I am a 26 year old Mother of 2. Married. Employed. Have a rather comfortable life. If only my OCD would go away!
I remember as a child having panic attacks, never knowing what they were. I remember being overwhelmed by guilt if I did anything wrong. I hated people being mad at me. But OCD never “really” affected my life until after the birth of my second child. It was like I woke up one morning & “BOOM” OCD knocked me on my butt! I totally convinced myself that I had AIDS. Even though I had just been tested @ the beginning of my pregnancy & tested negative. I hadn’t been with anyone but my husband & we sure aren’t regular users of intravenous drugs. Somehow, I worked up the nerve to have another HIV test – which of course was also negative.
For a while after my 3rd test came back negative I didn’t obsess over AIDS, I obsessed over dying period. I was afraid to drive alone, afraid to go to sleep, so on & so on. Then it all went back to HIV again. I can’t even stand to hear or see that word. That was 4 years ago & almost every day since then I still fight the ocd/hiv battle. I go over & over in my head how the tests (all 3) were wrong, they got my results mixed up with someone else’s, maybe it didn’t show up.. you all probably know the whole “doubting” routine. I spend half the time trying to rationalize out how it’s not possible for me to have AIDS & the other half convincing myself that I do. The anxiety for me is much worse when someone in my family gets sick. If one of my children throws up or gets an infection I convince myself that I gave them AIDS. I hate it!! It’s a never ending battle. If my husband has a loose bowel movement, or I think I notice him losing weight I freak out. I check us all for signs of swollen glands. My husband gets so aggravated with me. I wish I could explain it to him. He doesn’t understand how I can’t just stop thinking about being sick. But I don’t know how to make him understand. I once convinced myself that we all had the symptoms of AIDS. I confided in my sister & told her how my fear. I also went on to tell her that I think I could get over the fear of AIDS if we didn’t have the symptoms (I convinced myself we had the symptoms- diarrhea, loss of weight-probably caused by my anxiety, my son had a knot in his neck, a spot on his leg which I was sure was a lesion- but really ended up being ringworm, my daughter threw up every time she got a cold- I convinced myself these were signs of AIDS). Anyway, she went on to give me a good example of how I was feeling. It’s like a child who is convinced there is a monster in his closet. He hears a noise & oh it’s that darn monster. Or he sees a shadow & oh it’s that monster again! None of those things really are that monster. That’s how she told me to look at all our “so-called symptoms”. It helped for a while & I still go back to that saying a lot. I know I have OCD. I have always counted or added in my head over & over again. I never knew why, but now I know that is a compulsion. And I’ve noticed when my thought starts to bring a lot of anxiety I’ll start the counting. Sometimes I convince myself that I don’t & “know” that my thinking of HIV all the time has to be why we have it or will get it. I know it sounds crazy & I’m so embarrassed to tell people this about myself. I am a smart person, hold down a good job, athletic, funny & pretty normal (to the outer eye) I have to admit that there has been times when my OCD was so severe I would call in sick from work, or stay in bed all day. My doctor knows how I feed about the HIV/AIDS issue & has reassured me that there is almost no way for us to have it. It’s the “almost & what ifs” that get me. Some days I feel like I can beat this thing. There has actually been a period of 12 months I did really well. I wasn’t even taking meds. But then it all came back. Right now I am back taking Lexapro & it seems to do okay. I just wish there was something to make the OCD go away & I could live a worry free, fearless life. I’ll get there one day- we all will. I appreciate this sight. It’s made me realize that I am not alone.