I am trying to figure out what is going on with me. I suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks. I have all of my life. I am 42 years old and it is ruininig my life. I have always kind of brushed off OCD because I do not have ANY of the classic symptoms (rituals, counting, obsessive behaviours).
However, when I read these stories and the thoughts that people have I can relate to each and every one of them. On the outside, I appear to be a successful, happy 42 year old man with a great wife and family and a good job. On the inside, people I know would be surprised at how it is to just make it through the day sometimes.
I should have known something was wrong when in high school health class I learned about Syphillis and was 100% convinvced that I had the disease (even though I had never had sex at that point). Since then I have had the following obsessions:
-I will lose my job and end up a beggar on the streets
-I have had fear of being alone with my children because I will just go crazy and kill them for no reason.
-I have obsessed about being gay (have a constant groinal response that will not go away, going on ninteen years now)
-I have obsessed about being instersexed or gender confused (related ot above groinal response, although I have never really desired to go out and actually be a woman)
***Note both of the two obsessions started about nineteen years ago when I was having sex with a girlfriend and the condom broke. The next days were completely consumed with the fear that I had gotten her pregnant. The next time, I went to have sex with her, I could not perform. FROM THAT DAY FORWARD, I have been consumed with the above two thoughts. I know that I am not gay because I am very attracted to women and enjoy a good sex life with my wife. I really believe that I obsessed myself into the groinal response and the gay and gender confusion have come as a result of that. I have lived with this for two decades now and have not said a thing to ANYONE, including my wife!
I used to just think that this was the cards that I ahve been dealt and that I would just have to live with it. But there is so much more that I want to be at work and in my family and I feel that I am extremely held back by this.
I constantly make decisions based on my anxiety levels. I often do not go after things that I really want due to some irrational fear. Public speaking is another big one. Yes, I know this is a very common phobia. However if yo utold me I have to make a presentation in 3 weeks. I would immediately make that the WORST 3 weeks of my life. And then I would get thorugh it and every one in my audience would think it is great and would tell me how good I did, but would not realize the torture that I put myself through to get to that point.
Other wierd phobias that cripple my life:
-I cannot leave phone messages, especially if I am introducing myself to a person. My voice cracks and I sound completely ridiculous
-I enjoy skiing with my kids. Every trip on the ski lift is a complete anxiety attack for me. I feel I will be compelled to either jump or throw one of my kids off the lift. It especially gets worse if the lift stops.
-Meetings are sometimes tough. I need to sit near a door for an easy exit. If I am in charge of the meeting, and therefore cannot get up for a bathroom break or to get a cup of water, it is one long anxiety attack until the meeting is over.
-Surprisingly airplanes are not that bad, however if flying in the evening or afternoon, I always make sure I have a drink.
-Alcohol helps a lot, although I have managed to work through without it if not during "normal" drinking times. I have never drank at work and do not drink every night at home. If flying in the morning I will do it without a drink and get by.
There seems to be so much more to tell. Believe it or not this is the first time any of this has left my own person. I have never told a soul and although the anonymous internet options have been available for a while, I could never bring myself to actually enter something.
Hopefully this is the beginning of a healing process. I have too much I want to do with my life to live this way.
My first question – Does anyone have an opinion on whether or not this truly is OCD or am I dealing with something else?