OCD fear of illness and contamination is ruining my life!!!

This post has been thanked 1 time. 10 October 2014 - 23:07

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Hello there,

I'm new to this site and wondering if anybody out there shares my worries.

I have had OCD for as long as I can remember but was diagnosed when I was about 17.

I obsess, worry and catastrophise just about anything but the worst areas of my OCD are health anxiety, my constant fear of cancer and other horrible illnesses. My compulsion to check myself and examine myself is getting worse, and the trips to the Dr for re-assurance are getting silly. 

Secondly, I have always had an overwhelming fear of contamination, which is crippling at times. My thoughts are so irrational. Some of the ways I convince myself I have been contaminated are ridiculous. I mostly worry about HIV and Hepatitis C.

Both of these areas of my OCD have peaked in the last 4 months since having my baby. As have my anxiety levels in general.

a recent example of how bad my fears are, I popped in to a local charity shop last week to get some trousers as I'm not quite back in my pre-pregnancy clothes yet but didn't want to fork out for new clothes as I won't be in them long. I've never bought anything in a charity shop but not opposed to it so thought I'd have a look.

I bought a couple of  pairs of jeans and tried them on. They fit fine. Strangely, despite my fear of contamination, I dint wash them before I wore them. For some reason, I thought that the charity shops washed them before they sold them.

Anyway, I was wearing one of the pairs yesterday, and I put my hand in the back pocket and I found some cinema tickets. I instantly freaked out that they hadn't been washed, and went straight to google to see what my chances were of catching something from the jeans, and got completely hooked on the idea of HIV and Hep C. I had to go home, take them off and have a shower. I didn't sleep at all last night, kept breaking out into a sweat and my heart was racing. I spent all night googling possibility of transmission etc. then convinced myself that I had hep C from a cheating ex boyfriend after reading how it was contracted. So, this morning, I was in such a bad way, I found a Private clinic that tests or HIV and Hep C where you get the results almost straight away. I booked in for today and went to have it one. It cost me £280 for them to tell me that it was all negative and that I need to get my OCD sorted ASAP as it was out of control.

I really want to tackle this ASAP as it I ruining my life an spoiling this precious time with my baby. I don't want to look back and think that I wasted the enjoyment of his first years due to my OCD.

I am in the early stages of therapy/CBT but considering meds now too as I can't continue like this. I feel on edge all the time.

Does anybody have any advice or success stories to make me feel better?

xx

This post has been thanked 2 times. 11 October 2014 - 13:12

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Hi Starryeyed, 

I noticed that you posted in the Health Anxiety topic too. I did exactly the same thing with the HIV tests. At the time i was going through a very difficult period, and it got so i couldn't think about anything else. It's no coincidence that you are also going through a very stressful time. You didn't wash the jeans, but you didn't worry. You are worrying now because of OCD. Your rational mind knows you don't have it, but you feel the need to prove it. I had this exact same feeling. I felt like i was going crazy. I went to a family planning clinic so there would be no record of the test on my health notes. 

Now, i don't worry about this too much. It's become background. But as you probably realise, that's to do with me being in a better place mentally rather than the negative test result. I still have blood test and contamination fear, but it doesn't relate directly to this. So there is hope. 

Hope this helps. Psychologically, for me, it was a huge relief when i found out that i was not the only one with this issue, and that it is quite common in OCD sufferers. It's not you, it's the OCD. 

Keep on with the therapy and ask for meds if you need them. You're going through a difficult time OCD-wise, so take all the help you need.

Take care

This post has been thanked 2 times. 11 October 2014 - 19:46

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Hi Starryeyed84.

Me too, I had terrible OCD over getting AIDS. It was awful. I too went to give blood, several times, as a way to make myself feel safe. Then when results were negative I'd obsess that the results were wrong! Phoned AIDS a helplines...Awful, trying to make myself feel safe, that I was ok. Of course now I realise this anxiety is underneath the intrusive thoughts and after a lot if support, mainly support groups and those I trusted, I'm much better. I do know that I needed to get whatever help I could - meds as starter if necessary. Then talk to others to reduce the feelings of shame, disconnection and   Loneliness... Take care 

This post has been thanked 2 times. 11 October 2014 - 23:27

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Hi starryeyed. I suffer from health anxiety too and by coincidence it got much worse whilst I was pregnant and its been a nightmare since I had my little (gorgeous) girl, who is now 18 months. 

After I had my baby I was convinced I must have caught hiv whilst staying in the hospital and it totally ruined my first precious weeks with my lovely baby. It took me ages to calm down. 

Now it's more about Cancer and I can't get through a day without 'checking myself' and It got so bad I started to 'avoid myself' instead. That's just caused a whole heap of additional problems now and I'm a mess.

The only thing I can say is that I think it does start getting easier with time. Now I try as hard a possible to acknowledge that my thoughts are just thoughts aND don't need attention. Try not to engage with it if you can. It's bloody hard though I know.

At least you know you are not alone. Beep me anytime for a chat. I know exactly how you feel. Stay strong xxx 

This post has been thanked 1 time. 12 October 2014 - 20:13

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Thank you so much for your replies.

Its so nice to be able to talk to people that understand.

I was bad when I was in my late teens/early 20's but then it seemed to ease. Life was good, I had lots going on, lots of distractions etc. I'd have the odd blip but nothing drastic. Then it all came back when I was pregnant. The fear of getting ill or eating something that would harm my baby was unbelievable. I worried about everything I ate. Constantly quizzed people over how they'd prepared food etc. worried about going near people who were ill. I was worried sick for 9 months.

Then I had complications when my son was born resulting in a massive haemorrhage and a 6 unit blood transfusion. That sent me over the edge.

I had counselling to help me get over that which really helped. But since that, I have been worried about everything!!! Like the ridiculous scenario with the jeans. And I also still worried about catching something from the transfusion, even though every Dr pretty much said that was nearly impossible as they are so safe these days.

I had that blood test which was negative, and it was at a private clinic where you get the results instantly. They take a blood sample and put it in this little tester and you get the results within 10 minutes or so, which is great, however, I then didn't believe that it could be accurate and didn't feel re-assured like I thought I would. Now I think it must be wrong. I thought it would go to a lab and be properly analysed. I asked the Dr who did it how accurate those tests were, and she said 100%. But I still don't believe it.

I think it's all to do with becoming a mum. My son is my whole world and I now have all these fears of something happening to me, or him, which are awful. I just want to be able to enjoy this wonderful time.

I feel anxious and on edge all the time. I just feel contaminated. That's the only way I can describe it. Or living in fear of cancer.

This fear of not being in control is horrible. I have an appointment to see my Dr but she gets booked up so far in advance, it's not until the 24th October. 

I'd give anything to feel normal and not worry about all this stuff. It must be lovely to be normal and not have these crazy and irrational fears that take over your thoughts

xx

14 October 2014 - 20:11

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Hi Starryeyed.  I know what you mean. I am the same and I became worse whilst pregnant and having my little girl.  I want to enjoy this lovely time but every day I live under a 'what if I get cancer' dark cloud. It's so depressing. 

I have started taking anti-depressants which I think are maybe (after about 6 weeks) kicking in....maybe. I feel a little less 'checky' which is nice. I have a long way to go though. 

Let's keep talking. X 

19 October 2014 - 2:46

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Hey. Can totally relate. You are not alone, which is great news right! I am pregnant at the moment have intense fears I have aids or something else an std or something that will harm my baby . I've had numerous tests done throughout my pregnancy for this. All negative. However I have my midwife this week coming and I am going to ask for more and for a blood test 2 weeks before I am due to ensure baby is not harmed at all before I give birth. I have cheating thoughts which make me think I sleep with people and catch viruses etc. It's horrendous and sounds crazy. U are not alone with this at all!

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