is not logical for other people to feel like this, why should you - what makes you so different and special? 

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32 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

So if it is not logical for other people to feel like this, why should you - what makes you so different and special? 

This is spot on GBG. 

I have been guilty of this - thinking I was a "special case",  why wasn't anyone listening etc? 

We aren't special - we are simply sufferers from some manifestation or other of OCD. 

 

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12 hours ago, Pranjali said:

@St Mike thanks for your advise. Yes, I have reduced my alcohol consumption because I am actually pretty scared. I mean I am capable of having a drink with a friend and thinking and believing multiple scenarios post that. Mindfulness, yes. But there is a part of which brings me back to feeling pathetic and the chain never stops. 

I am not sure if you read about the instance I shared on this thread which makes me guilty. Then my idea of self punishment of being away from my fiancé follows because I don't deserve to be having after spoiling someone's relationship. For me to believe that could be OCD feels like an excuse.

It is difficult for me. I am tired of this 

 

There are a couple of points I want you to consider before you start buying into the distorted thinking caused by OCD.

You say that leaving your fiancé will be your punishment for the OCD-assumed cause of the break up of your friend's relationship.

Don't you think it is extremely selfish of you to break up with your fiancé when he has done nothing wrong in the first place and your only reason for doing so is to relieve the guilt caused by your obsession/intrusive thoughts?

Have you considered his feelings and love for you?

I don't mean to sound harsh but your OCD can destroy your future happiness and you need to stand firm against this obsession and the guilt tripping which you are now experiencing. Try your best to take on board the advice that has been given. Recognise how your OCD works and get acquainted with its tricks.

Stop ruminating about this incident, it is irrelevant to your future bliss.

Focus on recovery and the many happy life adventures you are going to have with the man you love.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Pranjali said:

But I am struggling. Why and how I can be kind and forgiving towards myself, when I hurt someone and broke their relationship? Shouldn't be punished for doing wrong to someone? For me, mindfulness seems as a short term help honestly. It is not being sustainable for me and I go back to feeling miserable. You may say keep trying, but really instances keep piling and I really lose the urge to persist because the instances which surface are actually real for me.

 

18 hours ago, Pranjali said:

They broke regardless of that, is what they are saying. But this feels like an excuse to cover my wrongs. I feel guilty to be happy with someone because I still feel I was the cause for it. But if someone asks me how, I do not have a logical explanation.


The way you are approaching this is called "black and white thinking" and its (unfortunately) a very common behavior among sufferers of OCD.  Basically its the belief that there are two and ONLY two options.  In your case that would be something along the lines of either:
1) If I suffer I am taking responsibility for my actions
2) If I don't suffer I am a terrible person who is excusing what I did

The thing is, this type of thinking is almost always a lie.  In this case there is a 3rd option.  
3) You can feel bad for a mistake you made, you can apologize and if possible try and make amends, and you can get on with your life.

This is the option which you must embrace.  It does not mean you are innocent, it doesn't mean you did not do something which may have caused pain to your friend (Though, again, I don't believe you are responsible for their break-up).  It means you are human, just like me or anyone else (unless you are really a robot, which DOES make things more interesting :robot: )

We ALL make mistakes, but it would be unreasonable for us to suffer permanently because of that.  Allowing yourself to move on does not mean you are a bad person, it means you are human.  Learn from your mistake, try and make it right IF you can (and sometimes that means just giving the other person space/time) and continue living your life.

Why is it so hard to do that? OCD.  OCD causes you to feel doubt, you feel doubt at the idea that its ok to feel good again.  Its not an excuse to recognize that OCD is making you feel this way, even though you worry about that.  Its normal.  You need to take a chance that everyone around you is right and the OCD is lying to you.  Yes at first it will feel difficult, you will feel anxiety, but its the way forward, the way back to a normal life, which everyone deserves, no matter what mistakes they've made.
 

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Sorry for not reverting earlier.  I was reflecting on what you said for a couple of days and for some odd I had different set of worries for 2 days each. 

Last week, my fiance's grandmom passed away and I felt guilty that it was due to me. Because I had been asking for self punishment, God decided to give it this way where his family is grieving. Post that, I had similar thoughts about his grandfather and I freaked out feeling I am wishing the same for the grandfather.

If that was not enough to consume my mind, today I have woken up with this feeling of being inadequate of making my fiancé happily physically in terms of intimacy. I feel inadequate and suddenly this sense that he would not be happy.

Over the last few days I realized something. That is I love my fiance to bits and my biggest biggest anxiety is to lose him. For years I have seen a future with him. And as the wedding is planned in less than 15 days, I have this nagging fear of if this will go well, if we would work out and so on. Adding to this anxiety, is remembering the astrologer who said years back that I might have a long relationship but it might not work. And when both these sets of anxieties come together, I cannot function. I cannot think straight.

I know I have been harping about similar things over weeks and it might have started to seem as a repetition. 

But then I go and dwell on basics sometimes. Starting with if this is even OCD or just an excuse? And if yes it is, can someone have different themes spread out across days?

Like I said if I dig deeper, I guess my biggest anxiety stems from the thought of not being able to be with my fiance. The anxiety stems from the thought of losing him and me being responsible for anything hurtful. And if I were to be honest, as much as I have wanted to marry my fiancé, I have quite anxious about this for years now.

But then what does not make sense to me is that if that nagging thought makes me anxious (obsessions), where are my compulsions in the instances I have narrated over weeks here? Self punishment and rumination I suppose? Or these are only my obsessions? Do O and C both feature in OCD or it can be only obsessions? But then my thoughts about punishment have been real for me which could be put under the bracket of compulsions. I feel lost. Or is just that we are putting a blanket on this entire issue to avoid facing the issues?

I am tired of this. My psychiatrist has told me, people on this forum have pointed out that this is a case of OCD. But then I am fed up. I am going to be looking into CBT with self help books. Everyday gave something to worry about, something that gets me down and name everything as OCD makes me feel timid. If it was not for Polarbear, I do not know how I would have survived through this.

I feel small because this post again feels like I am ruminating.

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2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

Last week, my fiance's grandmom passed away and I felt guilty that it was due to me. Because I had been asking for self punishment, God decided to give it this way where his family is grieving.

This is what we call magical thinking. It is an OCD theme. You are assuming what God is thinking when it is quite obvious no one knows that, only God himself knows.

 

2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

Adding to this anxiety, is remembering the astrologer who said years back that I might have a long relationship but it might not work.

A relationship depends on the efforts of two individuals, not just you alone. Noone can be exactly sure how the future will turn out. Some people will tell you to totally disregard what the astrologer said, it is hogwash and superstitious nonsense but that to me, would be culturally insensitive and to some extent, racist. Soothsaying and divination are still very much a part of tradition and culture in the East.

The wisest advice I have ever received with regards to soothsaying and divination is to put my faith in my own efforts first; hardwork and determination can overcome the hardest obstacles in life, even those that were foretold by the stars. According to my beliefs, fate is not fixed, it is fluid and can improve or depreciate with what I do and how I go about doing it. Put what the astrologer said aside, concentrate on working on the relationship and the life journey ahead. Trust me, you will be too busy later on to think about what the astrologer said. 

 

2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

And if yes it is, can someone have different themes spread out across days?

Yes, themes can jump about, I myself experienced theme jumping before.

 

2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

I am tired of this. My psychiatrist has told me, people on this forum have pointed out that this is a case of OCD. But then I am fed up. I am going to be looking into CBT with self help books.

Self-help is a good start. However, I would recommend going to see a qualified OCD therapist if that option is available.

 

2 hours ago, Pranjali said:

I am ruminating.

Indeed you are but that is common, it happens to us at one time or another. Recognise that rumination is a compulsion and you have to wean yourself off this compulsion.

 

Edited by St Mike

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19 hours ago, Pranjali said:

But then I go and dwell on basics sometimes. Starting with if this is even OCD or just an excuse? And if yes it is, can someone have different themes spread out across days?

Again, in order for the OCD to be something you just made up to use as an excuse you would have to have put in a TREMENDOUS amount of effort to become an expert on OCD and actively decided to mimic the symptoms well enough to convince multiple people, including trained medical professionals, to believe your charade.  The odds of you accidentally faking OCD so well are pretty much zero.

And absolutely OCD themes can shift and change or be about things completely unrelated.  OCD can be about anything, any thought that gives us anxiety can be one where we experience OCD.

 

19 hours ago, Pranjali said:

But then what does not make sense to me is that if that nagging thought makes me anxious (obsessions), where are my compulsions in the instances I have narrated over weeks here? Self punishment and rumination I suppose? Or these are only my obsessions? Do O and C both feature in OCD or it can be only obsessions? But then my thoughts about punishment have been real for me which could be put under the bracket of compulsions. I feel lost. Or is just that we are putting a blanket on this entire issue to avoid facing the issues?

There is a term you might come across when reading about OCD or visiting forums like this one called "Pure-O".  Some people label their type of OCD as "Pure-O" because they mistakenly believe they don't have any compulsions due to not exhibiting any overt physical behaviors such as counting, checking, hand washing, etc.  This is what I believed I had for a time when I was first diagnosed.  The reality is there is no such thing as "Pure-O" OCD, the compulsions are absolutely there, they are just not as obvious externally.  Rumination is the most likely compulsion, though confession and reassurance seeking are also common.  These mental compulsions are certainly tricky because they are less easily distinguishable (its pretty clear if you are washing your hands 5 times in a row, less clear that you've fallen in to a mental loop of analyzing and re analyzing a situation over and over).  So yes rumination is definitely a compulsion you have (its probably one most if not all OCD sufferers have).  And yes I'd say your urge towards self-punishment is also a compulsion.  Its a type of reassurance seeking, by punishing yourself you are reassuring yourself that you are a good person, not someone who would just do "bad" things and not care.  

Also its not surprising you describe your thoughts about self punishing as 'real', of course the thoughts are real.  If you have a thought, its a real thought, but that doesn't mean the thing you are thinking about is TRUE.  Real vs true, thats the difference.  I could have the thought "I am a fluffy unicorn!", but that doesn't mean i am ACTUALLY a fluffy unicorn (I am not, for the record a fluffy unicorn).  The thought is real, the reality is not.  Or I could have a thought about an action: "What if I swerved my car on to the sidewalk and ran over all those people!".  The thought is real, but it doesn't mean I would actually do it.  If that were true every murder mystery write (like Stephen King) or horror moving director would be out killing thousands of people.  The thought is real, in that someone had the thought, but it doesn't mean the action is something that truly happens.   And you can even WANT to do a thought, for example maybe your coworker is talk a lot and you think "I wish I could just tell them to shut up!".  You HAVE the thought, that thought is REAL, but you don't do it.  Even if you really want to do it, you have control over the situation and you decide not to because you think it would be a rude thing to do, or it would make you look bad to your boss, or lots of reasons.  In all those cases you had a real thought, because ANY thought you have is by definition a real thought.  You either have a thought or you don't.  The thought feels real because it must be real if you had it, but the meaning behind it, the reality around it, THAT doesn't have to be real or true.

So in your case I'm sure you have had many thoughts about punishing yourself but that doesn't mean you deserve to be punished or that punishing will make things better, anymore than me having a thought about being super wealthy means I am super wealthy or will become super wealthy.  A thought is just a thought.

 

20 hours ago, Pranjali said:

I feel small because this post again feels like I am ruminating.

It is a bit of ruminating, true, but you don't need to feel small, OCD is hard!  Its not easy to have to learn how to deal with things that most people never have to think about like we do.  Its hard to learn to do manually what most brains do automatically.  Doing laundry by hand takes hours, doing laundry in a laundry machine takes minutes.  Having to first understand and then learn to manage OCD is a tough challenge, you should not feel bad about not being able to master it right away.  I've had OCD for 25 years and I am still always learning how to handle it better.  Imagine a professional cricket player.  They don't just pick up the bat on the first day and become a pro, they have to work at it and learn and become better.  And even when they get to the top levels, they still have to practice and can still improve.  Fighting OCD is similar, you don't just one day figure it out and suddenly all your questions are answered, its something you have to DO not just know.  You have to work at being better at not ruminating.  You have to work at handling obsessive thoughts in a more healthy way.  It takes time and work, but the result is that you can live a life where you are in charge and not your OCD.  So don't be hard on yourself because you aren't perfect yet.  Instead make a plan and start working to get better.  The goal is to do your best and work towards improvement, not to be perfect.  You WILL make mistakes, thats ok, its part of being human, its part of learning.  I am learning to speak a new language (Japanese) and I make mistakes all the time!  Why?  Because its hard to learn a new language.  But if I stopped because I made a mistake I'd never get better, i'd have to give up from day one.  Or compare it to people who stop smoking.  Often it takes them many many times to quit completely, and even those that do seldom say one day "I am never going to smoke again!" and suddenly stop completely.  Nearly all of them gradually get better, and the ones that do it gradually, with a plan, and understanding that setbacks will occur.  Meanwhile the ones who try to stop immediately seldom succeed because as soon as they have ONE setback, they give up since it didn't "work".  You are probably going to struggle with stopping ruminating for awhile, because its something you have gotten in the habit of doing.  Create a realistic set of goals and work towards that and I'm sure you can succeed.  Thats what CBT is all about.

One technique I found that helped me deal with my rumination was to have a journal where I wrote thoughts down.  Now this could become a compulsion, instead of ruminating in my head every day I COULD have ended up ruminating on paper.  To avoid this trap I placed limits on when, and how long I could journal and I tried to avoid (though again, wasn't always perfect) about covering the same events, or the same themes over and over.  For example if you were journaling about your situation you might write down in your first journal entry about the European trip you are worried about.  After that entry though you should try and avoid writing about that particular worry again.  The idea is to allow yourself the opportunity to get your thoughts out, but not to dwell on them.  Its not going to cure you of your OCD simply by writing things out, but it might help you process them better and feel like you've done something in addition to make you recognize more clearly when and what you are ruminating about.  You'll know for example, that if you wrote out some thoughts about a topic that if you then start thinking about those thoughts again and again you're ruminating and you can work at stopping doing so.  Hope that helps, but remember, to keep it form becoming a compulsive behavior you have to set clear limits and stick with them, just like a person who has a hand washing compulsion should still wash their hands, they just aren't allowed to do it more than once and for more than a set amount of time.

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Thank you @St Mike and @dksea. I really appreciate your detailed well explained replies, not to say that it is reassuring because it would sound like a compulsion. But after reading all your replies, there is a sense of relief and solace that I am not alone. People on this forum have it worse may be. But having said that I must also mention that after sometime I switch back to that OCD spiral again.

Last two days have been particularly bad for me. Not that I was doing any great before that. But there was at least some tab on the extent of rumination, I give that to my medication more than my thought process. But last two days I have slipped back. Slipped back miserably to have started ruminating.  Today morning I broke down hopelessly because everything seemed so bleak, your mind set when you get gripped by the thoughts and there is no way you can get out.

I am still ruminating and have self punishing thoughts, which I am tired about. But then they still scare me. If I see this entire scenario from the fence and keeping your and psychiatrist's views in mind, I kind of feel my obsession has been my thoughts whether I will end up with my fiance settling down with him. I think this has been my obsession for it is one of the causes of the anxiety. And now that I look back, I realize may be this has been on my mind for years, this is one thought if I start to think has given me immense anxiety. (And the difference was I had not spent hours thinking about this thought, but then it always has made me anxious. @St Mike and one of the reasons could be the astrologer saying certain things which I wish I had not heard or was shared with me). To reflect further, my compulsions have been ruminating and self punishment to prove that I am not a bad soul and for all the wrongdoings I have been a part of, I deserve suffering which could help me make myself a better person; but then I know it is going to hurt everyone around me. 

I am not sure if I can share this on this forum, with some level of trust and anonymity I choose to; my psychiatrists in the one of her first sessions had opined that mine was a case of OCD with sexual thoughts. And I am not sure again if to say this here, but I was abused as a child during my school days for a few months. Sometimes I feel I enjoyed it, sometimes I feel let it happen. I was not sure I guess what was happening to me then. I had confided in my mom and we had kept the entire issue behind.

When I started dating my fiance, I told him this and he was of course understanding about it. In the past few years, that issue did not surface as such. I had kept it aside/blocked it. My psychiatrist feels that the Europe episode was the start of my OCD and it has some roots in the childhood instance. I am unable to fathom how, because for years in between it did not affect me. This year has been one of fearing men, fearing to go close to a man and talk and so on. And now the height is I am anxious about being intimate with my fiance, which was not the case for so long. I am aghast and stumped as to how can a childhood instance surface out of the blue and it has some bearing on the disorder I have today. I feel guilty that my fiance has to go through this suddenly for no fault of his.

Is CBT the way forward? Is this kind of sexual anxiety related to OCD? If yes, is this treatable? Any suggestions on how I can make things better my fiance and me (in terms of intimacy). I am weary to share all this with people otherwise and my psychiatrist said take it slow. But the thing is the idea of taking it slow, makes me ruminate. May be it is subconscious that I remember the images from my past but they did not stem in the years! Why now? I feel really guilty of making my fiance suffer in this. He has been patient for almost a year and I still cannot grapple this. I really want to get a grip on this anxiety - of two sorts - one about the future with my fiance and two of the sexual intrusive thoughts. I want to cry!

Looking forward to your reply.

Thank you.

Edited by Pranjali

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I am very sorry to hear you were abused as a child. Always remember it is never the fault of the child, the child is the victim. As mentioned before, OCD occurs when the sufferer performs compulsions to obtain relieve from intrusive thoughts, thoughts that causes distress. I am in no postion to say whether what happened to you as a child is the cause of your OCD or your fear of being intimate with man. If it is something that is causing distress now, whether as post traumatic stress disorder or something that your OCD is latching on, it has to be treated. Has your psychiatrist recommended any therapy?

 

22 hours ago, Pranjali said:

To reflect further, my compulsions have been ruminating and self punishment to prove that I am not a bad soul and for all the wrongdoings I have been a part of, I deserve suffering which could help me make myself a better person; but then I know it is going to hurt everyone around me.  

This issue has been addressed in earlier posts. Firstly, why must it be self-punishment? Can't it be doing good deeds instead? Rather than make yourself suffer, why not make the people and yourself happy with good deeds? This is the black and white thinking that OCD sufferers often have. Either way, doing either action at this point time with your OCD running at full gear would be a compulsion. So in my opinion, it is best not to do either, just concentrate on your big day and recovery later on. Recognise your thinking is temporary skewed, and it will change once you undergone CBT.

There are many forum members more knowledgeable than me, I do hope they can chip in to offer advice to specific areas.

Lastly, Congrats on your wedding. I know it is hard for you at the moment. Try your best to focus on the positive and joyful moments, OCD can be cured. You can change the way you think.

Take care and Best Wishes

 

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On 19/12/2018 at 19:10, St Mike said:

I am very sorry to hear you were abused as a child. Always remember it is never the fault of the child, the child is the victim. As mentioned before, OCD occurs when the sufferer performs compulsions to obtain relieve from intrusive thoughts, thoughts that causes distress. I am in no postion to say whether what happened to you as a child is the cause of your OCD or your fear of being intimate with man. If it is something that is causing distress now, whether as post traumatic stress disorder or something that your OCD is latching on, it has to be treated. Has your psychiatrist recommended any therapy?

 

This issue has been addressed in earlier posts. Firstly, why must it be self-punishment? Can't it be doing good deeds instead? Rather than make yourself suffer, why not make the people and yourself happy with good deeds? This is the black and white thinking that OCD sufferers often have. Either way, doing either action at this point time with your OCD running at full gear would be a compulsion. So in my opinion, it is best not to do either, just concentrate on your big day and recovery later on. Recognise your thinking is temporary skewed, and it will change once you undergone CBT.

There are many forum members more knowledgeable than me, I do hope they can chip in to offer advice to specific areas.

Lastly, Congrats on your wedding. I know it is hard for you at the moment. Try your best to focus on the positive and joyful moments, OCD can be cured. You can change the way you think.

Take care and Best Wishes

 

@St Mike thanks a lot for your reassuring words. Yeah some days are really tough, let's see. Thanks again for hopeful and kind words.

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Hello there..I am back again..Not sure if people on this thread remember me anymore..that person with OCD who believed self punishment is the way to compensate for your sins. Anyway just to give an update of the past three months almost, I was doing okay. Tried to immerse myself in work..got married to my fainace..reduced medication..distracted myself with work..but then.. yesterday I do not know why..I ended up going back to that very instance in Europe..not that I was trying to solve that puzzle.. because I realized again a part of me does not feel like it is a puzzle and believes that I screwed up. Those thoughts of self punishment, emotions of guilt and feeling of being good for nothing began to surface yet again. As much as I thought or would like to feel that it was momentary, Everytime I got up from sleep I woke up with a lurch in my stomach, that slight churn which I am familiar with..Back then it was intense, now it has started to crop up..and slowly my mind seems to have started thinking of that instance, the following phase and so on more than it should. I am scared. 

Edited by Pranjali

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58 minutes ago, Pranjali said:

but then.. yesterday I do not know why..I ended up going back to that very instance in Europe..not that I was trying to solve that puzzle.. because I realized again a part of me does not feel like it is a puzzle and believes that I screwed up. Those thoughts of self punishment, emotions of guilt and feeling of being good for nothing began to surface yet again.

Hi Pranjali, first off , congrats on your wedding!  I hope you had a wonderful time!  I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble again.  It can be very frustrating when OCD intrusive thoughts pop up again after seeming to fade into the background for awhile.  When you are just beginning to deal with OCD this can be especially frustrating, you feel like you've finally got things under control, that your problems are behind you, and then it comes back and you feel like things will never get better.  Unfortunately OCD is, at least for now, a chronic condition, its not something we can cure.  But you can treat and manage OCD, such that it doesn't interfere much if  at all with your normal life.  That takes time though, which is frustrating.

The good news is you know that you can make progress, you know you can have times where this isn't an issue for you.  So like before you have to keep doing the CBT work, keep avoiding compulsions like rumination and checking and confessing.  Remind yourself that you don't HAVE to respond to these intrusive thoughts, no matter how much the OCD makes it seem like you must.  Easier said than done of course, but it really does work.  You can think of it like saving money.  Every day you put a few spare coins in a jar.  At first its not much, you really don't think its making a difference, but if you keep at it everyday, after awhile you notice how full the jar is, you have a lot of extra money you didn't realize and you can enjoy that.  Same with OCD, you put in a little work here or there everyday with CBT, it seems at first like you are making no progress, but then you look back on the change over time and you are surprised at how far you've come.   Hang in there, you are stronger than OCD.

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Hello everyone, I am back. Thanks @dksea for those words, have been trying to implement certain strategies but last two days specially today just feels impossible.

 

I am in that rut of my thoughts and feelings taking hold of me and leaving me with nothing but only repeated going back on those instances. What triggered is, I had accompanied a friend of mine to smoke (I do not smoke, she wanted to), I saw this beer bottle lying near the place where we were. And all I know now is I drank from the bottle. The last few times OCD has overpowered, the trigger had been alcohol (or was it inferred) so I had decided to stay away from it. In the past few months when I had confided in my parents about my thoughts, they had strictly warned me off from touching alcohol because it only causes stress and triggers the entire rut all over again. 

Going back to this particular instance, I spoke to this friend of mine - she is like you did not even touch that bottle and sounded extremely certain about it. I am convinced I drank from that bottle. I do not know why I feel guilty, before OCD was in picture I used to drink, but having gone through the ordeal my folks advised me against it sternly for my good of course, I know if I tell them this they will disown me. I feel sick and overwhelmed with guilt. 

I am not sure this time around 'how to stop ruminating' because all I can think of this instance and a multiple instances of the recent past when things have gone bad specially with OCD being in picture! As always, it almost feels like you falter and you have OCD to blame and your mind wants to get away by labeling it as OCD. This is not OCD, this is my stupidity. I cannot frame my thoughts but I feel like I am back to square one. This disorder (if it is still in play in this case, which I doubt) seems to be a constant endless struggle.

 

Edited by Pranjali

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17 hours ago, Pranjali said:

I am not sure this time around 'how to stop ruminating' because all I can think of this instance and a multiple instances of the recent past when things have gone bad specially with OCD being in picture!

I'm sorry to hear you are going through a difficult period again, I know how frustrating and depressing that can be.  Stopping rumination is particularly tricky because unlike, say, hand washing, its something we can do immediately, in any situation, and often do without even actively trying. It becomes our default response, but that doesn't mean you can't unlearn it.  At first, yes you will find that your mind jumps to this compulsion quickly and frequently.  Given the pain it causes it can be natural to feel let down when you notice it, and focus on how hard it is, so keep in mind, its totally normal to struggle with this, especially at first.  So step one is to recognize that you are not going to be perfect at this, especially in the beginning.  You'll make mistakes and you'll find yourself ruminating more than you'd like.  Step two is to have an active response plan, when you notice yourself ruminating, gently remind yourself that you don't have to do it, you don't have to answer the question that OCD is presenting you, you can get on with your day, and try to refocus on whatever you were doing or find something to do if you were doing nothing.  It doesn't have to be anything super difficult, it can be as simple as reading a book, watching a tv program, going for a walk, writing an e-mail you have been putting off, etc.  And the tricky part, you'll probably still have the intrusive thought bouncing around "but what IF you DID drink that beer??".  Don't try and answer it, just let it be there.  Its like a child or younger sibling who is trying to annoy you, if you just ignore them they get bored and go away :)

 

17 hours ago, Pranjali said:

As always, it almost feels like you falter and you have OCD to blame and your mind wants to get away by labeling it as OCD. This is not OCD, this is my stupidity.

No, this is definitely OCD.  A non-OCD person wouldn't worry about a random beer bottle like this.  An OCD-person without an anxiety related to drinking (myself for example) wouldn't have a problem seeing a random beer bottle.  And before this particular obsession kicked in you didn't have this problem, you didn't even register the many many beer bottles you saw.  Remember, if you think it MIGHT be OCD, it PROBABLY is.

 

17 hours ago, Pranjali said:

I cannot frame my thoughts but I feel like I am back to square one. This disorder (if it is still in play in this case, which I doubt) seems to be a constant endless struggle.

It is frustrating when setbacks like this happen, and its absolutely understandable to be bothered by it.  However, as frustrating as it is, you are definitely not back to square one.  You are in a rough spot to be sure, but you are better equipped to handle it, you have learned a little bit a long the way, and you may not realize it, but you are stronger than you were before.  Unfortunately OCD isn't something you can overcome quick and easy.  its not like a cold that lasts for a few days and then you feel better again.  Thats definitely frustrating, and totally unfair, but it is what it is, so we have to deal with it as best we can.  The analogy I have often seen is to think of it like a marathon, not a sprint.  You may not go particularly fast at any one time, you may even stumble from time to time, but if you keep going, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you reach the end, and when you do you will have accomplished something great.  As long as you keep getting up, keep moving forward, you'll eventually reach your goal.  Not as quickly as any of us would prefer, but you will get there, and when you do it'll be so worth it.  You can beat this, but sometimes that means taking it one day, or even one hour, at a time.  It won't all be bad days though, you know that because it hasn't been even since this started.  Hang in there!

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