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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Message Board


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Old 12-11-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
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Anxiety or Phobia?

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?

 
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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Re: Anxiety or Phobia?

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...

 
Old 12-11-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: Anxiety or Phobia?

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!

 
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