Doubt is thought's despair; despair is personality's doubt. . .;
Doubt and despair . . . belong to completely different spheres; different sides of the soul are set in motion. . .
Despair is an expression of the total personality, doubt only of thought. -
My name is Ryan and I have OCD.
I believe that I have had subtle symptoms for most of my life. Not the type that can incapacitate you, but odd little quirks. I was a fearful child and had a great deal of anxiety about my life and anything changing in it. The couple of quirks that come to mind are having to take either an odd or even number of cold cuts when making a sandwich ,or chewing first on one side of my mouth then the other. Strange little rituals of waving my hands or shrugging my shoulders were some others. This may seem like a lot but at the time, no one noticed nor did it create a problem for me.
Fast forward to my mid twenties, my future wife developed panic attacks and I was instrumental in helping her deal with them. I told her that her fears were irrational and she needed to face them. At this point in my life I was very outgoing and believe it or not, not very fearful, things were going great for me.
My wife and I married a few years later and I thought we had it made. Little did I know that my problem (unbeknownst to me) had to rear its ugly head. Picture this, married one year with a new baby, a new house, new mortgage, new responsibilities and I just lost my dog. They say stress makes OCD appear or get worse and I guess they're right!! I was given the news that I might have to take a minor medication for a small congenital problem that they just discovered. NO big deal right? Wrong , I spent six months researching all I could about something my doctor, three specialists and a national organization told me was absolutely harmless. My parents and wife said that I was driving them crazy with all my talking and obsessing about a non-issue. As a result of this I fell into a depression and went to a psychologist who didn't believe me or my family that I was obsessed with this idea. It wasn't until two years later that I found out OCD can sometimes manifest itself around real health concerns. Another psychologist and one out-patient visit to a local hospital and still no one was able to help me. Believe it or not , this episode I was able to recover from and come to terms with on my own. Thank Goodness that's over I said.
Guess again, one year later my life had been going pretty well and I was enjoying my new daughter. Out of the blue I started asking myself did I just smell her hair in a sexual way, or does she arouse me ? I was so upset I told my parents and my wife. My family was shocked and told me those were crazy thoughts. My wife yelled at me to straighten out or get the hell out. For two weeks this worked. Then the thoughts just crept back in and I found myself constantly thinking and worrying about them at work. I finally had to tell my family the thoughts were back because I was in a depression over them. I refused to sleep upstairs, change or touch my daughter for fear of abusing her. My wife was terrified hearing all these things from me as well. Luckily, I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed this problem correctly this time and was able to help me. My wife and family were crying to hear from this doctor that I was not a molester. I should have to but that damn OCD wouldn't let me relax.
It's been a year since my diagnosis and with a combination of meds and behavior therapy I am doing great. I totally interact with my daughter, baths, hugs , etc. I am not going to say that I never have bad times, but at least when I do, I can recognize what is going on. I've even started a support group in my area for OCD. The main reason I am writing this is to let other OCDers know that they are not alone and that while not many people talk about this type of OCD, it is definitely one of the more common ones. Hang in there, there is definitely hope.
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Always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment choice or changes in your treatment. Never discontinue treatment or medication without first consulting your physician, clinician or therapist.
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Tracy, N. (2009, January 11). 'Ryan', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/articles/ryan