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Maryann,I was going through some old notes and found the…

Hi Maryann,I was going through...
Hi Maryann,I was going through some old notes and found the following: ocd distorts your original thoughts to create enough doubt and gaps in your memory. Then your mind will try to fill in those gaps, as it naturally would, but the OCD warps this process to fill in the gaps with negative situations/thoughts causing more doubt and worry.1 do you agree with this statement2 if I cant remember what I was originally thinking about how can it distort? Or is it a case of my mind does no because it's still stored in my long term memory just not consciously aware?
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3/28/2018
TherapistMaryAnn
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Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Lucy,

Yes, I agree with this statement. When you are talking about memory, there are many factors that affect how you store memories and how you retrieve them. How we store memories is through sight, sound and meaning (how important that memory is to us, for example). How we retrieve our memories also depends on many factors. But no matter what, memories are not reliable indicators of what actually occurred. You may be able to remember bits and pieces or even more than that, but it is heavily influenced by emotions, environment and other factors.

Therefore, you may not be able to recall what your original memories were or if you can, the stress of OCD and the anxiety/worry that goes with it can affect what you recall. Anxiety sharply focuses the mind in every day situations. For example, if you are late for an important appointment, you may not recall traveling to the appointment, including anything else that occurred while you were getting there. If you do, it was something that stood out to you or grabbed your attention, such as someone yelling or a car that almost cuts you off. With OCD affecting your original memories, it is going to be very difficult to recall what was actually there because it focuses your mind on the fear and worry over what it wants you to think about. Basically, the OCD is "yelling" or cutting you off from your original memories. In that way, you are singularly focused on trying to cope with anxious thoughts and working through what OCD is telling you. Original memories are going to be pushed to the wayside.

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Thank you so much for a better understanding Maryann, so ocd can still distort a memory even though you are not consciously aware of the original information

That depends. Are you saying that you have an original memory that you can recall then OCD overwrites that memory and changes it? Or are you saying that there is no original memory there (you cannot recall what happened to you during that time) and you can only recall the memory OCD is putting there?

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
The second part

Yes, that makes sense then. If you cannot recall what happened to you, then OCD is just "filling in the blanks". It is trying to convince you that there is something there, rather than just a time you cannot recall with an everyday memory. That is also the nature of anxiety. Anxiety takes the "every day" and makes it seem scary or dangerous. Phobias, for example, are fears that develop over every day situations or objects. OCD follows the same pattern.

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
It's just the statement above mentions ocd will distort original memories...in the memory blanks I have was original memories to start with how can it distort if I can't remember the original memory

OCD can also distort an original memory if you can recall it, though that depends very much on the original memory and the details you can recall. For example, if you recall being over someone's home but you don't recall many details of why you were there or what happened, OCD may be able to distort that memory into something else such as you hurting someone while you were there. That is possible, though unlikely. It is more likely that OCD will fill in gaps of memories you only recall in pieces or memories you cannot recall at all.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
really the gaps in memories where I remember something bothering me is ocd filling in the gaps and the memories I also have that is hazy is the distorted part?

That seems likely. It would be very difficult to have an original memory then have OCD try to change it, so OCD would have to work through the gaps in memory to be effective in making you doubt yourself. And if you have a hazy memory, that also could be affected and possibly altered by OCD because the hazy memory is unclear.

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
anything that seems unclear is a target!!

Yes that makes sense. Otherwise, you have the OCD competing with a clear memory, which makes the OCD "memory" easy to dispute.

I'm sorry Lucy, but I need to sign off in a few minutes due to appointments. I hope this has helped you. If you have further questions, I will check back in a few hours to answer. Sorry about the inconvenience.

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 24 days ago
Thank you Maryann

You are very welcome, Lucy! Anytime.

Take care,

MaryAnn

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