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Terrible Paranoia Over Feared Notes


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I am still struggling so badly. I have a terrible fear that I have written and will write more notes wrongly accusing people of being paedophiles.  It has taken over my life. I'm scared to barely move for fear of leaving one of the notes somewhere and it then getting out.

I don't know what to do. I'm scared of being round pens in case I write something, getting dressed causes me severe anxiety for fear of a note being caught up in my clothes so I check everything including under my shoes. I'm terrified in my own home because I think there could be notes anywhere and everywhere. I don't like anything with pockets in case there's a note in there or I put one in there etc.  I'm too terrified to work. I feel frozen. My anxiety is high all day long, everyday since December. I feel like I don't trust myself and I don't know what I'm doing. 

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Hi,

I’m really sorry to hear that you’re going through this. 
 

the fact you’re so scared of doing it is exactly why you’re not going to do it. 
 

ocd is so unlogical and therefore, it’ll cling to all these alarming thoughts and because you’re a good person, you’ll keep going over it to try and work out what it means and what it says about you.

here’s my advice: stop checking. You know you didn’t do it, so just stop the checking. The thought makes absolutely no sense and is nothing to do with who you are as a person. 
 

im speaking from experience when I say I know how difficult it is to just stop doing a compulsion, whether it’s checking, avoiding, repeating, whatever. It all fuels the same thing. If you stop checking, it might feel like you’re dying at first but you’re not. You’ve created a path in your brain and you need to make a new one. It’s easier said than done but the anxiety won’t last forever. 

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Hi This,

Thank you for the reply. 

Not checking I haven't written anything will feel like I'm being completely reckless with other people's lives. Even when it's in my mind all the time, I still think I'm writing things 😭

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Look, as with all OCD, this is based on an irrational fear. It feels real and dangerous but it's not. You have to start telling yourself that. Even when it doesn't feel like the right thing to do.

The other thing you need to do is slow fown and eliminate your compulsions. I bet you do loads of them. This is what you really have a hard time doing but it must be done for you to get past this.

The last thing I'll comment on is try to have a little faith in yourself. Right now you think rather poorly of yourself. You actually think rhere is a possibility that you would do something like this. That's not right have faith.

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I feel so mental @snowbear I worry about every little move that I make, that I'm leaving a note there. I've had my meds adjusted about 2 months ago and that hasn't helped either. I feel at the end of my tether. I'm so terrified that I've written these things and every day worry I'm going to write more 😭 if I don't check everything for notes I feel like I'm being blasé about having written them.

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Hi @Blondie,

I see you're taking meds, but have you done any CBT? I feel that all this avoidance you're doing it contributing to your feeling that you cannot be trusted. I think some exposure exercises, where you normalise how you feel around objects like pens and paper would really help you, so that you can see that you can be around the things you fear but not lose control or do something you don't want to.

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39 minutes ago, Blondie said:

I feel so mental @snowbear I worry about every little move that I make, that I'm leaving a note there. I've had my meds adjusted about 2 months ago and that hasn't helped either. I feel at the end of my tether. I'm so terrified that I've written these things and every day worry I'm going to write more 😭 if I don't check everything for notes I feel like I'm being blasé about having written them.

I think you meant @PolarBear People are forever getting us mixed up. Luckily neither of us are too bothered about it. :laugh:

But whichever 'bear' you talk to, the advice will be the same.

This is classic OCD and the compulsions you're doing (being careful of every move you make, worrying about it after, thinking about the risk that you might write a note, checking things for notes you might have written, telling yourself you have to check or it's being irresponsible... all these and more are compulsions which keep the fear alive for you.

At some point you have to bite the bullet and stop doing all compulsions. But you don't have to go cold turkey. Start with 1 or 2 of them and cut those out, then build on your success and cut out a few more.

Malina has given good advice on exercises to improve your trust in yourself. I second her question regarding CBT. What treatment have you had apart from meds?

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3 minutes ago, Blondie said:

@malina @snowbear @PolarBear I've started CBT, I'm about 5 sessions in. To be honest it just seems like you have to crack on with what you're scared of and that's the "therapy".  I'm so anxious all day every day from the moment I open my eyes. It's the worst thing ever. 

Well it is to a degree, but it's also about understanding the cognitive aspects of this disorder, how it affects our thinking, how our behaviours help maintain the anxiety etc. Have you been given any exercises to do?

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4 minutes ago, Blondie said:

I've started CBT, I'm about 5 sessions in. To be honest it just seems like you have to crack on with what you're scared of and that's the "therapy".

After 5 sessions I'd expect you to have a clear idea of what CBT is and how it works. Sufficient that you could explain it to me if asked.

Therapy isn't about 'cracking on with what you're scared of.'

It's about learning how to handle fear. How to change your thinking so things you once believed likely to happen and terrifying become unimportant and without the power to scare you. It's about working alsongside the therapist to develop your skills at recognising when you've slipped from healthy thinking into OCD thinking, and having the skills to deal with it for the future in case you trip up at some point further down the road.

Even if you can't overcome your OCD in just a few sessions (and very few people can) , you should be able to walk away at the end understanding how OCD works and what you can do about it.

I suggest you use your next therapy session to gain that understanding and knowledge rather than trying to do 1 exercise through gritted teeth. If that's what you've been doing it's no wonder you've made no progress and feel anxious all the time.

Think of therapy as a bargaining table. Together you lay out the plans for what you want to achieve, then you discuss how you're going to achieve it together. Don't be afraid to say to your therapist that you're struggling and need to take a step back from exposure exercises until you've got to grips with how thinking this way determines the feelings and behaviour you experience as a result. When you understand what you need to do to change your thinking then you're ready to try doing it. (ERP.)

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@malina @snowbear I've been given exposure exercises to do and asked to record my SUDS. I am struggling to see the benefit of a therapist tbh. I feel like I could task myself! I guess I'm frustrated with feeling this way. I'm so sad and anxious with the worry that I'm writing these things all the time. I don't know how I'm ever not going to be terrified of these notes turning up 😭

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You need a therapist to teach you and push you. You've been here a while now. You've been told many times that you must slow down and stop your compulsions. Did you take our advice and work hard on that? 

No? That's why you need a good therapist.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You need to learn that you've brought this on yourself, albeit unknowingly, and more importantly you perpetuate the problem by doing compulsions.

You think you need to do compulsions to make the problem go away and to reduce your anxiety. Any fix you achieve is temporary, because soon enough you get a new thought that you've fone this thing, your anxiety rises and you're back to doing more compulsions. You end up like a hanster on a wheel, working hard but getting nowhere.

There's something even more important to realize. The very compulsions you think you must do to solve the problem actually cause the problem! Yeah! The more compulsions you do, the more intrusive thoughts you get. 

If you want the thoughts to go away, you must stop your compulsions. By the sounds of it, you have many compulsions.

Even before working on stopping your compulsions, you have to start to realize the thoughts you get that you've written these notes are all bogus. Every single one of them. And the dire consequences your mind tells you would happen if you did write a note are all bogus too

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37 minutes ago, Blondie said:

@PolarBear I see it as such a terrible thing to do that the consequences would be dire. I'm struggling to accept that they would be anything less 😭

That's why you're anxiety is so high around this obsession as you know the consequences would be dire. Give yourself some credit and have some faith in yourself. You ARE in control. I have had in the past obsessions relating to writing inappropriate things in letters and cards. I know how irrational it is but how that fear can grip. 

Us ocd sufferers are the masters of our own misery. We start the irrational thoughts and reactions for whatever reason then suffer until we learn how to stop what we started.

I didn't have a great outcome with CBT either. Not every therapist out there is a good one unfortunately and it's not always the case that the ocd sufferer has not engaged properly. I will try again though as I have nothing to lose. 

Good luck with your recovery 

Edited by MarieJo
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9 hours ago, Blondie said:

@PolarBear I see it as such a terrible thing to do that the consequences would be dire. I'm struggling to accept that they would be anything less 😭

Well, to be frank, you are 100%, completely wrong. I'm telling you. 

You can't trust your feelings and thoughts with this. No one with OCD can. You have to take a leap of faith and go with what I said.

The other good news is, no matter how much anxiety and doubt you feel, you have never and will never, write such a note.

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1 hour ago, Blondie said:

I wish I could be as sure as you are that terrible things won't happen

It's not about being sure. :no:   If you're waiting until you feel sure / safe then you'll be dead and gone and pushing up the daisies and still waiting.

You need to get your head around 'I'm not certain, but I'm willing to take a chance on it, knowing that the risk isn't the danger my brain is telling me it is.'

 

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We live with uncertainty every day of our lives. How do you know something terrible won't happen as soon as you step out of the house? A million random and terrible things are possible, yet we manage to live our lives. This is exactly the same, you can't be sure that nothing terrible will happen but you have to still get on with your life. Sacrificing your health, happiness and wellbeing is an awful price to pay for a sense of security over something that may never happen.

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4 hours ago, Blondie said:

@MarieJo How did you get over the writing thing? I live all day every day in total fear, I feel like I can't keep going. @PolarBear I wish I could be as sure as you are that terrible things won't happen if I have written these things about people 

It only lasted a while then my obsessions changed into something else. I still doubt myself constantly. When I send something important like a school application I feel the need to keep checking in case I did something wrong and then ruminate on the consequence (I never do anything wrong in these instances as I make sure I don't) but my brain would have me believe I am incapable...but the fear or writing something terrible has gone. 

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  • 1 month later...

Good evening all,

I'm still really struggling, in fact if anything I feel like I'm getting worse. I'm so anxious all the time, I'm worried the bottle of water I'm drinking from has a note underneath it. I don't know what to do. My mind is in overdrive constantly and I've started to have broken sleep to top it all off too. I don't know where I'm going with this post really. I guess I'm looking to see that I'm not alone because I feel so useless and anxious and sad.  I'm so stuck it's unbelievable. 

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