Thread: OCD or what?
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
whatswrong1231 whatswrong1231 is offline
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OCD or what?

Ok guys let me start by saying i'm really confused and worried. I have been diagnosed with OCD combined with low self-esteem, and I do agree with a lot of what my therapist has said, but I have some doubt too. I'll try my best to explain my issues.

When I don't understand something, and it can be literally anything- how a landscape is formed; how real world news links to economic theory that I've learned; how a ticket machine works etc, I get a surge of anxiety which taps into the self esteem ' your'e stupid for not understanding this ' is basically what is happening, which forces me to engage in compulsions ( figuring the stuff out).

So what really convinces me the most that I have OCD is the fact that I do go through a step by step process each time a 'spike' of anxiety occurs when it comes to not understanding something- I figure it out, which does indeed relieve the anxiety and give a surge of relief and self-validation.

I also get anxiety spikes when I sway from what should be an 'obvious opinion', What I mean by 'obvious opinion' is an opinion or viewpoint, that given my upbringing, I should adopt with no problem. For example, I've been brought up with my family telling me gay marriage is fine, so when I read something which discusses the 'other side's' viewpoint, and I feel myself swaying towards disagreeing with gay marriage, it's like a moral code is broken, and I feel so anxious until I can 'figure out' an opinion, if this makes sense?

Another example of an 'obvious opinion' would be something like watching a movie where vampires try to take over the planet, now it's obvious that the vampires are evil, but then I start to think ' hey, if I were a vampire, with a vampire's upbringing, i'd do it too' which triggers an anxiety-provoking thought ' you're stupid for thinking this, really stupid' , then I get anxious and try to come to a soild viewpoint on it.

As you can see the link with low self esteem is evident because I feel so inadequate, I guess years ago I tried 'becoming someone better' , and I started to model people who I admired, who had certain traits- such as being opinionated and assertive, and being smart too.

Ok, so it seems clear that I do go through a cycle so to speak: I read/see something that gives me an anxiety spike by not understanding it, and try to reduce anxiety by figuring it out.

I had to drop out of university as I couldn't handle the stress of it, I took a gap year in order to sort this out. The problem is , my therapist has said to go and engage in ERP, which obviously means increasing tolerance to anxiety over time and not engaging in compulsions ( so I have to try and not figure things out).

The issue is that now that I have no 'pressure' ( no degree/exam to study for) I find it very hard to actually find much anxiety. The symptoms do appear to be very correlated to stress, and 'how much I need to know' whatever it is. So for example I was doing a geography degree prior to dropping out, during that time I was scanning the whole world around me for all things geography: I would look out windows at landscapes, and If I couldn't understand how a mountain formed, I would get a massive surge of anxiety, and thoughts telling me ' you're stupid, going to fail this degree', of course this fed through into simply reading textbooks- if I didn't understand a homework then again i'd get lots of anxiety.

The doubt I have is whether this is OCD, or massive worrying? I wouldn't be in denial at all of having OCD, or ashamed of it, it's just I can't help but notice that whenver i've dropped out of uni, the things which used to cause anxiety no longer cause as much?

I would really appreciate someone replying, as I feel pretty confused,