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Thread: Had an OCD meltdown yesterday, have to vent

  1. #11
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    You have nothing to be ashamed of. You haven't done anything bad; you're just suffering. The additional stress may be making things worse than usual for you. Have you ever tried cognitive behavioral therapy? I've heard it can be very effective.
    I've got given CTB a serious go yet, I have to admit. Maybe I was fooling myself but I thought I was just about managing and stemming the tide until marriage breakdown. With hindsight I should have taken the fight to my OCD a lot earlier. Additional stress is always a disaster for my OCD, as I lack the mental clarity to see through the OCD. I'm definitely going to pick up CBT when I'm back home - it's a huge priority now, just observing how this has ruined the last few weeks and now impacting my relationship with my gf. :(

  2. #12
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    No medical advice just hugs - germ free cyber hugs. No I am not making light of it just that I get it. I am not OCD and I found after I had my son almost 10 years ago I became much much more germ averse. Before that I had emetophobia and it subsided after almost 30 years of it and it also hampered my lifestyle etc. so I get it. I worry a lot about food spoilage and flu and viruses etc. my husband is not like this so itís challenging and I know I donít want my son to be like that but I definitely restrict him on average more than other parents. So I get how you donít want to subject your girlfriend to this. Does worst case scenario thinking help at all? What helps me is 4-7-8 breathing Weill method - google it - when I am anxious and need perspective. I also do worst case etc. and I realize therapy is probably optimal for you not a strangerís input! Hang in and Iím sorry youíre going through this.
    Hey thanks - worst case scenario thinking, I guess in this situation ... basically catches the OCD out.

    You see my gf doesn't have any virus that could be transmitted from her blood down there. So even that dried blood has zero consequence for me. So if I put my clean sheets on, despite dried blood traces on the mattress, there are two factors 1) no virus in her blood anyway 2) dried blood for 2+ weeks means nothing is alive in it anyway.

    Statistically impossible for anything bad to happen to me.

    My gf got a cold sore (first in 2 years) and that was over a week when I sore her last. And that's transmitted by skin to skin contact during an episode - i.e. with the impacted area. She said she has 100% never had a sore anywhere else on her, and I am certain I am her first sexual partner.

    You'd think OCD could not compete with that logic wouldn't you?

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Yeah, OCD can short-circuit the brain and the best thing is to raise the threshold by reducing stress or anything that lowers the threshold and trips you up. Some humor helps have you seen the movie :[Register to see the link]

  4. #14
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by doberman100
    Today I had a moment of clarity where I realised it was ludicrous, and in that moment I resolved to just carry on walking when I got to the top - and not look back. And I did just that.
    [...] This means I don't have to do it again.
    This is fabulous! It's not just a practical step, it's symbolic: "moving forward without looking back." It may have something to do with your job stress ending, or you may be giving yourself a degree of permission that you've denied yourself before.

    You can sort out the symbolism over time, but meanwhile, consider celebrating this emotionally and with a private reward. Treat yourself to something meaningful to you, or treat someone else to a celebratory drink or meal without (necessarily) needing to disclose the private meaning to your recipient.

    I advocate making a big deal about this is because it will ANCHOR your triumph in a way that you can reference later, as needed. CongrAts!

    Originally Posted by doberman100
    I am baffled at how I can seemingly randomly dismiss rituals like this, yet at other times get stuck.
    It's not random. Use the above example to credit yourself for being rational: you have a ~reason~ for every ritual you impose. Consider keeping a running list of your rituals in one column, then your explanation for it's purpose in another. Continually examine whether a ritual still serves you, or not. If so, choose whether you'll continue the ritual 'for now,' or not. From there, it's no longer some random deal--it's a rational and deliberate decision.

    Most rituals are NOT 'wrong' or 'bad,' we all have them. The trick is to quit is infusing shame into them, which amplifies anxiety about them. THAT is when a compulsion loop turns harmful, because it equates just about anything that's automatic to being 'bad'.

    You are functional. That's more than a lot of people can say, regardless of where they land on a compulsive spectrum. Think of an overall scale from 1 to 10, lazy to compulsive. The balance is discipline. Well, discipline is a great life skill to have, actually. So what kind of pride might you attribute to any habit or ritual that you decide to keep as a 'discipline' instead of something that causes you shame?

    Originally Posted by doberman100
    Thank you :)

    I have indulged myself, but prioritised getting to work and not falling out of life over using my bed. I didn't think I had much choice, as taking a gamble in my current state of mind seems too much of gamble. If I feel strong and optimistic, that would be better. I still don't know what to do about the bed. I thought maybe of using hand sanitiser on every inch of the mattress to see if that helps, but I just think that's going too far. But would it get me back into my bed? I don't know what to do. If the bed is there with no sheets and mattress, and no duvet cover, for like 2 weeks, then what virus can live through that?? None. So maybe in 2 weeks I could put the clean sheets on, I don't know. I just want to get back on there, somehow.
    Okay, this makes sense. You have any number of solutions. Consider your comfort level as your criteria for your best solution. For instance, sure, airing the mattress probably kills any viral cells that aren't even likely there in the first place--but if that doesn't satisfy YOUR comfort, then it doesn't. Period.

    You could spray the mattress with a sanitizer then add a thick mattress pad or foam topper before adding a fresh sheet. If that idea lands too low on your comfort scale, you could just buy a new mattress from a place that will deliver and remove your old one.

    If you believe that this is too extreme, skip shaming yourself, and opt instead to consider how many households switch out their mattresses on any given day of any given year. It's not exactly bizarre behavior.

    You get to decide you OWN level of comfort with any solution you want to adopt for any given problem. Consider the liberation a solution buys you, and then decide whether resolving the problem is worth the expense.

    Head high, you've got this.

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  6. #15
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    @catfeeder, I don't know where to start with how much your message affected me emotionally. Probably because I need to talk about these things. Quite a lot of tears flowing tbh.

    I am happy about my little win today, but don't feel deserving enough of any celebration. I just feel too awful about myself, horribly guilty about the effect on my gf who I have still not met up with. Lord only knows how she is feeling about this.

    I've spun up a little spreadsheet in which I'm listing out all my rituals throughout the day, and want to build a 'pack' which I can refer to in order to track progress - and have a reference point so I don't bring into play new rituals. I think the one I most regret letting into my life is when showering, washing my hands after washing my legs. I can't even remember when or why I started doing that, but it was about this time last year. I've yearned to stop doing it, as I know I'm not supposed to be doing it.

    Thanks for your suggestions on dealing with the mattress. I had not thought seriously about that. My bedroom is basically a big wardrobe now with a bed, mattress, and duvet on the bed. I look at it and wonder if I can put my sheets on, but I'm not ready for that yet. I don't have plan for it, but then again only plan to be in this country for another 8 weeks or so. I might just leave it to be honest. It depends if I risk making things even worse for me here, when I'm so close to getting out, and feeling relatively safe right now - albeit without being able to use my bed.

    I think I'm going to try and get through this week, and then think about it some more. I'm also going to have to face up to a conversation with my gf who post cold sore probably believes I am ready to meet up. I feel like a completely terrible person right now because my OCD is in the way, and I think this is tragic for both of us. She has been the only really good thing here in the past 6 months and she deserves better than this.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by doberman100
    I am happy about my little win today, but don't feel deserving enough of any celebration.
    This is self imposed shame, and it's the primary 'ritual' to tackle, because it's the one that will wreck your life.

    Originally Posted by doberman100
    I just feel too awful about myself, horribly guilty about the effect on my gf who I have still not met up with. Lord only knows how she is feeling about this.
    Why not ask her instead of presuming? Decide how 'tragic' you want to make this, and recognize that she's likely to follow your lead. If you make it into a bigger deal than it needs to be, that's likely to have more impact on GF than deciding against turning this into a tragedy.

    Originally Posted by doberman100
    I've spun up a little spreadsheet in which I'm listing out all my rituals throughout the day, and want to build a 'pack' which I can refer to in order to track progress - and have a reference point so I don't bring into play new rituals.
    We all have rituals, and we all adopt new ones that serve us over time. Rituals, of themselves, are not harmful, and that's important for you to grasp. One of your biggest barriers to healing is the shame you impose on yourself for having them.

    All of the private 'techniques' we each use to organize or accomplish a task or move ourselves forward are exactly that--ritualized techniques. The problem only comes when we adopt rituals that keep us stuck in a way that we can't explain or that have us impose shame on ourselves for no apparent reason. So work more closely on the 'reasons' column of your list.

    Originally Posted by doberman100
    I think the one I most regret letting into my life is when showering, washing my hands after washing my legs. I can't even remember when or why I started doing that, but it was about this time last year. I've yearned to stop doing it, as I know I'm not supposed to be doing it.
    Why are you not 'supposed to' do it? You're in the shower. Washing is what people do in the shower. You've decided that you don't want skin cells from your legs to be on your hands, so you wash them off. Sounds like a practical solution.

    Spend more time with the 'reasons' column on your list. You'll notice that you have practical reasons for much of your behavior. Decide how much shame you want to impose on yourself for any given ritual. However, before you impose shame, come up with a valid reason for the shame.

    Head high.

  8. #17
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    Hey, so I've got through the week - but really wanted to thank you for the help about 'shame' and how I feel about what I'm doing, and my rituals. I have been too hard on myself, expecting myself to suddenly start to fix this OCD by myself in this transitional and very anxiety inducing situation. I'm in another country with no social support (aside from my gf via messages) and my current thinking is ... let's just do this thing and get out of this country. I'll dust myself down once I get to the other side, and we'll see what's what... start to rebuild. That is all I care about now, just getting that done. Sure, OCD is trying to stop me almost every step of the way, making me think everything is contaminated, doubt myself, the usual crap - but it's not going to stop me. This is happening, OCD - whether you like it or not. That's my mentality now.

    I've reconciled things mostly with my gf, I think. She understands the situation, what this thing is, and how this 'spike' has literally been a grenade in my life. My dad is pretty worried and messages me every day, even my brother who is normally quite aloof, keeps messaging me to ask me if I'm okay. Knowing I've got a family waiting for me no matter what state I'm in, when I get there, means everything to me and I'm lucky to have that.

    Yes, the showering. I read that back, and the thing is my OCD has ritualised every aspect of hand and leg washing so that it takes ages. Probably 30-45 minutes, which is something I understand, but want to reduce. I actually have a system I am comfortable with, which involves counting, but my OCD makes me doubt I've actually counted to the number I finish on... like I didn't count at all, or skipped some numbers. Then I have to restart, but it's just the OCD, and I've not been able to get past that. It really frustrates me. If only I could not doubt my counting when having a wash, I'd be out of there in pretty good time - but OCD has spread itself all over the washing routine like a plague. :(

    So what I'm trying to do is not impose any shame now. Look, if I go a bit crazy and cant use an item of clothing, to hell with it because I just need to get out of here. I might pick up some collateral damage on the way, but as this is all OCD and based on statistical impossibility and full on BS, I'm going to be okay actually. That fact really resonates with me, and gets me through the day. No matter how horrible this gets, I'm not going to have these bad things happen to me - which right now is pretty much all about getting an STD. Yep, contamination OCD is the one that causes me the most pain.

    So I'm getting there, sorting out my schedule to move, and packing, slowly. Being careful not to cause another crisis, not having 'brave' moments where I think I can do this... and then I freeze and realise I'm screwed and can't get through it. I've had quite a few of those the past week. Let's delay that until I get home and start seeing a professional, I think to myself. I need to team up with someone to fight this thing. I've got too much on my plate right now.

    So trying to be kinder to myself. :)

  9. #18
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    What I do is tell myself "OK, so maybe, despite checking 7 times, I did leave the stove on. So what would happen? The smoke alarm would go off and the fire department would be called to put out the fire. No one will die."

    And it works, because I have forgotten about the stove by the time I make the turn out of my apartment complex.

    Imagining the worst that could happen and realizing that it wouldn't result in an earth destroying catastrophe has helped tremendously.

  10. #19
    Super Moderator Capricorn3's Avatar
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    Sorry I haven't read every reply, but are you going for any professional counselling/therapy for your OCD issues? If not, why not? I don't think you'll ever get on top of this without professional help.

  11. #20
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    Originally Posted by Capricorn3
    Sorry I haven't read every reply, but are you going for any professional counselling/therapy for your OCD issues? If not, why not? I don't think you'll ever get on top of this without professional help.
    I agree. Basically I'm about to move country and go back home, after getting through a break up and divorce - been holding on, mental health care here not great - back home much better. I've not been putting it off, just trying to get my divorce done (so I'm not trapped in this country) but it's done now. All the anxiety in the past 3 years has made OCD worse.

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