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fear of being hacked ocd?

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can someone maybe talk me through this? i realize how irrational it sounds, but i couldn't handle the consequences of it.

so lately i've been really into a certain site. like, the things on this particular site are what keep me going and make me happy. so of course my ocd decides to switch themes and attack it...

basically i'm afraid someone is going to get access to my personal email, find the emails from ocd forums like this one, read all my posts, and expose me for it - thus making everyone on this site i'm enjoying hate me. i've posted about my pocd on several different forums, and if it was any other form of ocd, i wouldn't care if people found out. but there is no way non-ocd people would read those posts and understand them. i'm panicking nearly every second at the idea of the people i love thinking i'm a p*dophile.

this started because i messaged a random person on that website to 'test' and see if i was banned, and played it off as an accident (another compulsion). i'm afraid that somehow made them angry and they're gonna be the one to hack me (for whatever reason?? they haven't even replied, and i wouldn't really expect them to).

here's the thing... how likely is this exactly? my ocd is telling me this has already happened and i'm just waiting to be exposed for it. if this did happen, the person would have to get into my account without me knowing (which would be difficult because i have 2FA) THEN get into the email i have listed on that account (which isn't even my personal email, and again, 2FA) and THEN find my personal email somehow, sift through it, and find my ocd forum emails. part of me knows how irrational it is, but the other part of me is so scared of it that i don't even care. i keep thinking of situations where this could happen  - like how i could have missed an email stating someone broke into my account, because i've switched emails so many times out of paranoia. the email could have been sent to my previous deleted email in the minutes before i switched to my new one. which again, i'm pretty sure i would've gotten a notice from my 2FA, but UGH.

i've since deleted every email i have, but again, my ocd is telling me that i've already been hacked and someone saw those emails. i've checked and double checked and triple checked all of my email security settings, and i don't see any suspicious activity. the site i love doesn't have those features so i can't check there. my stupid brain won't let me stop panicking.

if i justttt delete my account and remake a new one, i could be 'safe'. and even if the 'hacker' did find those emails already, they wouldn't have a name to pin them to if i made a new account. but i've already done that once before. and put actual money into it. and my friends would wonder what in the world i was doing if i did it again... i'm feeling so drained, and i can't even enjoy that site anymore because of this. :( can anyone give me some advice?

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Stop doing everything you've been doing. No more checking security settings. No more deleting accounts. No more everything.

You are cauding your distress by doing these compulsions. Slow down and stop the compulsions and get your mind onto other things and the distress will start to ease.

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thanks polarbear, unfortunately i made myself worse because i found an unnamed phone logged into my email, in addition to my phone (conveniently around the time i started to obsess about this) which actually is something to worry about...

though i'm pretty sure it's just a glitch and actually is my phone -  the IP address matches my phone from another account, and the location is in my city, but i'm still super anxious. don't understand why this would happen now... thought it was just paranoia :( now i'm trying to figure out what's going on, ugh.

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feeling quite defeated over it, my brain is now telling me i've been secretly banned from that site because no one has directly acknowledged my messages... but i'll try to distract myself!
and thank you for replying - eases my anxiety a bit to have someone listen :)

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i've unfortunately dug myself into another hole with this by doing something stupid...

i needed customer service for the acc in my original post, the one that's incredibly important to me. i had to sign up for another website to contact customer service, and being lazy, i used a temporary email service. if you don't know what that is.. it's basically a site where you get a random email, no password, and anyone can access it if they have the address. the customer service site emails you whenever you have a message, so i assume all of the following conversation got sent there.

the problem is, these messages obviously contained info about my acc - my username and my support case #. people post these things publicly all the time... but i’m so afraid if anyone saw it they’d try to hack me. i’m so dumb for using an email that anyone could access if they tried.

i’ve taken the necessary steps to protect against hacking (2FA and strong password) but i’m terrified. my mind is telling me someone’s gonna get into my account and message people, tell them awful things about me, and i won’t find out. i don’t know how likely this is but... my stomach is in knots and my heart won’t stop pounding. :(

i feel like the account is contaminated and it needs to be deleted again. i haven't been able to eat or sleep properly in days... i feel so sick. do i just wait to get hacked? and wait for these terrible things to happen? because that's what i feel like i'm doing, just being a sitting duck... 

Edited by rosy

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Hi @rosy, welcome to the forums.  Sorry to hear you are having a rough time.
So first, what Polar Bear said is absolutely correct, engaging in compulsions is only going to dig you deeper in the OCD hole.  We all understand how it can seem like doing one at the time is necessary, you are just looking for that little bit of relief, but it only makes things worse in the long run.  The best thing you can do going forward is to try and avoid doing things like checking, etc. as much as possible.  You probably won't be great at it at first, its hard to stop old habits like that, especially with OCD involved, but you need to make a conscious effort to do so.

Because the reality is, your fear is vastly out of proportion to the situation you are in.  The reason it feels so big, so scary, so important to you, is OCD, not because this is a thing thats likely to happen.

So right now you are spending a lot of energy trying to make yourself 100% hack free.  The harsh truth is thats an impossible mission.  No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, there is always going to remain a possibility, however small, that you might get hacked.  This is not because of hacking, or anything related to you, this is simply the truth of the universe.  You can't truly be 100% sure about anything.  Replace fear of being hacked with fear of having a heart attack.  You can eat healthy, you can get exercise, you can do all the "right" things, and you could STILL have a heart attack for any number of reasons.  You could replace hacking or heart attack with literally any scenario and I could come up with a theoretically possible way for it to happen no matter what you did to try and stop it, its just the reality of the universe we live in, the possibilities are basically endless.  BUT they are also sometimes exceedingly remote.

You are spending an enormous amount of time and energy trying to defend against being hacked, but also worrying about the possibility of being hacked.  Why?  Because OCD has you focusing on the worst case consequences if that happens.  What about all the other possibilities, like you never get hacked.  or you do get hacked, but no one actually cares about your information.  Or you get hacked and someone tries to share some of your information but no one sees it, or you get hacked, someone shares your information and no one cares about it because they realize its no big deal.  These are all far more likely possibilities than your worst case fear.  And even if, and I can not stress IF hard enough, your worst case scenario happens, life will go on.  

OCD demands that we be 100% certain, an impossible goal.  You can play OCD's game, spending your time worrying, engaging in compulsions to try and stop the worry, etc.  You'll always lose, no matter how hard you try you won't be able to reach 100% because its impossible.  Or you can fight OCD the right way, by NOT playing its game, by NOT doing compulsions, by accepting uncertainty and working towards recovery.  Yes, you will still feel anxiety and you will still feel bad, at first, but you will teach your brain in time that what you have been worrying about isn't actually worth it, and the worry will fade.  You will get your life back.

I know you want us to tell you that you won't get hacked, that you've properly protected yourself with 2FA and what not, but no matter what you do, we can't promise that you'll never get hacked, none of us can see the future, we just don't know.  And even if we lied, even if we told you that you wouldn't get hacked, you'd worry about it again before long, because reassurance is just another compulsion.  So Ii can tell you you probably won't get hacked, and I can tell you that life will go on even if you do, but most importantly I can tell you that playing OCD's game doesn't work, you just get worse in the long run.  Time to change direction.

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@dksea thank you so much for the thoughtful reply - the part about all the other possibilities clicked with me. i find myself 'catastrophizing' a lot, and thinking only about the worst case scenarios, so much to the point where i feel like i'm just waiting for it to inevitably happen. i'm feeling a little better from earlier and trying not to ruminate on the thoughts too much. it's just hard when it involves something you hold closest to your heart 😖 the thought of losing it all is unbearable.

i wouldn't expect other people to understand if they somehow found my pocd posts - i was going through a very hard time and felt the need to paint myself in the worst light possible, so that my ocd couldn't come back later and say 'oh you forgot this detail' or 'you sugarcoated this'. reading them back makes me anxious, even though the kind people that replied told me i was normal. i guess the real fear isn't even about getting hacked, it's about non-ocd people finding these posts, and being hacked would just be the first step to that.

i know it's not realistic for anyone to say i'm not going to get hacked, even though it's what i want to hear. like you said, my ocd would find another way to worry about it. i appreciate the honesty! i'll try my best to get on with my life. when i had hocd, i forced myself to stop the compulsions and move on... and that's the only theme that hasn't come back, lol. the rest have just been replaced by another theme, and thrown into the rotation to come back sooner or later. these fears are just a lot harder to kick for me.

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