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by Patricia Thornton, PhD

We conceptualize OCD as a biologically based mental health disorder whereby a person experiences intrusive unwelcome thoughts (obsessions) and engages in rituals (compulsions) to get rid of the anxiety (or any uncomfortable feeling) associated with these thoughts.

Often overlooked in conceptualizing OCD are the physical sensations that folks may focus on, rather than a primary disturbing thought.

These physical sensations are uncomfortable and fear inducing, but they don’t resemble the intrusive thoughts that most persons focus on when they have OCD. Generally, these sensations give false signals that the person perceives as being important and because they are physical sensations, the person generally assigns tremendous importance and validity to these sensations, because they “feel” them. There is usually an accompanying obsession that is disturbing, but the patient may be unaware of it.

For example, I have treated patients whose primary OCD symptom is experiencing the frequent urge to urinate. The patient detects a sensation that he/she needs to urinate and the compulsion is going to the bathroom and urinating. One of my patients, a graduate student in his late twenties, was referred to me after visiting medical doctors (including urologists) to determine the cause of his urge to repeatedly empty his bladder throughout the day and also during the night. This patient woke up many times, felt the urge to urinate, and then would get out of bed to use the bathroom. He became so sleep deprived that he was having difficulty functioning productively during the day and was in danger of dropping out of graduate school. His medical doctors could not find any physical cause for these symptoms.

After my evaluation I suggested that he was suffering from OCD. However, this patient had a difficult time believing that. He would say, “But I feel this urge. It’s physical!” I explained that sometimes OCD gives false physical urges, as well as false thoughts.

I utilized Exposure and Response Prevention to treat his OCD, as I would in treating any other OCD content. In this case, the patient needed to experience the uncomfortable physical sensations of feeling the need to urinate and not run to the bathroom to relieve himself. At night, when he woke up, he would need to stay in bed with that uncomfortable sensation. In addition to feeling physical discomfort, he needed to experience the anxiety generated by his thought (the obsession) that he might indeed wet the bed. Sometimes he would delay the compulsion to get up for as long as possible, but would eventually get up. To help him return to bed, he constructed a sign and posted this on his bathroom door that read, “Go back to bed!”

We established a schedule of times he was permitted to urinate and modified this schedule as he was able to tolerate greater discomfort. We did this for urges he felt during the day, as well as nighttime. By doing this, his use of the bathroom was predetermined and was not dictated by OCD, and therefore urination was no longer a compulsion. 

Once he realized he could have false physical urges that didn’t need to be acted on and also accepted the uncertainty that he might wet himself, he woke up less frequently and rather quickly was able to sleep throughout the night. Other physical sensations can manifest as symptoms that an OCD patient might present with and be very disturbed by. These include “sexual sensations” that a person suffering from harm/pedophilia OCD may experience and then use as misguided “evidence” that they are in fact dangerous deviants and not suffering from OCD.

Or OCD can revolve around becoming hyper aware of natural bodily processes, such as breathing, swallowing or walking. The patient’s hyperawareness propels them to check how they are breathing, walking or swallowing and then they compulsively try to adjust themselves to make those behaviors more perfect. But by doing so, the natural course of these automatic functions is inhibited and they can find themselves creating a situation in which their compulsions are actually creating difficulty with breathing, walking and swallowing.

In all of these cases, I explain that just as the brain can generate “noise,” the body can generate noise too. You might be aware of it, but you don’t need to do anything about it. It doesn’t have to “mean” anything and it is not more important because you “feel” it. It’s just OCD’s tricky way of getting you to look for evidence that will propel you to believe that something bad will happen and to convince you to do everything you can to avoid that bad thing from happening.

If you can accept uncomfortable physical sensations, as well as intrusive unwelcome thoughts, without doing anything to mitigate them, you are on your way to conquering OCD!


About the author:

patricia_thornton_picture_0.pngPatricia Thornton, PhD specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and OCD. She practices in New York City.

How could someone you grew up with believe and say something like that to you? Does she not realize the kind of distress her words can cause you? I'm sorry that you're going through this. Since January 19th, 2019, I've been dealing with violent intrusive thoughts and urges. They have done nothing but terrify me to the point where I would cry almost everyday. This has been the hardest thing I have ever been put through and it has taken a huge toll on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I haven't found a therapist / psychologist / psychiatrist that could diagnose or help me quite yet. I really hope I can find help soon because this is too stressful. You're not alone in this! There's hope for us all!

It started as when people would make me made I would get this thought. I would see red and I would want to shove them against a wall and dig my teeth into their neck. I had a physical urge to do so underneath my canine teeth. It used to go away by eating meat. Now it’s worse. I feel the urge almost every day, and now I feel an urge to punch people and beat the crap out of them. It isn’t even people who make me mad it’s friends and family members now too. Hell I just about did it to one of my friends out of nowhere. I don’t know what to do and it’s really starting to affect me mentally: I almost want to cry every time it happens now. Please help before I do something god awful.

I had violent ocd thought too and they got so bad that i would not leave my flat anymore. I was sacred of hurting my family and even strangers or kids on a playground. The thoughts and urges were so graphic and real. I went to therapy and they helped me realise that while the thought and urge is there i would never actually go through with it. I had to expose myself to situations that would trigger the worst thoughts and would have to write down what im thinking as time progressed. The urge and the fear eventually fade away if you dont try to fight it and try to "think" against it and stop the thoughts. The first few times "embracing "the thoughts was awful. Id have full blown panic attacks and would try to leave the room. The more i confronted myself and my fears though, the more irrational they became and eventually sort of dropped away. It sounds too easy, but it really isnt, it took me well over 6 months regular exposure. But the therapy really, real, helps. It is so hard to let go and accept the possible worst, but trust me you can do it. You wont ever hurt someone. Its just in your head. You have a feeling but you are not that feeling. You have a thought but you are not that thought. Try not to let it consume you. I wish you the best, you can do it. Sure, i sometimes still have a violent thought pop up, but it doesnt unnerve me anymore and i can see it for what it is. Took me 8 years to seek Help, but have been blessed with hardly any ocd thoughtd and no symptoms für the last 13 after the therapy. Dont wait as long as me and dont think people wont understand or be accepting. I found the opposite to be true

You won't do it. That's where the fear is coming from, the thought that you might. That's what gives it its power. You're so convinced of what it might mean about you. Guess what people who do bad things care about? Nothing..... they have no remorse, they don't feel bad about anything, they're not worried about following through on a violent impulse. A moral anxious OCD ridden person does, which is how it becomes an obsessive thought in the first place. You're ok....WE are okay. Even if our brains are telling us otherwise.

I have struggled with ocd my whole life,i an 24 and last year I adopted my daughter.since that my symptoms and fears have grown exponentially and sometimes I can’t tell the difference between something I actually see as attractive and something I don’t anymore.my intrusive thoughts cause arrousal and thoughts that should don’t and I find myself thinking of things I don’t want to just to b able to feel good,which is followed by shame and thoughts of taking mylife,because I feel my thought gave actually turned me into this disgusting person,I currently have no health care and am drowning in this on my own

Benjamin

April 22, 2020

In reply to by Kendra

There are great Podcasts and very helpful Videos on YouTube about ocd and a surprising amount of them deal with violent or sexual ocd thought ( as a first help).
I found ocd is like a weird upside down mirror. You think about somebody coming to harm or being a victim or something randomly, knowing it to be a horrible thing completely against your morals, than you question wether you would be capapble of something like that then your ocd suddenly attcaches, flips the script and shows you thought of you doing it in your head. Then you are so appalled by the thought that you fight it with all your might which just keeps making its bigger and bigger and everytime you see that person it pops up again. Anxiety flares up, attaching more and more meaning to that distorted mirror Image thought. But you have to remember these are just thoughts, they cant make you do anything. Its not a reflection of yourself or your desires, its just intrusive thoughts. You wouldnt be suffering so greatly if you agree with the the thoughts and sensations, your are aware that this is not right and you dont want to have them. So no, you are Not disgusting your mind is just throwing up the absolute worst scenarious it can think of. Educate yourself as much as you can about ocd and its manifestations. Learning to seperate the ocd from the rest is a first Major step and a lot of the time reading about the symptoms and identifying them in you life really helps, even if you cant have professional Help yet.

When I was young my parents took my to a psyche because I had the constant need to suck my tummy inward in sharp inhales, I would get stuck doing it in spurts so often that my ribs would hurt and my stomach would make weird noises. But the most important thing this doctor called to attention was that I was able to consciously control the urges if it thought about it. They diagnosed me with OCD and I didnt believe it, I had convinced myself I had some form of tourretts. It is not till reading this that I am starting to believe that doctor's diagnosis. Emarrassingly, I also had/have the physical urge/need to grab and adjust my..privates.. when I feel anxious or are wearing tight pants. I hate this urge the most. But if I fixate on trying to not act when I have these physical urges and feeling, my sensation of need increases. I'm glad I'm not alone.

I have these urges to kiss someone no matter who it is...it will never happen but how do you mitigate the thought...i think to some childhood drama i went through need help desperately....i know who i am sexually ( heterosexual)

Try to let the thought be. You know it wont happen, its just your ocd thought. I you dont try to stop it, fight it or think against it, you will subconsviously stop attaching that much meaning to it, and it will start to pop up less. If i have a violent ocd thought, i do just that, " ah, there it is again, hello ocd, i heard you but lets move on focus on something else". I dont try to negate it or Entertain it but accept it and leave it behind.

Yes, but man it's hard after being stuck in a cycle for 30 years. Would it work with "Guilt" OCD? I suppose it's a case of training your mind to ignore it. I'll certainly start this technique.

Thanks Benjamin :)

Hey I totally get you. My OCD propels me into a full belief that just because some is nice to me that they must fancy me and therefore I feel the urge to make out or sometimes just make a move on them i.e touch of a hand, groin, ass etc. I have come to see it as a thought process that ignites when I am uncomfortable and feel most vulnerable, as though I am going to be exposed some way or other. Nowadays I welcome the thought, laugh at their absurdity and establish what "is" actually happening in reality that is making me uncomfortable. Usually its connected to self destructive idea of "I'm not good enough" etc etc. I log the event and meditate on them at night via self loving, self-acceptance, self-compassion or some metta mediation. I still get intrusive thoughts but as I said above now I welcome them as each time I am triggered its an opportunity for me to confront my fears and in the words of Joe Campbell "Defeat my Dragon".

I worry that what I'm thinking is not OCD especially when I get weird feelings and urges. I have a horrible unwanted thought about a family member and I hate it. It fills me with dread everytime I'm around this person. When I'm being intimate with my boyfriend an image of the family member will flash into my head and the more I try not to think about it the worse it gets. Its now got to the point where I've started to avoid the person as best I can. I don't even like being alone with them and I feel like they can read my mind. One really scary turn this thought has taken is that when I cannot avoid them I look at them to check that I'm not thinking they resemble my boyfriend in anyway? This is new and has freaked me out. I then look at my boyfriend to check I am not thinking he resembles my family member. Its making me doubt I have OCD. My mind is in turmoil right now.

Yes, the article shows that she has some pretty good insight about lesser known obsessions and compulsions but the knowledge means nothing if she doesn’t take the time to respond to people asking for help. Why even have comments open?

Hi Pivi,

Please note that the comments feature for the ADAA blog posts is to allow readers of the posts to share their thoughts/experiences with each other. Our posts are written by our professional members as educational tools and for our website community to read/share their thoughts with each other.

Thank you!

The ADAA staff

I think I have ocd, I’ve been trying to figure this out for a couple of years. I bite my tongue compulsively without any thought. I only catch the fact that I have been biting my tongue when it’s too late. At the point when I catch it I’ve already gotten hooked on it, and my tongue with have a white sore. Sometimes it gets so bad that I’m unable to talk, eat or move my mouth without triggering myself. I visited a doctor at 7 years old and they had never heard of it before. I’ve tried a few things to suppress my urges, but none seem to be too effective. If anyone experiences something like this, please let me know if you can stop yourself.

I just have weird sensations and strange thoughts that just are very fleeting through my mind nothing horrible ...I will say or hear something and some quick weird thought goes thru my head ....I can't really explain it ....but it scares me I've suffered from panic and anxiety all my life ...these feelings are new....am I going crazy.
I sleep with the TV on and pull things I hear subconsciously that come back to me later in waking hours ....am I nuts ????

It breaks my heart reading all the posts of people who have intrusive thoughts of harm.
I have had those types of thoughts since I was a little girl. I have always done praying rituals, sometimes for hours a day. I became very good at praying while working or speaking to people or anything else I had to do. My mother also had OCD. I used to have thoughts of someone I loved being hit and killed by a vehicle. I prayed many times about this until one night I received a call from my Dad saying that my was run over by a snowplow while she exited a favorite store she shopped at. That was the second I realized that all the rituals In the world had no power. My bad thoughts had no power. I did not kill my mother by having bad thoughts, the truck driver killed her. I no longer give my bad thoughts power. I would rather stay a little uncomfortable for a short amount of time than spend a lifetime of fear.

I tend to focus so much on my breathing which makes me feel bad and keep checking on it. How can I conquer this uncomfortable feeling. Thanks

Hello,
I’m really struggling with my everyday life because I think there’s something wrong, from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep I’m constantly poking and touching my body looking for new things. Always asking everyone around me to feel these “things” I’m feeling. I’m just wondering how I can over come this as it’s taking over my life :(

I usually have an urge that whatever feeling or sensation I have had on the left side of my body, I should also have it on the right side and vice versa. And my son said he has similar feelings too! Oh my! If the person right side of my head, face or arm itches and I scratch it, I feel an urge to scratch the left side to make it feel the same as the right side. I did read up once and learnt to use Exposure and Response Prevention. Sometimes I'm able and other times I'm not, but it certainly isn't as bad as it used to be. But I thought I would totally overcome it. I'll still work on it. Thanks for your article.

Its horrible i dont have harmful urges but i have to hold my neck up touch my adams apple and count to 14

I really hate the thoughts i try to get rid of them i domt have them as much but sometimes they appear..

It's easy to read this page and laugh because some urges are so ridiculous but speaking as an OCD sufferer I can relate. I've thought (and felt) everything from feeling guilty for things I've never done to having urges of whistling loudly at someone to annoy them. My main issue is the "guilt" side. It's so depressing. Even though I know it's not true but my stomach just knots up and hurts like anything. Currently I thought of hugging my aunt, who's been dead for 20 years, but the thought turned into something sinister like sexual. It's NOT true by the way but once I thought of it, it sticks and now I'm trying to unstick it.

I have this OCD in Breathing since i was 10yrs old. Im 29 already. Dont know how to get rid of this. The fear that i might die is making me anxious. I also had random hyperawareness in blinking, thinking of my head as if its not functioning, seeing floaters, tinnitus, and hyperawareness in different parts of my body like my hand, feet and chest. So exhausting.

OCD took away my inner peace.The urination sensation keeps coming and disappearing.Currently I'm having intrusive thoughts and they are bothering me all the time.Been taking Flouxetine 20mg once a day and Diazepam 0.5m per night.Do you think I'm on the right course?

its hoorible to live with OCD but i say never leave hope always go ahead nd accept . i personally suffering from OCD but accepting my problem is a biggest win over everything

I'm certain I have been OCD about my weight since I was a child. I always wanted to be thin, beautiful and liked by the kids and boys. Eventually I learned how to vomit from a friend of mine. I became who I wanted to be. Eventually I got help but that obsession turned into having heart attacks. I swear it will happen. I check my pulse constantly and if its too high or to low I freak out. If I feel chest pain it's automatically a heart attack. Dizziness or lightheaded its a heart attack, tingling face its a heart attack. I've had some many ekgs and echocardiograms its made my husband (firefighter and EMT), my sister (Critical Care Nurse Practitioner) and mother (nurse) want to just strangle me. I have panic attacks and it's so consuming. I'm so focused on thinking about dying that it now affects my eating again except this time I'm 40 pounds overweight and am scared to exercise because I may have a heart attack. I wish it would just go away. I am so tired of it but do nothing to stop it.

Hello I would like to ask some things about breathing ocd.first of all I feel if i am not taking the a breath that my body will not make it automatically i don't see any body movements so i get afraid and that brings me panick attacks and a lot of other new fears.so i want to ask also can i do the same with the example with that folk that doesn't go to toilet and for me being trying not to focus on my breathing hunger and leave it all alone?and third question whenever i try to leave my breathing obsession after i get very much dizzy also i have been medical checked so it is only ocd but i dont know how to get over it . thank you and sorry for my bad English

I have as far back as I can remember have had these urges. I get these feelings of uncomfortable itchy/numbness on the tops of my eyeballs or in other areas of my body and I can subside them throughout the day by Rollin my eyes as hard as I can or tense up my body as hard as I can including my teeth until my head hurts. But eventually o have to give in and I writhe around making weird noises clenching my body and holding my breath so hard I almost pass out. This can last for up to 10 minutes or more.bi am completely physically and mentally drained after these episodes. Is this some sort of ocd. I am in my late 30s and it's getting so hard to control now. I have left jobs because of getting caught by people doing it at work. The humiliation of it makes me just leave and never come back which then adds on to my anxiety and depression. Can anyone out there relate at all?

Earlier, I had ocd and have been having it on and off. In this lockdown, I have breakup urges and doubts that I don't love my partner when in reality I really love him and want to spend my whole life with him. The urges feel so real that I actually want to have it. I had health ocd few months back and it's been over two months and I'm just obsessing over the thought which has made it so real in this lockdown. I can understand how much anxiety it causes and in fact there have been times when there was no anxiety and that itself triggered huge anxiety in me. I have a beautiful relationship and I just cry almost all the time.

I have a similar kind of OCD. The sad thing is that I haven't sought help for my anxieties for years, until I was basically destroyed to mush inside. I had the fear that sharing my fear would "contaminate" others and that it was my duty to suffer alone this hell, since I didn't wish this upon anyone. I suffered so so much. I didn't even know a human being could drown so deep in distress as that... I wish I had sought help earlier.

I started my obsessive anxiety at 14. I had no clue what was happening. My fear was to not be able to stop thinking about bodily functions that are usually automatic, but that you can control, such as swallowing, breathing and blinking. Breathing became the number one, although the others had their moments. It would keep me from sleeping at night, as I couldn't escape the thought when lying alone on my bed without anything else to do. During the day, the thought would pop instantaneaously in my mind and would freak me out to death. I feared I couldn't think of anything else and couldn't stop to consciously breathe (or blink or swallow). It's like I HAD to control it, once I thought about it. I couldn't let it be. I tried escaping it by diverting my attention to other things, hoping it would just work on its own, without my conscious control. I did not fear to stop breathing and die though, just to be clear. Ironically, I feared losing control by having too much control. Then I developed the fear that I could never be happy, because I feared it would come up in my happy moments and it did. I really felt helpless and hopeless. For 4 years I lived like this. The few times I tried to talk about it to my family, they just didn't get it and so it made me think no one could understand what I was living. That I was the only one like this. This belief was enhanced by the fact that I never heard OCD presented this way at school when we had mental health presentations. So I didn't relate at all. Eventually, I moved, and so I lost my friends. That was the thing holding my mental health together until then. And I lost it. I became very isolated and very depressed. It was a vicious cycle, as I couldn't sleep because of my obsession, feared not being able to survive my days because of insomnia, being more tired, couldn't make friends because I was barely holding it together anymore... And so on. Until all joy and hope was gone. Nothing at all mattered anymore. I hated my life. Everything I ever loved became grey and tasteless. More shit happened after that.

Anyways, I eventually sought help for my anxiety. I've dealt more with my depression in the first years after it began. I'm now 25. I really started working on my OCD 2-3 years ago. I've dealt with severe social isolation and eating disorders (not too severe at least) through the years. Nowadays, my anxiety has improved, though not entirely disappeared. My social life too, though not extraordinarily. I started snoring (yay!) in the last years and it has become more apparent this year. I just can't stand to hear my breath! I use a background sound on my cell at night to help with that, red noise, from YouTube. It's not perfect though. It's only when I fall asleep that it's disturbing. Sad thing is, my girlfriend also snores 😭. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping, especially the last week as we've moved in together. Sometimes I just can't sleep, just because I wake myself up every time I'm falling asleep during the night. I startle myself falling asleep. Quite horrible and frustrating. I really hope I can get use to this! It makes my life so difficult!

Thankfully, no, I am not in deep distress like I used to be. It seems at some point I fell so low that my emotions just shut down. I was just blank emotionally. It was horrible, but the ocd mostly went away. I took an antidepressant juat before this that seems to have caused that. It was messed up. One thing thay helped was the performance anxiety went away when I quit high school at 18. I quit before graduating because I just couldn't go on anymore. The fact I ahd no responsibilities whatsoever diminished greatly my anxiety. I was so struggling to keep my head out of the water before, until I eventually drown emotionally.

Apart from the horrible experience itself of being all destroyed inside, the worst was to not get help, even if I was trying to. To not have a clue about what was happening to me. I was so not understood and empathized with by doctors. I feel rage just thinking about it... Psychiatrists suck. They so didn't treat me like a human being. It's like they just didn't care about me. Some sent me away not believing me, others just tried to feed me more pills. Psychologists are the only ones who actually tried to understand me and help me as a human being, not as a pill consumer. They listened to me. Even my own doctor abandoned me. For a good while I was just on my own, my problems remaining unsolved. Darn can a human suffer! I wish these things weren't possible.

However, to come back to your question, I kept a sensitivity to breathing. I hate hearing my own breath or my girlfriend's. I hate it also when she breathes on me while asleep, although I don't blame her. I just don't like it. Other obsessions like blinking and swallowing seem to have gained more space after the breathing one diminished. Also, other anxieties appeared, like social anxiety. Probably linked to my social isolation. I also didn't want anyone to know how deeply broken I was inside, so I hid my pain and tried to look normal. I lied when people asked how I was. Not a healthy thing to do...... Needless to say to don't make very meaningful social connections like this. When I finally started opening up to people I felt I could trust, it greatly helped. The fact that I became a Christian contributed very positively to my social life. I met some very nice people, that I felt I could relate with as they shared they own struggles at prayer meetings. Of course, I also met others at church who were very shallow too but that's life. At least I had some people I felt comfortable with.

Forgive me for talking about me so much, it's just so nice to be able to share with people who can actually get me. You also think about breathing a lot? Is it a fear of dying or a control fear like me? Like you feel trapped by your own conscious control and awareness. It does get better. For me, what helped was realizing the lie/mistake in my thinking. It isn't true you 'have to' think about it. I realized that I could live without thinking about it or being afraid I would. The ocd didn't continue through the years, but it was diminished. Slowly I got more hold of myself, more confidence the danger wasn't real. "I can have happy moments, unhindered by my fear" I repeated myself, not to forget this truth. I reminded myself of those good, ocd-free, moments. It got better and better. When my girlfriend gave me shoulders and back massages to help me relax, I used to think I couldn't relax or that I somehow didn't have a right to, that it wasn't possible. I should specify that I developed the belief through the years that I couldn't be happy, almost like I didn't have a right to anymore. That I was broken beyond repair. Anyhow, that was a lie. I also had trouble enjoying movies at the cinema sometimes, for the same reasons. And other fun activities I liked, such as listening to music. It was like self torture. I managed to change my belief and now I have more confidence that I can enjoy things, unhindered. And live my life! At last!

I'm hyperaware of the clothes touching my skin,specially innergarments, I've tried sizes,nothing makes me feel comfortable, I'm uncomfortable and hyperaware of it all the time.Can anyone feel me? Its just ocd right?

This information has been very helpful to me. For few years now, I've been experiencing discomfort and urges to use the toilet while I'm travelling. It gets worse as I've been constantly aware of the time left until I'm near my destination. I always get this feeling that I could faint anytime. My family wasn't helping either cause they don't understand what I feel. Right now, it was much worse than before. Before I just need to pee but now I also need to take a s***. Everyday I felt pain behind my back and it triggers something inside me that made me need to use the toilet immediately. It gets worse while I'm travelling and was somehow tolerable at home. I was planning to seek a therapist after quarantine but for the mean time I want to do the same treatment you did to your patient. I really want to use this time during quarantine to treat myself. I want to ask if its okay though? Thank you very much.

I have this type of OCD where I feel smthg bad is going to happen if I don't do my daily routine or I do certain things... But my OCD is far much more complex than that... Thus it has come to a point where I am so frustrated in doing things repeatedly and feeling that I am crazy and the thought of me can't be normal just comes together along with the OCD... So I have been hitting myself quite hard in the head several times and it gave me headache and I would often cry about it because I know it's OCD, I know I am not normal, I am frustrated because none of my family members even care that my OCD is getting worse because they did not believe it in the first place and I am depressed that I can't live normally

So I sat down to google on why do I have thoughts of incidents which has never happened. I continuously worry on how the scenario of the home would be if my mother is not around. She has worked so hard and I don't trust anyone not even my father that he will maintain the same way when my mother is around. Selfishness, greediness, the urge to snatch are the fears I see in my family members and hence I trust no one. I am a single parent and my mother is my only friend. I know my mother won't be available always with me and some days I will have to move on but accepting the impermanence of life is so hard for me.

I have had CBT for OCD which involved an intense focus on swallowing. It really helped but I do still struggle with this problem at times. My mind feels like it is glued to the thought of swallowing. My mouth fills with saliva, and my throat feels as though it is desperate to swallow to relieve the sensations. After I have managed CBT to stop physically swallowing. I have a second stage where my throat automatically contracts to relieve the symptoms and obsessive thought. I am currently struggling with doing CBT for my throat contracting, it's almost like it clicks and my Adam's apple literally moves and all of a sudden the anxiety completely goes but then comes quickly back. Any suggestions that may help would be very appreciated, thank you. Also if anyone is really struggling and reading this, I strongly urge you to seek help with therapists it makes it easier when you're not alone.
All the best!!

Thank you so much for this article. I have been dealing with harm OCD and it just completely feels like hell. And unfortunately it's me having OCD thoughts about harming myself and they scare the soul out of my body. I would never EVER want to do the things that I think of doing but at the time when some of the thoughts come there are compulsions and that scares me even more. And the worst part is FEAR IS THE FUEL. I have been dealing with regular anxiety for a number of years and only somewhat recently started suffering from these thoughts. I intend on going to see a psychiatrist or therapist to help me with it. I know deep down I will be okay but it's so hard not to get anxiety and fear from having a thought and an urge that threatens my life. And the kick is, I have an extreme fear of dying. I know everyone is afraid of dying, but this is literally on the phobia level. So my thoughts are trying to constantly fight with each other. It feels like an angel and a demon are sitting on my shoulders sometimes. Because it's an automatic response of "I DONT WANT TO DO THAT TO MYSELF" and follows a little whisper of "yes you do" (not actual hearing voice just in my thoughts voice) This constantly makes me think I'm having suicidal thoughts when I am most definitely not. Before this started happening I was one of the happiest people you would ever meet. (Still technically am just riddled with anxiety and being scared) I love my life, I love my family, I love my pets, I love doing a lot of things in life. In general life never gets me down, I'm headstrong and push through. And if I believe I can make it through, I have faith in anyone who's having problems with OCD.

My mother’s dad who I’ve never known had schizophrenia, one of my sisters is diagnosed with ocd and bipolar disorder. This all started in March, I had thoughts of bestiality not actually doing anything but that I wanted to watch it, it was horrible but after a month or two the fear subsided and I was able to control it I hardly think of it anymore. For the last few weeks after finding out my sister is bipolar and about my grandpa I have had severe intrusive thoughts and even physical feelings about going crazy or developing schizophrenia. I have a thoughts sometimes that I know are forming because of my fear, I’ll think what if the leaves outside were made out of fabric I immediately think omg that’s so crazy to think of your crazy!, the fear is so strong I’m scared that when I look at the leaves I’ll see that they are made out of fabric even when I look at them I see plain and simple they aren’t I still get the fear when I look away like I didn’t just look at them and see they are normal. It also gets triggered when I see a post or comment on a post someone made talking about their family member or friend who had schizophrenia one of them said my mother believed humans weren’t real it scared the crap outta me when I thought about it like What if humans aren’t real came up and I was really trying to dissect and gave myself multiple reasons for why that is not true at all and I’m just overthinking but it’s really scary. I’ve tried to explain this to my therapist but because of my past trauma she believes I have PTSD I’ve read a few articles and I’m really leaning towards OCD does it sound like that to you guys? I’ve been feeling so trapped lately. Please respond I need some relief from these thoughts.

I have had urges to strangle my mum and Camhs worker. I have also had urges to snap my cats neck! Honestly it’s horrible! I want to believe I could never do that but my mind is telling me otherwise it’s making me scared to be near my cats and also I have never met my Camhs worker Yet but my mum said it might be Like me trying to block out the help everyone is trying to give me by imagining and feeling like I’m going to do these things. I have googled a lot of stuff I know which is bad about violent desires and this made me think and go through all the urges and thoughts I’d had and thought what if part of me wanted to do it! And becuase I have urges I am thinking well I must want to do it but my impulse control is strong and I’m getting help soon so I hope I can control this and realise I’m not a bad persona nd stop distancing myself from my mum and cats like the urge is so strong to do it but I never do and it makes me panic and obsess like mad

I have heard that people w/ OCD that have these types of invasive thoughts of hurting others are usually super moral people who would NEVER do such a thing. In fact the OCD part of the mind is trying to make you feel guilty. I've been told it's all about guilt and the OCD is like a bully. The 2 best ways to help OCD are cognitive behavioral therapy (including exposures) and sometimes medication. Please seek good professional help. It makes a world of difference!!

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