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Thread: Obsessive-compulsive disorder

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    tWebber thewriteranon's Avatar
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    Obsessive-compulsive disorder

    In December I took a look at my medical chart and found out that my PCP had diagnosed me with obsessive-compulsive disorder one or two years previously (right after an incident where I went to the hospital in a panic attack about something). I haven't been to see a psychiatrist since then to get a confirmation of the diagnosis, but honestly once I read that a lot of things kinda snapped into place. I'd had thoughts before that I might be obsessive-compulsive but I brushed it off because I felt like I didn't have any of the obvious signs (overly frequent hand washing, obsessive cleaning, etc. -- I'm actually pretty disorganized in my personal life). However, after doing a little bit of reading I found out that there are a lot of compulsive behaviors that aren't the stereotypical behaviors, and those are what I was doing (constant reassurance seeking, researching an obsession to the point of losing sleep, etc.). I'm not sure why I wanted to post this now, but I just kind of feel like I want/need to talk about it. It can be really isolating because OCD is not as common as generalized anxiety (my previous diagnosis) and it's hard to explain why something won't leave my head even when I recognize it's not completely rational.

    I take medication which does help, but I'm not currently in therapy. Finding a therapist for OCD is very hard, and it's even harder when you're religious. The primary treatment for OCD is exposure response therapy (ERP), and my OCD can exhibit itself as scrupulosity. I am wary of going to a secular therapist for that kind of treatment when something as important as my religion is in the mix (secular therapists have worked fine for my depressive episodes in the past, so I'm not dissing secular therapists altogether). One other Orthodox person I've seen online had a therapist who recommended not going to church (possibly only for a few weeks, though the poster didn't stipulate that) as part of his ERP. I do not care for that approach. I'm only going to be in Massachusetts for another year (less really, because I'll be in Texas all summer), so I'm hoping to start a more rigorous search when I move back for a permanent therapist. In the meantime I take my medication and try to cope with the mechanisms I've learned, but it can get rough.

    Has anybody else struggled with OCD or known someone who struggled with OCD? Or does anyone have questions about OCD? Like I said, I just feel right now that I kinda need to talk about it.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    I believe Dee Dee did.

    I am a bit obsessive about certain things. I get into an interest and then it is all I do for a while. Then I get bored and get into something else. The result is I am a "jack of all trades" and know a bit about everything. Trivia king. I was in to electronics, then graphics, video editing, then playing guitar, then painting, and science (astronomy), etc.

    I don't know if that would be OCD. I don't feel it is a detriment, but more of a benefit, because I like to know about everything. Maybe your OCD will be helpful in your career as a lawyer. You will dedicate all of your energy to a case, researching it, etc.

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    tWebber thewriteranon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I believe Dee Dee did.

    I am a bit obsessive about certain things. I get into an interest and then it is all I do for a while. Then I get bored and get into something else. The result is I am a "jack of all trades" and know a bit about everything. Trivia king. I was in to electronics, then graphics, video editing, then playing guitar, then painting, and science (astronomy), etc.

    I don't know if that would be OCD. I don't feel it is a detriment, but more of a benefit, because I like to know about everything. Maybe your OCD will be helpful in your career as a lawyer. You will dedicate all of your energy to a case, researching it, etc.
    Nope, that's not what OCD is. Obsessions are normal. I don't really count my periodic obsessive interests in things as part of my disorder. OCD comes with compulsions. My research compulsion is the result of distressing thoughts/worries that often aren't rational. I continue to research until I come to a resolution that provides temporary comfort, but often the obsessive/intrusive thoughts recur. OCD sufferers often suffer with the fear of the unknown. People who have "checking" compulsions (e.g., checking to make sure the stove is off 20-50 times) are afraid of what will happen if they don't check. My OCD is not helpful, because I cannot focus the obsessions and sometimes I will be obsessed with a worry to the point that I can't concentrate on the things I actually need to do.

    "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
    "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here and cause all kinds of trouble."
    Katniss Everdeen


    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.


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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    Nope, that's not what OCD is. Obsessions are normal. I don't really count my periodic obsessive interests in things as part of my disorder. OCD comes with compulsions. My research compulsion is the result of distressing thoughts/worries that often aren't rational. I continue to research until I come to a resolution that provides temporary comfort, but often the obsessive/intrusive thoughts recur. OCD sufferers often suffer with the fear of the unknown. People who have "checking" compulsions (e.g., checking to make sure the stove is off 20-50 times) are afraid of what will happen if they don't check. My OCD is not helpful, because I cannot focus the obsessions and sometimes I will be obsessed with a worry to the point that I can't concentrate on the things I actually need to do.
    Sounds like something desert solitaries struggled with. Perhaps reading something like the Apophthegmata Patrum might help some.
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    tWebber thewriteranon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Sounds like something desert solitaries struggled with. Perhaps reading something like the Apophthegmata Patrum might help some.
    Thanks friend, I'll check it out.

    "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
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    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.


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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    Nope, that's not what OCD is. Obsessions are normal. I don't really count my periodic obsessive interests in things as part of my disorder. OCD comes with compulsions. My research compulsion is the result of distressing thoughts/worries that often aren't rational. I continue to research until I come to a resolution that provides temporary comfort, but often the obsessive/intrusive thoughts recur. OCD sufferers often suffer with the fear of the unknown. People who have "checking" compulsions (e.g., checking to make sure the stove is off 20-50 times) are afraid of what will happen if they don't check. My OCD is not helpful, because I cannot focus the obsessions and sometimes I will be obsessed with a worry to the point that I can't concentrate on the things I actually need to do.
    ah OK. yeah I don't have the compulsions. I don't have to keep doing something. that must be terrible to live with.

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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    From what I understand of OCD you feel as if you have to do some kind of habit or else something horrible will happen. I saw a documentary once in which a mother compulsively washed her hands. She broke down when she saw her three year old son washing his hands as a playtime activity.

    I have no authority to give psychological help. I can give my sympathies.

    God loves you.

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    tWebber thewriteranon's Avatar
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    I wouldn't describe compulsions as "habits." Habits are things people do without really thinking, like the third thing I do every morning is get coffee. Compulsions are done to relieve distressing thoughts, and they're performed repeatedly because the comfort they provide is only temporary.

    "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
    "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here and cause all kinds of trouble."
    Katniss Everdeen


    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.


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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    I wouldn't describe compulsions as "habits." Habits are things people do without really thinking, like the third thing I do every morning is get coffee. Compulsions are done to relieve distressing thoughts, and they're performed repeatedly because the comfort they provide is only temporary.
    I did not know that.

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    I do. It has largely been in check the last four years but previously it had been debilitating near the point of hospitalization. It tends to be religious in nature and of what the Catholics would brand scrupulosity. My compulsions included such things as checking frequently. I have read the famous advice from Fr. Santa that if you doubt whether something is a sin, it is not, but that seems to fly in the face of what Paul wrote.

    Though I do take medicine, for me, reframing is the most effective thing for me. I saw a Christian therapist with a strong academic background who helped me reframe many of my issues, and my wife has been even more helpful in that regard. Her having g a Catholic background has opened up additional resources there I would have otherwise missed.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

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