OCD Forums

That night I decided to look up OCD online, I ventured into a forum (social phobia world) and wrote a little about myself to get some feedback to see if I might have OCD.

I got some comforting responses and browsed the forum daily for quite a while.  I found it both good and bad.  

Pros:

  • It was nice to remain anonymous
  • I got all kinds of feedback to my questions 
  • I learned there are many others out there who suffer from OCD
  • It’s free

Cons:

  • I became obsessive about checking the forum
  • Some of the other posts were very descriptive, causing me anxiety

Finding resources online is a good way to reach out, but use caution.

Marijuana

This solved my eating disorder.  Marijuana stimulates the hypothalumus, which means it stimulates hunger.  As far as OCD is concerned, this drug acts almost like a focus breaker, and getting a break from a thought I’ve had for hours is paradise.  Some people get paranoid, but for me, tv is an easy fix to that because it’s very easy to get distracted and change your thoughts to something else.  It also is the best sleep aid I’ve ever used.  I also prefer this to pharmacologicals because it is natural and there is virtually no risk of addiction.

There is a lot of propaganda out there about marijuana, and most of it is totally ridiculous and untrue.  I recently watched a film called “The Union: The business of Getting High” which is great to see if you are nervous about trying it or if you want to learn anything about it.

Here is a link to an article by BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4338634.stm

Also, here is a great link to a page detailing the myths and facts about marijuana (includes sources)

http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/

Kava Kava – the Tranquilizing Tonic

Kava Kava is a root from the Western Pacific, taken in America in the form of a concentrate or tea to alleviate stress, anxiety and insomnia.  It’s classified as a tranquilizer and studies show it is more effective than placebo in treating short-term anxiety. It tastes like spicy dirt, but it works very quickly.  It is very mellow and just sort of brings about a sense of relaxation.  I take it rarely, but when I do, it’s usually at night when my anxiety is lurking.  I don’t take it often because I believe everything in moderation, plus as I mentioned, it is very mellow and not super strong, but it does help.  It’s natural and can be found at most health stores.  If you decide to get it, I recommend the regular concentrate, not the alcohol free one.  For some reason alcohol free tonics are just not as potent.

I went on vacation to Kona, Hawaii a few years ago and my now-fiancé and I discovered a kava bar so of course I had to see what it was all about. The bartender had a huge bowl of kava kava tea which looked like dirty milky water and numbs the tongue. My fiancé chugged it like a pro, but I sipped it, having trouble with the taste. Many locals sat around, relaxed, like they had been there all day. My fiancé’s eyes were soon bloodshot and then we took off to the beach. I felt very relaxed and definitely buzzed, and my stomach felt very content as well, unlike alcohol, which sometimes irritates my stomach. We swam in the beach and it was awesome!

hawaii beach

Click here to watch my video post about Kava Kava on my youtube channel.

Caffeine = Panic Attack

I have a sinus arrhythmia/tachycardia (speedy heart rate) and since teenhood, my doctors have said “no caffeine!”  I have found that my anxiety goes up when I do have it.  It makes sense though, I mean the last thing someone with OCD needs is a stimulant, right?  I have decaf when I order coffee and I still drink tea.  I have found that for me personally, the caffeine content in tea is not high enough to warrant a problem. I also rarely need a “jolt” of energy as I am anxious much of the time and usually feel pretty “awake”.  When I need energy, I go for fruit juice or tea.

My heart rate is typically too fast at rest. When my adrenaline spikes due to anxiety, with any added stimulants like caffeine, I most likely go into a panic attack. I get dizzy and fall over, convulse, my jaw and hands lock, and I wait till it’s over. The first time I experienced a panic attack was quite intense. I thought I was dying. I was driving with my then-boyfriend when suddenly, my vision faded into black with random color spots. It almost looked like a rainy dark night with ambulance lights off in the distance. I fell to the driver’s window, still without my vision and an overwhelming sense of guilt. I thought I had killed someone, seeing flashes of what I thought could be an ambulance near a car accident.   My then-boyfriend had grabbed the wheel and we coasted to the sidewalk.  When I came back around, I had no idea what had happened to me, and I cried for hours wondering if I really had killed someone. I went to the doctor who diagnosed me.

I experienced panic attacks every few days and was no longer allowed to drive at night.

At that time, I worked at a movie theatre and drank a lot of soda, but when I gave up soda and caffeine, my panic attacks started to fade away.

They vanished when I met my fiance. I think this is because I feel calm with him, and having a comfortable, stress free environment helps a lot.

History

I grew up with no knowledge of OCD and no idea there was a name for my madness.  I hid my rituals the best I could, coming up with excuses for what I was doing or performing rituals quietly like turning on the faucet only slightly.  My OCD not only affected my life and caused stress on my family, but caused problems eating and feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt.  I couldn’t (still don’t) read or watch the news.  For some reason I felt totally responsible for world disasters.  It’s impossible for me to keep things to myself; I need to admit what I’m thinking to get reassurance.

My OCD affected me primarily via the form of scrupulosity (obsession with sins).  I was not heavily religious, but I believed my shameful thoughts were dooming me.  My compulsions began to get out of control.

Hand washing, checking, counting, eating disorder… thinking about violent ways to die or ways others might die because of me. Violent thoughts dominated my head, and I was breaking down.

Funnily enough, it was not until I saw an episode of Scrubs featuring Michael J. Fox who plays a character with OCD, that I learned that I may have a known problem.  “O my god…I do that stuff!”

A few weeks later, I was vacationing and the change of routine spiked my OCD.  I could not stop filling and emptying my glass of water.  I washed my hands till they bled.  I got on the internet and onto a forum where I figured out I might have OCD.

I told my sister that night and she was very supportive.  When I returned home, I went to dinner with my now-fiance and told him what was going on.  I shook and fidgeted with high anxiety, and admitted the most horrible embarrassing thing about myself.  He was wonderful and has been supportive and incredibly helpful in dealing with this since.

When I returned for my final semester of college, I began some counseling and learned quite a bit about how to accept the fact that I had OCD as well as some of my options.

OCD is terrible.  I sometimes feel like my brain hates me.  I wonder why my brain is trying to destroy me.  Some days are harder than others, but at this point in my life, I am in therapy and I feel like things are getting better.

painting
I have tried many forms of treatment and will list them all in this blog. I will also write about interesting new research in OCD as well as some other cool info I learn.