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OCD and Stress - December 6th 2014, 04:57 AM

It really sucks, but my OCD has been on hyperdrive lately. Like, I've had OCD since I was probably about 10 (undiagnosed). But most of the time it's super manageable and doesn't get in the way of my everyday life. It got really bad when I was 12-15 which was during my parents' divorce. I've come to realize that my OCD is highly anxiety/stress triggered. So I know I'm under a lot of stress when I start repeating actions to sooth these irrational thoughts of something terrible happening to my or a family member.

I can ignore it to a point and move through it. But for some reason it just really hit me today. It scares me the most whenever I'm driving, because my eyes will start wanting to roll around in my head so many times and it's so weird. Or I wanna take my hands off the wheel a little in repetitive action, life my foot off the gas, etc. To which, I've been trying to pay closer attention to these things when I drive so I can stop myself and maybe correct it.

I also seem to suffer from intrusive thoughts, which is apparently a symptom of OCD. The most common intrusive thoughts are jumping from high areas and ramming into a semi. Which is silly, because I don't really want to die. But of course the OCD cycle is vicious, and I guess my anxiety triggered OCD and my OCD retriggered my anxiety.

Another common thought I have is of my papa dying. So it's like, idk, I have to touch something a certain number of times while having certain thoughts so that he won't die. Which is completely irrational, and I know this, and I try to remind myself. Some times I can push past it and sometimes I can't.

I wonder if my OCD worsened recently because this past week I didn't take my antidepressant for 3 days straight and felt fine. Then I took it one night, and basically missed the next day by taking it early in the morning. It just shocked me how suddenly the random anxiety/OCD hit me today, because I had been feeling fine and usually my anxiety is worsened by situational stress.

I guess my stresses in my life at the moment are my Dad's divorce with his wife (step mom), my mom's state of dwelling (her house is a travesty that I don't wish to talk about atm). Possibly my Papa, simply because he's 83 and lives by himself in a large house. Plus when he does die my mom will probably lose her house because he's the one who owns it and is paying the bills for it. And he refuses to write a will sooooo.

I'm basically done with my school work (YAY), and now I just have to work on Christmas presents. I'll be starting at a new school next semester. I guess I'm also worried about finances and such. Plus there was an unpleasant family conflict over Thanksgiving break that was somewhat jarring in a way.

I also know that a huge amount of the stress I feel these days is from just being 21. I'm in this weird stage of life where I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going or how to get to where I want to be. I've been assured that that's perfectly normal, and that's a relief to hear, but I guess I just wish I knew how to cope with it better.

Anyway I'd love to hear some coping techniques for my OCD, and maybe some rationalizations to help me calm down

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Re: OCD and Stress - December 14th 2014, 12:57 AM

Hey there! I'm sorry it took so long for you to receive a response. Has anything changed since you created this thread?

Since you're taking antidepressants, I'm wondering if you're receiving support from your GP/primary care, or if you're seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in treating OCD/anxiety disorders. Psychiatrists tend to know more about which types of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, etc. are most effective in treating the symptoms you're experiencing.

Medication can certainly address symptoms of OCD/anxiety; however, medication alone isn't always effective enough. Have you considered seeing a therapist/counselor to learn coping skills for the symptoms you're experiencing? There may also be support groups in your area that can connect you to individuals who have dealt with similar issues, as well as organizations that offer resources for people struggling with the symptoms you're experiencing.

I wrote an article some time ago about countering anxiety, which you're welcome to read here. It focuses on addressing maladaptive ways of thinking, which seems to be one of the issues you're facing now.

I'm glad you're aware of how you're being triggered at the moment. The holidays can be so stressful - I've seen many people experience an increase in symptoms around this time of the year. All those problematic family dynamics seem to come up, and I'm so sorry that has been the case for you. The above article may be useful for countering some thoughts you're having (e.g., what would happen if your mother lost her house), but I also think it would be helpful to identify people who can support you. They may not be able to do anything for you financially, but having a few close friends you can spend time with is always a good idea.

I'm 25 years old, but I remember some of the issues I faced at 21 years old. Although I can't relate to everything you've shared with us, the intrusive thoughts portion definitely resonates with me, as well as the whole "I don't know where I'm going" dilemma. Please don't hesitate to include me in your support system - send me a message on TeenHelp if you ever want to talk about what's going on! =)

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