21 May 2019 - 23:50
Hello, I'm new and this is really quite long... sorry, I started writing and it just became one long thing about what is happening in my head
I am not diagnosed with anything but there is certainly something happening. I am generally happy in my life and enjoy lots of things but for a long time, I have found certain things hard to deal with in a way other people didn't seem to worry about.
Just before Christmas, I had an incredibly stressful time at work and everything kind of came to a head. I managed to cope in the sense that I got up and went to work every day and functioned well enough to be there but I was not myself at all. I was negative, expecting the worst constantly and just couldn't handle anything. My ability to handle basic life things (food etc.) was pretty non-existent and I was only able to function because my partner picked up the slack. Basically, I felt like I was being crushed by the weight of everything.
Around this time, I started to have a very vivid image of fatally harming myself (I don't want to be too explicit as I don't want to cause upset). I didn't want to die and I had no plans to act on it, but this image started popping up every time I tried to go to sleep and was really disturbing and upsetting (and meant I put off going to sleep for hours). It then started to come up over and over again in different scenarios, totally unexpectantly and would send me into a bit of a spin.
I then had the Christmas holidays and had 2 weeks of distance from work. The issue that I was dealing with resolved to some extent and now I am back to loving my job most of the time. However, the intrusive thought remains and is pretty regular.
I started trying to find out what was going on and came across a few articles about OCD. I had been very anti any form of diagnosis or intervention for a while but as we are now 6 months on, the intrusive thoughts remain and have escalated and have started to include different anxieties about safety, keeping myself safe, worrying about keeping my house safe and a variety of other things... I started to think it might be worth pursuing. I started to wonder if these new thoughts were becoming obsessions, unpicking them a bit and trying to work out where they came from. Then I started doing more research on OCD and understanding what it actually involves but got stuck in a loop of thinking it's OCD and then questioning my own thoughts. I have a real anxiety that this is all in my head, that I've made it all up and I have just made myself behave this way.
Anyway, as it had escalated I decided to see a counsellor. We have started unpicking somethings and through this, I have identified more and more similarities with OCD. Now I find myself repeatedly googling OCD, symptoms, retaking online tests over and over again. It goes on for hours and I end up in a wormhole, unable to break the cycle. I think I am looking for a diagnosis because I am exhausted and just want to know why this is happening. However, I'm really fearful of what a diagnosis might mean, how it could impact me in the future and generally impact my life. It just feels really complicated. My counsellor is not someone who would diagnose me, but I'm now reaching a point where I feel I need a definitive answer from a professional so I can break this cycle (then I do wonder if I'm compulsively seeking reassurance...)
I feel like I've not really explained things properly - all of these thoughts that seem obsessive/compulsive feel very circular and spider-webby and I don't think I have many significant compulsions. Not obvious ones anyway.
I guess I'm posting this after a friend who works in the mental health field suggested I should reach out to people with diagnoses and see if the thoughts and experiences of others resonate so I can maybe find some peace.
If it's helpful:
Possible obsessive thinking:
- whether or not I have OCD or it's all in my head - whether I secretly want to kill myself (processed this more now and worry about this less) - whether I have secured the house, if someone will break in, if someone has broken in and is hiding in the cupboards and will harm me. - what if I need this random object I'm considering throwing away- thinking through all possible outcomes/risk assessing everything I do - focusing on right / wrong choices
Possible compulsive type behaviour:
- repeatedly searching online for hours - counting everything in threes or multiples of three - avoiding anxiety-inducing situations (not leaving the house last, not leaving when my partner is away, avoiding tidying / decluttering because it's exhausting to worry about throwing things away
I guess if you got to the end (well done) and anything struck a chord I'd be really interested to hear from you about your experiences or thoughts. I'm not looking for a diagnosis from anyone here, but looking to see if there's any commonality with my experiences.