Struggling with OCD and Anxiety, I am new... - My OCD Community

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Struggling with OCD and Anxiety, I am new here

OCDFriend profile image
14 Replies

Hi everyone , I am new to this website and a little afraid of posting on here but here it goes. I first want to start off saying that I do not want to trigger anyone, my intention is to get help and help others, if I can. I have been struggling with OCD since I was 11 and I am 29 now. I have all different types of obsessions and compulsions. I am in therapy and have not taken any medicine. I am currently reading "Getting Control" by Lee Baer. The book is incredible and focuses on ERP, which I am trying to use. I am dealing currently with contamination obsessions and compulsions. I am too afraid to attempt to do any major contamination exposures due to our current situation. However, I am working on other exposures that I have set out to do. To give you an example of what I am struggling with; I am afraid of drinking off cups that I felt others may have touched, or using anything in the kitchen before disinfecting and washing my hands. My anxiety has been very high when I am doing any exposure which is normal, some days I can really stick to it but other days its like I have not even done exposures ever or I cant let the benefit overcome the thoughts, and I feel like the OCD is controlling me too much where I cannot complete the exposures. I love coffee and today was the first day that I had some in over 6 weeks, I had a lot of anxiety after having coffee. Even though the anxiety has passed, I am still thinking its better that I do not have coffee. I have been meditating everyday and I know that helps, I am going to speak to a psychiatrist soon but I am worried about taking medication, I do not want to become dependent on it and I am worried about the side effects. I appreciate any insight any of you might have. Thank you!

14 Replies
MothFir profile image

Hello and welcome. If your doctor think it's okay for you to try medication, I would strongly encourage it. I have taken fluoxetine for almost 20 years. It results in fewer intrusive thoughts and allows me to have much more success with ERP when I do have the thoughts. I've not had any side effects or dependency from it. Different medications are different for different people, but you may well find one that makes your struggles easier.

I have some contamination issues (among others) and although I am thankfully not too obsessive about coronavirus, it does throw a wrench into some of the normal ERP treatments. One example: I usually feel an OCD urge to wash my hands if I've handled my car keys before eating, and up until a few weeks ago I'd try to resist the urge and just eat without washing again. Now that's not such a great idea!

Keep doing what you can, though, and don't be too upset by having ups and downs. Remember that you've got an overactive alarm system, and your brain will often tell you that there's a serious threat when there isn't. And don't be afraid to post specific questions on here!

OCDFriend profile image
OCDFriend in reply to MothFir

Thank you for your response MothFir, I am glad to hear that taking medicine in conjunction with ERP has helped you so much! It's very inspiring to hear that. Before all of this, I did not have such bad contamination fears, it was more repeating obsessions and compulsions, now I am currently working on those repeating obsessions and compulsions using ERP. I will start to post more specific questions on here, I just get worried that I am going to trigger someone and that is the last thing that I want.

MothFir profile image
MothFir in reply to OCDFriend

Triggering someone is a risk, but you can always put 'trigger warning' or something at the top of your post if you think it's a real concern. I myself have been triggered by a couple of posts in the few months I've been here, but that sort of comes with the territory. The benefits of hearing from other people with many of the same issues I have, and getting their advice, has been more than worth it.

MrsMapdog profile image
MrsMapdog in reply to MothFir

Wow! For some reason I thought I was the only one that could have triggers by other people's posts on here. I'm glad to hear that others struggle with the same problem.

I'm about to start my first erp therapy on monday through zoom. I've been in and out of therapy for years but it's only been talk therapy. I had dbs on March 5th, also known as deep brain surgery in another state. The psychiatist of the surgery team said that I need to get into erp.

I've come off my Fluvoximine and don't plan on getting on anymore SSRI meds because they don't help me with ocd. I believe I have treatment resistant ocd. I've tried so many other meds too and they dont help.

Best wishes to you

Pratheek profile image
Pratheek in reply to MothFir


AprileVescovo profile image

Hello, well first of well its great that you are reaching out :)

There are other things I suggest download fitbit app or calm or headspace. with these apps they have different techniques of mediation such as for anxiety etc.

For medication I know how you feel as I was in your position for a while I did not want to depend on them HOWEVER its not the case it really does depend on the person but I am sure you are strong enough. I have been on and off antidepressant tablets for a long time now and I have not had any withdrawal symptoms.

I hope this helps a little.

OCDFriend profile image
OCDFriend in reply to AprileVescovo

Hi AprileVescovo, thank you for your reply. I have been using Insight Timer which is a meditation app, its really cool. I think I have 5 different meditation apps, haha. I think meditation really helps.

Yes, I have an appointment here in a couple of weeks so we will see what they say. I am struggling with a lot of anxiety so I think some medicine will help that. I have not been able to do many things I love. I am happy to read your story and many others to see that medicine is not a bad thing and people are getting the help they need from medicine and therapy. Thank you once again!

I would like to welcome you to the OCD Support Network.

We are here to offer help and support to each other.

Currently, I am taking lots of medications.

Everybody is different with experiencing side effects.

Medication does help you in becoming stabilized.

I hope you feel better.

3BirdLover profile image

I've been on medication for about 30+ years and I'm here to say that FOR ME, it's worth it, HOWEVER that doesn't mean that YOU will need to be on's possible that with the therapy you are doing, the meds may just help enough for you to get a handle on your OCD while learning more tools. I know that when I am really bad, my meds need to be increased for awhile, but the goal is always to be able to DEcrease when I start to even out. Talk to the psych in details about it and let him/her know your reservations. Can your therapist help you with your ERP? I have never done this, but after reading on this board, if I get 'bad' again, this is something I will definitely look into doing. Nice to have you here..... take care of yourself!

Fargo-Guy profile image

Ocd is tough. I am 68. Had ocd since 8. Has it for 60 years. I am retired and had a successful career. You can live with and through it. ERP does not work for me. Med helps but makes me feel bad at times so I stop it. My ocd is touching things. I have to touch things a certain number of times or someone in my family will get ill or have problems. The guilt is hard to deal with. I have read books and have been in counseling.

The types of ocd amaze me and may have been how I have bee able to deal with it. Your ocd about contamination and things being clean never crosses my mind. Others I have read about are the same nothing I would think about. This tells me our mind is doing this to us. I don’t need to count and you don’t need to wash your hands all the time. I guess you can call it ERP but to me just work at walking away from you issues. Pray about it. Try to let it go.

flnj profile image
flnj in reply to Fargo-Guy

Truly different for all of us! Everybody is correct on this site and some OCD behaviors I read about would never even occur to me or bother me in anyway. Such a strange disease.

I struggle daily with not being able to use and enjoy my home environment. No matter how many times I have move and say I will try harder, it NEVER WORKS OUT. For simple example today, I woke up wanted my daily cup of coffee, but would not dirty my coffee maker or kitchen counters. Even with the virus now, it felt better for me to glove up and mask, go to store and get a cup of coffee to bring home. My home is so organized and neat, I barely use anything in it. No visitors unless absolutely necessary to mess anything up. My kitchen sink can go a week without use. So hard, however, I can go to my daughter's home( which is pretty messy) cook and enjoy HER family kitchen. It's just my personal space and things have to be perfect. My husband lasted 27 yrs with this and my companion later on 10 years, and I still dont know how they did it with all my " restrictions". I'm currently living alone and have been for a few years. Done it all over past 50 years....meds therapy etc. Its easy for me now somewhat, because I'm alone, but that might be changing in the near future for the better, but I'm terrified, once again, I can not adjust at all to living normal with someone.

Wow, that went on longer than I thought. Everyone stay safe and sane.

KatyKeene profile image

Hi. I think you're doing the best you can, and that's something you should congratulate yourself everyday.

GentleDiva profile image

I agree that medication is a wonderful "booster" in recovery for any mental illness. Don't even sweat it when it comes to your worry about dependency. There are a number of medication for OCD not just Prozac. I was on Prozac for 16 years and was in love with it; literally begged my psychiatrist for it after my BiPolar episode. but I think it activated my OCD and I had my first looping intrusive thought (all day)--good thing it was at lease a friendly/funny one! No, seriously, it was REALLY hard to hold the thought with my other thoughts. Very fatiguing, trying to be accepting but not giving it attention and using mindfulness to come back to the present moment and activities...and wondering when its going to go away. I am praying that as I continue to go OFF it that kind of thing will go away. Otherwises . . . god, I have a lot to learn and to practice. any help within this chain, please let me know, Best wishes to you on your journey. good luck with your contamination issues and ERP

It's great that you've been doing therapy. Think of medication as a way of helping to treat the OCD in a different way. With OCD, anxiety and depression, the chemistry of one's brain can become set into certain pathways that don't allow you to "think outside the box." A good medication will help loosen up those pathways and give you the chance to see things more clearly.

There's not much to worry about in terms of becoming dependent on anti-depressants. The important thing is not stopping a medication suddenly. They have to be tapered off of so that your brain doesn't have to go cold turkey. It's important to have a psychiatrist who recognizes that everyone reacts differently to different medications, and that whatever side effects you report experiencing are valid. Get a psychiatrist who is willing to keep trying medications with you until you find a good one, and who will follow you closely to keep track of side effects.

I started trying medications at age 26. It wasn't until I was 31 that I tried Celexa and suddenly I started to be able to "see" certain OCD thought patterns that I was subconsciously living with. Example: I realized I always "saw" a clock in the center of my head that was counting off the time in five minute increments. Lots of my obsessions started at a very young age when I would try to get ready for school in a certain amount of time while simultaneously dodging certain people in our house who were threatening for different reasons. That carried over into every hour of my life, as I tried to find the most efficient route possible or the quickest way of doing tasks and planned everything out in these five minute increments.

I don't know when I would have gotten to the point of finding out about this clock thing if I hadn't tried the Celexa. It terrified me at first to actually "see" the clock, but it was such a relief to let that clock go once I realized I didn't need it anymore.

Anyway, that's my plug for the wonders of medication. Your personality won't change, you won't become a different person. You'll just have a slightly easier time getting through life.

Also, 20% of people aren't able to properly metabolize coffee. You may be one of them. I know I immediately become an anxious mess if I have caffeine, and then 20 minutes later I crash hard and am a useless zombie for the rest of the day. Our society runs on caffeine so it is difficult to stop, but I have never regretted doing so. Cutting out caffeine definitely helped with the anxiety and helped me even out my stress level throughout the day.

FYI: I did try Lexapro (made by same company that makes Celexa, and is reformulation of Celexa) but that caused terrible anxiety. Medications are a cr*pshoot. It can be discouraging and exhausting to try different ones and not get relief. Something will work though. Give yourself time to rest in between trials of different meds. Take notes. Slow and steady wins the race.

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