Lately I've been experiencing terrible OCD and anxiety--pretty much par for the course, but it's been worse within the past week or so. I think I know the reason why--I'm overwhelmed at all the events that have been taking place in my life (i.e. my brother got married, I went on a mini vacation in an unfamiliar place, I'm starting college pretty soon). I don't think that this is the entire cause, but I think it has something to do with it. One of the problems is, I don't know what to do about it. I know the partial cause--why can't I make myself less anxious and obsessive? Is there a way to lessen this anxiety, even though I know the cause? Please someone help me, because I'm really in a lot of pain.
Thanks very much,
There's no doubt that stress and OCD are not a good combination. Unfortunately, we all have to deal with stress in our lives but it's how a person with OCD deals with it that sets us apart. OCD tends to make us doubt ourselves constantly and fear changes because the unknown brings about all the "what if" questions. For example, you mentioned you were on a mini vacation which probably brought upon stress because you were out of your comfort zone, your routine where you may feel you have a sense of control. Your brothers wedding may have meant being around a lot of people and not really wanting to socialize ( alot of people with OCD also tend to have social anxieties) and finally, starting college is definitely a big stressor. Being a Freshman, not knowing what to expect, having to possibly choose a major, making new friends etc... it can all be frightening and overwhelming to even think about. My best advice is to start off with positive self talk. A lot of the stress is mainly caused by a fear of not being good enough. Try turning some of what you see as negatives into positives. For example, starting college can be frightening but you also get a sense of independence, a chance to learn about topics you really like, meeting people who may one day be professionals in your same field of study and knowing that your life is in the right direction. Not everyone chooses to go to college after HS. Not everyone can, but you are,so make the best of it and turn some of the fears into challenges for yourself (it's a great character builder). As for having OCD, the OCD will present obstacles at times so maybe keep a journal, definitely keep an organizer so you stay on track and remember that colleges almost always have couselors you can talk with confidentially. It may help you to know that when I started college, my major was Criminal Justice, but once I realized that I had OCD, I eventually changed my major to a field of psychology so I could learn more and maybe someday help others. That's always a positive. Learning how you can better yourself, then trying to help others through their struggles. I know OCD is painful and if it gets too difficult, then you should definitely consult with a doctor and possibly take medication if he/she decides that is the best course of action for you. I also suggest that you read some books on OCD if you already haven't such as Brain Lock by Jeffrey Shwartz, and/or Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals of OCD.
OCD and stress go together for sure. But Sunny, one thing that is good is you have identified the cause of your stress. I had ocd for 10 years and have it no more. My solution? I dealt with the problems in my life and the OCD fell away, in addition I take Effexor and Clonopin. If you are going thru to much stress make sure you have a support system. We can help you and be part of that support system. You may just need meds for a short time to get you thru this stress. Starting college is stressful, but you will adjust within time. Also you may have to try quite a few diffrent medications before you find the best one for you. Antidepressants take about 2 weeks to become fully effective. Everyone metabolizes medications (and food) diffrent because we do not all have the same biological make up so what works for me may not work for you. That is why there are at least 12 diffrent meds that can be prescribed for OCD. Also when you feel the compulsion, Do not do the ritual, example, washing. This will just make it worse. Stop amd ask yourself..."What is really bothering me right now?" you can change your brain. I am living proof. best wishes.