Brigitte’s Story

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My ocd started when I was about eight. I am now 21 and still have not fully recovered. I have kind of a different kind of OCD, or so I think. I haven’t viewed many stories like mine. I get overwhelmed with worry and anxiety that my mom or dad are going to die when I’m not with them. Such as at work, or a friends, or my boyfriends house for the weekend. I perform rituals such as I have to brush my hair 5 times or turn on a light switch on and off 5 times just whatever I’m around …always 5 times because it’s my “lucky” number and touch certain things. If I don’t perform these I feel like something bad is going to happen to them.

With time I overcame the ritual part but am still worried that every time I’m away from my family, something bad is going to happen to them, such as a car crash where they all die. Or just vanish and I’ll never see them again. My anxiety went away for about 5 years, and since I turned 21 it is coming back, and I think worse. I get to the point of panic where I have to call them or rush to where they are. Do you know what it feels like to be 21 and feel this way? My parents think I fully recovered and I just can’t tell them that all of this is coming back. If anybody can relate, maybe share a similar story, it could help me get through this AGAIN without medication. thank you.


Brigitte’s Story — 7 Comments

  1. Brigitte,

    It’s a fairly common pattern in OCD for it to start when we are kids, go away over the teen years and return in our early 20’s. That is exactly the pattern mine followed.

    Over the years I have heard many with similar symptoms as yours. The fears we have (obsessions) are the same fears that everyone has from time to time. In OCD they take on a life of there own and we cannot get them out of our head. So we try to find ways to stop them and that is where ritual is born.

    If you haven’t already I would encourage you to seek out treatment. Medications are not always necessary and an unfortunate minority(large) they simply do not work for. But CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)will work for most, to one degree or another. And since your OCD is just now reemerging it would be the time to get on top of it before it becomes an integrated part of your life.

  2. I can relate to gaps in OCD as well. In my childhood, I was a perfectionist with some things. I had do do certain things ‘just right’ or do them again. I would start a drawing on a clean sheet of paper countless times until my drawing looked right, the things in my room had to be in certain positions. I didn’t know then anything about OCD. In my twenties, I was a checker… couldn’t leave home without checking all the windows and doors several times. I still didn’t know about OCD. In my thirties, contamination OCD kicked in. It has been the worst and now I know what OCD is. Man, I hope I have another gap.

    Hang in there Brigitte.

  3. Brigitte,

    Every ocd case can be very different from one to another. Even so I do believe that there must be a way for every ocd sufferer to get over the condition. Every single action can be an obstacle for me. I can get stucked in front of the mirror brushing my teeth thinking that if that’s the right way to brush my teeth. A lightning strike would provoke my brain to create a ‘structure’ regarded lightning and ideas sprawl like good, bad, countermeasure about it.

    It’s funny to think one would be enslaved by their own mind. well, actually all living human beings are slaves of their own brains…

    It’s fking pointless to think about ocd anyway. Remember, a single idea can be the ultimate salvation.

    cant wait to celebrate my first ocd birthday with my own brain :p
    sorry for my bad english.
    A ocd borned nihilist.

  4. Hey Brigitte,

    I know exactly how you feel. I am 34 and have been suffering from this overwhelming fear of something happening to my parents since I was 4. I believe most of my OCD symptoms revolve around my obsession with the death of my parents. I do a prayer/chant in my head anytime I think or say something that might somehow “tempt fate” (which unfortunately occurs on a minute by minute basis). I have to monitor all my thoughts constantly for anything that I “believe” might bring about their death. I have anxiety attacts when I have to go to a trip. I am married with a child but everytime I leave my parents I have a ritual to say good-bye and feel if I don’t stick to this ritual, this may be the last time I see them. Even discussing the subject in this email is causing me anxiety.

    I have received treatment and I can say that my obsession with my parents has lessened dramatically. I do take medication but I agree that it is not a magic drug that can make these thoughts go away. What has helped me the most is Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy in combination with psychotherapy. The latter is not usually recommended for OCD patients but in my case, I found it helpful in conjunction with the CBT.

    Now my experience with my OCD is that it will grab on to a fear of mine and give it a life of it’s own. For example, since I gravely fear my parents eventual death, I noticed that my OCD got considerable worse during life changing events. Granted, milestones such as going to university, marriage, giving birth, buying a house normally come with anxiety but my OCD became unbearable during those times. I didn’t see these moments in a positive way – I am moving forward in my life – I saw it as me moving farther and farther a way from my parents. If I go on with my own life then maybe God would see that I don’t longer need them and take them out of my life. New Year’s Eve and birthdays are especially difficult for me because I’m constatnly thinking “will this be the year they are taken away from me?” I know where the root of my obsession stems from and that helps me with my battle with OCD. But keep in mind that OCD is not about reason. Having insight into your obsession helps but it is not a cure.

    I hope this has help you in some way Brigitte. Good luck.

  5. Sometimes what we think are just distractions of what is really bothering us in our lives If there is something going on that is to much to deal with we tend to obsess about the WORST possible thing we can think of to distract us from what is really going on in our lives. So stop and think for a minute do you tend to get these thoughts more often when you are stressed or anxious about a upcoming project or event? Does your career or school causing anxiety or stress ? If you dont work are you at home with to much time to “obsess” Are your thoughts do to some guilt or regrets you have for something you may of done in your past? If so try to keep track the next time you obsess about this it could just be a distraction. This is a story I heard about a man that was in traffic and he was on a bridge and he started obsessing about hurting his grand children he new he would never do it but could not understand why he was having the thought come to find out this man was terribly afraid of bridges here he was stuck in traffic no way out and scared to death so then the thoughts come while he is sitting there about hurting his grandkids why? Well it sure did get his mind off the fear of being on that bridge. He had to think of the worst possible thing he could think of to physically distract himself from being on that bridge where he had no control he did not think this thought on purpose it just popped in his head like it does with alot of us with ocd the ocd was strong enough to rid him of the anxiety and fear he had of the bridge how often do you think this has happened to you? Think back do you ever recall having your obsessive thoughts more during times when you are afraid of something & it may have nothing to do with your parents?

  6. I very much understand that.
    I feel my ocd is different too,
    Its not focused on cleanliness, or checking so much.
    More “consequence.”
    If you know what I mean.
    If I dont move the cup to the left, something i want to happen wont happen. or someone i love will be harmed.
    Its horrible, but allmost every action i so, wether acted out or not, feels like it has some sort of veyr bad consequence. Most people dont realize how heartrenching and depressing ocd really is.
    I have hope for us though.

  7. I have the same type of obsessions, especially as Zane mentioned. If I don’t perform an act a certain way, or don’t sweep a certain way or organize a certain way I fear my loved ones will be harmed or that my boyfriend will leave me. It is terrible to have to fear something like that day to day, and hour to hour. You get the sweats, you start to panic, that ball of anticipation comes from deep down within your stomach up to your chest, taunting you. I am completely unorganized because of this. I just simply don’t organize things, and leave them haphazardly everywhere, even at my desk at work. I fear if I start to organize I would never make my way through it. So, consequently, my desk and surroundings, or even my backpack when I attended college, were really messy, and thus were basically exact replicas of my mind. All the thoughts, messed about, it’s so strange. But you aren’t alone.