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Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:24 AM   #1
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BraveNewWorld HB User
Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

Has anyone suffered decades of severe OCD in silence? I mean severe intrusive thought OCD that you kept a complete secret?

Reading these threads during the past week makes me feel stunned. Until now I never, ever validated what was going on in my head. No friends, no online forums, no therapist. I have hidden this completely. I told my partner about it 10 years ago but eventually it just felt worse to tell him. So I stopped talking about it and that helped a little bit. I felt less out of control. From reading other threads I can say I have a severe case of intrusive thought OCD.

I should have gotten help years ago but I had a child early in my adult life and I became absolutely, completely, and totally terrified of telling anyone these thoughts. I did not know what they were, and they were so awful, I sincerely feared if I ever told anyone they would take my child away. I can see now that was part of the OCD, but at the time I could not imagine that anyone else was experiencing this. I resolved years ago that I would not speak of this to anyone until he was grown up, that is how terrified I felt that talking=risk. He was/is my entire world and I have been totally devoted to him and it felt incredibly selfish and reckless to risk losing him just so I could find some solace from thoughts--so I have just compartmentalized the thoughts as best I could and moved on. That is where I've been at for many years. Now that he is grown I really want to confront my issues.

I am in my thirties and things are not as bad as they were at one point. There was a time in my twenties that I really thought I was not going to make it. It was so bad I just block out large chunks of that time. I feel like I clawed my way, literally, to a point of some stability in my thirties. But even now there are things I have sacrificed to this part of my head--I feel totally contaminated on a profound level. When I read the threads here I have seen my exact fears spelled out, and it is comforting to see that others feel contaminated as well. This sense of contamination has cost me so dearly I can't even say.

So, I finally saw a therapist this week and told her. I thought I was going to die when I did it. I did not have to be specific. I just was able to say that I'd been having intrusive thoughts most of my life and kept it an absolute secret. She was so supportive and encouraging. But she seemed 100% positive this can be cured. She actually said cured. I have read online you can never cure OCD so I am not sure what to think there. I started taking Lexapro tonight, and have to say I am wide awake and my stomach hurts badly and I cannot sleep and don't feel very well.

By comparison about six months ago I saw the same therapist and we just talked about my anxiety. I could not mention anything related to OCD. She gave me a low dose of xanax and I must say it is WONDERFUL only in the sense that even .25 puts me right to sleep. It is useless in the daytime as even a very low dose makes me go right out. So the xanax kind of works in the sense I am asleep and thus unable to worry. But it didn't really work because I could not live with it during the day.

I don't really know where to go from here. I am really just blown away to see people talking about these thoughts. I know you might say that it has to be at it's worst to drive people to talk but that is not true for me. At my worst I would NEVER have told anyone, I know because at my worst I never did talk. But now that I am more functional I can talk about it. I say all this to indicate that for me my worst was so, so, so bad. The mildest example would be the "HIV Years" which I know from reading is somewhat common to experience. I was convinced I had HIV despite having tests to prove I didn't. For years I would never eat or drink in a home where there were elderly or children unless it was disposable cups. That is a very mild example, but in reality it cost me so many opportunities and happy times. I always had dozens of such 'themes' I was juggling at any one time. I could not mail anything for years. I was sure I'd written something on it I didn't know I'd written. Again these are the MILD examples. Most of my very worst OCD stuff were themes of having done harm I didn't know I did, or that I might do harm without knowing it. That is/was the absolute worst. It was hell, total hell and anything you can possibly imagine, I feared I had done or would do it without knowing it. The lengths I went to in order to to assure myself I could never possibly do any harm, make me sad to think about. I felt and still feel this hyper vigilance, a constant watchfulness over myself, detecting any hint of risk, most especially to anyone close to me. It is like I just cannot bear the thought of harming the people I love and the thought is so catastrophic that it becomes like a crime in and of itself. I definitely have little rituals to help cope, though they change through the years, and at this point, I have done a fair job of eliminating triggers and increasing tolerance to mundane issues. I also did the Landmark Forum 5 years ago which was slightly helpful in getting me to see I don't have to put meaning in everything. It did not stop the OCD but it was a bit of relief from the intense fear of the thoughts.

Now I just want to know what is realistic. What can I hope for in terms of improvement with medication?

Sorry this is so long--I am going to press send before I delete it.

I feel quite yuck on the Lexapro tonight and as i said I am wide awake and my stomach is extremely crampy--so any thoughts there would help.

Last edited by BraveNewWorld; 11-17-2010 at 12:26 AM.

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Old 11-17-2010, 03:52 AM   #2
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BeachMama HB UserBeachMama HB User
Re: Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

My heart goes out to you, for I sympathize with everything you've written. I am also in my 30s and have yet to disclose my condition to a single living soul. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone, and I understand how hard your life has been in concealing your suffering for all this time. It's wonderful that you've taken the first step toward getting help. In fact, you're an inspiration to me and probably many more who have read this post. All I can say about the medication is, I've heard it can help immensely in making your life more tolerable. However, it may need to be tweaked (the type or dosage of medication) repeatedly before you get it right. Therefore you should speak up to your doctor and be proactive in getting the proper prescription. Best wishes to you.

Old 11-17-2010, 08:46 AM   #3
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BraveNewWorld HB User
Re: Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

Thank you so much Beachmama. I think what helps is just knowing the name for this and reading other stories searching the term OCD Intrusive Thoughts. If I can give you any encouragement it is to know that with the right words to name this it feels less like I am confessing something about me and more like I am describing symptoms to the therapist. Also from what I can tell so far nobody will push you to delve into the thoughts. She was able to prescribe something just based on general descriptions like what I have given here. I can't talk about the thoughts, it is too upsetting.

I take it from your username you have kids? That makes this 100x harder to admit to anyone, doesn't it? You feel like you are admitting the worst fear that you are not a good enough person to be a parent, because you know how hard you work to keep your kids safe, and these thoughts are so scary, it feels like you are admitting you aren't good enough to be a parent. Once you have kids it is not just about you anymore, and it feels so reckless and risky to admit anything, you just want your kids to be safe and happy. It seems safer and wiser to suffer in silence and put on a brave face and go through the motions of living a normal life. I think the only way to get past that is to just experiment with different therapists and see if you come across one that gives you a safe feeling. I know from experience I would never have said one word to most people. But the right therapist feels safe. Mine is old enough to be my mom and that helped me feel safe talking to her. I saw younger therapists and just could not talk to them, personally, that felt like they would not have lived long enough to see how hard life can be, how hard it is to ask for help when you have others dependent on you to stay strong.

Old 11-17-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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BeachMama HB UserBeachMama HB User
Re: Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

That's great news that you found a counselor who makes you feel safe. Does your doctor specialize in OCD? I am considering taking the steps toward getting treatment.

Having children does add another dimension to the problem, I agree. I worry that the condition might be hereditary. I vow to look out for signs in my children so that I can get them the support they need, as early as possible. (My parents did not get me treatment, and in fact my family teased me and tormented me about my behaviors. That was the worst thing they could have done. In fact it was downright negligent on the part of my parents.)

I would like to discuss this topic more with you, if you are willing? I would like to know what you think caused your OCD and do you think it runs in your family? I think my OCD was brought on by abuse at an early age. I remember performing "checking" rituals as young as 4 years old. I suspect other anxiety disorders run in my family as well, though they remain largely untreated in most cases.

Last edited by BeachMama; 11-17-2010 at 09:54 AM.

Old 11-23-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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Sillygrl HB UserSillygrl HB User
Re: Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

I have told only 2 people about my intrusive thoughts and neither know about it to the fullest extent. I never told them details of what I think, just a general idea. So...I relate completely. I think what is so wonderful about the health boards, is that people like us can come and see that we are entirely not alone. Instead of suffering in silence, we can come here and vent anonymously. How wonderful is that? I hope with all my heart you begin to feel better about your condition and who you are. Your thoughts do not define you. Just know that you are not alone and that we are all here for you.

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BeachMama (11-24-2010)
Old 10-10-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2011
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thechick HB User
Re: Suffering decades in silence, help for intrusive thought OCD?

Thanks to the internet people are able to communicate with hidden problems and fears.
God loves you and won't give you more than you can bear. Carry this cross in this life with dignity andrespect. I'm suffering right next to you.

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TrainOfThought (10-11-2011)
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