My dx is PTSD. I witnessed and was a victim of violent acts in childhood I did not remember until adulthood. I have a memory of there being a fire in a grandmother's house when I was very young. To this day, I have a bit of a fire "phobia"...for example, I had an apartment with a fireplace but I was never brave enough to use it.
Lately I have been having some anxiety...but I'm not sure if its anxiety or if unresolved memories are going to resurface that I have not remembered yet about being in the fire in my grandmother's house.
When I leave my home to go somewhere, I check and recheck to see if all the burners on the stove are off and I check the ashtray and make sure there is no cigarette burning. Even though I know I have checked and rechecked, I have anxiety about my home possibly going on fire. I have rushed home to check the stove and the ashtray at times even after I checked these things before leaving home. If I have an appointmetn or have to go somewhere, I rush home to be relieved that the Fire Department is not here putting out a blaze that I started.
I am not sure to this day how the fire in my grandmother's house started. I remember the firemen having to get her from a window to rescue her, but I have no memory of how I was saved even though I was in the house. I have a bad feeling internally that the fire was my fault. Perhaps I was playing with matches. I think I was about 4 or 5 years old when the fire happened in my grandmother's home.
Is checking and rechecking the stove and ashtray some sort of OCD?
Phobia leads to anxiety. Has there been something recently in your life, a person, object, clothing, photo, etc.. that may directly place you back to your childhood? You may have triggered an association recently without even knowning. Begin by reducing the times you check, then make a checklist that you can take with you. Stove-check, ashtray-check, etc.. Then leave your home. When you doubt yourself, look at the list and recall that you checked it, then say "I trust myself and this list proves I have no need to worry." When the thoughts of your house going on fire start, look at your list and say "That thought is a lie, it's my anxiety trying to scare me. I trust myself, not the lies being imagined." Then when you return home, look at the burners again and your list to prove you were right. It's a starting point....eventually over a few months, you can try to not take the check list with you a few times until you trust yourself. Forgive yourself, everyone has a story about something we did as kids...
Thanks for the idea of a checklist. I carry a small note pad in my purse and will start to do this. Sometimes I think I am losing it. I have even asked friends to drive me home to check for fire when I am out with them...it's gotten to be a problem. Sometimes I will not go out so as to ensure that I am home IF a fire will start. I will try your idea. Thank you!