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new experiences/ not sure how to cope

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bbeans2000

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Missouri
(background) Back in 2017 I was diagnosed with severe OCD, PTSD, SAD, anxiety and attention problems. I went through an IOP and years of therapy. I tried multiple medications but none of them worked, so I stopped taking them and tried applying CBT to my daily life, which has helped me up until now with these new things I’m experiencing.

I have always had a major fear of death which has been the root of many of my obsessions and intrusive thoughts. Recently, it’s developed into the fear that I am already dead. More specifically, this feeling occurs while I’m driving. I end up convincing myself that I’ve gotten into a car crash and entirely dissociate or zone out. I dont feel better until I get where I’m going safely, and even then, I have a hard time snapping out of it. I had my first panic attack while driving yesterday after not having one for months on end. Tonight, I’m fighting off another one. My body is trying to convince me that something is wrong and I’m going to die in my sleep. I experience the fear of dying in my sleep quite often, and it takes a lot of time to talk myself down, but it hasnt gotten to this point where I’m near panic attack. I’m very healthy and I know that, but my brain is telling me that every small ounce of pain is a sign of me passing tonight and it is so hard to shake this feeling.

On top of these new thoughts, I’ve started developing sorts of “tics”. Much of it is “hand-flapping” and “woo’s”, but while I was having a panic attack, i started pushing my nose up every minute or so. I was diagnosed with OCD about 3 years ago, and I know it can develop further overtime, so I suppose I’m wondering if that’s whats happening now. I’m not entirely sure what I’m seeking for in replies, but maybe some validation, reassurance, or answers/ similar experiences. I dont want my OCD to turn into something I’m scared of after working so hard to become familiar with my initial OCD experiences.
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

Well-known member
Forum Guide
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
8,410
Location
UK
Hi bbeans,

This must be so frightening for you.

In my opinion, this sounds like a strain of OCD thinking that needs professional help. This is affecting you deeply when you drive (and you need to be calm and alert to be safe) and potentially can upset your sleep...and lack of sleep brings its own set of problems.

Please don’t try and struggle on your own with this. It sounds as if this is growing into a monster. :hug:

Sending you lots of love x
 
L

LokiPokey75

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
361
Location
United States
Hey bbeans2000!

I was also diagnosed with OCD so I have an idea of what you're experiencing. It's interesting that you mention driving. I have always hated the process of learning to drive. I'm in my 20s now and I still haven't got my license. You may love driving, but I've found that because I didn't want to drive, I had more fears surrounding it. Like getting in an accident and hurting my family members.

Yours involves your own death at the wheel. Do you think any of it stems from driving itself? What about sleep? Why do you think you fear dying in your sleep?

It helps to answer these questions now because knowing the source of your fears can help affect how you handle them. Once you know where they come from, you'll be able to start facing that fear with a clearer focus. Mentally envision the worst-case scenario. Remove the fear attached to that scenario. You'll find that the thought itself of you dying, whether at the wheel or in your sleep, is neutral. It's just a thought. It hasn't happened. When you take away the fear attached to it, you lessen its power over you.

You can then learn to move through the thought so it doesn't ruin your day. It's easy to be so consumed with fears of pain and death. But that's what they are -- fears. Not actualities. Distinguishing the two will be incredibly helpful in getting through your anxieties.

OCD sucks. When I was in the worst of it, I never thought I'd see the other side. But I did. And I believe you can too, bbeans!

Good luck and stay safe!
 
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bbeans2000

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Missouri
Hey bbeans2000!

I was also diagnosed with OCD so I have an idea of what you're experiencing. It's interesting that you mention driving. I have always hated the process of learning to drive. I'm in my 20s now and I still haven't got my license. You may love driving, but I've found that because I didn't want to drive, I had more fears surrounding it. Like getting in an accident and hurting my family members.

Yours involves your own death at the wheel. Do you think any of it stems from driving itself? What about sleep? Why do you think you fear dying in your sleep?

It helps to answer these questions now because knowing the source of your fears can help affect how you handle them. Once you know where they come from, you'll be able to start facing that fear with a clearer focus. Mentally envision the worst-case scenario. Remove the fear attached to that scenario. You'll find that the thought itself of you dying, whether at the wheel or in your sleep, is neutral. It's just a thought. It hasn't happened. When you take away the fear attached to it, you lessen its power over you.

You can then learn to move through the thought so it doesn't ruin your day. It's easy to be so consumed with fears of pain and death. But that's what they are -- fears. Not actualities. Distinguishing the two will be incredibly helpful in getting through your anxieties.

OCD sucks. When I was in the worst of it, I never thought I'd see the other side. But I did. And I believe you can too, bbeans!

Good luck and stay safe!
Thank you for this!
Driving has never been something I’ve enjoyed doing, but it is something I must do in order to get where I need to be. I’ve always joked around and said that “when Im rich, I will never drive again”. I’ve never witnessed an accident or been in one myself (knock on wood), but my luck with being t-boned by deer has been horrible. Its happened twice now and only ever at night, so that partially explains my fear of driving in the dark atleast. As far as sleep, I’m not sure why I get so stuck on it. I believe to me its moreso about not saying my last goodbyes, and also the idea of an afterworld/ heaven or hell. A good majority of my fear of death is based on the lack of understanding I have surrounding this. But both driving and dying in my sleep are extremely unexpected and happen without much closure at all.
I appreciate your kind words and reassurance; it means much more to me than you know!
I hope you take care and stay safe as well. :hug:
 
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