After reading the comments to my blog yesterday, I came upon a realization. My biggest trigger to anxiety is the fear of being stuck with a bad situation. As soon as I read fallingangel's reply I broke down in tears. It was so insightful and so completely accurate. She said, "My OCD often makes me feel like something bad will happen to me if I do something enjoyable…" I have been experiencing this for as long as I can remember.

-I don't go on vacations because I am afraid I will get sick and be out of my comfort zone or the flight will be cancelled or the car will break down and I won't be able to get home.

-I have panic attacks at the start of each new semester even though I love my work because I fear that I will not be able to uphold my contract then I will get fired, then I will be broke, then we will lose the house.

-Every year we go on a canoeing day trip wihich is so much fun, but before every trip I get all worked up about being stuck on the river for the whole day.

-I have wanted another dog since mine died last year, but all I can think about is that I won't love her, she'll hurt the cat, she'll ruin the house.

-I love music but I never listen to the radio or cd's because I'm afraid of a song getting stuck in my head for a long time, which has happened before and really sucks!

-And I don't want to have children because what if something bad happens to them or me.

Maybe I have problems with commitment. Even though I consider myself a very reliable person, the "what if's" scare the hell out of me. How do you even begin to get over this? I wish I could just cut out the part of my brain that deals with foresight and planning for the future. I just want to be able to live in the present.

  1. bluerosie 13 years ago

    The stupidest thing about this is that since we do think ahead to what could happen, that theoretically means that we are more prepared than most people.  It's so frustrating!  Instead of using that insight to prepare, we freak out and avoid!

    I don't mind challenges; I love tackling them.  And yet for some reason I'm freaked out by the thought that something might go wrong.  I don't even always know what I think might go wrong.  I am always afraid that I will overlook something; that I won't think of something that I need to check. 

    I can definitely relate to the thing about your dog.  I lost my cat last year.  I simply wasn't ready to get another one for awhile.  But when I was about ready, I started being really racked with fears–what if the cat I get chases and torments the other cats like my sister's 1-year-old kitty does?  What if I can't love her?  What if I love her more than I loved my other kitty?  What if try to make her be my other kitty?  What if I pick out the wrong one?  What if I make a terrible mistake and bring home the wrong kitty and start resenting it?  On and on and on…. 

    Thank God, I got up the nerve to get another kitty.  She's been with me a month now; she's definitely the right kitty.  But even after I had met her, I almost made myself stay away from the pet rescue because I was so afraid that I'd take her home when I should be taking a different cat home.  (As if that would've helped; not getting a cat at all!) 

    I've realized the same thing about myself in the past, too–I seem to have problems with commitment, and yet I am extremely reliable.  I think I am always afraid that I am somehow not really as commited as I should be or something.  Sorry this response is so long….

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  2. smh2010 13 years ago

    Congrats on your breakthrough.  Its always nice to have an AHA moment where things start to make sense.  I hate OCD because it does try to make you allergic to happiness.  Sometimes I'm afraid when I'm happy because I feel like sometime bad is around the corner.  The funny thing with OCD is that trying to avoid the what ifs don't help anything.  It just causes more what ifs, and instead of avoiding the bad things, it becomes the bad thing.  Its like creating your own jail brick by brick.  Wow well now that i'm reading this, it sounds depressing, which wasn't my intention.  Just I get where you're coming from, and maybe now that you understand yourself better you'll be able to tear down your jail.

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  3. RandomGirl 13 years ago

    "Allergic to happiness"…. That's a good way to put it!

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  4. morella 13 years ago

    I have had this mantra for many years:

    If I expect the best out of a situation, I will be constantly disappointed when things don’t work out.  If I expect the worst out of a situation, I am constantly surprised when things do work out.  And I’d rather be constantly surprised than constantly disappointed.

    I always thought that was a realistic way to look at the world and thought I was happier for it.  Thanks to this discussion, I realize that I too am “allergic to happiness” and causing myself additional distress.

    And that is why this web site is so great 🙂

    My therapist said as we get into CBT we will address my “what ifs,” because the potential outcome of the worst case scenario I’m stressing over probably isn’t nearly as bad as it seems.  I suppose that is the challenge for all of us.

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