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Paranoia, labels, or something else

R

Rochefort 10

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(Long read)

Something changed in my life over the past year in the way people have treated me.

I've had OCD for seventeen years. My OCD themes are very taboo, for example I will have obsessive fears that I am racist or discriminatory in some way, fears about being a pedophile, etc. These are common themes for someone with Pure O OCD.

In my experience, people will react to this anxiety with some apprehension, which I can understand. If I begin to have a panic attack because I'm around children or a person of color, it could lead to questioning what's causing it or a suspicion that I might be a threat, etc.

Overall not many people are aggressive towards me. There have always been a few bullies who want to take advantage, but I'm pretty familiar with the general response of people who aren't aware of the details of this disorder, which is to be somewhat reluctant to have a close relationship with me, but still formally polite and respectful once they realize I'm not out to hurt anyone. I accept it while I try to get better. I'm not overjoyed about it, but I am still able to focus on other things in order to have a good life and I've always had a few friends.

This changed though, about a year ago. I started a new job and I was socially isolated very quickly. It was a new company just starting, so everyone was new there. I live abroad with my wife, so we didn't know anyone else in the city.

I can deal with that, but eventually, the symptoms of my disorder became a target of hostility. If I showed anxiety while at work (body tightness, not making eye contact, nervous demeanor, etc.) colleagues around me would watch me closely, show signs of disgust or even glee, and then apply additional pressure by going to stand by whoever had triggered the obsession. Of course it wouldn't have been that person's fault, and I've always wondered whether this kind of anxiety significantly hurts the people that trigger it through no fault of their own. But I always thought that it's not very harmful to the point where I should withdraw from society over it.

I know that this sounds paranoid, but I feel the same as I've felt over the past 17 years and I think I have a decent sense of myself. I don't think I've changed in any significant way that would make me suddenly paranoid to this degree, or that my behaviour has changed to the point where people should consider the OCD as a threat where they didn't before.

This story gets much worse though. In January, my wife, who worked at the same company but in a different department, began responding to my anxiety in a negative way at home. My symptoms would cause her to get up (if we were watching tv) and go do something else, go make noise, act aloof, etc. Before this she always pretty much ignored these symptoms. Now, I just get a negative vibe if I am experiencing OCD around her. I've tried talking to her about it, but she responds vaguely.

The pressure I felt between work and home was tremendous and I left the company shortly after. I didn't know how to handle what was happening between my wife and I, so we moved to another city closer to her hometown (she's from this country) to at least remove myself from the environment .

I found another job and was again immediately ostracized and left within a week because the same pattern was emerging in my colleagues, where the anxiety was being treated as a threat.

Where I'm currently working I do not feel trusted. I signed a contract, but my employer never signed it and it was never given back to me. I have been told that my boss believes I will not stay with the company, although I never did anything to indicate that. There is not the same aggression here, but I have been filmed while having anxiety spikes. My assistant needs to record some of the things we are doing, but when I'm showing symptoms of anxiety she just points the camera directly at me and records. It happens consistently.

I know that this sounds crazy, but I also know that what I'm experiencing is not normal. Being someone with this type of OCD (guilt, self-doubt, etc.) I scour myself for signs of flaws to obsess over, and this level of paranoia is just not there in any form I recognize. I even developed the obsession that I'm an irrational, paranoid person because of this, but I can identify it as OCD and deal with it as such (OCD anxiety is quite distinct).

Recently, I've started to believe that I've been labeled as something that would somehow rationalize this treatment. It would have to be a label that would stick. I immediately think of being labeled as someone who has a victim mentality. Someone who seeks attention and control and will use whatever means necessary, including an anxiety disorder, to get it. Someone who seeks to undermine other people if given the opportunity. Someone that needs to be managed closely to prevent this mentality from gaining strength, even if that means a no tolerance approach to the symptoms of my mental illness. I can see how this label would stick to me based on my personality. I can get carried away about things, especially topics like injustice, bullying, etc. It's not one of my core beliefs that I'm a permanent victim, but I have blamed people for bad things that have happened to me before.

Because I can't think of any reason for my life to have changed so dramatically unless people actually believe that I'm a legitimate threat.

Or, I'm just out of my mind in some way I don't understand and this is what life is now.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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I don't know. i don't know where OCD comes from but i am certain anxiety is due to 'faulty wiring' in the brain. From people i have met, a friend with severe anxiety which fluctuated and his brother had schizophrenia, so there must be a link there in the brain.

So OCD being an anxiety disorder is it? Again it must be something not working properly in the brain.

I have heard of people with anxiety and autism being paranoid they are a paed but it seemed to me to be a fear of, and not something they would ever, ever do. I compared it to my own fears of hitting someone very hard and killing them by accident, of taking another persons life which is the most disgusting thing imaginable to me.

I hope you didn't tell anyone at work the details of your OCD, the parts that would be offensive to some people who do not understand mental health at all.

Sadly disability in the workplace does not always go well. A colleague said to me once that we all have ups and downs. I have bipolar disorder, i would not say that is the same as ups and downs but it is all she knew. Being talked about for any reason is hard. I keep things to myself even in my family as there is jealousy, gossip, and more.
 
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