Have tortured myself--scrupulosity & OCD/anxiety for years now
I am 25. I have slept with precisely one person, a total of 8-9 times, the last time in August 1998 when I was 17. He too was 17. He led me to believe that he had been extremely promiscuous, but had always been tested for HIV. (He now says he was exaggerating by about 40 women, and in reality, it was around 12.) I had low self-esteem issues and felt disgusting and dirty about it and low, and awful, as he wasn't my boyfriend and I thought he'd like me more--and I also felt like b/c I lost my virginity to him, I better make the best of it and try to create a relationship with him where none had ever existed. When I met the guy, my mom had been concerned about my having sex so young. We are also very Catholic. Or at least, I've tried to be. Anyway, she had told me as a scare tactic, that people like this guy would be dead of AIDS in ten years. Add to that the fact that I snuck around to see him, disobeying her wishes, b/c he was a big jerk. I'm very attached to my mom and dad, and for a time, and sometimes still, feel like I must obey and listen to whatever advice they give me, b/c they are knowledgeable and know everything.
The last time, the condom broke and the guy ejaculated inside me. I have been convinced since August 1998 that I am tainted and will come down with HIV and die at any moment. I have attention deficit disorder, coupled with the anxiety, and have had difficulty with friends and with jobs. I have never had a serious boyfriend and am currently unemployed for the third time. I have drawn the conclusion that the reason for these things is that I must have HIV and will die, so God wouldn't want me to infect a boyfriend with it, and getting a good job and keeping it won't matter when I'm gonna die soon.
Reasons I probably don't have HIV:
1) I am not sick, nor have I ever been. I've had the flu approximately once. I don't have sore throats, fevers, or anything.
2) I have had blood tests as routine bloodwork, but not for HIV. The bloodwork has always been "excellent" according to my doctors. The doctor also said that if there had been anything abnormal (HIV), that it would be evident in the bloodwork results. Especially after 8 years (96 months).
3) The guy who I slept with told me he has tested negative. He also told me he donated blood to his sister's newborns during their birth. I tell myself both could be lies. However, he dated one girl for 4 years, ending in 2004. She is now pregnant (not by him). I figure if the guy had AIDS, he'd have given it to her during the 4 years they dated and now that she is pregnant happily, I figure she doesn't have HIV--or I would have heard about it.
4) Faulty thinking (I hope it is faulty!) I internalized a warning my mom had given me when she was trying to deter me from becoming sexually active. Therefore, since my mom (who now admits it was just a scare tactic and feels terrible now that she sees how much I've tortured myself over it) said people who had sex a lot like this guy would be dead of AIDS in 10 years, I probably got it and deserve it. The reason I believed she was always right was b/c in 1996 and 1997, I disobeyed my parents and was attacked by a group of tough girls, assaulted for being friendly with the wrong crowd. After that, I developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and believed strongly that anything I did to deceive or disobey my parents would result in the worst possible outcome. And seeing this guy and having sex with him was certainly disobedient.
Any time I see or hear the word AIDS or HIV, I am convinced it is a sign from God that I have it and should get tested b/c I'm doomed. My therapist, and my parents, don't believe I should get a test b/c they don't believe I have it and that it would be validating an irrational fear and it wouldn't solve the problems that caused me to be so anxious in the first place. I wake up and am tortured by thoughts of dying young and draw conclusions about anything not good that happens (losing a job, not getting a new one) as being a sign that I am going to die anyway, so what will it matter.
I am a procrastinator by nature and have neglected to do things that have cost me big time--missed deadlines and such. I feel like I have put off finding out I have AIDS and it will be the ultimate mistake I've made, to teach me a lesson that procrastinating has resulted in my neglecting to get treatment for HIV/AIDS. And if I don't obsess about it and constantly think about it, that I will be shocked and knocked down by finally developing AIDS and symptoms of it.
I am so tortured. I seek reassurance and can't believe any of the reasons anyone gives me for why I definitely don't have AIDS. I am so scared and worried and tortured all the time. Can anyone reassure me I don't have AIDS? Is this anxiety a manifestation of severe guilt and low self-esteem (believing I deserve a terrible fate) and not actually a "sign" that I have HIV/AIDS? Please someone help.
My therapist (I saw her from 1995-2006) was no help whatsoever and I'm extremely angry and bitter about her incompetence and inability to help me. I feel like it was her responsibility to help me and she was remiss in this, not "getting" the seriousness of my low self-esteem. I mean, I was seeing her before I even met this guy. Couldn't she have helped me see I was having low self-worth? I hate what she did not do for me. Please, someone, help me. I cannot cope and books do not help. My meds aren't helping, either, but I just began Prozac (and am tapering off Effexor XR) on Saturday.
PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!! I'm suffering and have suffered so much.
Re: Have tortured myself--scrupulosity & OCD/anxiety for years now
Here is the reassurance you seek... you do not have HIV/AIDS. I know you wont believe me, but then that is your OCD thinking for you. I have been convinced I had the same illness. You know what, the only illness I ever had in the first place was OCD.
The unfortunate things that have happened to you are no sign from God that you are going to die young, or have a fatal disease. Scrupulosity OCD is hard indeed. I know. "Magical thinking", which plagues many with OCD, comes to mind here. "I did/didnt do this so thats gonna happen.." Rationally, you can probably see none of it makes since, but then OCD does a great job of convincing you until you believe it. Self worth and esteem is also a big problem with OCD. The conditions will thrive on lack of self believe. Unfortunately, it seems your opinion of yourself is low, when it shouldnt be. It sounds like you blame yourself for what happened with that guy years ago. Maybe thats where some of this comes from.
Four years ago, I went through the whole agonizng routine of getting HIV tested due to fears about my ex-girlfriend. The situation sounds quite similar to yours. I waited in terror, day and night, for my results. They were negative of course. I hope you dont put yourself through that when it is unnecessary. You know what happened when I got my result? "What if they they mixed up results?" "What if the test was wrong?" My OCD was never satisfied.
Babyblue, HIV/AIDS is a very diffcult disease to contract. Assuming that guy was infected, sexual contact doesnt automatically result in infection. In fact many cases of HIV are passed on between more long term sexual partners. And of course, its highly likely you would have had health related problems by now if you were infected, ESPECIALLY without treatment. You might not even be alive right now.
Contracting a fatal illness is scary for everyone, but it is worse for those with OCD. It is no wonder why health anxiety tops the list of symptoms.
Babyblue, you've done nothing to deserve AIDS, nothing to contract it, and you just simply dont have it. Yeah, unfortunately some "therapists" are not good at what they do. Things might have become more severe lately because of starting Prozac, and may settle down after a bit. But I can assure you, the only disease you have is OCD.
Re: Have tortured myself--scrupulosity & OCD/anxiety for years now
ok, I have been there and done that!!! I totally did this!!!! You are not alone!!! I used to believe that I had HIV/AIDS I had a few tests done, to the point where my doctor was like we just did this not too long ago - is there a reason? I lied - I said that i slept w/ someone and had unprotected sex when I never did. I was just so fearful, I had a male ejaculate on my hand. I was convinced that the semen went into a cuticle cut and I had it!!! Exactly what Stevo said, I made myself crazy for a few weeks or however long the results took and then when they told me I hung up the phone - they did tell me over the phone actually which I was shocked, but I doubted what I heard!!!