I’d suggest a therapist, but that would be more frightening, theoretically, than it’s worth. And it’s hard to get meds for OCD and/or phobias without having a diagnosis, which is pretty much up there with getting a therapist/evaluation, which is going to be rather expensive (I would think) if you don’t have health insurance.
So instead I recommend you read Phlip’s thread and convince yourself of one small thing:
You’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like you.
My other suggestion is to go very slowly with however you want to try tackling this. I would suggest small jaunts outside, like walking for five or ten seconds, and look wherever. If you find yourself needing to look with fierce intensity at the ground, so be it. Ease yourself into something bigger. But take your time. Nobody ever cured any mental problem in a day, or even a month.
I got misdiagnosed with OCD once. That was bad enough. Even so, I’ve been known to call my apartment to make sure it didn’t burn down because I left the iron on (I hadn’t and it didn’t).
I am in therapy-I have my psychiatrist and I did have a great counselor-but unfortunately, she moved away and I don’t have any fucking medical insurance. DAMMIT.
Plus, I have to go back to work tomorrow. I didn’t say anything, after the big mud slinging fest the last time I did, but I had taken off work for a whole week-after I had a panic attack at work and had to leave early, and then call off TWO days in a row over panic attacks. Then I just had to take the time off-I just couldn’t do it.
Of course, I’m only doing four hour shifts, but that anal manager, Robin has me every day until monday. And if I suggest that I can only do every other day, she’ll take it out on me.
I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 15 years old, at about the same time the psychiatric community began to recognize it as a full-blown capital-D Disorder. This caused problems (which I’ll explain later).
I had a hundred and twelve little rituals I had to go through every day. If I took a book off a shelf I had to count the number of books to the left of it exactly three times. When I put it back I had to count from the right. I had to, I couldn’t stop myself.
I washed my hands about a hundred times a day, and when I went to unlock the door at home I had to flip through the keys twice in both directions, and if I turned the key the wrong way in the lock I had to start over.
I still have some issues. When I type, I have to spell out numbers, even though I know there’s a convention (spell out numbers under one hundred, just use numerals above that limit). Heck, I preview every post here and sometimes I don’t even try to proofread. I just have to click that “preview” button.
Here’s where we get to the problem with my diagnosis:
I managed to “fix” it. Like iampunha suggested, I would force myself to stop whatever I was doing, take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, etc.
This leads me to believe that I never really had OCD, because I could stop what I was doing. I probably just have a mild related issue.
Please see a qualified psychiatrist, because there are treatments available. They’ll be more or less effective depending on how severe your case is.
In any case - may God bless you, and you take care of yourself anyway, in case He’s busy.
See, that’s just it-I’d like to see my doctor-but right now, I have to find the dough to do so-no insurance, remember?
For me, it’s not just the little rituals. It’s some big stupid fears, and I panic and freak out. I KNOW the fears are stupid-when I was little it was snakes. Then I remember being terrified for a time of throwing up. Every night, I’d drink glass after glass after glass of water, thinking it would prevent me from throwing up-don’t ask me why.
Then later on it became getting beaten up. Or being damned to hell. Sometimes I fear I’ll hurt my cats. Sometimes I fear I’ll never find a decent job or a decent love and that I’ll stop liking men and turn gay. (No offense to homosexuals, of course!). I KNOW there is no basis for any of this crap, but that doesn’t stop it.
Been there and done that more times than I like to think about. For close on two years, I hardly ever left my house except to go to school or go to the bookstore. I finally decided that I could grow up to be Boo Radley, or I could get the fuck over it and get a life. It wasn’t easy, but I just kept telling myself that all that shit I was scared of was strictly in my brain, and I wasn’t about to let some mushy grey lump of protoplasm dictate how I was going to live my life.
I know you’ve got fairly strong views on drug-use, but I found smoking pot to be an incredible help. Pot screws up my ability to concentrate, so I couldn’t get locked into those panic spirals that made my early twenties a living hell. I just couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be freaking out about. I don’t recommend that anyone else try this: most people get more paranoid when they’re stoned, not less, but it’s never affected me that way. Just lucky I guess.
Of course, the most important thing is having good friends who know about your problem and are sympathetic to it. Knowing that one of my buddies was there in case I got a panic attack was such a huge relief that it was almost enough in and of itself to stop the attacks. And when I did get an attack, I’d just keep telling myself that it’d go away in a little bit and nothing bad was going to happen. It never totally stopped them; I still get them from time to time. But I finally learned to just ignore them, and managed to put together some semblence of a social life. Hell, four years ago, the idea of going anywhere more than, say, five miles from my house gave me heart palpitations. Two years later, I was vacationing in England. Just remember, you CAN beat this shit. Keep working on it, and it will get better.
It’s not that I’m anti drug-I’m anti drug for MYSELF. See, that’s another thing-with all the meds I’m on, it wouldn’t be such a hot idea. Plus, with my family history of substance abuse, I don’t want to even start anything.
Guin, have you considered talking to a therapist about your not having insurance? When my eldest was a baby, our insurance didn’t cover checkups or immunizations. We talked to the Dr, and she told us that she had other patients who either had no insurance at all, or weren’t covered for essential things, and she did what she could to make sure such patients could still bring their kids in without going broke. I’m not saying your Dr. will definitely be willing to work with you, just that it’s worth asking.
And for what it’s worth, I’m sending you all the good thoughts and positive energy I can. Hang in there!
Guin, I can’t say that I know what you’re going through, but I do struggle with mild depression and some PTSD. (why that is would be a whole other thread, and I think I alluded to it in another thread I started here a couple weeks ago anyhow)
I just wanted to say that I’ll be thinking of you, and hope that you can find a way to cope with your OCD… it must be hard.
Check with your local (usually county) health department. It is contrary to the interests of society to have treatable people not getting treated (and, incidentally, not paying taxes) because they can’t afford to be treated. They may have a program that can help you.
The medications usually used for OCD these days have few negative side effects, very few drug interactions, and, to my GREAT disappointment, ABSOLUTELY NO ENTERTAINMENT VALUE AND, THEREFORE, NO LIKELIHOOD FOR ABUSE. For your sake, please no not compare Paxil or Prozac to “drugs.” They are FAR more like dietary supplements except, instead of providing something you need, they help you use something you are already making. They improve connections in your brain so YOUR thoughts can travel more efficiently. Have you ever had a TV with a fuzzy picture that you fixed by spritzing some stuff on the tuner? You cleaned the contacts and allowed the signal that was already there to get where it needed to go. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors work the same way. The only way they change YOU is by letting the REAL YOU bust through the fog.
Please, love, get the help you need and so richly deserve.
Whoa. I never said I called Prozac or Paxil to drugs-hell, I’m on Paxil right now! I meant as far as Miller saying smoking pot helped him. That’s all.
I’ve been getting treatment. Mostly I do pretty good. But everytime some big change crops up, I start having little episodes of it. Like I recently graduated college. And it scares the ever loving fuck out of me. So it acts up again.
I was planning not to post here again but I ran across this thread while surfing tonight. I am sorry that you are suffering with this illness. I will be praying for you. Here are some verses to meditate on from Phillipeans 4:
Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication , but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, and the Peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, shall guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Finally brethern, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
The things which you learned and received and saw in me, these do, and the God of Peace will be with you.
Not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state that I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things i have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Now that last statement is the key, Kathi. Prozac and these other methods will only mask the other symptoms, only Christ can cleanse the heart and clean out the root of this problem. I urge you Kathi, to fast and pray about this. It has been the only way that God has freed me of persistant sins.
I am writing this because I do care about you Kathi.
Those fears are not stupid, they’re real. They’re real to you, and that is what matters. What anyone else thinks, or what you’ve been led to believe, is another matter entirely.
When I used to have REALLY bad psychotic episodes, I’d have this really strong urge to, say, drive my car over the guardrail and such, or toss someone into a bonfire, or something like that. It was completely in my head and there was precious little reason for me to have that sort of thought, but it was there just as your fears are there. It was real and it needed to be addressed. Your fears, silly as they may be, are real. And whatever the fears are now (say, hurting your cats), addressing them is the key, not dismissing them as stupid.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m beating you up over this, but these fears you have seem as though they’re taking more control over your life than you wish they would. Downplaying them (as it seems you’re doing by calling them stupid) or trying to ignore them (which it seems [and I can’t point to anything in particular that suggests that … it’s just a gut feeling I have] you’re doing) are two very good ways of not getting through them. That’s exactly what I did when I started having psychotic episodes, since I sort of “eased” into them.
They got worse. Like, WAY worse. And combined with the horrible, suicidal depression I was having, it made for an entirely unpleasant two or three months. The solution I found doesn’t seem to be entirely viable for you (meds), but what you can do is stuff like recognizing your fears and thinking your way through them. In what way(s) are you afraid you’ll hurt your cats? What is it about boys that you just couldn’t care less about? Should LindyHopper and I stop in Phlip’s thread?
There may be absolutely no basis for your fears. That doesn’t make them any less there. You have to (IMO, of course, since I have a degree in absolutely nothing) recognize that your fears are there and think through them. And it’s going to take, from what people have said here and elsewhere, a whole hell of a lot of time.
Beyond what you can do, in your life, for yourself (re: recognizing your fears, taking VERY SMALL steps, etc), I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know enough about the status of (mental) health care in PA to give you a run-down of places to go or people to talk to.
And lastly, to Skemper:
“Prozac and these other methods will only mask the other symptoms, only Christ can cleanse the heart and clean out the root of this problem.”
I’d really like to know what part of Christ my father hasn’t found that his problems are so bad:D He’s got a veritable BUCKET of meds he’s on for all the stuff he goes through. And he’s a bloody monk!
For some people, giving yourself up completely to God and avoiding physical means of fixing one’s self is the way to go. My father had an incredibly lengthy email conversation with someone on a yahoo group who was convinced this was the only way to go. All I can tell you is what every reputable doctor will tell you (I would hope): different strokes for different folks. I know that turning to Christ isn’t the only thing my father needed (and heck, he did that when he was 13, and most of his problems have arisen since then … coincidence?;)), and I doubt it’s all Guin needs either. For you, that has done the trick, which is great! But God ain’t completely where it’s at for some of us.