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I have terrible anxiety, I constantly have the feeling that…

Hi, I have terrible anxiety...
Hi, I have terrible anxiety, I constantly have the feeling that my partner is sick or dying or will get cancer and I can’t control it
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
12/14/2017
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,117
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
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Hi, thank you for writing. My name is***** am sorry you are struggling with these worries. Is there any factual reason you have this concern about your partner's health? Is this the first time in your life where you have had thoughts (about health or something else) that you couldn't control and could be considered unwanted and intrusive and you couldn't control them? Have you ever been treated for anxiety, either with medications or with counseling?

I look forward to thinking his through with you.

-Leah

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I’ve been having these feelings for years now,I drive my partner crazy,recently my partner was recovering from what was probably gastroenteritis but I was obsessed and inisited they had cancer, my partner has moles and a mark on the eyelid and I’m terrified it’s cancer all the time. When my partner is on their way to work I make them text me just so I know they’ve arrived safely because I fear a car accident
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I’ve never been treated for anxiety, I really would like to have a baby and start fertility treatment as planned but I don’t know if I’ll be paranoid the baby is sick all the time as well
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I literally lay and google all the possible symptoms and cancers my partner could have, I’ve lost nearly a stone in 5 days now with this recent flare up of anxiety

Ok. Thank you for those details. Do you feel like you only worry about your partner, or do you worry a lot about or things in life, too?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I mainly worry about my partner, I probably worry more than most people about insignificant things but not majorly
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
For instance,I myself have psoriatic arthritis and I’m not in the slightest worried about me

Ok. I am going to write out a reply. Hang tight while I write it.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you

This is not a formal diagnosis but I am leaning towards thinking you have a condition called Pure O OCD where you have "obsessions' in the forms of thoughts. These obsessions cause you to behave in "compulsive" ways in order to flee from or fight the worries you are having in regards ***** ***** partner. POCD is characterized by ongoing intrusive and unwanted thoughts, usually focused around one or a few things that are often seemingly irrational or obviously untrue, So occasional worrying/anxiety about your partner's health is not unnatural or problematic, but worrying obsessively when you have no proof (or even have proof to counter the thoughts) is a common plight of this condition. Unfortunately, POCD can come on for no apparent reason although people who suffer it tend to have histories of anxiety or can recognize other time sin their life when they were overly concerned about something without any cause.

POCD is distinguished from general anxiety because facts about your worry don't usually help counter the thinking patterns. With Generalized Anxiety, thinking objectively (leaning on facts rather than feelings/emotions/perceptions) usually helps reduce the anxiety. With POCD, ironically, the allowance of oneself to engage in"compulsions" to fight or flee from the thought fuels the obsession by allowing your brain to continue to receive messages that the thoughts are worthy of having.

Differentiating between OCD and GAD is important because the treatments are different. With anxiety, we seek to help people become much more objective and fact-based in their thinking and encourage them to seek information about the thoughts they have and if they are worthy of such attention. With OCD, we want people to learn to not respond in any way, shape or form to an obsession. This is because the responses turn into compulsions and those compulsions are suggestive to your brain that the thought warrants attention and therefore, your brain continues to keep it active. Compulsions, including rationalizing, fact-finding, trying not to think, etc. all are like fuel for the obsession so instead, one would be encouraged simply to ignore the thought, letting it come and go as it pleases (we can't easily control what we think about). Once ignored enough, our brains will lose interest and the thought will begin to fade.

If you haven't, I would talk to your doctor about this and even considering talking to someone who specializes in anxiety and OCD. The kind of therapy most effective for OCD is specialized and called "exposure and response prevention" or ERP.http://https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/treatment/erp/ Therapy can be helpful as can medications such as the SSRIs (e.g. fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, escitalopram). I know both GAD and OCD are tough to live with so keep hanging in there!! For now, just let those worries about his health slip right by without doing ANYTHING in response. Just notice the thought and then push forward with doing something else. Stop the compulsions and the obsession will fade.

Here is a little quiz if you want to see whether your worries point more to OCD or GAD. http://https://www.verywell.com/what-is-the-difference-between-gad-and-ocd-1393010

Hope this helps!

-Leah

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you, ***** ***** make sense, since I was around 11 years old I’ve done very strange things, it started when my parents were getting divorced, I used to have to turn the light switch on and off 3+3+3 and if it didn’t feel right I’d have to do it again, I also used to touch my toes to the side of the walls in my bedroom 3+3+3 and if I didn’t do this I thought my mum would die. This has carried on into my adult life, I constantly have to check the back door is locked 3+3+3 and that the fridge is closed and sometimes I have to touch certain things the right amount of times and if I don’t do it right then my partner will get cancer, I also have an obsession with praying and saying the Lord’s Prayer if I think my partner is ill, I have to do this 3+3+3 and I’m not even religious

Yes indeed. Thanks for confirming. So those behaviors definitely sound like OCD! The good news is, OC is treatable, ideally with a combination of medications and therapy. You really could gain a lot of freedom and control back if you seek out support for this and likely, it will greatly improve your relationships with the world and with other people.

I'd art with your doctor as treatment with medications for OCD is most effective after a year of sustained use. Not to worry, though. the medications used for this condition are safe for long-term (and short-term use so there isn't a huge amount of risk taking the although there could be a lot of benefit.

Then, I'd consider finding a therapist who specializes in OCD and uses techniques of ERP to get you feeling your best.

http://www.ocduk.org/erp

You can do this!! OCD is a tricky and manipulative condition that just loves to take our worries and run with them. You can overpower those worries and compulsions with the right support!

-Leah

LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,117
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
Verified
LeahMSWuofm and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you so much? You’ve been great!

Best to you! Thanks very much for the rating :)

-Leah

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