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Fear of mental illness: please respond 😭

Hi everyone! I don't come on here as much anymore because I've been going to therapy and doing a lot better lately, but right now I'm having a major flare up and I don't know what to do. I just went to therapy yesterday, so I have to wait an entire week to go back and ask her about this. Today I came across an article that was talking about schizophrenia/psychosis. I'm now extremely paranoid I'm going to develop these and lose control of myself and something awful will happen. I can't stop analyzing myself and seeing if I seem like it's happening/going to happen to me. It's been 2 hours now that I've been ruminating and it's just getting worse (ive been home alone, my mom's coming home now). The more I ruminate about it the worse my anxiety is getting, now I'm hysterically crying. I don't know how to do ERP for this right now cuz it's all.making it worse. I usually tell myself something like "I may or may not know if XYZ will happen, I will accept the uncertainty and move on " but it is NOT working in this situation. I posted a similar post on the NOCD app, and someone who actually had experienced psychosis commented and said all the ways to know if you're about to to have a psychotic episode which made it so much worse. He said something like "well just make sure you don't believe in an alternate universe and if you do tell someone". I freaked out even more because my existential OCD has always made me panic that what if everything isn't real and theres other realities I'm not aware of, etc. Please help I don't know how to snap myself out of this one 😭nothing is distracting me. This is my worst flare up in so long. I've been going a week at a time with virtually no symptoms and only slight flare ups until now.

P.s the original post I read about psychosis was to do with having a "mental health crisis" and it was listing the warning signs and talked about psychosis. And the person who posted it said they had a mental health crisis when their OCD was at its worst. I don't understand how I'm supposed to just calm down about something like this. My biggest fear is losing control of myself and having my intrusive thoughts come true, which is basically what psychosis is. I didn't completely know this until now. I knew I wasn't in control of my thoughts, but I was comfortable because my therapists always reminds me im in control of my mind and my actions. Reading about psychosis just ruined this for me.

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You’re definitely not alone, believe me. Mine is severe today too, as was last night. The past week I was doing fine myself, then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I keep seeing articles/news, relating to my OCD, and it’s been freaking me out, making me believe I’m some monster also, or that my intrusive thoughts would come true as well. My thoughts are constantly fighting with my brain today too. I’ve been playing “Episode” on my phone, it’s where there’s thousand of stories people create, and it’s an interactive game you can play through/read. It’s taken my mind off of it somewhat, but I know tonight when I go out around my boyfriends younger brother or other kids, I’m sure my OCD will be terrible, as it’s relating to sexual intrusive thoughts around children. Just know you’re NOT alone, and this OCD is like some big bad bully, gaining up with anxiety, and intrusive thoughts, and they’re beating your brain up. I keep trying to talk positive to myself, giving myself some positive comments, or reassure myself that nothing would ever happen, and I’m obviously a good person, or I wouldn’t feel bad for these thoughts in the first place. Just remind yourself of that. You’re a wonderful person, and the intrusive thoughts are like lesions, that pray on your innocence and they’re trying to bring you down with them. I’ve had thoughts of becoming schizophrenic myself, or that I’d need to be locked away in some hospital or jail because my thoughts, but this is because the OCD is telling yourself this. Today, is a really bad day, but try and trick your brain, tell yourself “hey, yesterday was a good day, or even this week, tomorrow will be a good day too, just today is a bad day” I promise you can beat this, we both can! If you need to talk at all, I’m here always!

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Thanks so much Alexis. I love this app so much more than the NOCD app forum (not sure if you’ve tried it). People on there aren’t as compassionate and end up saying things to make it worse. Its funny, it seems like the longer I do the better, the harder it is when I have a flare up. This is a hard one for me, I’ve always had such a fear of losing control. Someone on the NOCD app whos super into meditation told me, “there probably are multiple dimensions I kid you not!”. Awful for me considering meditation was a super trigger for me at one point and the idea that its taking you to a different reality or whatever. Im sorry you’re having a flare up as well, you’re right - we’ll both get through this!! I wish I had 24 hr access to my therapist, I always seem to have a flare up when shes not around/when i dont have an appointment coming up :( thanks again for the response you’re awesome

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Hi Disney - Not long after I was diagnosed with OCD, my doctor told me to stop trying to figure things out. (Easier said than done) Your post today reminds me of this, trying really hard to figure out your fears. Remember that none of us in these forums are experts, so try not to take EVERYTHING from EVERYONE so literally. YOU are real, and your life is real, and we all love you on this forum. That is real. You just have OCD like the rest of us do. Many of our OCD experiences take on different themes, but OCD lies to ALL of us with ALL of the themes. Your OCD has lied to you a LOT today. I am so glad you have bonded with your therapist. My doctor told me when I was having severe OCD, that I wasn't psychotic, just on the far end of neurotic. By the time you see your therapist again, you will probably be seeing things a lot more clearly, just as you were before. Anyway, you know that we care about you. I said a prayer for you.

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Thanks Sunn-E, this just warmed my heart so much I actually teared up a bit. You’ve always been such a help/support ❤️. Thank you for reminding me of all of these things. Sometimes OCD clouds my mind so much that it seems hard to access all of this knowledge in me. I’m hoping I’ll get better at it over time. Actually - I know I’ll get better with it over time. I’ve started to catch myself already and pull myself back out of the cycle - a lot quicker than I would’ve a few months ago. Setbacks are to be expected I suppose. My therapist reminds me a lot to not focus on perfection with all of it, something I tend to do! Thank you for saying a prayer for me, I really believe in its power. You’re a sweet soul. Have a good night (assuming its night where you are!) ❤️

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Hi Disney girl, my heart goes out to you. OCD is so destructive and though I’m not sure what to say to make you feel better, It needs a swift kick from you. Okay, so all these feelings, thoughts, torment is hitting you on all ends...Obserb how you are feeling and accept it all, almost as if you are looking from afar, floating above it all as to say. Just accept it and now get on with your day, do something you need to do knowing OCD anxieties is trying to destroy you.....just keep on walking keep on walking one moment at a time .....it should subside in time......

Is there any way to email or call your therapist today? It really seems you could use another session while you are experiencing such torment-seriously, I’ve been there. Anyway, You sound like you could use a big hug so here it comes❤️

I will be thinking of you and will send you a prayer for such peace.

Let that beautiful light that I believe is called the sun, warm and brighten your day.😁 Is t is so nice to see the sun for a change isn’t it?

Thankful-

Hugs-

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Hi Aleese! Hope you've been well. I thought about emailing my therapist to schedule another session, but since tomorrow is already Friday I don't think she'd be able to fit me in. I'm also nervous to reach out to her, I don't want her to get annoyed. We've never talked about whether or not I'm allowed to reach out to her during the week. I'm sure I can, but my OCD is telling me I can't. My anxiety around this has gone down since I posted this yesterday, but still lingering in the background. Trying to do my best to just be in the present and dismiss the thoughts any time they pop into my head. I'm really scared to do exposures. This week is the first week my therapist gave me an exposure for homework (reading over a sheet that lists all my fears surrounding suicide for 15 minutes). Of course, now the suicide them has taken a backseat and it's all about this new one. I'm honestly frightened to do exposures around the fear of psychosis/schizophrenia, I feel like it's just gonna make it worse. I suppose I need to just trust the process for now. Thanks so much for responding ❤️ have a good rest of your day and enjoy the sunshine as well!

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Hi Disney,

I’m so glad to hear from you. I’m sorry for the harshness of OCD on your life the last couple of days....But, glad you are doing a little better. I’m hoping you are able to at least maybe email your therapist? She will not be annoyed at you. That is why you have her, to be helped. You are on the right road and so glad you have your therapist. ‘It always looks worse before it gets better.’ And, because you are doing your ERP it could be causing some resistance. I know you are strong and you will get through👍🏼 Please know we are with you and understand the torturing ways of OCD.

The Best to you 😊

Aleese

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Hi Disney girl,

Thinking of you and wondering how you are doing? I hope your counseling is going great and that you are making strides with ERP for your OCD. How did you do through your last rough patch, I hope you did okay.

Good thoughts sent your way😊

Hugs,

Aleese-

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Hi Aleese! So sweet of you to reach out. You know how much I appreciate you, always.

It’s been an interesting week- a lot of ups and downs! I guess thats kind of how healing usually goes. A lot of ups and down in my personal life as well (some family drama from the side of the family I don’t have much contact with, etc.) Hard to deal with these things on top of OCD, but I’m doing my best. As far as the rough patch I mentioned in my last post, it settled down the next day which I was grateful for. I’ll be sure to mention it to my therapist tomorrow! I worked a lot this week which was a decent distraction. I think knowing that I have OCD, and having some of the skills I’ve learned from therapy so far, are what helped me to not turn this psychosis/schizophrenia fear into a full blown obsession. I’m so grateful for therapy, and grateful that you encouraged me to go 😊. It's funny how a "stranger on the internet" can make such a difference in our lives. Thank you.

This week for ERP my therapist had me read over the "belief sheet" we filled out that lists my fears surrounding suicide for 15 minutes each day and recording my SUDS/anxiety level. It went from a 7 or 8 to now a mostly 1 or 2. It's awesome to see it working. Onto the next one 😊.

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Hi Disney,

I’m so glad you made it through the rough patch last week. I know OCD can throw some really tough times and then add the other dramas of life to it and it’s that much harder. I’m so glad you are liking therapy and you are working on your ERP and your big one, suicide ocd. Nice to see how your suds level has gone down tremendously👍🏼

Great job‼️ Hope your session goes really well tomorrow and you get a lot out of it.

And, Thank you for your nice words,

Sweet dreams💤

Aleese-

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So sorry for your pain!! I’ve been there too😢 stupid ocd morphs!! Mine tried to morph with this theme too. I had this weird thought that people were staring at me. Then another weird thought that I was seeing a lot of black cars!!! What does it MEAN??? I was starting to get super afraid of the thoughts and then going crazy!! That’s the thing with ocd- it FEELS so real!!!! But it’s just our super active, creative brains!! We don’t have control of our thoughts but we have control of ourselves!! As hard as it is, lean into it, let the thoughts come, accept them, and keep doing your life. It’s hard but I know you can do it💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💝💝

You’ve got this!!!

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Thanks so much Wheeloffortune!! Isn't it weird how it morphs? This week my therapist gave me my first exposure for homework -- reading a sheet of paper listing my fears around suicide. Of course that theme hasnt been bothering me as much lately, and OCD decided to morph to this theme the day after my therapy session. It's so scary how real it feels, I have such a fear of not being in control. I finally decided, well I can't control the thoughts but I can control my mind!- until I read about schizophrenia. Trying to just focus on other things every time the fear comes back up since I don't really know how to do exposures for this theme yet! I tried to say something like "I may or may not develop/have schizophrenia, nevertheless I will sit with the uncertainty" but it made it so much worse to say that. Usually when I use that with my other themes, it works. I think this ones harder because I know for sure I have absolutely no control over whether or not I will develop schizophrenia or psychosis. Thanks so much for the reply ❤️

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Ocd always tells you “this is the worst one”!! And “you’ll never get over this one!!” It’s so tricky at first, but once you realize it’s ocd it gets easier to navigate!! It’s so interesting that all of us have similar issues as far as themes!! OCD wants us to think it’s smart but it’s actually quite repetitive!!

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My son’s OCD is all about fearing that he may have schizophrenia, and he does scripts in which he he writes out his exposure — that this is indeed his worst fear and all the bad things that will result from it. This is OCD. Continue to use your strategies. Dealing with OCD is like playing wack-a-mole. Once you deal with one symptom, another one tries to pop up. It can be scary and painful, but no matter how it manifests, it is all the same. We have to use our strategies as a lifestyle and lean into it every day. 💜

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Thanks so much tcba, I’m sorry your son has to deal with this as well 🙁 at the same time I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Exposures are so scary, especially around this theme. I just started doing exposures with me therapist this week (surrounding a different theme that of course has now decided to be on the backburner). Thank you so much for this encouragement, you are SO right. ❤️

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Yeah, this one is brutal... well, all OCD is brutal, but I struggled with this a lot and exposures are just like any other theme... throw yourself into it. I struggle with the fear of schizophrenia or fear psychotic breaks so I would listen to or watch schizophrenia simulations. Also, writing scripts is helpful or telling yourself that “yep, I have schizophrenia and I will have a psychotic break and everyone else is wrong”... sit in the uncertainty just like any other exposure. This include existential fears, because even if that which you fear existentially is true there isn’t anything you can do about it, so expose yourself and accept it... sitting in the discomfort without ruminating or doing anything is key. Anyways, I have done a ton of exposures for schizophrenia, psychosis, depersonalization/derealization, and existential fears so feel free to ask away... you’re not alone my friend!

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Thanks hellnocd! This week is the first week my therapist has thrown me into exposure work. We’re doing it around my suicidal OCD, with the first exposure being to read the sheet of paper she gave me which lists my fears surrounding suicide over and over for 15 minutes. Of course, my suicidal OCD seems to be on the backburner a bit, so its not really effecting me much. Sigh. I hope I’m doing it right. The exposures you’re talking about seem intense, I definitely don’t think I could handle that right now, hopefully soon I will be. I think my therapist is taking it slow, hopefully thats right. Up until this week it was mostly just learning challenging back statements “may or may...nevertheless....” etc. I sure have a long way to go, but I’ve been doing a lot better for the most part. I admire all the exposure work you’ve done. Thanks so much for the reply and I’m glad to know you have the exact same themes, I will definitely be reaching out with questions in the future! Thank you.

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Hi Disney!

I’m sorry you’re going through a rough patch right now but I know you can and will get through this. The fear of psychosis is just another scare tactic that OCD is using to keep you chained up. I too used to worry a lot about “losing my mind” or developing schizophrenia. One helpful thing my therapist told me about this was that people who have schizophrenia or experience hallucinations are not aware that they are seeing or hearing things. So not to give you too much reassurance, but the fact that you’re questioning this in the first place is enough evidence for me to conclude that you are definitely not experiencing psychosis.

As far as what that person commented on the other app, we do not know their mental health background and if the information they’re providing is accurate - or if they’re even under the care of a medical professional. Maybe what they’re saying is true and did happen to them, but we can’t know that for sure so there’s no point in giving this information validity especially because of how much it’s upsetting you. Normally with this type of intrusive thought I would write scripts or just write phrases like “what if I’m schizophrenic” or “what if I’m crazy”. I know it isn’t working for you at the moment but I promise if you stick with it and keep up the repetition your brain WILL get bored with the idea and you’ll be able to let it go. Don’t let OCD make you feel this way, you deserve so much better!

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