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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5579
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I feel strange asking an anonymous online presence this, but

Customer Question

I feel strange asking an anonymous online presence this, but my situation is driving me insane. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (have since I was six, but my parents didn't recognize it as such and I didn't start any kind of treatment until my 20s) and may or may not have had depression for awhile now (some of the symptoms match). I'm living abroad right now because I came here to study before getting a job in the same country. I was in school (post-graduate) for a year or so, but didn't study much because I couldn't seem to concentrate (not due to OCD rituals--I just couldn't). When I first arrived, I would spend hours studying, but stopped when I realized I was studying more than I needed to do well in my classes. This ultimately avalanched into a zombie-like feeling (I was an A-student before this) in which I hated myself for being lazy but couldn't seem to work harder. I ended up with mostly A's and B's, but I feel like that was more due to the lenient grading inherent in this country's culture than any achievement on my part. My wife has never been happy living abroad (we live in a Third World country where conditions are not always especially pleasant), and it drove me even crazier to know that not only did she have to live in a country she never wanted to, but she had to deal with me being low energy, zero sex drive, and often asking for reassurance that I wasn't lazy, or that she wasn't mad at me. At my job, I often am not very productive and cannot concentrate, being distracted by things on the internet or just trying to figure out what the hell is the matter with me. I have trouble interacting with my coworkers (which was NEVER a problem before) and sometimes people in general. I feel like a lazy, worthless bum, and the thing is, I can't stand it. My mind chases itself in circles trying to figure out if this is a medical problem (in which case I can go a little easier on myself and have some sympathy) or if I really am just a lazy, worthless person who is slowly squandering all the gifts life has given him. I truly don't know which it is, and I seem to spend a lot of my mental time tracing my way back through my childhood, trying to see if I've ALWAYS been lazy, or if this is a new thing. One way or the other, I'm terrified by the possibility that I really might be just a lazy, whiny, entitled brat in a grown man's body. I know this paragraph isn't much to go by, but do you have any idea why I could be this way?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you might be struggling with an obsession over the possibility that you might be lazy. OCD can make you focus on one topic and analyze it so much that all of your energy is poured into that one thing and you have little left for living your life as you want to.

Trouble interacting with your co workers, worry over your marriage and concern over whether or not you are lazy can take all of your energy. You most likely are more tired because of the energy output than you are lazy. You have already proved that you can work very hard just by the amount of work you put into your school through studying and going to classes. And you are also working as well. You may feel that you didn't or don't do well at this things, but just having the motivation to follow through is more than a lot of people have.

What you can do is to first realize that you are not lazy. This is just a focus of the OCD. It is clear because that is what you are worried about and your mind keeps going back to that thought. By recognizing that you are not lazy and that this is just your thoughts, you can begin to break that cycle.

Additionally, medications and therapy can provide you with the coping mechanisms you need to deal with your thoughts. And medications can help reduce the thoughts or possibly eliminate them. Talk to your doctor about a referral. I'm not sure the availability of therapist and/or psychiatrists where you are now, but your doctor should be able to help you find someone. You can also use on line therapy if you cannot see anyone, at least for therapy.

Also, realize that the thoughts you are having are because you probably have OCD. This is a disorder caused by altered brain chemicals, and is not caused by you directly. This is not you but instead it is about your OCD.

Try to work on refocusing your thoughts. When the thoughts come into your mind, distract yourself. Find something that interests you and focus on it as long as you can.

Do not give your obsession meaning. The more you focus on it, the more importance you give it. So treat it like it's nothing. "It's only my thoughts. It does not mean anything". By using these techniques you can help yourself overcome the thoughts.

Also, self help can provide a way for you to learn about OCD and how you can help yourself. Here are some resources to help:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/obsessive_compulsive_disorder_ocd.htm

http://www.ocfoundation.org/whatisocd.aspx

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5579
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I figured that might be true. I've had the anxiety since I was about six, and I wonder if that hasn't been continuously sapping my energy the other times I thought I was lazy (of which there have been many, as you can imagine). Thank you for your help, Kate!

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome!

Yes, anxiety can be very draining, even to the point you feel totally exhausted by the end of the day. With all that you have done in your life, you are not lazy. This is just the OCD and the anxiety related to it (OCD is considered an anxiety disorder). So working on challenging your thoughts and relaxing will help. Here is a link that will help you learn how to relax:

http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm


Kate



May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for the positive rating and bonus! I appreciate it. Hang in there. With your motivation to do something about this, you will feel better.

Take care,
Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much, Kate! I appreciate your all your helpful advice and kind words!

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Anytime! I'm happy to help.

My best to you,
Kate

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.