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Old 10-18-2006, 11:04 AM   #1
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Relationship obsessions

Hi there,

I have recently (in the past 3 months or so) come across the form of Pure Obsessional OCD. Well here is my story so you can make of it what you wish...

The first time I had a panic attack was when I was 20 years old and my boyfriend that I was very much *infatuated with* broke up with me out of the blue. I didn't get out of bed for 3 days and had several panic attacks. I was obsessed with finding out the *real* reason why we broke up which eventually led to him basically telling me never to see him again. To this day it embarasses me that I acted like that, but at the time being, I was just constantly either trying to gain reassurance and answers from my parents/friends about whether or not they thought we would get back together, and answers from him about why we really broke up. I believe these obsessions lasted about 6 months or so, and took up ALL of my time.

Since then I have had panic attacks in just about every situation- social situations, speaking situations, big changes (like moving and graduating college) etc. A lot of generalized anxiety, and so forth.

Fast forward to age 21, I met this great guy and we hit it off really well. I very much fell in love with him and we talked often of getting married when we graduated college, and so forth. We even picked out a ring and I was very excited and sure of everything. Then when I was 23, he proposed, and I was very excited- until panic struck about 2 days later. I just could not understand how I could be so sure and then suddenly be so unsure. I think at the time I sas anxious over the change, or the commitment, or having to grow up. But I very clearly remember about a month after we got engaged, suddenly the thought "what if I don't love him?" popped into my head. This was very painful and hard for me, as I was so sure of everything and had no doubts (ha!), and the thought of leaving him devastated me, yet I constantly had this voice in my head saying things like:

- you dont' really love him, you're just lying
- you're just a big faker
- you just find him really annoying, you have to break up with him
- you're just in denial, you're just lying to yourself to make yourself feel better
- one day you will break his heart blah blah blah

And yet I did not consider OCD, because, as most ignorant people, I thought OCD was just like handwashing. And I had never had these sorts of intrusive thoughts before so this was all really new to me.

Over the next few months the panic and anxiety subsided and I started to come out of my fog (the fog lasted about 4-5 months) and I would be getting along pretty well with my fiance but that sneaky voice would always pop up and say "are you sure? I dont think you're really sure," and so on. Ever incompatability we had (which is not much) became a huge issue now. I felt very depressed and alone and sad....

And so my cycle continues. Things get better, then they get worse, better, then worse. Our wedding is in 7 weeks and since about 12 weeks before the wedding, I was doing pretty well. Since then I have been on a rollercoaster. I get horrible thoughts in my head, I create scenarios of me breaking up with my fiance AND YET all I want to do is be with him. We have an extremely healthy relationship- and by all logical means we will have a great marriage. But I get these thoughts in my head and I start to panic.

I guess what I'm saying is, has anyone else felt this, and do you feel a lot of turmoil inside? One part of me says "I love him so much," and the other part of me says "umm are you sure? are you sure you're sure?" I am so tired of the obsessing and the ruminating. Lately I have spent HOURS on the internet looking for answers. I came across the Dr. Phillipson article "I think it moved", and it was like reading about my own life. I recently brought this to my therapist (who I might add is not trained in OCD), and she kind of laughed and said since I didnt' have any compulsions I probably don't have OCD. She just chalks this up to a lack of self trust.

I don't want to get away from the relationship, I want to get away from the constant anxiety and thoughts in my head.

Anyone? I know this is long..thank you for reading it if you did...

 
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:50 PM   #2
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purplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB User
Re: Relationship obsessions

ok, first it sounds like you need to go to a therapist who is well versed in anxiety disorders. Are you taking Meds? To me, this sounds like OCD for sure! I mostly have thoughts, very little compulsions, although compulsions can be mental thoughts, reviewing, etc..anyway. It is the doubt of OCD, you really love your fiance, and that is why you obsess that you don't....it is not about trusting yourself it is about having OCD... hang in there, it does get better. I obsess, mentally, all of the time, over my husband and I ever affording a house, kids, etc....it is just OCD...

 
Old 10-18-2006, 12:51 PM   #3
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purplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB Userpurplegirl1 HB User
Re: Relationship obsessions

ok, first it sounds like you need to go to a therapist who is well versed in anxiety disorders. Are you taking Meds? To me, this sounds like OCD for sure! I mostly have thoughts, very little compulsions, although compulsions can be mental thoughts, reviewing, etc..anyway. It is the doubt of OCD, you really love your fiance, and that is why you obsess that you don't....it is not about trusting yourself it is about having OCD... hang in there, it does get better. I obsess, mentally, all of the time, over my husband and I ever affording a house, kids, etc....it is just OCD...

 
Old 10-18-2006, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: Relationship obsessions

Hey thanks for the reply, purplegirl. It brings me a bit of relief. I agree I need to find someone who specializes in OCD or anxiety disorders. My counselor said that OCD is a brain disorder and the only way to cure it is meds... uhh riiiight....

When I say I obsess about these things, I mean obsess. Probably 90-100% of my time is filled up with these thoughts and obsessions. I constantly "check" myself to see how I'm feeling: do I feel good or bad? in love or not? anxious or calm? And so on... I have really come to learn that love is not feelings, and though I know deep down I very much love my fiance and do not want to be without him, sometimes these thoughts seem so real and I'm afraid of them becoming reality.

It's like there is this other person living inside my head, constantly needing reassurance, constantly needing to find an answer. It's really exhausting.

I think of leaving my fiance and I want to vomit and cry. I constantly try to reassure myself that people who aren't in love wouldn't care so much. But you know how it is, fighting with the voice inside your head only makes things worse....

 
Old 10-19-2006, 07:47 PM   #5
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Re: Relationship obsessions

Hi Post-It,

First of all, it sounds like you definitely are suffering from Pure-O and your current therapist really doesn't seem know much about this kind of thing. The fact that 90-100 % of your time is spent obsessing over these things and you constantly check with yourself (which is a compulsion) definitely lends credence to the fact that you most likely have OCD.

Second of all, I can very much related to what you're going through. I am not engaged to be married, but I've been with my boyfriend for 6 years now (he is definitely someone I would consider marrying when the time is right) and during that time, I have been on the OCD rollercoaster as well. Much of the time, I am obsessed with the idea that I am a bad person and he needs to find that out so he can see the 'real me' and break up with me (even though it's not true). Luckily, he knows the disorder and can see past it (hence why we have been together for 6 years!). These obsessions especially pop up when I'm feeling very content and happy in the relationship. It's like OCD does not want me to be happy. Also, like you, I obsess about whether or not I really love him, whether or not I should break up with him, etc. I spsend a lot of time seeking reassurance from him, from friends, and from myself. As you said, it is a constant battle and is very tiring. I keep trying to remember that these obsessions wouldn't exist if I didn't truly care about him or love him. OCD plays on the things that are most important to you.

All in all, don't worry, you are not alone. Also, you should definitely seek a better therapist who knows how to help with OCD and related anxiety disorders (as Purplegirl said). Finally, I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming wedding! You deserve to be happy and you CAN overcome the OCD

 
Old 10-20-2006, 07:01 AM   #6
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Re: Relationship obsessions

Psychobabble,

thanks for your reply! I do that a lot-seeking reassurance, checking for how I feel all the time (and, how can I feel anything if I'm constantly monitoring it?), using my emotional reactions to judge things, when I know I shouldn't.

I do spend an enormous amount of time thinking about it. Sometimes the "spells" last for days/weeks, sometimes I can go a few weeks when the thoughts don't bother me as much. I always seem to have the worst spells when I'm getting along well and doing better..then they seem to pop up out of nowhere. This last spell has lasted about two months. I'm so tired of it.

It is SUCH turmoil. When they're not there, I can't imagine ever feeling that way and wondering why I thought these things. When they are there, it feels so real, which breaks my heart. I feel like I go into a fog that I can't get out of...

I have heard that, that OCD picks on the things you care about the most. And he definitely is the most important thing in my life... it's like it wants to keep me away from anything good or happy that might happen in my life.

Anyway, thanks for the post. It helped me a lot. I am currently thinking about trying to get in with Dr. Phillipson's clinic and see if I can get treatment there.

 
Old 10-20-2006, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: Relationship obsessions

Hi Post-It,

I'm glad my post helped you feel a little better about all of this! It certainly helps me too to read about other people with similar experiences.

I agree with what you said earlier: when these thoughts aren't plaguing my mind I wonder how I could have felt/thought those things in the first place. But when they intrude, it feels very real at the time. It is a vicious cycle. Also, my episodes with relationship OCD can last for months as well until I tire myself out or the obsessions go hide for a while (they never really go away for me). It is immensely tiring and frustrating. One thing I didn't mention in my previous post was that the OCD hits hard when I'm not busy and have a lot of time on my hands. Does this happen for you?

I'm really glad to read that you are going to try to get help from Dr. Phillipson. I read the article you referred to in your first post and it was amazing how much I could relate to the issues discussed in it!! He seems like a very knowledgable person in the field of OCD treatment so I hope you can somehow get in to see him. I should think about somehow consulting him myself as I think he could do wonders with the type of OCD we suffer from.

So, in all, your post helped me as much as my post helped you! You referred to an immensely helpful article that gave me reassurance (the good kind...not the OCD kind...haha) that this problem can be overcome and that we're not alone!

 
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