I have a fear that if I think about the way I sneeze I will cause my carotid artery to tear, causing a dissection which will ultimately lead to a stroke, causing brain damage. This fear is problematic because 1. I sneeze a lot. And everytime I sneeze I cannot help but think of my fear which causes me to feel some neck pain from every sneeze which I interpret to be the pain attendant to a dissection. 2. This fear has led me to research that revealed that carotid dissections can be cause by things as various as wrestling, painting a ceiling, whiplash, taking a shot of whiskey and almost everything else imaginable. This knowledge has a general scary effect on me. However, more complex is its anxiolytic effect. This knowledge makes me feel as though I ought not to worry, or that it is foolish to worry because a carotid dissection can be preceded by effectively anything. This knowledge however feeds into my fear by making me feel that these dissections are more common than I previously considered them to be.
To deal with this pervasive and virulent fear I consider the following idea. My cognitive behavioral therapy coach, my dad the surgeon, my friends, my mom and everyone else I have ever broached with ocd fears has always assured me that I will be alright. To date, my brain is fine. So, I figure that this is just another instance of me going crazy about nothing. Yet, the insidiousness of ocd is such that my previous thought holds little clout in the raging battle between rationality and irrationality. Has anyone else ever had this fear??
No, but I used to think that the exhaust was leaking in my car and that I'd probably get brain damage which would only appear later, in the form of me becoming dumber and dumber until, in my 50s or so I'd be incontinent or just a vegetable. From the cognitive point of view, I don't really think anyone can assure you that it definitely won't happen. I mean, anything COULD happen. SO trying to assure yourself it won't happen is maybe less productive than just saying " well, God forbid it did happen (which I couldn't stop anyway) do I really want to spend all my remaining time in fear and constriction?" I've had that thought when my mind tried to tell me maybe I'd run over someone, or that when I was hunting my errant shots had traversed a mile and ricocheted through someone's head. Well, if I did do something horrible--which I have no reasonable reason to think I did--what good would it do to worry about it until I find out? If you are going to some day just suffer a stroke and die from this cartoid thing, will your obsession really have accomplished anything? I know it's not that simple with an obsession, but it seems like your energy is focused on trying to assure yourself that it CAN'T happen. I'd try just saying, well what if it did happen? We're all going down some day.
Listen up off balance! I dont want you to keep assuring yourself that everything will be alright i want you to know for a fact that everything is alright. Next time you have to sneeze...sneeze as hard as you can....Nothing is going to happen to you...your just going to sneeze and its going to feel great! I sneeze my hardest everytime i sneeze, I paint ceilings and hight trim on houses, I used to do gymnastics when i was younger and trust me nothing ever happened. You cant let this fear stop you from living your life to its fullest. What you described is something so rare it is illogical and ridiculous for you to think that you are going to rupture something in your nose. Do you have fibromuscular dyplasia? these are mostly the people that are at risk...if you do then i would not advise you to sneeze your hardest...but the important thing to do is to get a grip on your thought process....stop and think first "Is it logical" if its not then dont worry about it...i know you are probably saying that yes my mind is telling me that "Yes it is logical, people are dying from it...didnt you read that!" So sure it could happen...but then again it is more likely that you are going to walk outside today and you will be hit and killed by a car. Is knowing this fact going to keep you inside all day and never go out to get food and supplies where you will die in your house as opposed to dying by getting hit by a car or having the artoid in your nose rupture and cause a stroke. Sure there are many possibilities but you just need to get a grip and realize that it is better to die without fears than to kill yourself with them! Dont let your mind play these games with you. Good luck and keep us posted!