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Need help managing OCD w/intrusive thoughts.

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Old 08-22-2012, 09:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wisconsin, United states
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rg1255 HB User
Need help managing OCD w/intrusive thoughts.

Hey guys I'm new here, and am looking for some support so please bear with me. I'm 19 years old, and am dealing with OCD, and anxiety as an offshoot form OCD. I guess I've been a little too worried about things in life since I was 10, but since I was 18, that's when I started to get intrusive thoughts.

My thoughts really stress me out, since I get thoughts that I might hurt someone, hurt myself, and stuff like that. It sucks more because I always obsess about my heart, and my intrusive thought are sometimes like, "well if you don't hurt yourself, your heart rate won't slow down." Now, I know those are thoughts, and that they wont come true. I don't hear voices, I know these are my minds own thoughts.

It really stresses me out though and scares me, because I am afraid that I might snap one day and give in to my thoughts. I've never had an urge to hurt anyone or myself, so as you can tell these thoughts really bother me. My counselor says I wont snap and give into my thoughts, and deep inside I know I wont give into my thoughts. But as with OCD, when I get my thoughts, and I know that I wont do them ever, the obsessive part is what screws with me, because as you guys know, with OCD, it's like i can rationalize the thoughts are just thoughts, and wont come true, yet I still obsess about them to the point where it makes me feel like I'm going crazy, even though I know I'm not.

When I get really stressed over them, I don't drive because of fear that I might try to hurt someone while driving. And I don't like going in public sometimes because if I get my intrusive thoughts, like say i get a thought that's like "if I don't hurt something my heart rate wont go down" then it really stresses me and sometimes will give me a panic attack. That's where I get scared that what if I snap during a panic attack, but deep inside I know it's my thought and I wont do it. I NEVER would do any of these things, but as I said before, it's the obsessive part of me that interferes.

I have been seeing my counselor for about 1 year, I see her once every 2 weeks. I have also been on an SSRI, fluoxetine to be exact for about 8 months. Although the fluoxetine has helped, I'm still getting intrusive thoughts, so my counselor recommended I see a nurse practitioner to either get something added to the fluoxetine, or get a new med.

I am willing to try some new meds, but I have a few apprehensions about some. First off, I DO NOT want to use any type of anti psychotic. Those things have way too many side effects, those are a powerful drug.

My doctor did prescribe me a small dose of Xanax, to take as needed, say during a panic attack or something. I've had them for months, although I've never taken one, because I wanna beat my OCD with the least medication as possible. And I don't want to build up the tolerance to Xanax and have a withdrawal from it like most people get when they've been on them a while.

So point being, I need some suggestions on how to handle this better. My counselor told me to do some exposure therapy, which helps. Like I can drive more now, and go to anxiety provoking situations with less anxiety. Me and her also do cognitive behavioral therapy, and that helps as well. I also distract myself with books, tv and other activities. But point being, I still get intrusive thoughts, so I still need suggestions on more ways to manage them, or what medications would help more.

I am also open to any type of natural remedy for OCD. I just don't want any anti psychotic, or become dependent on Xanax.

I just want to handle my OCD. Some people say it's curable, others say no. I don't know which is true, but I just want to manage it so it's not debilitating. I'm only 19, and sometimes get scared that my OCD will kill me early or something, even though I know it wont. It's just when I get my thoughts, I get depressed that I cant do stuff like hiking or stuff like that because my OCD, so that's what makes me feel like there's no hope. But deep inside, I know there's hope. It just takes patience, even my counselor said I will get over this someday. It's just that when you have OCD, every day seems like a mental overload so it may seem like there's not hope. But anyway, thank you for reading this long post. Your replies and suggestions to my quesitons will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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Old 08-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: Need help managing OCD w/intrusive thoughts.

Hi, I don't think there really is any one drug that specifically deals with OCD. It's a brain thing, thoughts are beyond our control but we can try to control our reaction to them (like doing ERP).

What I've been doing with some success is tackling one by one (slow process) my OCD things, like repeatedly checking doors, that the car is locked, etc... etc.. (I have alot of checking rituals). I'm finding it takes a few days to a few weeks to get over something, but it's such a great feeling when I can stop and think, wow, I didn't have to go back and check. It's like a personal victory and is more motivating to keep on going because I'm starting to see results.

Ok, so it's alot of internal dialogue, but when I catch myself being OCD, I will simply acknowledge the thought (not invest time in trying to not think about it - or get stressed about it), just simply let the thought happen.

Then I will say to myself, "that's on OCD thought" - and evision a STOP sign (this was actually suggested - the stop sign part - by one of the members to the OCD forumn). This helps because I'm acknowledging the thought and that it is OCD - not real. It's not perfect, sometimes as I tackle each new thing - I do this but I still react - but not as much.... I have an anxiety scale in my mind - 1-10 and try to rate my reactions based on that scale. It's funny because alot of my 10s are now 1s (no anxiety). I've been at this for about 6 weeks now (ERP) and this internal dialogue.

OCD is an anxiety disorder, my therapist and DR gave me a prescription for Clonazepam (0.5 - low dose) which I do take when I'm feeling panicky/anxious. It doesn't really do anything with the thoughts thought.

Also, when the thoughts happen, another tactic is (suggested by my previous therapist) is to think of your thoughts as little balloons circling your head. They come and go and move around, when an intrusive thought happens simple envision flicking it away and sending it flying off elsewhere. Its funny, this really stuck and it's been over 7 years now. Again, I think alot of this really is practice and learning to manage it - I don't know if it will ever go away or not - like anything else, we have good and bad days.

I do think in any case, stress always makes it worse - that's when my OCD goes into over drive when i'm stressed. Also, physical activity is really great at reducing anxiety levels and likely OCDness...

Good luck. If you've got any tips or tricks - would love to hear them. Always trying to add to my "tool box". Cheers.

Old 09-19-2012, 06:07 PM   #3
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bella18 HB User
Re: Need help managing OCD w/intrusive thoughts.

I would love to chat with you! I was born with OCD, but I did not notice it until I was a teenager. It's hereditary which helps since I know where it is coming from. It is extremely painful and difficult every single day. Here is my story and some advice:

I have had OCD my entire life. I remember it starting when I was 13 years old. I had severe compulsions that I needed to do to feel just right. I did everything from walking into a room an even amount of times to flicking the light switch off an even amount of times. It took me awhile to get my compulsions under control. However, my OCD took a dark turn this year. I went through a really bad break up which put me into a severe depression. I decided to try Zoloft for 2 days which triggered my OCD. I immediately stopped the drug, but my brain went into a crazy frenzy. I started the obsessive harming thoughts that are about anything violent you can imagine. I have thought about things such as someone is constantly out to kill me, I turn into the exorcist or some fictional character and hurt people, etc. I have thought of it all even sexual and morbid thoughts. My thoughts would spiral and spiral to the point where I could not even think my own thoughts. It was like my OCD controlled me. I am fine at work because I am kept busy, but when I am alone it is the hardest. So, I decided to get help. I go to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy every 2 weeks. I have been on Luvox (SSRI) for 1 month at 75 mg. The Luvox helps a lot! I can actually think my own thoughts now. However, I still have harming thoughts here and there. I am praying that I will be thought free. I found that writing out my thoughts and challenging them really works. So try this method. Get a piece of paper. 1. Write date/time 2. Situation- Write what your thoughts were before the unpleasant thought/daydream 3. Write the automatic (scary) thoughts and rate each belief 0-100% 4. Emotions- write your emotions out and the intensity 0-100% 5. Rational response- Write rational repsonses (Ex: I have never harmed someone, I can't even kill a damn spider!) 6. Outcome- Write your outcome and your emotions 0-100%

I find that writing the thoughts and even saying them out loud makes them less intense. I used to cry all the time about my thoughts. I was unable to eat, sleep, or think my own thoughts. Now, I can get over the much easier. They still SUCK really bad, but I blame it on the OCD. We have OCD it is not US and we will defeat this<edit>

If you want to chat reply back

Last edited by ms_mod; 09-20-2012 at 05:10 AM.

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