So I haven't been able to sleep in a couple of days and I'm exhausted and anxious all the time. I realized that I have been convincing myself that I have herpes for months now. I have been tested and everything has come back negative and I've been with the same committed partner for a year and a half. So it has to be in my head. I don't know what to do. Whenever I get a vaginal infection I assume it's herpes. My OCD and anxiety has become so bad that I convince myself almost everyday that I have it. I think about it constantly and worry about finding out I do and having my partner leave me. Again, I've been tested and I'm good, so I shouldn't worry but it consumes me daily. Especially if I get a UTI or infection, I still have a way of convincing myself that I have herpes instead. I shave and get ingrown hairs and I convince myself it's herpes. I try to think about something else but I worry. My friends tell me that everyone worries about it and that's it pretty normal. But I'm consumed by it, which I know isn't normal. I do have OCD, and I did find out that there is a form of OCD that is obsessed with getting STDs or infections for that matter. I just need some relief from all the stress I'm putting myself through. I could get tested again, and AGAIN it would show up negative, but I wouldn't believe it a few months down the road anyway, so I don't see the point. I'm at my wits end. Has anyone else experienced this?
I haven't had your specific type of worries but the types of reactions you are having are familiar to me from my own worries. One of my concerns awhile back was that I had diabetes. I'd look up symptoms to diagnose myself, went in for some tests from the doctor, each time able to reassure myself temporarily but the anxiety ALWAYS came back. I ALWAYS started to doubt again. That's the nature of OCD, doubt doubt doubt (which leads to worry worry worry).
Are you seeing anyone about your OCD? Doing any CBT and/or taking medication? That has really helped me a ton. I've been on Celexa for about 10 years now and when the drugs are working its like night and day from when I have bad periods. In the past 10 years and particularly recently I've also come to appreciate the power of CBT and how that can help break the cycle of obsession and compulsion.
I haven't seen anyone about my anxiety and OCD for a while, mostly because everything up until the last few months had been under control. There is just something about once the winter hits and I start getting sick that my body and mind go a little haywire. This week, so far, has been a good week. So when I have good weeks it's hard to justify the time and expense. But I do believe therapy would do me some good.
I have done CBT in the past and found it was very helpful. But I also thought about the fact that while I was in therapy I could actually be DOING those things to make changes rather than talk about it and think about it all the time (if that makes any sense?). I was on meds for a while but I weaned myself off of them years ago hoping to deal with the anxiety and depression without them. But if a doctor recommends that I go back on, even for a temporary amount of time, I would strongly consider it if it means getting rid of these obnoxious OCD moments. I'm glad to hear that CBT has been working for you. It's always nice to hear positive experiences from people. Now if only I didn't work so much, I really need to find some time (and money) for therapy again. Once I get to therapy I know I will feel better, it's just getting myself there that always ends up being trickier.
I've been working out more in an effort to boost my mood. It works a bit, but the endorphines just aren't strong enough for me to feel 100%. Plus, I spend a lot of time worrying that I'm going to get sick from the gym.
Thanks for your reply! Health-related anxiety can be really tough when it rears its ugly head.
I can relate a lot to what you are saying about doing the drugs/therapy when it's bad but then letting it go once things are back to "normal". I'd hit a spike, see a therapist and do some CBT excersises for a little while but then things would be back to normal (ie I'd go through the day without my OCD bothering me) and before long id set the therapy aside (there were even days where I'd forgot to take my meds). Out of sight, out of mind right?
I've come to realize after a recent spike that may not be the best approach though. With my symptoms flaring, my medication being at least temporarily less effective for whatever reason, and my daily life being disrupted, I realized I didn't have a very good handle on how to deal with things. Sure I was great when the meds were working and I had minor hiccups, but because I wasn't well practiced at the CBT, this big spike threw me for a loop. It was like falling off a boat and not really knowing how to swim. I was fine while I was o. The boat, but I freaked out when I hit the water, which only made things worse. Now I've realized that if I know how to swim (ie know the CBT) falling in the water is just annoying not traumatizing.
BTW a good CBT therapist who is knowledgeable about treating anxiety/OCD won't be just about talking, you'll learn what you can be doing (mentally often but still doing) to make a real difference. If you can find someone who specializes in treating OCD you'll be better off than just seeing a random therapist.