I'm new to this site. I have been struggling with many aspects of anxiety disorder, since childhood. I think it began in crowds. I would suddenly see everything in slow motion. I had a lot going on medically as well. 4 major surgeries before age 12, wore a back brace, tortured at school by other children, and not sure about sexual abuse. My symptoms have rotated, like personalities. One will take over another. I have been diagnosed with dissosiative disorder, though not dissociative identity disorder. However, my husband is able to recognize several very different sides of me, and a therapist is exploring it further. I am careful not to get tangled up in a false memory scenario, as I have been to therapists on & off since age 12, and know a good one vs. a bad therapist.
The symptoms that have rotated over the years consist of the following: fear of cancer, fear of contamination/poisoning, social anxiety, handwashing, existential "freak out" moments, full-blown anxiety attacks, an unidentifiable phenomenon called "it" that is a product of my own mind (but feared it for many years–and was finally able to label it as anxiety), intrusive sexual thoughts (started around age 13), intrusive graphically violent thoughts (such as seeing severed heads lurking above people I was talking to). This might be a good time to mention that I am a very non-violent person, who would never act on any of the crazy things that go through my head. I now realize that everyone has thoughts, but I am particularly sensitive to them. I know there are other symptoms that I am forgetting….
A few years ago, my mom became very ill and was hospitalized for 5 months. She went through a very long, painful stay in the hospital for 5 months. Full care, trach, stomach tube, dialysis, sepsis, pneumonia, you name it. I was there every day watching this happen to one of my best friends, and I held it together until she died. I had to make the decision to take her off dialysis. I gave the eulogy, did the photo boards for the funeral home, chose her clothes to be buried in. I then went into the hospital a month later, because I couldn't get the image of sex with my mother out of my head. There was absolutely no reason for this thought, and it was the most unthinkable thing to me. I wrote a suicide letter and laid in bed and waited for my husband to leave for work. I cried when he kissed me goodbye, and he found the letter. I was admitted.
I had sought help from several bereavement organizations before this happened, one of which obviously had never heard of OCD, and told me my grieving "was not normal" and they couldn't help me. The others had the cookie cutter step program, which could not address the very unusual thoughts I was having. I felt more like a freak than I ever had listening to everyone's normal grieving processes. I finally found a good therapist who understood and convinced me I wasn't the only one who experienced this. There are a lot of bad therapists out there! Please hang in there until you find a good one!!
There was a lot of important work done after the death of my mom. What I had gone through as a child finally made sense to me. I still struggle, but I have more tools to deal with it now. And I now think of myself and others with OCD and other mental illnesses as very creative, sensitive, powerful, observant, open-minded beings, who are more connected with the universe than ordinary people.
My husband and I recently lost our jobs, which has brought with it a great deal of stress and OCD challenges. I am finding myself obsessing about health issues, and trying to deal with contamination/poisoning concerns again. My husband is an angel. He tends to diffuse my worrying with humor. I'm glad I found this site, and only wish I had known about it several years ago. Did not spell-check!