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Tamara
Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1072
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Is this OCD - please help, losing all hope

Resolved Question:

I've always been a terrible worrier. When I was little I went through phases of strange thoughts, some of which went on for a very long time (I refused to go upstairs by myself until I was about 12). From about the age of 11 onwards I suffered from anorexia and bulimia at different stages, which remained undiagnosed until I was about 20. I received a course of CBT (which then became Acceptance Commitment Therapy) and was on Fluoxetine for about two years, before coming off it about 6 months ago. The eating disorder was just beginning to get under control when the anxiety attacks started. <br /><br /><br />During my ED treatment I met my boyfriend - we have been together for 3 years, and even with the ED I have been the happiest I have ever felt. He is amazing, and everything anyone could ever want - funny, smart, gorgeous, caring, kind, passionate, intelligent, mature...the perfect guy. During the 3 years I have never felt anything but love for him, and we have never once argued. About a month ago (when the ED treatment was being tailed off) I started having doubts, out of the blue - just one day I thought 'I don't love him anymore', and from then on I was taking panic attacks daily, even waking up with them in the morning.<br /><br /> I was put in contact with a clinical psychologist not long after that (my parents thought they were going to have to section me because the attacks were so constant and so severe to the point where I couldn't feed or clothe myself and couldn't be left alone, even when sleeping) who believes that all my history and my character link to OCD, and it is just manifesting itself in different ways. I have chosen to decline medication this time around, because my doctor's opinion is that I will always have OCD, and I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life. The psychologist is doing a variety of things with me, including relaxation and ERP, and he is also trained in hypnosis.<br /><br /> Since seeing the psychologist, I have made a lot of progress, and can now do things again, even though I take little enjoyment in anything anymore and forget things a lot. With the psychologist's encouragement I stayed with my boyfriend 24/7 for a week while both our parents were on holidays, and the week after we went on holiday ourselves, so in total I have spent two weeks exclusively with my boyfriend. This has been difficult but interesting, because when I started staying with my boyfriend the thoughts kept changing, e.g. one day I would be scrutinising his personality and the next I would have convinced myself I was attracted to his next door neighbour. I kept up my ERP and tried some of the relaxation things, and on the whole I was quite happy. The same kind of thing happened on holiday, except I didn't get the chance to do the ERP because we were kept so busy.<br /><br /> Upon returning home though, I took a really bad turn, and started believing that I should break up with him - for the first since staying with him I was crying, shaking, tense - full blown anxiety attack, and it was extremely difficult to shake off the thought. The episode completely exhausted me. <br /><br />This morning I came back to my family home (where I stay normally) and on the journey back I was actually feeling half positive - I could at least recognise that the anxiety wasn't being caused by my relationship, and could imagine and feel happy about our future together, though I still felt anxious and nervous about SOMETHING. Throughout the day however, the anxiety has been getting worse, and my thoughts keep changing and I keep crying - like one second I feel that all I want to do is cuddle my boyfriend again, then the next I feel like killing myself, then I think that I should be breaking up with him. The breaking up thought has stuck though, and it seems so real I thought I was actually going to go through with it. Since talking to my boyfriend I feel a bit better, but still not right, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm making excuses for myself? Like I can think of many reasons why I would feel bad today (I don't get on particularly well with my family, coming back from holiday, not spending more time with my boyfriend, etc.) but I have this thought stuck in my head and it isn't going away - how do I know that it isn't real?! <br /><br />Please help - I am beginning to feel very depressed and anxious, and very, very confused. Is this OCD or something else, or am I just in denial?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Tamara replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having these problems. It sounds like it has been very difficult for you. You have a very complicated situation, and there is no way that I can really offer you anything that is going to help you turn this around in a short time. However, I can give you my impression and advice based on what you have said.

You are dealing with a lot of issues - anxiety, depression, OCD. And although you are doing the right thing by getting therapy, I think you are absolutely on the wrong track by refusing to take medication. What kind of sense does that make that you are NOT going to treat this with because you're going to have it forever? That's like saying that you aren't going to treat high blood pressure with medication because you're going to have it forever. That's not logical. I understand your desire to not be dependent on medication, but you aren't even giving yourself a chance to figure out how to deal with things if you don't give yourself some help by taking medication - at least initially. Why make things harder? In my opinion, you need to be on medication AND participating in your therapy. By doing both of these, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to understand yourself and what you are dealing with, and to find ways to function in a healthy and happy manner. AFTER you have done this with medication and therapy THEN you start looking at if you can do it without medication. NOT before. Get on the medication, and get yourself stabilized. Get a baseline for your mood, your feelings, your desires, your thoughts, etc. Then you won't have such a hard time understanding if what you feel is right for you on not.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for responding to me. I understand what you are saying about medication, and it makes sense, but I really feel in my current situation that this might make things worse - I was put on fluoxetine (for the second time) just after I started taking the panic attacks, and even my GP admitted it was the wrong move - I was in such a bad place, that to put me on fluoxetine (which apparently increases anxiety when you first take it) pretty much sent me over the edge. Perhaps now I am feeling a little more stable I will consider it with my psychologist, so thank you.

I wanted to ask if feelings can really feel switched off through depression/anxiety/OCD. I know in the run up to these thoughts starting I was having a hard time balancing my time and was having increasingly strange and intrusive thoughts - could this be the cause for things to switch off literally overnight?

All I want is to know I love my boyfriend again - my psychologist has mentioned that OCD and anxiety can attack the thing which is most precious to you - is this true? I hate these thoughts in my head feeling so real, and I just want them to pass. Right now I feel I am standing on the edge - like I could fall back into the anxiety or I could climb out and everything would be fine again - is this a good sign?

There is nothing wrong with my relationship - he is the same wonderful person I met three years ago, and like I said, there have never been any problems with anything, which sounds unreal, but it's true. I just really need a yes or no answer that this is OCD - right now I feel so depressed that I'm not able to fight anymore, and I feel that if I could have a diagnosis, someone professional telling me that there is a mental health problem there, I could start to fight again.
Expert:  Tamara replied 4 years ago.
Hi again. I"m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I would have to say that yes, I think your change in feelings could definitely be a mental health issue - specifically related to your OCD and anxiety. It is possible for people to shut down if they are having too many feelings, or if their feelings feel like they are too much to handle. If your feelings for your boyfriend seemed to change overnight, then I would attribute it more to your mental health issues than to anything really having changed with regard to how you feel about him. So please keep fighting. It's always worth fighting! Good luck with everything. Tamara
Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1072
Experience: 20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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