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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I was on here last night with a problem and have been having

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I was on here last night with a problem and have been having the same problem for the past week. I have anxiety - I've been to a psychologist before just for help with giving presentations in school. Earlier this week I was speaking to someone who works with a homicidal patient and it made me think that I might have it in me to hurt someone too. I've had this thought before - watching Dexter was the first time I felt this way. I started thinking of that last week, and then I started thinking of something else - that I may have unintentionally plagiarized on an essay i had handed in. Once I thought of that that took over my mind for several days and I began to feel depressed and at one point started thinking life wasn't worth living. I was thinking of all the consequences that could happen - that I'd get kicked out of school, that I might end up in jail. Then I talked to my professor and he had me revise my essay, so I feel better about that now. But not a day passed before I started thinking that I might be capable of hurting people. I keep getting this image of myself hurting someone - no one in particular. And it's lasted several days now .I'm afraid to be around people. I'm locked in my room with my cat, but I'm afraid to be around her too. I called my psychologist to set up an appointment but she's not available till the 4th. I feel like I need medication or something. Please help, I feel like i'm going crazy.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how overwhelmingly frustrating this situation must be for you. I recently worked with a young man who was overcome with fear that he might injure himself or other people because when he said anything about anyone maybe he actually meant to injure them. So, for example, he was so scared that when he answered someone that his mother or father were fine, maybe he really meant that they should get sick with a disease. You see how immobilizing this could be.

And it sounds as if you are also immobilized by your "stray thoughts". With him we called them "strange thoughts". It helped him as we worked on things to be told that we ALL have strange thoughts or stray thoughts. But the rest of us just let them go the way of all strange thoughts: we don't take them seriously. The difference is that he and you take them seriously, so they not only become intense, they multiply. But I imagine when you look at his strange thoughts you can see how they don't actually reflect reality: he actually did say his parents were fine. He just kept having doubts that maybe in some strange way reality was different than what he was living. When it's someone else's strange thoughts, it's easier to see how they are just thoughts and not reality.

So I can't diagnose for you. There are a number of possibilities. But the major one is OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is a thought compulsion. So for the next few days until you can take it up with your psychologist, I would like you to just remind yourself that these thoughts you have that you MIGHT be able to hurt others are "strange thoughts" or "stray thoughts" and that they don't reflect reality, just your taking so absolutely seriously what we all go through and not worry about.The only difference is that you are obsessing on the thought.

So I want you to keep telling yourself and reminding yourself of the above: everyone has stray strange thoughts. We just don't take them seriously and we move on and do what we need to and act normally.

I wish you the very best!

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