Is this really OCD?: I'm 100% sure that I'm... - My OCD Community

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Is this really OCD?

I'm 100% sure that I'm doing the wrong thing in posting this and thinking about it instead of doing my work and ignoring the topic, but this just seems so urgent.

I have been going to an OCD support group for about a year and I have only talked about how OCD is a problem in one specific area of my life (at work), and I've left out all of the other problems that I have with OCD -- harm OCD, some "just right" OCD, fear of infecting my wife and son with AIDS, fear that I'll never get better and so I should just kill myself, relationship-based OCD, and some other more minor themes. I've told my therapist that I'm going to talk at the support group about my different themes, as where are people better going to understand OCD than at an OCD support group. Now I'm terrified.

If I talk about all of this at the support group then I'm going to have to bring up my fear of AIDS with my wife. This was a concern for about 20 years and was one of my earliest OCD themes along with harm OCD. Neither of these really caused problems for me at the time and it would have been a very low level of OCD for a long time. Besides, I had some legitimate concerns about possibly being exposed to AIDS, so it seems like a very rational fear. This fear of AIDS has pretty much gone away, so can't I just leave it out? It doesn't really seem like OCD and it's not causing problems now. I haven't done any exposures for this fear because it isn't causing problems now. Maybe it isn't OCD and I can just leave it alone.

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As you have said yourself, this is all part of OCD.

What you choose to talk about in your support group is entirely personal. Not everyone there will be disclosing all of their OCD fears for any number of reasons. It took me nearly 15 years to tell anyone my ‘original’ OCD fear (which I didn’t discover was an OCD fear until years later) because I found it so distressing. At the time of sharing it, it wasn’t a current problem and I hadn’t worried about it for many years but saying it out loud (to my therapist) did put me at peace with it, so to speak.

The most important thing is how we deal with these worries - the content of them, (although in the moment it terrifies us) isn’t as relevant as how we deal with the thoughts.

Share if you want to but not because you feel you HAVE to.

That said, if your reason for not sharing is stemming from an OCD fear in itself, perhaps that’s all the more reason to do it and to prove to yourself that it is ok.

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This fear of sharing is 100% OCD-based. If I did a hierarchy, this is my #1 fear right now, of sharing this with my wife. I don't see how I can ever get to that point of confronting this. If I share this with my wife then she is going to be mad at me and leave me.

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I've now spent all day (and most of the night when I should have been sleeping) obsessing about this, except for getting a half hour of work done. This is clearly OCD, if I needed any further indication.

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Hi Selesnya - I am so sorry you are going through this turmoil. I'm trying to read between the lines, but I'm missing something. You don't think you have AIDS, correct? Is your OCD fear the fear of your wife knowing you had OCD regarding AIDS? I'm sure she knows you have OCD, correct? I'm not understanding the real issue/fear, and I really want to try to help. I feel like I've gotten to know you fairly well, and know you have lots of insight into OCD. Are you afraid for your wife to know that you had at one time a legitimate concern regarding AIDS?

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Hi Sunn-E,

Being in the grips of OCD really does cut off a lot of my clarity and ability to express myself well. Everything feels so urgent at the time that I just need to get things down and not revise and reread things as carefully as I usually do.

My big fear right now is that I'm going to mess up the relationship with my wife and that she is going to leave me. The main trigger for this is thinking about talking about my fear of AIDS. How could I have my relationship with her (and have a son!), have such an intense fear of AIDS, and not tell her about it, get tested, or do anything to protect her and my son. I feel totally negligent. Never mind talking about the events leading up to that, where there is a lot of shame and self-blame going on. At this point it has been long enough that I have convinced myself that I don't have AIDS, so this isn't an active obsession, though it took 20 years to get to that point. Now I'm just scared to talk about it.

If my #1 fear is talking to my wife about my fear of AIDS, then talking to an OCD support group and mentioning the fear of AIDS as an OCD fear is a step along the path toward talking to my wife. It's baby steps toward actually confronting my biggest exposure of talking to my wife. She knows that I have OCD, but I have never talked to her about this fear of AIDS and how it started back when I was 14. As far as my wife knows, my OCD started about 7 or 8 years ago due to issues at work, or maybe shortly after graduating college when I had problems with intrusive thoughts about stabbing her when I was handling knives in the kitchen (but this was never that big of a deal and stayed manageable).

Hopefully this is more coherent.

At this point I have recorded a list of OCD obsessions that I can use when talking to the OCD support group. I have left out my compulsions, which maybe I should add in. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can keep this issue out of my mind and actually function OK. I'll see how it goes. Sleeping well would be a good start. I'll see what happens.

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Hi Selesnya - I don't know your wife, but if my husband had all this turmoil going on inside of him, I would want to know about it. I know that this has been bothering you for a long, long, time. I don't see how your wife could be any harder on you than you are being on yourself. I would hope she would be compassionate. I'm guessing that you know enough about OCD and the details of your fears/guilt, to know if you actually did something wrong, or it was just OCD. Even if there was something you did that was wrong, we have all done things that are wrong. Nothing bad happened one way or another. I am so sorry that you are dealing with such a heavy load of guilt, fear, & OCD. You're in my prayers. We care about you here. Get some sleep. Keep your focus on your work tomorrow. Don't try to push yourself too much with the OCD group, especially by adding compulsions to your OCD theme list right now. Maybe talk to your therapist about that first.

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Work has been going 200% better today. I've actually gotten some good things done.

I am trying to figure out how to talk to my wife about this. I wish I could just do it. I may have to work up to it step by step.

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I say do the opposite of what OCD is telling you. Bring it up in your support group. Talk to your wife. Don’t hold back.

I for one am so tired of having to hide my OCD and be in constant fear of the backlash and misunderstanding. Maybe you share your fears and no one else there understands, but take the risk any way and go in with uncertainty.

I also feel personally that every time I fear something isn’t OCD that pretty much means it IS definitely OCD. 🤣

I’m in a bit of a tough spot right now and this is about the best advice I can give but I hope it helps a little bit. Basically, just do whatever makes you uncomfortable. Nothing good will ever come from staying in your comfort zone.

P.S. You are inspiration!

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This is an excellent reminder. Do the opposite -- OCD has no real power to stop you. It may be uncomfortable, but it won't kill you. Trying something new is the only way to move forward. I have tried the same strategy for too long, and it clearly doesn't work.

I think it's time for another listen to Reid Wilson:

podcasts.apple.com/us/podca...

I hope that you're getting some support as well for your difficulties. We're here if you need us and we want to help.

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Hi Selesnya - I'm glad you had a good day at work. Sometimes that is very helpful for our minds & outlook. You are sounding more like yourself.

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Hi 123 - I hope you're doing okay. We're all in this together.

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Thanks Sunn-E, I’m not doing so well right now and feel like a monster but right on cue my phone lights up letting me know that there is someone who understands and is thinking of me. Thankful for this community and hope better days are ahead. ❤️

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Hey, better days ARE ahead. You know you are special to me. I'm praying for both you & Selesnya.

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Thank you, I would be lost without all the support here.

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Here is my list of obsessions and compulsions. I tried to get everything, but I probably left out some that haven't really caused problems. Feel free to make fun of me for how dumb some of them are, for my incomplete sentences or for the poor formatting.

obsession: keeping people safe

compulsion: pointing book edges, pens, etc. (anything long and straight) properly so that they don't point at people

interference: slight to none

.

obsession: I will be out of breath forever

compulsions: watch my heart rate to see if it going up. Am I getting out of breath?

interference: slight to none

.

obsession: I will develop AIDS and die a horrible death

intrusive thoughts: yes

compulsion: research AIDS and know the signs to watch for. check myself for symptoms.

interference: slight

.

obsession: my knee/heel will hurt and get worse. I won't get better.

compulsions: am I tensing my leg? This makes my knee hurt more, so I shouldn't do it. How does this compare to other days/times? Are things getting better or worse?

interference: slight

.

obsession: Don't let people know what is wrong. I will seem broken and unredeemable. They will leave me.

compulsions: avoid talking about anything that would show I am not perfect.

interference: slight, but substantially restricts relationships

.

obsession: I will lose control and kill someone (stab people with the kitchen knives, attack them with a baseball bat, etc.)

intrusive thoughts: yes

compulsion: hold knives properly, don't point them at people or move near people when I have a knife in hand. Checking by vividly imagining stabbing/attacking someone over and over to see if I enjoy it and secretly want to do it. The more vividly I picture doing this, the more sure I can be that I will/won't do this.

interference: definite but manageable

.

obsession: Bess or Rachel will get AIDS from me and die a horrible death

compulsion: Check everyone for signs that they are getting sick. It felt like worrying would cancel things out. If I wanted to keep them well then I had to be vigilant and worry. Check to see if I got a note that someone from my past had AIDS and I needed to get tested.

interference: definite but manageable

.

obsession: Doing things the right way (going to the gym, talking to Bess, etc.). Only do things if they are going to work -- do not fail!. Bess will leave me if I can't do things any longer.

compulsions: follow the rules. If you don't then things aren't going to work out properly and you shouldn't try. (e.g. Don't try to fix the toilet! You might fail, and that would be terrible (and final).)

interference: definite but manageable

.

obsession: I can’t do my job properly or as well as Felix can

compulsions: avoid by doing things that Felix doesn't do, don't learn anything new that Felix can do better. If I can't compare myself to him because I don't know how to do a task then everything is OK. Spend work time on non-work tasks Think about killing myself or becoming homeless. Check to see if there are distractions in the area. Is Jen talking on the phone? Is Steve breathing too loudly? Put on my headphones and listen to music to block distractions.

interference: substantial

.

obsession: Fear of messing up relationship with Bess. Bess will leave me and I will be alone

Compulsions: leave the room if I'm not talking to Bess. I don't want to mess things up, and I can't do that if I'm not near Bess. Don't bring up any topic that might cause Bess to question my character. Don't bring up a topic if we might disagree. Don't talk about myself or ask for things -- I don't want to seem needy. Don't fail at things.

interference: substantial

.

obsession: Fear of losing control and killing Rachel

compulsion: think about killing myself. think about leaving home/job/etc. and becoming homeless far away. picture attacking Rachel to see if I really want to do it.

interference: substantial

.

obsession: I’ll never get better (from OCD/depression) and then I’ll have to kill myself or be homeless

compulsions: check to see how I'm doing with my recovery. How well am I doing at getting better? See what causes me to get anxious because I won't get better at those things. Think about skipping the struggle and just killing myself or becoming homeless (skip to the end result now). Am I getting enough sleep?, etc. Can I learn more (about OCD, depression, etc.)? I may find the missing piece that lets everything fall into place.

interference: substantial

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Hi Selesnya - These fears seem very normal for OCD. It is just that you have the courage to state your fears that are so personal. You are such a sweet and interesting person. Try to recognize your value. We all probably have some of these basic fears. I feel like I need to do everything "perfectly", whatever that is. Before I got severe OCD years ago, I didn't have problems with house cleaning. After the OCD set in, I became afraid that I won't even sweep or mop correctly/perfectly. I don't sleep well. It is difficult for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I can get distracted at work easily, but I have gotten a little better with this as I've gotten older. I compare myself with others WAY too much. I will mention that Pastor and author Andy Stanley created a CD set & DVD called "The Comparison Trap". It might be helpful to you. I just looked at the store section on northpoint.org They are on sale. The 3-CD set is sold out at $5.99, but the DVD is in stock & on sale:

Comparison Trap (Classic) DVD

There's No Win in Comparison

by Andy Stanley

$7.99 (instead of $24.99)

As far as you getting better at recovery, I have seen you come such a long way. You have every right to be proud of that. I wish you could engage more with Bess on an emotional level, so you could feel her support more. All of these things can be worked on. You WILL get better. I am toward the end of reading Fred. Thank you for recommending it to us. I read fairly slowly. My OCD causes me to go back quite often to be certain I have read & comprehended everything correctly, and that I haven't missed something that could cause harm to someone. (Sound familiar to anyone? Are we sometimes silly, or what?) A couple of things I have found helpful so far in Fred is when Shala realized that her OCD had no bullets in his gun, and the fact that she is able to completely distance her OCD as a separate entity from her real self. I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of the book. All of us on here struggle with this OCD thing. Don't feel alone. It has to be worth it for all of us to keep trying to get better & better.

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Thanks, Sunn-E. I wish I had something more profound or engaging to say in response, but I don't. I love it here.

I'm glad that you're getting something out of Fred. I'm on my second read through it right now. It is a brilliant book and Shala has such an awesome attitude towards OCD. I'm just hoping to get it to rub off on me somehow so that I want to do the things that cause me anxiety and fight back against OCD.

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Maybe it is- maybe it isn’t??? You’ll never be certain😊😊😊

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