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Is this OCD? I need help!

J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
I'm beginning to question my sanity. I feel scared and doubt this is OCD.

My question is in regard to my theme and whether it is OCD at all or not.

My theme has been on physical fighting, being attacked, and physical altercations for the last two years or so. I have had OCD off and on for four years.

Generally in any given day I will obsess over a handful of real events that have taken place in the past. These events will entail someone staring at me aggressively, sometimes cocking their head quickly to me as they pass me in a store corridor, sometimes turning in a restaurant line to stare back at me after I've been staring at them, sometimes having a, "Hey, you got a problem?" look. People looking at me like they want to "start something" physical because I want to "start something".

These events actually happened. They are not false memories. They are not hypotheticals. Usually they have occurred when I am in the midst of obsessing and enter a public place with the feeling of hyper arousal, fear, fight or flight. The obsession (if I stare at someone, or even if I don't, someone here will pick up on my body language and vibes and want to fight me, or at least stare back and make it seem like they're feeling aggression towards me) kicks in and I end up feeling a sense of confirmation from the environment. I can't tell if what I'm feeling is real or not. I can't tell what's real and what's not at this point.

Because I've had people stare back and "size me up" in many of these real events from the past, it's hard to tell what is OCD distorting my perception and what's not.

Basically, people sizing me up and staring / behaving aggressively = this being something I should be afraid of rather than purely all in my head, OCD. The fact that people HAVE done these things many times validates my fears and anxieties, no?

I do however realize how OCD works. The more I act with fear, do compulsions, analyze, ruminate, reassure, the more I'm telling my mind to generate the perception of people wanting to fight me so I can reassure myself more and be less afraid. But the line between reality and OCD distortion has become very blurred in the last few months, so I need help.
THIS IS LESS ME SEEKING REASSURANCE AND MORE SEEKING KNOWLEDGE OF HOW MY OCD WORKS SO I CAN PRECEDE WITH ERP (exposure and response prevention) THERAPY.

If this is OCD, my theme has been particularly tricky to figure out, which has lead to it being hard to treat.
I haven't encountered anyone with my particular type of OCD (if it is even OCD) so I want more information. I also just don't know anymore. I feel panic and terror at times.

This thing, whether OCD or not, generates a sense of isolation and worthlessness. I feel a very real, visceral sense that people want to beat me up and fight me almost daily. This almost always generates the infamous fight or flight response. In response, I feel like I need to address people in public by staring to "preempt them" and get to the feared event before it happens out of the blue. I feel like I need to get them to stop.

The intrusive feeling blares out, "PEOPLE WANT TO BEAT YOU UP!! THEY ARE THE PROBLEM!! BE AFRAID OF THEM WHEN IN PUBLIC!! STARE AT THEM!! STOP THEM TO STOP THIS AWFUL FEELING!!" The last thing I want to do is make this post weird and simultaneously ensure no one responds, so I wouldn't get weird unless that is already what I'm feeling daily.

I'm a fairly normal person. I graduated from a great university. I have an office job. I have friends, a great family, achievements. I go to the gym. I'm extroverted. But I am also 100% in the grips of this obsession and need help.
The feelings have become too overwhelming to bear, so I need to stop this and get help. When this started a handful of years ago there were only a handful of obsessions. I didn't have to spend more than a few weeks to get out of the brain lock and thought loops those generated. Now it feels all consuming. Like it's everywhere and everything in my reality and feels to be more of who I am than it is OCD.

At times it feels so much like it's not OCD and more like I genuinely want to get into fights and people want to get into fights with me when I'm in public.

I typically obsess over these real events, going over and over them thousands of times, doing compulsions about how the person was only looking and the chances of us getting into a fight are slim. (Anything to reduce the anxiety.) Or I might feel terror because the people in these events obviously stared and turned in line or did something overt and undeniable to indicate their discontent and anger towards me. I then obsess and ruminate that, had I done something differently, the situation could have easily turned physical (given the side of town I was in or given another situational context).

I think you get what I am getting at. Given these events do entail people actually looking and not made up hypotheticals, how do I know the terror I feel when stuck in an obsessive compulsive spiral is not warranted? Most stories and examples I hear of people with OCD in videos and elsewhere involve things that haven't happened or are less based in real events.

With my events however, it is easy to link the terror and fight or flight I feel to something that could easily happen. Because these events feel like they are just a couple steps away from turning violent. (My mind equates staring aggressively or an overt action such as turning towards me to face me as easily leading to violence.)
I have many instances from the past two years of people behaving in odd ways towards me. Cocking their head as they pass me on the sidewalk, staring at me in a public place, doing so in an obviously intimidating way. How do I separate real life from OCD? Is this OCD or something else?

The last four or so months has brought me too many episodes of feeling actual terror than I would like. I know feeling "fight or flight" this much isn't healthy or normal.

How can this be OCD despite it being based on real events? How does this form of OCD function? I'm worried I don't belong on this sub even. I'm not seeking reassurance but rather information on how this could be OCD since I've never heard of anyone having this specific issue.

Thanks for your help!!!
 
R

Rogue7

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
56
Location
Australia
Have you been diagnosed with OCD previously? I'm no therapist but just throwing it out there... Have you considered ptsd? I have both cptsd and OCD and this sounds a lot like ptsd to me. Perhaps both.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
If that were the case, hypothetically speaking, would my OCD be caused by CPTSD? When I treat it using ERP and maintain an insane amount of focus I get results but it’s come back multiple times. That suggests there are elements of OCD at least. Can CPTSD cause all consuming symptoms like what I’m dealing with? 24/7 intrusive thoughts, anxiety, compulsions, fight or flight (including chills in the back of my head and spine, momentary feelings of coldness, inability to focus on anything else), etc.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
Have you been diagnosed with OCD previously? I'm no therapist but just throwing it out there... Have you considered ptsd? I have both cptsd and OCD and this sounds a lot like ptsd to me. Perhaps both.
I attempted to reply to you but replied to my original post. You can find my response there if you’d like.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
My ocd is caused by cptsd so it's entirely possible.
I suppose that would answer why I feel those wild symptoms when people stare back at me even if they are being mildly aggressive in their body language. Can the OCD or CPTSD cause reality to be distorted to where someone staring seems a lot more threatening and terrifying than it actually is?
 
C

Creativemind1

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Canada
This is OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder, so all you’re stating is most definitely the OCD related to anxiety. The fact that your ruminate over and over about what you’ve seen in people mentioned above, points to OCD. It’s causing you some level of distress (anxiety). My son was going through something kind of like that??? Some things were evidence based and others were questionable. He stopped wanting to take the bus or train because he was convinced people we’re judging him and shaking their head at him in disgust (questionable). We were driving in a car in the middle lane and a much older woman, standing all the way to the left at a bus stop, was looking in a complete other direction. He was convicted the Woman wanted him. Some things were correct as far as his perfection went and some things weren’t (didn’t happen I was there).

Just a few examples of what he went though. The doctor said it was a form of OCD. All these thoughts caused him a lot distress. He even said he wanted to beat up a kid at school because of what he thought they were thinking. What you are saying is you KNOW you’re experienced are real, but the key thing is if what is happening is causing you distress and you’re ruminating about it. So, it’s how it’s affecting you. This would be anxiety. To help control his level of distress, rispirdone at 1 mg was given. While some of the things my son saw may very well have happened (people possibly looking at him and judging him etc), it’s not controlling his mind and moods anymore.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
This is OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder, so all you’re stating is most definitely the OCD related to anxiety. The fact that your ruminate over and over about what you’ve seen in people mentioned above, points to OCD. It’s causing you some level of distress (anxiety). My son was going through something kind of like that??? Some things were evidence based and others were questionable. He stopped wanting to take the bus or train because he was convinced people we’re judging him and shaking their head at him in disgust (questionable). We were driving in a car in the middle lane and a much older woman, standing all the way to the left at a bus stop, was looking in a complete other direction. He was convicted the Woman wanted him. Some things were correct as far as his perfection went and some things weren’t (didn’t happen I was there).

Just a few examples of what he went though. The doctor said it was a form of OCD. All these thoughts caused him a lot distress. He even said he wanted to beat up a kid at school because of what he thought they were thinking. What you are saying is you KNOW you’re experienced are real, but the key thing is if what is happening is causing you distress and you’re ruminating about it. So, it’s how it’s affecting you. This would be anxiety. To help control his level of distress, rispirdone at 1 mg was given. While some of the things my son saw may very well have happened (people possibly looking at him and judging him etc), it’s not controlling his mind and moods anymore.
You say your son was accurately interpreting these real experiences from what I gather, ie in some cases people were judging or staring, but his reaction and the anxiety were ultimately the issue to blame?

For myself, I know these things have happened. Dozens upon dozens of them. One example, I was sitting down eating in a “fast-casual” restaurant, my seat being near the end of the line to order. So ten feet from me, the last person in line was standing. As I saw him I felt worried he might have been staring at me so I started staring. He then definitely saw me and TURNED AROUND in line to stare at me. He was aggressively postured in my opinion. He was young and muscular. I was only 29 last year when it happened. So it’s easy to assume we could have gotten into a fight had I provoked him more.

Now, he obviously stared and that indicates he was serious. My issues are, 1) how do I know how afraid I should be of that? When I think back to this happening almost a year ago I feel terror because it’s clear we could have gotten into a fight. 2) how do I deal with the feeling that (and I am embarrassed to say this but I must so I can get the proper response... I feel terribly publicly stating this), how do I deal with the feeling that I WANT to provoke him, actually I feel an absolutely uncontrollable urge to provoke him and anyone else who stares so I can stop the anxiety and uncertainty?

So, 1) these events happened; 2) since they did happen and could have ended up being violent why shouldn’t I be afraid and why shouldn’t I obsess? 3) since I have multiple instances of people staring and indicating imo violence could have happened, isn’t the only way to stop this cycle to get an answer in the real world?

What I’m getting at is, maybe I am over reacting. Your son experienced real events but reacted wrongly with lots of anxiety to these events, so his reaction was presumably the issue. How do I know my reaction is the issue and not the events themselves? I feel like even if I successfully do ERP I will always want an answer to what if. The other people have behaved this way multiple times. I feel like I have good reason to be scared.

Also, is wanting to provoke people to violence normal because I can’t stop obsessing and want to get rid of the anxiety that way?
 
C

Creativemind1

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Canada
You say your son was accurately interpreting these real experiences from what I gather, ie in some cases people were judging or staring, but his reaction and the anxiety were ultimately the issue to blame?

For myself, I know these things have happened. Dozens upon dozens of them. One example, I was sitting down eating in a “fast-casual” restaurant, my seat being near the end of the line to order. So ten feet from me, the last person in line was standing. As I saw him I felt worried he might have been staring at me so I started staring. He then definitely saw me and TURNED AROUND in line to stare at me. He was aggressively postured in my opinion. He was young and muscular. I was only 29 last year when it happened. So it’s easy to assume we could have gotten into a fight had I provoked him more.

Now, he obviously stared and that indicates he was serious. My issues are, 1) how do I know how afraid I should be of that? When I think back to this happening almost a year ago I feel terror because it’s clear we could have gotten into a fight. 2) how do I deal with the feeling that (and I am embarrassed to say this but I must so I can get the proper response... I feel terribly publicly stating this), how do I deal with the feeling that I WANT to provoke him, actually I feel an absolutely uncontrollable urge to provoke him and anyone else who stares so I can stop the anxiety and uncertainty?

So, 1) these events happened; 2) since they did happen and could have ended up being violent why shouldn’t I be afraid and why shouldn’t I obsess? 3) since I have multiple instances of people staring and indicating imo violence could have happened, isn’t the only way to stop this cycle to get an answer in the real world?

What I’m getting at is, maybe I am over reacting. Your son experienced real events but reacted wrongly with lots of anxiety to these events, so his reaction was presumably the issue. How do I know my reaction is the issue and not the events themselves? I feel like even if I successfully do ERP I will always want an answer to what if. The other people have behaved this way multiple times. I feel like I have good reason to be scared.

Also, is wanting to provoke people to violence normal because I can’t stop obsessing and want to get rid of the anxiety that way?
It quite possible that you wanting to provoke people to violence is just another way you put your anxieties at ease. Everyone is different. It “seems” like this could be the case for you. Forgive me if you mentioned this already, but have you ever been bullied in your life or involved in a fight that may have triggered these feelings? I’m just trying to see if there could be some link or if this one day just started to manifest in your life. There is a lot of fear. I think you’re right about questioning how much of your experienced fear or even anger is attributed to anxiety and how much are you justified in feeling so with these constant stares and the feelings of doom associated with it. I hope I’m understanding and furthermore expressing myself correctly. I always feel fighting is never the solution. What would that really solve if you did get into a fight with someone over them looking at you in a certain way. As hard As it is to try to retrain your mind (I’ve struggle with doing this with anxiety) it’s true what they say...we never ever know for certain what someone is thinking or feeling unless we outright ask them. We have to practice keeping calm and thinking of other possibilities of why someone is looking at you or staring, instead of them wanting to fight you or hurt you in some way.

It could also be possible that they may pick up vibes from you and may be scared that you may attack them. So.. it really could be anything. It was hard for me to accept this for a long time that there were indeed other possibilities. It honestly made me feel crazy. For instance, I kid you not, I would always think people would be laughing at me in malls. There were always women snickering or men looking like they were stifling a giggle. I wanted to avoid all malls! And I’ve been told all my life I was “attractive”, but the issue was a I never saw it and never believed anyone who would say it. This was my perception.

I worked with a psychologist who taught me to challenge those fears. She asked me “and so what if they did laugh” I said “well, that would make me feel bad about myself.” She said “why should your self worth be determined by what a complete stranger thinks?” You can ever know for certain what others are thinking. It’s important to learn to be comfortable with the uncertainty. For me, that was the key. I always found that I needed to know the why’s of everything. I had to start putting things in perspective. The fact that you have an inquisitive mind shows that without a doubt, you’re very intelligent! Have you ever tried medication? sometimes even just short term it can help reset our thought process and how we react to situations. I’m glad you’re on here though to talk through things because we are all going through something and it’s tough! Fighting won’t solve anything though. The provocation comes from you’re need to want to just stop all this. Either confirm or reject what’s going on.
 
R

Rogue7

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
56
Location
Australia
I suppose that would answer why I feel those wild symptoms when people stare back at me even if they are being mildly aggressive in their body language. Can the OCD or CPTSD cause reality to be distorted to where someone staring seems a lot more threatening and terrifying than it actually is?
Cptsd or ptsd can have symptoms of hypervigilance. Perhaps you are experiencing this? As a result you ruminate about things or "obsess". Pure-o has no compulsions.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
It quite possible that you wanting to provoke people to violence is just another way you put your anxieties at ease. Everyone is different. It “seems” like this could be the case for you. Forgive me if you mentioned this already, but have you ever been bullied in your life or involved in a fight that may have triggered these feelings? I’m just trying to see if there could be some link or if this one day just started to manifest in your life. There is a lot of fear. I think you’re right about questioning how much of your experienced fear or even anger is attributed to anxiety and how much are you justified in feeling so with these constant stares and the feelings of doom associated with it. I hope I’m understanding and furthermore expressing myself correctly. I always feel fighting is never the solution. What would that really solve if you did get into a fight with someone over them looking at you in a certain way. As hard As it is to try to retrain your mind (I’ve struggle with doing this with anxiety) it’s true what they say...we never ever know for certain what someone is thinking or feeling unless we outright ask them. We have to practice keeping calm and thinking of other possibilities of why someone is looking at you or staring, instead of them wanting to fight you or hurt you in some way.

It could also be possible that they may pick up vibes from you and may be scared that you may attack them. So.. it really could be anything. It was hard for me to accept this for a long time that there were indeed other possibilities. It honestly made me feel crazy. For instance, I kid you not, I would always think people would be laughing at me in malls. There were always women snickering or men looking like they were stifling a giggle. I wanted to avoid all malls! And I’ve been told all my life I was “attractive”, but the issue was a I never saw it and never believed anyone who would say it. This was my perception.

I worked with a psychologist who taught me to challenge those fears. She asked me “and so what if they did laugh” I said “well, that would make me feel bad about myself.” She said “why should your self worth be determined by what a complete stranger thinks?” You can ever know for certain what others are thinking. It’s important to learn to be comfortable with the uncertainty. For me, that was the key. I always found that I needed to know the why’s of everything. I had to start putting things in perspective. The fact that you have an inquisitive mind shows that without a doubt, you’re very intelligent! Have you ever tried medication? sometimes even just short term it can help reset our thought process and how we react to situations. I’m glad you’re on here though to talk through things because we are all going through something and it’s tough! Fighting won’t solve anything though. The provocation comes from you’re need to want to just stop all this. Either confirm or reject what’s going on.
I am happy you figured out your issue through CBT. In my case I feel I may need some trauma therapy and continuing to do ERP.

Yes, the experiences did happen, so what scares me is that maybe I should be this scared (like it’s warranted) until I find an answer.

To clarify, I do not want to get into a fight with someone. I have never been in a physical altercation. I did experience a traumatic (for me a time least) experience almost four years ago when a man aggressively confronted me on a bus. But it didn’t turn violent.

The last thing I want to happen is to get into a fight or have someone beat me up, hence my obsession with it. My issue is that’s I literally cannot leave them obsession alone for fear of being beat up. The uncertainty surrounding what would happen if I did this or did that are propelling me towards urges of wanting to stare and possibly provoke people.

Whatever this awful thing is, it gives me the implicit sense that if I provoke enough people, and see they don’t attack me, perhaps I will stop worrying. It isn’t rational. I don’t want to fight anybody. Keep that in mind. The idea of fighting disgusts me, which might be why I’m experiencing these intense urges, thoughts, and feelings to get into a fight.

Now where the real problem arises for me is that real events have actually happened! So I cannot leave this as a purely obsessional thing. I can’t say, “oh, that’s just my OCD.” I’ve had people stare back for long periods. I’ve had people turn towards me to make a statement. I’ve experienced a bunch of other things like these to reinforce this is happening, it says something about me, and I can’t move on with my life until I figure it out not just in my head but in reality.

I don’t want to fight but can’t stop the urge and unrelenting need to provoke (or at least stare at people because I feel being attacked is eminent) people to stop this torment and get certainty.

I don’t know how much of this is OCD and how much is real and that’s scares me. I need help.

But again, to reiterate an important point, I don’t want to get into a fight. That is precisely what horrifies me so much. That fact that I would see provoking someone into that or near it speaks to how tormented I am daily that provoking someone to gain certainty would be less painful than living with the uncertainty I feel daily.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
It quite possible that you wanting to provoke people to violence is just another way you put your anxieties at ease. Everyone is different. It “seems” like this could be the case for you. Forgive me if you mentioned this already, but have you ever been bullied in your life or involved in a fight that may have triggered these feelings? I’m just trying to see if there could be some link or if this one day just started to manifest in your life. There is a lot of fear. I think you’re right about questioning how much of your experienced fear or even anger is attributed to anxiety and how much are you justified in feeling so with these constant stares and the feelings of doom associated with it. I hope I’m understanding and furthermore expressing myself correctly. I always feel fighting is never the solution. What would that really solve if you did get into a fight with someone over them looking at you in a certain way. As hard As it is to try to retrain your mind (I’ve struggle with doing this with anxiety) it’s true what they say...we never ever know for certain what someone is thinking or feeling unless we outright ask them. We have to practice keeping calm and thinking of other possibilities of why someone is looking at you or staring, instead of them wanting to fight you or hurt you in some way.

It could also be possible that they may pick up vibes from you and may be scared that you may attack them. So.. it really could be anything. It was hard for me to accept this for a long time that there were indeed other possibilities. It honestly made me feel crazy. For instance, I kid you not, I would always think people would be laughing at me in malls. There were always women snickering or men looking like they were stifling a giggle. I wanted to avoid all malls! And I’ve been told all my life I was “attractive”, but the issue was a I never saw it and never believed anyone who would say it. This was my perception.

I worked with a psychologist who taught me to challenge those fears. She asked me “and so what if they did laugh” I said “well, that would make me feel bad about myself.” She said “why should your self worth be determined by what a complete stranger thinks?” You can ever know for certain what others are thinking. It’s important to learn to be comfortable with the uncertainty. For me, that was the key. I always found that I needed to know the why’s of everything. I had to start putting things in perspective. The fact that you have an inquisitive mind shows that without a doubt, you’re very intelligent! Have you ever tried medication? sometimes even just short term it can help reset our thought process and how we react to situations. I’m glad you’re on here though to talk through things because we are all going through something and it’s tough! Fighting won’t solve anything though. The provocation comes from you’re need to want to just stop all this. Either confirm or reject what’s going on.
I should also add I’ve gotten so far into this (whether it’s OCD or not), that it “feels” like I do actually want to fight people and I’m lying to others and myself. That’s also causing me a large amount of anxiety. I feel like it isn’t OCD, that it is real, that I want to get into altercations and I know people want to get into altercations with me but I’m lying to myself about it.
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
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Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
Cptsd or ptsd can have symptoms of hypervigilance. Perhaps you are experiencing this? As a result you ruminate about things or "obsess". Pure-o has no compulsions.
How did you treat your OCD and CPTSD?
 
J

john1325476

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
14
Location
Tallahassee
It quite possible that you wanting to provoke people to violence is just another way you put your anxieties at ease. Everyone is different. It “seems” like this could be the case for you. Forgive me if you mentioned this already, but have you ever been bullied in your life or involved in a fight that may have triggered these feelings? I’m just trying to see if there could be some link or if this one day just started to manifest in your life. There is a lot of fear. I think you’re right about questioning how much of your experienced fear or even anger is attributed to anxiety and how much are you justified in feeling so with these constant stares and the feelings of doom associated with it. I hope I’m understanding and furthermore expressing myself correctly. I always feel fighting is never the solution. What would that really solve if you did get into a fight with someone over them looking at you in a certain way. As hard As it is to try to retrain your mind (I’ve struggle with doing this with anxiety) it’s true what they say...we never ever know for certain what someone is thinking or feeling unless we outright ask them. We have to practice keeping calm and thinking of other possibilities of why someone is looking at you or staring, instead of them wanting to fight you or hurt you in some way.

It could also be possible that they may pick up vibes from you and may be scared that you may attack them. So.. it really could be anything. It was hard for me to accept this for a long time that there were indeed other possibilities. It honestly made me feel crazy. For instance, I kid you not, I would always think people would be laughing at me in malls. There were always women snickering or men looking like they were stifling a giggle. I wanted to avoid all malls! And I’ve been told all my life I was “attractive”, but the issue was a I never saw it and never believed anyone who would say it. This was my perception.

I worked with a psychologist who taught me to challenge those fears. She asked me “and so what if they did laugh” I said “well, that would make me feel bad about myself.” She said “why should your self worth be determined by what a complete stranger thinks?” You can ever know for certain what others are thinking. It’s important to learn to be comfortable with the uncertainty. For me, that was the key. I always found that I needed to know the why’s of everything. I had to start putting things in perspective. The fact that you have an inquisitive mind shows that without a doubt, you’re very intelligent! Have you ever tried medication? sometimes even just short term it can help reset our thought process and how we react to situations. I’m glad you’re on here though to talk through things because we are all going through something and it’s tough! Fighting won’t solve anything though. The provocation comes from you’re need to want to just stop all this. Either confirm or reject what’s going on.
I guess I am not sane? :unsure:
 
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