- Mar 11, 2019
I'm incredibly nervous about writing this because I've never shared these thoughts with anyone before. I don't have an OCD diagnosis but I'm looking for guidance about whether to go to a doctor - I don't want to waste my own or their time so I thought posting on here would be a good first step. I've suffered from depression and anxiety, and I have routines/rituals that alleviate/distract me from the overwhelming feelings of purposeless from depression and over-worrying from anxiety. These are the main issues:
- My day is divided into specific tasks that i have to do in each hour - study, sleep, and eat being the main ones - but I rely on notifications on my phone to notify me of a new hour, an email, text message etc. Usually this is fine, and actually beneficial sometimes to have such a strong willpower to study, for example. But, it means that if i don't get a notification in this hour then i can't do the set task. This is most difficult to deal with for eating - if i have a set hour in the day to eat and I don't get notified of it, then I can't eat. It sounds ridiculous when i write it down. I don't have an eating disorder, but when it first began i lost weight to an unhealthy level.
- I'm currently doing a postgraduate degree and have to commute in on the train. Based on my timetable, I find myself having to get a train at a very specific time (even though they're only minutes apart) and if I don't do it will be incredibly anxious for the whole journey that something bad will happen to me (or anyone I'm with) which could've been avoided by getting on my usual one. I don't know if these are intrusive thoughts, but they're definitely irrational. I have to also leave my house at a specific time, and if this is missed i can't leave for the same fear that something bad will happen. I enjoy my degree and I like spending time with the friends that I've made, so i find it very distressing when i can't go.
- I've had varying routines that come and go for as long as i can remember, but I think they've got more extreme as I've grown older. To some extent, I've taken pleasure in them as a distraction from overwhelming depressive thoughts or anxiety, even if this pleasure is only temporary, but it's worrying that it can stop me eating properly, and that it's now having an effect on my university attendance. I worry about it's potential effects on whether i can hold down any future job that i go into - having to arrive late everyday because I can't bring myself to get a different train, for example.
- I don't know if my thoughts are intrusive. If I'm sitting on a train and feel like my routine is out of sync with what it should be, I have to try very hard to control the anxiety so that i don't have a panic attack on the train from overthinking about what could happen, but I'm not constantly bombarded with intrusive sexual thoughts etc that i know are common for OCD sufferers.
- I'm incredibly messy, and I don't necessarily need things to line up in a straight line etc
- My routines don't stick around for more than a year or two, and they can change. There are things that I used to do that I now don't feel the need to do anymore.