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Old 01-11-2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

I'd like to get some insight from people here who have experienced obsessions without compulsions. As some of you know I came here when I was experiencing harm obsessions resulting from my first ever panic attack. The panic attack was such an intense scarey experience that jolted me awake one night in June. While it was happening I felt like I was going crazy, and my thoughts went to worrying about going insane and harming my kids. That became my obsession.
I've come a long way since that terrible night. Thankfully that harming thought, and the high anxiety that came with it, has left. I am still in the process of trying to put myself back together (so-to-speak). The residual effects are a state of depersonalization that still affects me in the evening. I think because the initial panic attack happened in my sleep, my brain may be on high alert when it gets close to bedtime? It's not something that happens consiously, I just zone out into that dreamlike robotic state. It's not as scarey as it was before, but it certainly is annoying. I remember before all this happened, I was such a night owl..my favorite part of the day was late at night...staying up, watching TV or movies, snacking happily and carefree as could be. Now it seems that evenings aren't so much fun, I can't find the focus to watch my favorite programs like I did before, my memory isn't sharp like it was, I'm sluggish, almost drunken-feeling. Once morning comes, everything is fine again.
So my question is: Has anyone experienced this after overcoming an obsession/anxiety experience? How long do does it last? Does it ever go away? Is there a way to make it go away??
I'm not on any medication or in therapy.

 
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:22 PM   #2
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

I've certainly felt the same way after a severe attack and even to some degree after mild ones, i refer to it as OCD hangover. Its like my brain is just plain worn out. As for how to deal with it, well i do both meds and therapy and those make a huge difference, but if you want to start enjoying an activity you previously enjoyed (like in the evenings) but aren't as much anymore, the trick I have found is to just make yourself do it. Personal example, I use IM to chat with friends alot, especially in the evening, many of my friends don't live close enough to hang out with on a regular basis and its a great way to keep in touch. Well after my last big spike, I just didn't feel like being social, i avoided IM, even though it had been something I enjoyed, and it wasn't even really connected with my specific anxiety, just peripheral to it. So one day I just said to myself, even though I don't feel like doing much of anything I'm going to MAKE myself try it, and before long I was back to looking forward to it and enjoying it again. Same is true for TV at the time, i wasn't watching alot of shows I really enjoyed before the spike, and wanted to watch them again so i just did it.

The avoidance/fear in our OCD makes it hard sometimes to be active and engaged, which of course leaves plenty of time to ruminate on our worries and feed the OCD, making it worse. By actively choosing NOT to give in, you weaken its power. You break the loop.

 
Old 01-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #3
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

I know what you mean about that "drunken" feeling..I also was a night owl..Get that last load of laundry done, dishes done and the kids to bed, then it was my quiet time with my husband..But now I find myself so worn out from anxiety and obsessions that I can't wait to go to bed..And I hate to admit to avoid being intimate with my husband..For the last couple weeks I have been turning in around 8:30pm and having my husband take over the kids..I go through times where I just don't care..

I can't watch alot of my programs anymore that involve medical themes because of my fears..I love to read books but have to be careful of the topic too..I keep trying to stay involved in things that I enjoy, but it can be hard...I just keep pushing forward...Some days are better than others...

 
Old 01-11-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Thank you so much for your insight. That helped more than you know. I think I just need to be patient. Recovery it seems can be slow and tedious.
I too have been avoiding TV and movies with violent themes because of my obsession..which is a drag because I'm a huge horror fan. I did watch CSI last night and was able to enjoy it..that was a baby step. Maybe I'll be able to finish Hannibal Rising eventually...I started reading that book last May lol
I'm just going to keep the faith that this depersonalization will eventually go away.
We ocd'ers tend to be too hard on ourselves. One bad day, bad hour can be a real set-back if you let it. Just keep on keeping on.

 
Old 01-11-2008, 07:40 PM   #5
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Nikki-

What are your obsessions? Intrusive thoughts? Do you have any ritutals?

Just curious about what sets off your panic attacks?

I was thinking about your thread this afternoon..I did state that I have to be careful of what I watch on tv or the books I read..

Boy was I ever right..I bought a 6 book series of a new author that I never read before..I started on the first book and within the fist few chapters I had to put the book down and leave the room..All because my fear/obsession was written in the book..Im so upset..Not only did it cause a panic attack, I can't read all the books..

 
Old 01-12-2008, 10:52 AM   #6
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki16 View Post
I think because the initial panic attack happened in my sleep, my brain may be on high alert when it gets close to bedtime?
Nikki-

For me personally, I truely believe it's the opposite of your brain being on "high-alert." At night our bodies slow down and our brains slow down. You said it yourself, at night you like to veg out, watch tv and have some snacks like we all do. I'm also a night owl and enjoy staying up late since I work second shift. I hate getting up in the morning anyway. =)

Point being when our bodies and minds slow down, it allows our sub-conscious to become more active which is the primary area the OCD likes to reside. Your sub-conscious is active when you dream, and I wouldn't be surprised if when you wake up you still have some residual effects of OCD considering that when we start to shut down at night, and when we first wake up in the morning is when our sub-conscious is still active. You say you're on high alert, but actually your high alert is shutting down which allows the intrusive thoughts to become more frequent.

I bet everyone here has experienced dreams that seem to continue for a few seconds even after you wake up. I know it's happened to me before. I'll be asleep dreaming and wake up and still see something in front of me that's not really there, and it's because our sub-conscious is still active for a few seconds even though we're awake.

As everyone knows I subscribe to the theory that OCD is not just a chemical imbalance and that in involves more psychology than most would think. The sub-conscious is very powerful, and as most know it's been studied by many great psychologists and psychologists such as Sigmund Freud. His theories during his time of study were thought to be absolutely ridiculous, but as time goes on, more and more researchers find links between the sub-conscious and many other issues.

We might yell at a loved one, become upset with a loved one, have a bad day at work, be stressed about our job, so forth and so on, and during our awake and conscious time, our inner dialogue simply says, hey, you just had a bad day so don't worry about it. The problem is the sub-conscious tends to store things and think about things way too much and will amplify our worries or guilty feelings anytime it can, and it uses OCD to do that and to get our attention. What better way for OCD to grab our attention by flashing all of these intrusive thoughts into our minds.

Just some stuff to think about.

 
Old 01-13-2008, 07:42 AM   #7
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatGirl1975 View Post
Nikki-

What are your obsessions? Intrusive thoughts? Do you have any ritutals?

Just curious about what sets off your panic attacks?

I was thinking about your thread this afternoon..I did state that I have to be careful of what I watch on tv or the books I read..

Boy was I ever right..I bought a 6 book series of a new author that I never read before..I started on the first book and within the fist few chapters I had to put the book down and leave the room..All because my fear/obsession was written in the book..Im so upset..Not only did it cause a panic attack, I can't read all the books..
Hi Catgirl. I did have a harm obsession, but that's gone now. Now I'd say I obsess about how I'm feeling, I seem to be constantly taking stock of what I'm thinking, what sensations I'm experiencing, how to avoid slipping into a depersonalized state. etc. I can go about my regular routine ok, but there's another train of thought in my brain that is always on the look-out for something "not right". I don't know if that makes any sense. I think of it as two thought roads travelling in my head..one is my normal rational thought road, and the other one is the road of anxiety, worry and fear. If I pay the nutty road (lol) too much attention I can easily have a panic attack. I don't have any outward rituals except maybe spending alot of time looking up stuff on the internet and reading message boards. For me ..it's all mental. I have worries about all having the onset of scitzofrenia, as my grandmother had it.
I'm sry you are going thru this too. It's awful when anxiety keeps you from doing the things you enjoy, like reading good books.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 04:38 PM   #8
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Hi Nikki

Yep, I know what you mean..I think of it the same way..Crazy side of my brain and the good side...LOL...When those icky intrusive thoughts start I try to fight them off with the good side...The logical side...But all I end up doing is making a mess ending with a panic attack then a migraine...I feel like a cat is chasing a mouse up there!

It strange how OCD works..Somedays I obsess about germs/diseases(that I think I have them all) then some days are normal then I will switch to going overboard with my rituals with no intrusive thoughts at all..

For instance we went away for one night this past weekend..I didn't count anything, I didn't obsess about dying, I didn't have any really bad intrusive thoughts..I actually thought I would have a nice OCD free evening with my family..But all that changed once we checked into our hotel...I felt like our room was crawling with germs..I washed everything down with lysol wipes(I carry around with me)..After I was done, I felt fine...Ended up being a good evening...

 
Old 01-15-2008, 01:27 PM   #9
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

I agree with you, OCD is strange indeed. I guess what I do is..I think about thinking. It's like since I've had my bout of OCD, I have a big flashing neon sign in my head that flashes OCD OCD OCD, with every suble change in my body be it physical or mental. In a way I'm glad I found out about OCD because it explains alot, and gives the monster a name, but on the other hand I wish I'd never heard of it because now it's like a great big label that I can't stop thinking about!
Like I said, the worst of it for me is the depersonalization that hits me in the evenings. I hate it. I also get a tingling, electric-current like feeling in my feet. It's not painful; I'm just super-aware of it..so annoying.

 
Old 01-15-2008, 02:05 PM   #10
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

I too find that I am more aware of subtle changes in how i feel physically, and when i am OCD'ing those can be magnified greatly. I am learning how to just let them go and realize that the worry is just the OCD, and i've had these feelings before and nothing bad happened when i did. Its not easy but i'm working on it.

 
Old 01-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #11
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

This thread is "How long do your obsessions last?" I would love to get an answer to that...Im actually wondering if my "medical problem" is actually an obsession and not medical at all..

Back in June my right ear was hurting and my throat felt funny..So I went to our family Dr..He gave me 10 days of antibiotics..Then I had vertigo so bad I couldn't get out of bed for three days..Back to the Dr. for more antibiotics..Then back again for more..I thought for sure I had a really bad disease so I went to a Ear, Nose, Throat specialist..Did bunch of test, and MRI, all was well..Since then I feel that my ear is clogged with little pain..Last night I was so fed up with this feeling, I put peroxide in my ear..

Now today I am wondering if that was a bad thing to do..My Dr said never put anything liquid from home in my ear..Am I obsessing about my ear that a specialist said nothing is wrong with? Is OCD making me use peroxide or do I really feel discomfort? I am asking this because I have read that people with OCD have gone to extremes with using bleach on their bodies, gargle with it, and using other household products with their obsessions..I hope Im not turning one of them..Anybody heard of this?

 
Old 01-15-2008, 06:59 PM   #12
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

If all your tests came back ok, you could be obsessing. Like we're talking about, you could be super sensitive to suble changes in your body. Could it be seasonal allergies even or changes in the weather?
My sinuses get clogged up when there's a change of seasons.
Since I got anxiety I've noticed my ears make clicking noises sometimes when I swallow, and sometimes they plug and unplug. I'm not sure if it is anxiety related or just the plugged sinuses.
Like other people have said here, a good rule of thumb is that if it feels like OCD, it probably is OCD.

 
Old 01-16-2008, 04:37 AM   #13
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Thanks nikki-

Your right about it being sinus..Doctor gave me a script to dry me up, but they dry me up to a point where I feel I cant swallow and they keep me awake..He said that it drains into my ears and throat..But I know it is OCD obsession as well...I make a mountain out of a ant hill...I should have known..LOL

 
Old 01-16-2008, 12:05 PM   #14
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

HI Nikki!

My obsessions have lasted, well... 6 years? They've been off and on, as I like to say, in remission and out of remission. But I always live with the fear that they will return. And now that fear has become my obsession. I'm going through a real crappy spell right now (thanks to a lunch conversation my coworkers were having a few days ago). And I can't wait for it to be over. it helps that I have educated myself about OCD and I'm on meds, but those episodes still throw me for a loop.

I know the grogginess you're speaking about. Mine happens after a major spell and also during a minor one. I think we're just tuckered out... Our brains are tired from trying to sort out our emotions. It's a stinky feeling... Anyway- my suggestions- try other stuff to get you "alert"... Honestly, even if its night time, maybe a brisk walk? (If its not too late and you can do it safely). Also, as someone said, forcing yourself to do things... I don't know, ocd is a tricky, funny little disorder that I'd like to drop kick into next week

 
Old 01-17-2008, 09:53 AM   #15
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Re: Pure O. How long do your obsessions last?

Thanks Missy for responding. I'm sry you're going thru a rough patch right now. It's not fun. I hope you feel better soon.
I've not tried going for a walk, but I do lots of things to distract myself, mostly housework, reading, TV, hot baths...still that fog hits me every dam night.
I think what I'm going to try next is just laying off the internet for awhile. I spend altogether too much time looking up OCD and anxiety. Obviously I can't move on if I don't move on lol. At first it was a good idea to educate myself, but I'm now so ******* educated I could probably get my degree in OCD 101. I think it's turned into a ritual? Looking for reassurance and all that good stuff.
So that's my plan ....stop googling and wait...<fingers crossed>.

 
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