Harm OCD when depressed: Does anyone elses... - My OCD Community

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Harm OCD when depressed

disneyandme profile image

Does anyone elses harm OCD act up more when they’re feeling depressed/going through a period of depression? My harm OCD focuses on a fear of self harming. I’ve had many different themes of OCD, and this one only seems to really pop up when I’m depressed, which makes it feel more real. I’ve absolutely never wanted to self harm or considered self harming. It’s more of an “urge” feeling/sensation that OCD gives me, the same way that other themes of OCD can have thoughts come in the form of an urge. Can anyone else relate? The compulsion seems to be questioning the feeling and whether or not it’s real or just OCD, and fearing losing control or “snapping” and acting on it.

14 Replies

Yes, your OCD will flare up whenever you will feel depressed, stressed, or anxious. That is why it is recommended to manage stress and depression as it can worsen your thoughts. So don't feel depressed do things that you love to try to mindfulness breathing and some other techniques that will help to cope with OCD.

Here are some good articles which have OCD coping techniques




Good Morning Disney girl! Distract..🍩☕️Dismiss😊and don’t give into those OCD urges✔️OCD is sneaky & will do it’s best to come into any door it can get in. Hope you are feeling better with the depression and that you have a very nice day today🤗

disneyandme profile image
disneyandme in reply to Aleese

Hi Aleese!! Thanks for the reminder :) “distract and dismiss” is always something I come back to and it reminds me of you! You were the first to say these words to me and it was the beginning of such a wonderful freedom from the grasp OCD had on me. I’ll always be grateful to you. You’re right, OCD really is sneaky and though I find myself falling for it much less often, I still do from time to time of course. Luckily I am feeling much better and less depressed lately. Hope you have an amazing day 🥰

Aleese profile image
Aleese in reply to disneyandme

Thank you Disney girl! Those were some of my past ‘OCD therapist’ words as well as much more! I thought you’d remember✔️😁I’m really glad you are feeling better. I so understand though. The Best to you🤗

Hello! I identify with what you’re describing so much. For me, I have this added fear about snapping, self-harming, and then what if I actually like it?! It terrifies me. Exposures have helped me a lot through this. I’ve worked with my therapist to where I can now sit there holding a sharp object against my wrist and watch as the anxiety comes down. It took some work to build up to this because I was afraid about “what if I snap while doing the exposure and actually hurt myself?” But it helped that my therapist had so much faith in me that this was just OCD. It was hard to just trust her on that because that “urge” does feel so real.

disneyandme profile image
disneyandme in reply to Baker202

Yes! I do as well. Sometimes if I accidentally hurt myself (i.e stub my toe or something like that) I’ll analyze whether I liked it or not as evidence. OCD makes it that I really don’t know. I know I’m control of my actions and that I would be choosing whether or not to carry out self harming, but the OCD chimes in and says “what if you lose control, what if you snap, what if the “urge” becomes so overwhelming that you have to?”. My therapist, too, reminds me that its not an “urge” per say, even though it feels like it, its just a thought in the form of a feeling. I guess the thing that bothers me most, and the reason I find myself writing this post from time to time over the years, is that this theme of OCD tends to pop up for me when I’m feeling down/depressed. I still worry that since that seems to be the only time it happens, that its a real feeling and I’m secretly a person who wants to self harm or am in danger of becoming one. Even though I logically know I don’t want to do that, I worry because I’m sure those who do self harm don’t “want” to do it either, so what makes me any different? Ugh, OCD can be so hard and confusing sometimes. Anyway, thanks so much for your comment as its nice to know I’m not alone. Congratulations on your progress, its always a great feeling to get to such an advanced point in ERP- I’ve done similar things with different themes. :) be well and have a great day

Yes, I can relate. I have a pretty good control of my OCD at this point in time, but I have definitely experienced it getting worse with my depression and anxiety. I believe all our illnesses feed off each other. I agree with Aleese about not giving into those thoughts. My therapist taught me to label them when they come up, “Oh that’s an ocd thought.” Sometimes I would (and will when I have popups) mock the thought, like, “Oh, that’s a real original one OCD, is that all you can come up with?” Making the thought less scary and labeling it as OCD can really help.

Hi!! Thanks so much for your comment it always feels nice to know someone out there can relate :) I, too, have a pretty good control of my OCD! I’ve been in therapy for about 2 years now and consider myself in a recovery/maintenance phase with my OCD. It for sure does act up when stressors, depression/anxiety are acting up. Thanks for reminding me to talk back to my thoughts! I’ve done so in the past and it’s always so helpful. Glad to hear you’re doing well with managing your OCD. Thanks again for the response :) have a great day

You’re very welcome! Have a good day too!

I can definitely relate! This first popped up for me prior to my OCD diagnosis (I was recently diagnosed) and I was sooo confused and alarmed. It has definitely created a fear of being sad/depressed which is something I'm working on currently with my therapist. For me it was helpful to understand that I will still feel an urge but I just have to treat it like any other ocd thought. Since my diagnosis, I've slowly been able to cope with it better, and now I know that feeling sad (or just generally not happy) is its own trigger for me and to get ready for this one of my themes to become more prevalent during that time. What I've learned is OCD takes advantage of whatever it can latch onto the most at a particular time, so when I'm feeling down it really takes advantage of the self-harm theme

disneyandme profile image
disneyandme in reply to Eli_E

Hi! Thanks so much for replying!! As much as I hate that we’ve both experienced this, I’m glad to hear I’m not alone! I’ve always found it hard to describe the “urge” feeling, and it seems as though you relate! This first popped up for me prior to my OCD diagnosis as well, dating back to even when I was around 13. It was never consistent, just on and off (just as many other OCD things/themes had popped up prior the being diagnosed too). I’ve been diagnosed for about 2 years and consider myself to be in a maintenance phase of managing my OCD. I’ve worked on this with my therapist before, because for me too it turned into a fear of being sad/depressed because I felt it meant I’d be more likely to act on the thoughts. Thats why for me, when I get this “urge” feeling about self harm, it really worries me because it only tends to pop up when im feeling depressed and my mind takes it as evidence that its real. I did a better job describing it in a comment above to Baker202, if you’re interested in reading :). Anyway, thankful to know I’m not the only one who notices this theme pop up mostly when feeling down because it reminds me that it really is most likely my OCD. Thanks for responding it means a lot and I truly wish you well


How are you doing now? I’m sorry that our OCD sucks so badly. I have the same fear as you, exactly! I have self harm ocd as well and I have been obsessing about the depressed feelings. I am so worried that my ocd will be so strong that I can’t tell the difference and feel like I will want to act on these horrible thoughts. I don’t like it! It scares the crap out of me. I know praying is a compulsion- but I pray so much about it. I don’t know what else to do! I do ERP and have my therapist but the feelings of fear are so overwhelming. 😩

I feel this way. My touching ocd and I think many ocd rituals increase when we are depressed or anxious. It is an anxiety disorder. I have not been able to make them less unless I get busy with some project that does not make me nervous.

Hey, I recently joined because my ocd has gotten so bad recently. I have missed a lot of my medication this past month and I have a feeling that’s playing into my ocd coming back up (I know it is and I know I’m not supposed to seek reassurance about it) however, this same fear of self harm hit me one day in the car driving to work and it has consumed me the last week. I have been so sad and scared. It’s the last thing I ever want to do, but I get thoughts and fear that I’m so stuck and trapped (even though I know I’ve relapsed many times before and it always gets better over time) It was so scary and I though I may have been the only one who thought this. Hearing other people have felt this and it really is ocd helps. Now I just have to not use it as reassurance.

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