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Not sure if this is OCD, but it sucks

A

aguaug

New member
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
1
Location
New York State
I have been having some worries lately that seem to be irrational, but seem very rational (to me) at the same time for whatever reason.

These worries stem from thoughts about wether things I do are or are not morally acceptable. I also have feelings of what seems to be hyper responsibility. To give some examples:
  • I have been exposed to COVID-19 recently and have started to show symptoms. I have been worried about passing it to my cats.
    I will sometimes feel guilty if I am playing a video game in my room and I don’t move far enough away from them. I usually move a few feet away from them to avoid possibly giving them covid. These feelings of guilt come with messages I tell myself, like “You could have moved 6 feet or more away from them, but you only moved 4. You are endangering them just so you can play a game.”

    In other cases, I will hold my breath when I am around them or in another room of my house. I do this to avoid possibly breathing out air particles around my cats that contain the virus. Sometimes, I’ll do it even if they’re not around me, worrying that I could leave the virus in the air for them to possibly breath in later.
  • I also worried about wether I should leave the door open or closed and let my cats in. I keep my window open all day now to let in fresh air in order to protect them. I had arguments with myself about wether I should open the door to let the fresh air from my room get to them, or to close the door so they are less likely to be around the (likely) virus-filled air that I’m breathing.
    As of now, I keep the door closed, but I used to leave it open for them to come in. Sometimes, they would come in and sit near the open window. I would then check to see which direction the air was flowing at the moment using paper, as to make sure the air from my room (that likely contained COVID) wasn’t flowing towards them.
  • I was playing a multiplayer shooter game earlier today, when a thought came to my head: ”What if when I eliminate a player in this game, they rage so hard, that they hurt themself out of rage? Does that mean I am now partly responsible for them getting hurt?” This thought seemed very outrageous and over the top, so I kind of ignored it will playing. However, after I played for a while, I started to feel guilty with thoughts such as “You KNEW there was a possibility that someone might hurt themself out of anger after being eliminated by you, but you still played the game. Therefore, you are responsible for any harm they may have dealt to themself.“ This thought was very scary and made me feel horrible. I want to play multiplayer games, but because of this thought, I now almost feel too scared to do so. I have tried looking for genuine reasons why this fear is irrational, but it usually ends in thoughts of “It is not moral to play multiplayer games where you fight other players, as you are risking their own safety with the possibility that they hurt themselves out of anger after you eliminate them.”
    It’s hard to even go into games now without having this fear. I used to enjoy it so much, but now that I have this worry, I can’t.
  • While I am not consumed by this as much now as I was recently, I have had worries of accidentally stepping on a bug or insect without knowing. This fear caused me to do things like look at the ground at all times, avoid walking on grass, check the frame of a door before closing it to see if anything was there, etc. My worry was that I was unnecessarily taking a life when all I had to do was look down and check. This fear has kind of gone away, but that may just be because I have not been outside as much recently, meaning I’m less likely to be around bugs or insects.
  • I‘ve had thoughts about the morality of driving cars, with thoughts such as “Tens of thousands die a year from car accidents. How is it morally acceptable to drive(when not necessary) with this risk? Why do we just accept that people die and continue on doing this?” I know it might sound stupid, but to me it kind of makes sense.

It seems that, overall, I feel extremely discouraged to do things that are “fun“ but not essential if they have any risk factors. It will feel as if I am knowingly putting others at risk for my own pleasure and that I‘m a bad person. Even if there is a 0.00001% chance of something bad happening, I will have a desire to avoid it as it would not be worth the risk.

I have had a few minor instances of these concerns in my life(I think), but never as much as I have had in the last 2-3 months. There are many other examples of this, but I do not feel it is necessary to list them all here.

This is not here as a way of looking for diagnosis. I just want to know if there is something I should do about this. I don’t know if this is OCD or just random thoughts that really get to me for some reason.
 
lyesander

lyesander

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Jul 4, 2020
Messages
156
Location
USA
Could be OCD, could also be generalized anxiety disorder, there's a lot of overlap between symptoms. I'd do some research on both disorders and then consult with a psychiatrist.
 
G

Grubelnsucht

Active member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
36
Location
Portland
Oh man, this COVID thing is doing a number on all of us, isn’t it? The previous poster is right, you really need a doctor or a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders to diagnose OCD, but it does sound like you’re dealing with a lot of anxiety at the moment. What you’re describing, in fact, sounds like a type of OCD called Scrupulosity.
So I know things are crazy now, but you should really think about talking to someone about this - even if it’s over video chat. Most therapists will give you a free initial session and some advice. Take advantage of it and stick with them if they’re helping you.
Also:
1:if your cats are living in the same house as you, they’ve been exposed despite your attempts at distancing. So love them. They need you and you need them right now. It’s OK to let them around you and it’s OK to let them have fresh air. Pet them and give them treats.
2:when it comes to video games, you are NOT responsible for other people’s mental illnesses or harmful actions toward themselves. Multi-player shooter games are actually a healthy outlet for stress relief and you are doing more for the mental health of others (and yourself) by playing than you realize. Keep playing! Help others and yourself!
3. Bugs will die and this is sad. But, should you step on one, this is an accident. Not something you should blame yourself for. Your cats will find the dead bug delicious- circle of life. Or a bird will if your outside. If you happen to see a bug, avoid it. If not, it’s OK! You are not at fault here!
4. It’s ethical to cut down on driving when another option is practical or nearly as practical. But it’s OK to take you’re car out when there isn’t. People will die, other creatures will die, and we can’t control that. Nor should we try to.
You’re a good person- cut yourself some slack. And find a therapist. They can do a world of good.
 
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