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Hi,

So as you may know from my previous posts, I went through a phase of wondering whether my entire reality is created within my mind. I think I am just about past this now, although, it does come back at times.

What's bothering me now is the whole issue of time and we only really have the present moment. Which is what got me involved in this stuff in the first place - this book my dad told me to read which freaked me out.

Like anything you ever look forward to, it always comes and it goes, doesn't it? Nothing lasts. So how can we really enjoy anything? If you listen to a song, you're just listening to moments and after moments, not an actual song.

Also, I keep getting the urge to ruminate about the whole, 'why are we here? why are there humans? Did we really evolve from bacteria over millions of years? Why was there such thing as bacteria? Why is there anything?'.

I know I need to just not think about it and refuse to engage with it, but it is so difficult at the moment.

Has anyone else ever gotten past existential themes? To a point where they can look back at it and think it was stupid? Really struggling to see how I will ever be able to let this go at the moment...

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The theme has just evolved into something else. By any chance was the book you read 'the power of now' by eckhart tolle? The same book sparked that obsession in me but I was able to kick it to the kerb, because that's what it is, an obsession. Treat it as such. You only have now anyway, so why waste time on worrying on what ifs? :)

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Solipsism, existentialism and other riddles appear to occupy you. Your recent post is about working memory - the psychological process of capturing an event in the mind such as a song, film, book or whatever and how this is encoded into long term memory. And things related to biology and evolution. My approach is formulating such questions into scientific questions. But I am a materialist I believe in an external reality which is knowable.

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5 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

The theme has just evolved into something else. By any chance was the book you read 'the power of now' by eckhart tolle? The same book sparked that obsession in me but I was able to kick it to the kerb, because that's what it is, an obsession. Treat it as such. You only have now anyway, so why waste time on worrying on what ifs? :)

It was yes. I don't really know why I read it. The thing is, before I started thinking about all this stuff, I was actually relatively happy. I loved life, even though I had my moments. I just find it hard I'll be able to get back to that state. As I feel like I've got Tolle sat on my shoulder questioning everything.

He's either right, or deluded, or one of the greatest con men in history. It's all the what ifs.

I think the solipsism obsession has just about passed.

The thing is, materialism makes absolute sense to me. The question which is bothering me most now is, why is there anything? Why did we evolve from bacteria etc? And I know that we will never know why obsess about it. And the whole time thing is worrying... even though now I can see that time is linear process, which is backed up by the theory of relativity etc. I know I shouldn't be thinking about this stuff. I'll try and just ignore it like I did with the previous theme.

The numbness scares me. I don't know if anyones experienced this. And the seriously extreme tiredness. But I'll keep going...

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3 hours ago, Paul92 said:

The numbness scares me. I don't know if anyones experienced this. And the seriously extreme tiredness. But I'll keep going..

That's just an indicator of a tired overworked brain. More reason to stop ruminating. You're exhausted.

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Yes, overthinking. 

And the book has, put simply, spawned some intrusive thoughts which your OCD has focused right in on and is having a field day as a result. 

The proof of course that there is nothing in all of this is simple - had you not read that book, you wouldn't be thinking along these lines. 

It's just another OCD theme, and has no more power than anything else we give belief to in OCD. 

While lying in bed this morning I suddenly experienced an intrusive thought of the type that used to floor me when I was really struggling from OCD. 

So what happened? 

It produced that immediate whoosh of anxiety as the brain immediately reacts in micro milliseconds to it. 

But whereas before this would have been the cue to me to give meaning to it, experience a full anxiety response and drop into a cycle of distress, I applied what I have learned to do. 

I stopped, realised this was an OCD intrusion, didn't connect with it, and gently but firmly eased the intrusion out of mental focus and away. 

Then returned to what it was I was doing. 

This is the  response that has to become a new focus, a new learned behaviour, for us to escape from the stranglehold of our obsessions, whatever they are. 

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11 hours ago, Paul92 said:

Has anyone else ever gotten past existential themes? To a point where they can look back at it and think it was stupid?

I used to get really bad with existential themes...now I'm still aware of the themes but can actually engage with them where it's just interesting to  me.

Kind of like someone getting over contamination ocd (my current theme) and then getting over that and being able to do just normal cleaning and washing, enjoying it, knowing about germs but not getting overly worried about them...

I did take quite a bit of time where I didn't engage with the thoughts as best I could though...just did what I could to distract from them, very much the process as Taureen describes above...and what I am working to do when contamination themes come up for me!

 

 

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14 hours ago, Paul92 said:

Has anyone else ever gotten past existential themes? To a point where they can look back at it and think it was stupid?

No matter what the OCD theme is, people have gotten over it.   You may not encounter too many people on this forum who talk about what its like on the other side, after getting over it, because for the most part as they recover they don't visit as often, they get on with their life.  A few of us stick around to try and help out for various reasons, and we can share some of our recovery, but not necessarily every topic.  But the fact that there are millions upon millions of people diagnosed with and treated for OCD and yet only a handful of people spend time on these forums should give you a good idea that, for the most part, OCD sufferers can and do recover and it doesn't particularly matter what their theme was.

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19 hours ago, Paul92 said:

Has anyone else ever gotten past existential themes? To a point where they can look back at it and think it was stupid?

Yes. I have been there massively. I used to think that life was some sort of 'Truman Show' and I was the main character. I used to think maybe I was real and everyone else were robots. This used to kick in a lot when I had 'premonitions' and 'deja vu'. I used to think 'have I lived this life before and remember it?'. Then I thought 'I need to do this life 'right' to move onto the next level of reincarnation'.

It really all was the product of a highly imaginative overactive mind that wanted to put any reasoning behind something quite ambiguous. Worrying about this wasted a lot of time and effort and the questions became relentless.

Treat it as OCD and then you can see in time that it is a pointless exercise. Nobody has an answer for any of this, we only have life as we know it so make the best of it in terms of enjoyment. That's what I did.

Edited by Orwell1984

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Thank you all for the replies. You all make so much sense and I'm trying to put what you say into practice. I can't thank you all enough. 

It's strange how it seems to morph from one thing into another. The solipsism seems to have gone completely and I've started seeing people as people again, rather than fragments of my mind. 

It's the issue of time that is freaking me out now, but I'm trying to ignore it. Time goes so fast... how much can we enjoy anything? Everything comes and goes, nothing lasts forever. We think about 'tomorrow', but it will be here before we know it and then it will be gone. I just find it strange.. and a bit scary at the moment. 

I guess the thing to do is just live normally. Before I understood that time went quick, which made me think we need to just enjoy every day... 

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I really need some help right now. I'm starting to wonder whether this is more than just OCD and I'm entering psychosis or something. I literally can't stop my thoughts. I just feel really numb and I can't even function.

It's the whole thing about time now. It moves so fast. It's saturday now. But it will be Monday morning before I know it. And then next weekend. Then it'll be christmas again. Then the next one. Nothing lasts forever. And before I know it, I'll be dead. So what's the point in anything?

My head is fried. I can't even explain what I mean. If I live constantly in the 'now' I feel like a zombie but then I feel like a zombie now.

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4 hours ago, Paul92 said:

I really need some help right now. I'm starting to wonder whether this is more than just OCD and I'm entering psychosis or something. I literally can't stop my thoughts. I just feel really numb and I can't even function.

It's the whole thing about time now. It moves so fast. It's saturday now. But it will be Monday morning before I know it. And then next weekend. Then it'll be christmas again. Then the next one. Nothing lasts forever. And before I know it, I'll be dead. So what's the point in anything?

My head is fried. I can't even explain what I mean. If I live constantly in the 'now' I feel like a zombie but then I feel like a zombie now.

Glad your solispism has got better mines improved too.

And yes the fear of dying thoughts are common with ocd too I have these too and yes time does go fast. And yes I often wish I could freeze time and stay In the moment. Sometimes I like just sitting relaxing watching time go by as it goes past slower. 

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When I am happy - which is most of the time now - time doesn't drag, I enjoy our - and my - time, socialise with lots of people, and the weeks fly by. 

But I don't mind that. We all pass this way but once, so taking time out to slow things down a bit and meditate is a great way to flesh time out, slow it down a little. 

I am working on losing weight - I need to move from the obese to overweight banding :yes: because the doctor is clear that my ongoing health depends on it. 

So my wife and I are doing this together. And we are doing plenty of things together to maximise our time together. 

So slowing things down, finding things to enjoy along the way helps. 

When I was working I went to the gym/pool at our health club twice a week. Wednesday evening on my own - it broke the week up into two distinct parts, and on Sunday morning with my wife. 

It kept us fit, and slowed my week down. 

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Exactly, everything flies by. It's scary. 

I'm past all the new age mumbo jumbo and the solipsism but this has knocked me for six. 

Is it even an ocd thing this time? 

Like last night, I was looking forward to playing a gig. It came and it went. Now it's Sunday morning. 

I'm dating a girl. She's lovely. But how long will we even get together? We will both die one day... So aren't we already dead in a way? 

You might say, well, it's a ticket to make the best of every day.. And if we lived forever, we wouldn't appreciate life, which makes sense I guess. 

But at the moment it just makes everything seem really pointless, doesn't it? 

Edited by Paul92

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1 hour ago, Paul92 said:

But how long will we even get together? We will both die one day... So aren't we already dead in a way? 

I have this thought a lot. It is an obsession that needs to be ignored. 

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I think stuff like that too, mostly about why are we here? How did it happen? When will it all end? Etc BUT it is not an OCD theme for me as I don’t get overly anxious about it, just kinda curious, I’ve always been a curious person. I think everyone thinks these thoughts but it’s to the degree that they bother u that matters.xx

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My mother-in-law had a bit of this, but she didn't have OCD. She just worried about all sorts of things (as well as having black-and-white thinking). 

We both met up in her lounge at 3a.m.and she told me she had a worry on. 

She said she was worrying about how she was going to die. 

I said it was a pointless worry as, other than taking our own lives, it was something over which we had no control. 

Years later, when she did die, it was in her own bed in her own room in her care home, with her son and daughter-in-law by her side. 

We need to categorise worries into those we can do something about, those we need to manage, and those we can do nothing about. 

Anyone recognising themselves as a worrier reading this, well this is your way forward to avoid unnecessary anxiety. 

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3 hours ago, Wonderer said:

I think stuff like that too, mostly about why are we here? How did it happen? When will it all end? Etc BUT it is not an OCD theme for me as I don’t get overly anxious about it, just kinda curious, I’ve always been a curious person. I think everyone thinks these thoughts but it’s to the degree that they bother u that matters.xx

I had a couple of days of thinking why are we here etc. I don't care so much about that sat here now, we just are here. I like this world, so I'm not questioning it. 

It's just this issue of time moving so fast that's freaking me out. And I don't know if its ocd. 

3 hours ago, taurean said:

My mother-in-law had a bit of this, but she didn't have OCD. She just worried about all sorts of things (as well as having black-and-white thinking). 

We both met up in her lounge at 3a.m.and she told me she had a worry on. 

She said she was worrying about how she was going to die. 

I said it was a pointless worry as, other than taking our own lives, it was something over which we had no control. 

Years later, when she did die, it was in her own bed in her own room in her care home, with her son and daughter-in-law by her side. 

We need to categorise worries into those we can do something about, those we need to manage, and those we can do nothing about. 

Anyone recognising themselves as a worrier reading this, well this is your way forward to avoid unnecessary anxiety. 

I'm not too fussed about figuring out how I will die. I don't really care. Like I say, it's just time that is making everything seem a bit pointless. 

I guess the lesson is to just make the best of the time we have here. But my mind won't shut up about it, noticing the passage of time. I just cleaned my house. I really didn't want to, but now it's done. If I look forward to a football match, it'll be over before I know it. My birthday is in June. It'll be here before I know it. So Ill be dead before I know it. 

I'm seeing this girl and she's wonderful. But before we know it, we will both be gone. 

Again, I guess it's about enjoying the ride. But because you know its going to end, it makes me wonder how much value you can even place on anything. 

 

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Well if those aren't focused obsessional thoughts, then I am probably a Dutch uncle :)

The compulsion? Questioning it, posting topics seeking enlightenment. 

The answer, as usual in OCD, is - when your brain is trying to operate along this very fixated line of thinking, is to note it, think "oh that's just my silly, worthless obsession" and refocus away. 

And separately, work some ERP on the basis it's OCD at work creating a problem out of pointless nonsense. 

Yes we pass this way but once and we have the one life - but it is there to be enjoyed and appreciated as well as working to earn a crust. 

Break OCD's rules: refuse to play its game, and as with all themes you can kick this one into touch. 

Remember, when OCD intrusions don't get attention then, in due course, they lose power and frequency. 

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2 hours ago, taurean said:

Well if those aren't focused obsessional thoughts, then I am probably a Dutch uncle :)

The compulsion? Questioning it, posting topics seeking enlightenment. 

The answer, as usual in OCD, is - when your brain is trying to operate along this very fixated line of thinking, is to note it, think "oh that's just my silly, worthless obsession" and refocus away. 

And separately, work some ERP on the basis it's OCD at work creating a problem out of pointless nonsense. 

Yes we pass this way but once and we have the one life - but it is there to be enjoyed and appreciated as well as working to earn a crust. 

Break OCD's rules: refuse to play its game, and as with all themes you can kick this one into touch. 

Remember, when OCD intrusions don't get attention then, in due course, they lose power and frequency. 

Thank you so much. You've been a constant source of support for me over the past few weeks, I owe you a depth of gratitude. It is difficult sometimes to recognise whether something is OCD or not.

Again, I'll do my best not to engage with it. I've done this before but I think it crept back in a little. And then it came to this whole theme of time etc.

I remember speaking to someone at work a few weeks ago when I was exploring the new age spiritual movement. She said, well yes I have thought what is the point in anything if we are going to die one day anyway. At the time this wasn't my obsession, so I explained to her why it was a stupid thing to think about. She doesn't have OCD though. She was saying how she had had that thought once or twice, but it clearly never bothered her again.

Now I am obsessing about the same thing that I was arguing against only a few weeks ago!

The mornings are the worst for me. When it gets to late evening/night time, my mind seems to unstick a little. Sitting here now at 10 to 10, I feel relatively okay. It is still there but I am functioning. It's strange isn't it. Still in two minds about whether to take my Sertraline.

Thanks again.

Paul

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Hi Paul. 

I think you have found the source of this obsession. Looks like your OCD decided to focus in on it after your discussion with that lady. 

N. B. I would say the point of it all is very clear to me from watching the generations of pigeons in my garden, and the wonderful programme the secret life of the zoo. 

Since we all have finite lives, we take our place but mate to create offspring. They grow up and create offspring, producing a tribe of people /animals to keep the breed, clan, family going and maintain life on earth :)

I have my mother and father's family trees - my father's goes back to 1642 - and am proud to take my place within it. 

 

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9 hours ago, Paul92 said:

It is difficult sometimes to recognise whether something is OCD or not.

General rule of thumb: If you think it might be OCD, it probably is :)
 

9 hours ago, Paul92 said:

She said, well yes I have thought what is the point in anything if we are going to die one day anyway. At the time this wasn't my obsession, so I explained to her why it was a stupid thing to think about. She doesn't have OCD though. She was saying how she had had that thought once or twice, but it clearly never bothered her again.

I don't think its stupid to consider mortality, and the purpose of life, and such, but I don't think its very productive to dwell on it, especially to the point where you end up wasting large amounts of time that could be spent actually living life.  Unfortunately thats what we tend to do with OCD, so its important to recognize that and work to avoid/mitigate it.
 

9 hours ago, Paul92 said:

Now I am obsessing about the same thing that I was arguing against only a few weeks ago!

Aye, one of the (many) crappy things about OCD.  Something doesn't bother us one day then it can end up consuming our lives the next.

 

9 hours ago, Paul92 said:

The mornings are the worst for me. When it gets to late evening/night time, my mind seems to unstick a little. Sitting here now at 10 to 10, I feel relatively okay. It is still there but I am functioning. It's strange isn't it.

I also found mornings to be the most difficult.  Maybe its the various chemicals spinning around in your body when you wake up trying to stimulate your body for the day, not all that far removed from the "fight or flight" response.  Maybe its the feeling of going from the relative safety of sleep to taking on a day where you have to fight with OCD again.  Maybe its just that I've never been a morning person.  Even now I'm far more productive and "awake" after lunch and into the evening than in the morning.
 

9 hours ago, Paul92 said:

Still in two minds about whether to take my Sertraline.

If you have started already I recommend continuing on a regular schedule to get the full benefit and see how it will affect you.  Taking it sporadically will likely serve little benefit and could exacerbate symptoms in the short term by causing greater fluctuations than normal in your neurochemistry.  If you haven't started yet I can understand your reluctance.  I was skeptical when I was first offered medication as a solution.  A lot of that was social stigma, I didn't want to be "crazy", only "crazy" people took those kind of drugs.  There are also people who have concerns about potential side effects or the idea that if they start taking the medication you won't be "you" anymore.  All understandable concerns, taking any medication is something that shouldn't be done on a whim.  At the same time SSRI's have a long history of benefiting sufferers of OCD.  Many years later, talking with my mom about the onset of my OCD, she described me after taking the medication as being like "me" again, the me I was BEFORE the OCD kicked in.  Rather than changing me from who I was to someone new, it restored me to myself.  I think if your doctor has prescribed it, its because they genuinely believe it will provide you with some benefit.  While it doesn't let you off the hook for CBT, it will probably make dealing with OCD easier, and in the end thats what we all want.  Of course ultimately the decision is yours, but I hope you'll seriously consider it.

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Thanks for that dksea. 

I really hope it is an OCD theme. But something tells me like I've just realised a reality of life. Like I've seen through an illusion. But then again, everybody knows they will die one day, and that time goes fast, but they just carry on. 

Doing my absolute best to not engage with it. Which is really making me feel a bit sick. It's so difficult to not focus on time. Like when people in the office are talking about what they did on the weekend. I just think they were looking forward to it, now it's gone. It makes me so anxious. 

Before I was just happy filling my time with whatever. It's strange how things can change. 

As for Ssris  I am worried about side effects. And I sort of think that taking a tablet every day might remind me of it all. 

I was talking to a colleague about time earlier. He said it is weird yeh. But he's clearly not concerned like I am. 

Edited by Paul92

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Paul, if you allow the feelings of anxiety to be there and accept that the thoughts about time passing quickly cannot be stopped or swayed, your brain will become bored of them.

At the moment you are responding to them like they are a threat by analysing them and answering or attempting to answer the questions posed by them which your brain interprets as 'oh this is important so I'll focus on it even more and send more scary thoughts and ideas to Paul's perception' and the whole thing grows.

If you act like you are bored of them by not answering the urge to analyse and figure out, you brain literally will become bored of them and will send the thoughts less frequently.

Realise it is a pointless waste of energy anyway focusing on the time problem. Facts are, you are here on this earth as is everyone else who does not know the reasoning behind the passage of time, but it doesn't bother other people because they aren't focusing on it and therefore aren't ill because of compulsively picking at it. 

You are ill because you are giving it too much attention and making your brain believe it's a direct threat to you.

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5 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

Paul, if you allow the feelings of anxiety to be there and accept that the thoughts about time passing quickly cannot be stopped or swayed, your brain will become bored of them.

At the moment you are responding to them like they are a threat by analysing them and answering or attempting to answer the questions posed by them which your brain interprets as 'oh this is important so I'll focus on it even more and send more scary thoughts and ideas to Paul's perception' and the whole thing grows.

If you act like you are bored of them by not answering the urge to analyse and figure out, you brain literally will become bored of them and will send the thoughts less frequently.

Realise it is a pointless waste of energy anyway focusing on the time problem. Facts are, you are here on this earth as is everyone else who does not know the reasoning behind the passage of time, but it doesn't bother other people because they aren't focusing on it and therefore aren't ill because of compulsively picking at it. 

You are ill because you are giving it too much attention and making your brain believe it's a direct threat to you.

:goodpost:spot on Orwell. 

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