Hi all. I'm new to the board here and I need help.
Some background info: the initial cause of my current state happened almost a year ago. I had been in a relationship with "Rick" for about seven or eight months, we had exchanged the "I love you's" and all that. However, I became unsure about whether Rick was the one for me. I stupidly talked about this to a male friend I knew was interested in me (my only friend at the time), he started the charming, and we wound up talking a couple times about the possibility of us being together. There was light flirting, but never anything physical or any declarations of love or promises to be together. Eventually, I decided against it as the friend had major issues, and I decided that I would give things with Rick my full attention and a true shot. I even eventually wound up kicking the friend to the curb as I found he wasn't a true friend. Best decisions I ever made. I found Rick to be an amazing man and we are very happily engaged.
After I made that decision to stick with Rick, I forgot all about it...until about a month or two ago. Suddenly, the situation came to mind again and now, I felt like I had done something awful, been disloyal, and had put a "smudge" on my wonderful relationship with Rick. I felt huge amounts of guilt. I told Rick, who completely understood the situation and said I did nothing wrong. Everything's fixed, right? Wrong. The guilt hasn't gone away, and I think about it constantly. I have had Rick, my mother, a very wise mentor, two online counselors, and now my therapist all tell me I did nothing wrong, that it's a part of the dating process (I was not very experienced at that point) and that it was actually a positive thing because I was able to determine that Rick was right for me and learn something from the situation.
But I can't stop thinking about it. Some days I get busy and distracted and then I get a better perspective on it, and everything's ok. But other days, it just hits me all over again and it takes over my thoughts. I just started seeing a therapist who said that I don't have true, full-blown OCD, but that next visit she'll teach me some self-hypnosis techniques to control the obsessive thoughts. But that isn't until next week and I'm having a bad day now. I get hit with the initial feeling of guilt and then I start thinking about how I made the relationship imperfect, and then I get upset because I know these aren't rational thoughts and that I need to trust what everyone has told me and not trust the guilty thoughts, and then I feel like I'm going nuts because I can't seem to control the thoughts or at least keep them from affecting me, and then I worry that that in turn will wind up affecting the relationship, and then I get mad at myself for making an issue where there is none instead of just being happy. I try to either keep myself busy or talk sense to myself with all the arguments others have given me that I know to be true. But I just can't seem to budge out of this. It's beginning to depress me-I feel hopeless at times, sometimes I sleep a lot to avoid the thoughts and my motivation to do stuff that I've done all along, like exercise, is going down the tubes. I feel very alone and abnormal, not a regular person.
I just want to go back to being my normal self. Any words of wisdom or comfort out there?
Hey, first of all, I know how you feel, and if you read some of the previous posts on here you'll see that there are many people who have relationship obsessions about many different aspects, but all are hurtful and self-deprecating. No relationship is perfect, in my opinion, and it sounds like your fiance is understanding and compassionate. You recognize that your thoughts are irrational, which is good, because sometimes the hardest part (at least for me!) is realizing that there's no true foundation for the negative obsessions. It's amazing how powerful the mind is in influencing your feelings and rationality isn't it? I'm not a doctor and I'm not a therapist, just someone who's been going through a similar situation for awhile. I bought a book called "The Imp of the Mind", by Dr. Lee Baer, a noted OCD researcher, writer, and psychiatrist. The book addresses the most common obsessions under the general categories of sexual, religious and violent, but the explanations and professionally developed self-help techniques he describes for obsessions have helped me. You can find it on Amazon for less than $10. I hope this helps, take care.
"Brain Lock" by Jeffery Schwartz is great as well and "Stop Obsessing" by Edna Rae? I think I got those authors correct, but who knows. Anyway, the titles are correct and if you search on Amazon you will find them there as well. I would also consider meditation as a possible fix. Meditation has helped me a lot to reduce the negative thoughts that pop into my head. The worst of which is "I don't love my wife". That one still hurts to the core. Fortunately I know that I do and if I didn't, it wouldn't hurt so much. I also have obsessions about all kinds of other things as well as you probably do too if you really think about it. The best thing you can do for OCD is to learn to quiet the mind and meditation is the best way that I have found, in my decade of experience, to do it.
CBT is also a valuable tool, but is hard to implement on Pure O which is obsessions without compulsions. It can work though with the proper teacher and practice. Each of the above mentioned books will give you techniques that can help you battle the obsessions as well.
Remember that the obsessing you are doing now is based on a physical difference in your brain. It can be fixed by training your brain to think differently.
Also, quit drinking, smoking, and caffeine. That will also help you unmask your anxiety and help you to focus on the problem rather than self-medicate.
Thanks for the help. I really appreciate the advice and reassurance. All this came out of nowhere and is a total shock. I've never had any major issues, always been able to pull myself out of bad moods and whatnot.
Right now, every time the usual ("you did something awful," "you don't deserve him," "you'll never get over this," "you'll ruin the relationship") pops into my head, I'm trying to observe it calmly and remind myself that it's not true, it's just a misguided brain signal, and that I don't have to argue with it or be scared of it. I remind myself to trust the wisdom of my therapist and loved ones and not the thought. So far, I'm a lot calmer than yesterday, although I still can't wait for my therapy appointment next week. After reading the messages here, it seems like my case is a very minor one, so my fingers are crossed that I'm able to get this under control quickly.
I would appreciate any continued advice or wisdom. It makes me feel a lot better knowing I'm not alone and that I'm not crazy.
Also, as an aside-I don't really have a history of anything like this. I don't smoke, drink regularly (once in a blue moon I'll have a few while out, but haven't since this started), and I don't have a lot of caffeine. The only pills I pop right now are a multivitamin and an iron pill for anemia.