I’m not sure where to begin. It all began in 1997 when we moved. I had my first “attack” of anxiety. It came on so quickly I didn’t even know what it was. I suddenly was very afraid of dying and would imagine a funeral (my own) which would just make the anxiety worse. It felt like an impending doom sort of thing…like something really bad was going to happen and I would die as a result. They subsided quickly and I never gave them another thought. I just figured it was due to having a baby and a move and a job change. (The move was from Ohio to Florida) I began to build my life.
We built a house. I found a good job teaching at a private school. As I was driving to work on Jan. 21, 2000, I had a terrifying intrusive thought of suffocating my son with a pillow as he slept. This sent me into the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. I got to work and couldn’t pull myself together. I just kept thinking, “where did this horrible thought come from, and why can’t I stop thinking about it?” “What is wrong with me?” I was so embarrassed and terrified. I went to the dr. and was diagnosed with anxiety/depression. Before the attack my husband even noted something was wrong…I was moody, unpredictable. I didn’t tell a soul about the thought b/c I was sure they would lock me up and throw away the key. I then began to fear going to jail and obsessing about life in prison. I didn’t even tell the dr. until my follow-up visit. I went 3 days before telling anyone and lived in my own silent hell of anxiety and panic. I missed work. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was afraid that the thought would be carried out by myself–that somehow I would lose control and actually do it. This terrified me even more–and then I began obsessing about it and trying to get it to go away.
I am on a long road to recovery and discovery about myself. I am involved with a self help program called “Attacking Anxiety and Depression” by Lucinda Bassett. It has changed me–literally. I am not the person I was before the attack. I am getting better, but I still struggle sometimes. Some nights are ok, others are not, as tonight I am writing this at midnight. My husband works 3rd so I’m here alone with my son at night. This is when the anxiety is the worst. I have to do deep breathing and talk to myself. I am not a violent person. I love my son more than life. Why does this thought have so much control over me and why can’t I just make it go away….it’s almost as if you are dreaming except you are awake. You have no control over the thought process–just like you don’t have control over your dreams while you sleep.
I wanted to share my story b/c I am still learning more about myself. I have been told that I may have a form of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), but I have not been officially diagnosed with the disorder. I find that telling people, even if they don’t understand or think I’m nuts is a very freeing experience. The more I talk about it, the less control the thought has in provoking the panic. I know that I would never harm my son–that’s what makes this so annoying. Why would I have the thought, and then why would I let it scare me so?
I hope this is of some help to anyone. I would love to have feedback of anyone in a similar situation, struggling with similar intrusive scary thoughts. I am happy to share, now knowing that I won’t go to jail b/c I have a disorder, and more importantly that people never act on these intrusive thoughts.
Thank you for allowing me to share, and please don’t judge me–this is not something that I chose to think about and now plagues me as I strive to become well.
The content in this post is mirrored from my original OCD site here;