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Author Topic: Really think I need help...
mizchastain
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Okay, this is gonna sound weird, but I need to get it out somewhere.

In times of stress (like around now, I've just taken two AS levels) I find myself getting very disturbing sexual imagery (I don't really want to describe it, it's not nice). It freaks me out. I don't think it turns me on, it just happens, sometimes when I'm already trying to think about "normal" sexual stuff I like or when I'm trying to do something else, and I've had nightmares about it. I'd never think of trying it in real life, and I know that sort of thing is pretty normal, but the trouble is I've started to obsess over reassuring myself I wouldn't, and it's making me really uncomfortable around people. I briefly brought it up with my counsellor when I was treated for clinical depression about a year ago, but we didn't go into it because it was stopping at the time. It comes up again every so often, though, and it worries me a lot.

Is there anywhere I can get free counselling or something? I don't want to tell my parents because I'm not sure they'll believe that it's causing me that much of a problem.

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logic_grrl
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You should technically be entitled to free counselling on the NHS, but that can depend a lot on local availability.

Are you still in touch with the counsellor you were seeing before? One option might be asking to see them again; you don't necessarily need to explain to your parents in detail why.

the trouble is I've started to obsess over reassuring myself I wouldn't

Do you have problems with anxiety or obsessiveness in other areas too, by any chance?

What you're describing is something that can crop up in a bunch of conditions.

You can get into a loop where your brain brings up something precisely because you find it disturbing/repulsive/freaky, and it provokes an emotional reaction from you, so it keeps recurring - a bit like the way you can't keep your tongue from poking at a wobbly tooth.

The classic example is that people with various conditions will often freak themselves out at train stations because they get a sudden "flash" image that they could push someone under a train, and then feel terrible for even having the thought and obsess about it and feel more terrible and so the flash comes up again and again.

And it's worth knowing that psychiatric opinion is that this loop happens precisely because that person would never push anyone under a train - it's because the idea is upsetting to them and antithetical to who they are that the idea comes up and gets stuck in the loop.

So learning to say to yourself, "Eh, it's just my brain trying to freak me out" can help to manage it in the meantime.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Do you have problems with anxiety or obsessiveness in other areas too, by any chance?

Actually, yes, in a lot of stuff. I have Asperger's Syndrome, and that's one of the effects, though it may also just be me. But yeah.

I think I could probably find my old counsellor's phone number or something, but I'd like to keep calling her again an absolute last resort. I think it might be another Aspergers' thing, but I hate asking for help, particularly when I was doing so well last time I saw her. I also kinda feel guilty, because I meant to call and tell her how I'd done when I got my GCSE results last year and never did. I think it might have been ... call it superstition, I had this feeling that if I didn't call her I'd keep doing fine. Doesn't make sense, I know.

Might also have something to do with the fact that I've had recurring clinical depression (it runs in my family, actually).

I feel a little better just having mentioned it. Thanks for replying.

[ 01-14-2007, 11:36 AM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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logic_grrl
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I have Asperger's Syndrome

*grins* So do I! Same here with the anxiety and depression, too.

I know it can be tough asking for help. One option might be to think of it as a temporary measure - aim to get a short "refresher" stint of counselling focusing specifically on giving you some tools to manage this.

You might also find that there's stuff you can do on your own. I know a lot of people who've found it helpful to learn about basic cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques for self-managing anxiety or obsession, and there are a variety of books available on that.

[ 01-14-2007, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]

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mizchastain
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Heh. Guess Asperger's is more common than I thought.

Trouble is, I don't have transport other than my parents, since we live in the middle of nowhere and the public transport sucks. I don't wanna have to go back to my folks with this because they pretty much shrugged it off last time as part of the depression, and without them I can't get anywhere to meet a counsellor or anything. I don't know how effective phone counselling is.

The trouble with this is, I'm constantly thinking about it making sure "no, it doesn't turn me on, no, really", but hormones being what they are sometimes I get twinges unconnected to what I'm thinking at the time, panic and start the cycle again. And it's making me uncomfortable because it's about real people and I'm constantly looking at them making sure there's no response and that's probably just as bad as if there was. Sometimes I'll forget about it for hours, but it keeps coming up again. I know that as long as I'd never try stuff in real life it's not hurting anyone, but it's distressing me an awful lot, so it IS hurting me. I can't sleep because of it and I'm hating myself even though I can't stop it, because I'm terrified that it actually does do something even though the images have made me physically gag.

It wasn't triggered by abuse or anything, I know that much. Don't know what did start it, but it's not fun.

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logic_grrl
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I don't wanna have to go back to my folks with this because they pretty much shrugged it off last time as part of the depression

Might they be willing to help if you told them that some of the problems you've had with depression are recurring? You don't have to tell them the precise details.

Don't know what did start it, but it's not fun.

I've had some very similar problems, so I know, believe me.

If you can't get more counselling, I'd suggest trying to read up about cognitive-behavioural techniques; they really can help.

And the thing you need to understand is that your brain is only throwing this stuff at you because it freaks you out.

As far as I can see from my experience, it really doesn't have any deep meaning or indicate in any way that you actually want the stuff you're imagining.

(If I secretly wanted all the bizarre and disgusting things my brain's come up with to throw at me, I'd have to be a psychopath.)

And the more you can mute your response - go "OK, my brain's just messing with me again" and force yourself to pay attention to something else - the more it'll go away.

Conversely, the more you obsess about it and check to make sure you're really not being turned on by it, the more it'll tend to happen. That's feeding it.

I'd suspect it may be related to OCD in some way, and it's not unusual for people with AS to have OCD-like issues. Is that something you've ever been evaluated for?

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Might they be willing to help if you told them that some of the problems you've had with depression are recurring? You don't have to tell them the precise details.

I did say, but they said I should see how I go for a while before I call the doctor again, and it tends to fade on and off. Doesn't help that I have been known to develop temporary hypochondria in times of stress as well - well, that's a bad description, I actually do develop stomach aches and headaches and so on that aren't caused by anything more than stress and so I can't do much about them. Add into the equation that I hate asking for help when something actually is wrong. I think I'll need therapy for that at some point in my life. My big problem is I tend to hide problems, and I'm apparently better at it than I try to be because it takes a long time for even me to notice.

If I secretly wanted all the bizarre and disgusting things my brain's come up with to throw at me, I'd have to be a psychopath.

Heh. Actually I know what you mean here - I write fiction as a hobby, sometimes horror stories, and, well, don't think I need to say much more.

I'd suspect it may be related to OCD in some way, and it's not unusual for people with AS to have OCD-like issues. Is that something you've ever been evaluated for?

No, but now I come to think of it I do have tendencies towards it - not as bad as when I was little, but there are hints. I really doubt that I have actual OCD, but I think I do have tendencies, and maybe I should take an evaluation. Might ask my doctor next time I see him.

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logic_grrl
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I think it's pretty common for people with AS to have these sorts of tendencies (like tendencies to anxiety and depression), whether we meet the criteria for a full-on secondary diagnosis or not.

So it can be worth thinking about stuff like this as being like a kind of OCD (or like a kind of Tourette's - your brain's coming up with this stuff because of its shock value). And it often responds to similar strategies, if that makes any sense.

So I'd say it's definitely worth asking your doctor - they may be able to provide some help even if you don't have actual OCD.

Actually I know what you mean here - I write fiction as a hobby, sometimes horror stories, and, well, don't think I need to say much more.

You could try using that as one tool for dealing with this - treat them as if they were story ideas. You don't even have to write the story (unless it's an idea you want to use); you can just think something like, "Well, that's a pretty horrific idea, but there's no dramatic plotline - think I'll pass".

It gives you a way of "putting a frame around" the distressing ideas, so they don't feel like part of you, just stuff that's in your head.

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mizchastain
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Trouble is, I'm at a point in my hormonal cycle when I'm pretty twitchy in that way anyway, which is pretty normal for me, and it's got bad enough that I get this stuff happening when I'm trying to think of normal sexual stuff, and it's sorta ... off-putting. I'm under stress from school, which is probably making it a lot worse and possibly started it in the first place, and when I'm stressed I wake in the night a lot. Then when I wake up, it's usually during dream sleep, and I saw somewhere that the genitals are stimulated during dream-sleep regardless of what the dream was about, so you can see the problem there ... And then I can't get back to sleep, but I'm not sure how strongly that's connected. That's probably just Murphy's Law [Big Grin]

The worst thing is that trying not to think about it makes me think about it more - like you know the old thing about how it's impossible not to think of a pink rhinoceros if someone tells you not to think of one? You say you've had similar problems. Did anything work particularly well to distract you?

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logic_grrl
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Having stuff to distract yourself with is often good. If you've got any hobbies or interests that you're obsessive about, that can work very well.

So instead of focusing on "not thinking of a pink rhinoceros", focus on "thinking of a green cat", so to speak [Smile] .

Learning basic relaxation techniques can also be very useful at reducing the level of stress and anxiety overall, which can help take the pressure off specific problems like this, and stop them from stressing you out more.

And it can sometimes help to develop a kind of "script" to repeat to yourself: something like, "This isn't me, it's just my brain trying to freak me out."

The more you can avoid getting stuck in the loop of worry and trying to reassure yourself, the more you can think objectively about what you really do or don't want, and avoid getting hooked into obsessing about the idea that maybe you secretly want something that you actually genuinely find repellent.

And you may find you can get pretty blase about it eventually - everyone's brains are full of random garbage, and some of us have brains that like to get stuck on bits. It's a nuisance, but such is life.

It's definitely worth talking to your doctor, and trying to get counselling if you can, so you can get professional advice and opinions.

For example, some obsessive anxiety-type problems can be really responsive to the right medications - it doesn't work for everyone, but it can be one option to consider.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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and avoid getting hooked into obsessing about the idea that maybe you secretly want something that you actually genuinely find repellent.

Yeah, I think that might be my main problem with it. *Consciously* I find the idea horrible, but I panic that it wouldn't come up in the first place if I hadn't subconsciously wanted it. I know that's not true, but the possibility frightened me, because I know people can fantasize about stuff they'd never want to actually do, but this is disgusting to me even in imaginary form, but it comes up automatically at bad times ... and you get my problem.

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logic_grrl
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and you get my problem

Totally.

But it sounds like you have good self-awareness, and that if it was something that you enjoyed as a fantasy (even if you didn't want to act on it - and as you probably know it's very normal for people to have all sorts of fantasies they'd never want to act on), you'd be able to acknowledge that.

And evidently it's not something you enjoy or want as a fantasy, and on one level you know that.

It's just that on another level the doubt creeps in and then the imagery keeps recurring because you're obsessively worrying about the idea that maybe you want it, which of course makes you worry more, which means it recurs more, etc. etc. Been there, done that ...

What I've found is that the more you can "turn down" the emotional dial and avoid the panic, and recognize "Oh, I'm getting stuck in this loop again", the easier it is to trust the "small voice" of your self-knowledge which knows that you don't want this.

(By the way, I should say that it's actually really nice for me to know I'm not the only one who's had this problem!)

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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That's good to know. Another problem is, sometimes I do get a physical response because either of random fluctuations or whatever or possibly because I've conditioned myself to check for one and that makes it happen. Which makes the whole thing worse, because I'm panicking if it's possible to "actually want" something which repels me consciously. (Even if that is what was happening it's possible to fix that with counselling too, right? Pretty certain that isn't happening but it'd be comforting to know.)
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logic_grrl
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I'd guess that what's happening is exactly what you suspect - you're getting a physical response simply because bodies are pretty random (the classic example is that some guys get erections when they're nervous or dealing with an adrenaline rush) and because you're checking for one.

And if you're paying a lot of mental attention to the state of your genitals, that often makes them wake up and take notice ... [Big Grin]

Even if that is what was happening it's possible to fix that with counselling too, right?

Well, generally it isn't easy to "fix" or alter what does or doesn't arouse you. But plenty of people are aroused by imagery or fantasies that bear no relation to what they want in real life, and that they'd be appalled or disgusted to even think of acting out in real life. So it wouldn't make you a bad person or even unusual.

However, from what you've said, I don't think that's what's happening here; it sounds much more like the sort of obsessive loop we've been discussing.

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mizchastain
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That's good to know. Making me feel better.

Okay, I'm going to be fully honest and tell you, just so you get the exact extent I'm upset; a lot of the images involved my kid sister. See why I freaked? It's been happening on and off at times of major stress for a bit over a year. Most of the time I don't even think about it and laugh off the idea that I ever thought it, but at the worse times I panic and start the loop again every time I see any kids. The idea disgusts me even in imaginary form, and most of the time I can grasp that that's just happening because my brain is trying to upset me for whatever reason, but ... there's still worry there even though I know there shouldn't be. This is why I didn't want to say exactly what it was - it's the one thing I'm pretty much guaranteed to be judged badly on, even though it's not my fault, I'd die before I tried anything like it in real life and I'm not exactly pleased it's happening in my brain. Heck, I'M judging me badly even though I know I don't want it. Now I'm more sure it's just an obsessive loop I feel a little better about saying the exact problem. (Is this sort of detail against the Scarleteen posting regulations or something? Since I'm asking for help to stop it I don't think it is, but if it is can someone delete this comment or whatever?)

I talked to my folks and said the problems I had with depression were recurring, and I have a doctor's appointment in a fortnight. I don't wanna have to repeat this to the doctor, though, I'll never be able to actually say it - should I print out part of this thread and show it to the doctor or something?

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logic_grrl
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Okay, that helps me get a clearer picture, and doesn't change my take on it at all.

I don't think this imagery is happening because you secretly want to have sex with your kid sister or any other children, it's happening because the idea disgusts you so much.

It's like the people who get flashes of pushing someone under a train: it's not happening because they really want to push other people under trains, but because they're good people who are appalled at the very idea. Very devoutly religious people with OCD will often get recurring blasphemous imagery.

It doesn't in any way make them likely to actually do the things they're afraid of or horrified by - the imagery only comes up because it's the last thing they'd do.

(As I said, if the random imagery in my brain meant anything about what I actually want or am capable of doing, I'd be a psychopath.)

And it sounds like on one level you know all this - it's just getting yourself to believe it on the other levels that's tough, right?

Here's a handy quote from the DSM-IV (one of the big manuals giving guidelines for diagnosing psychiatric conditions), talking about OCD - you'll note I've bolded a particular bit [Big Grin] :

The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination (e.g., becoming contaminated by shaking hands), repeated doubts (e.g., wondering whether one has performed some act such as having hurt someone in a traffic accident or having left a door unlocked), a need to have things in a particular order (e.g., intense distress when objects are disordered or asymmetrical), aggressive or horrific impulses (e.g., to hurt one's child or to shout an obscenity in church), and sexual imagery (e.g., a recurrent pornographic image).

I'm really glad to hear that you've got a doctor's appointment, and I hope it goes well.

Printing out the thread is a good idea, but you don't even need to tell the doctor all the details if you don't feel able to at this point - that's more something to discuss with a counsellor/therapist if you get referred to one.

If you explain that when you're stressed you get flashes of imagery that disgust and horrify you and you can't stop obsessively worrying about this, that gives the doctor the basic info they need to know to start helping you.

And obsessive and anxiety-type problems are very very treatable; they often respond really well to the right medications and/or short-term cognitive behavioural therapy to learn some simple management techniques.

So hang in there, okay?

(And nope, none of this is against posting regs [Smile] .)

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Oh good. *is happy now* So I guess I can downgrade it from ultra-terrifying to "needs to be dealt with before it sends me nuts but currently is at worst annoying"? See, harming a kid is one of my greatest fears, so my anxiety probably picked up on that. The imagery was at least not violent, but the idea was still disturbing for obvious reasons.

Okay, think I can deal a little better. Will try to distract self.

Thanks for helping me and not judging me. And I don't know whether it's a good thing that this sort of thing isn't unusual, because I frankly wouldn't wish it on anyone, but it makes me feel a little better now ^_~

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mizchastain
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*edit* Crap, posted same comment twice! Sorry about that.

[ 01-18-2007, 01:59 PM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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logic_grrl
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Thanks for helping me and not judging me.

Trust me, my stuff is every bit as icky.

See, harming a kid is one of my greatest fears, so my anxiety probably picked up on that.

Exactly - that's how it works.

If you were the sort of person who didn't care about the welfare of kids or was actually likely to harm a kid, your brain would have picked something else to torment you with instead!

(In fact, one thing to watch for is that as soon as you learn to react less to this, your brain will probably come up with something new and horrible in a different way. Which is annoying, but also useful proof that it's just your brain messing with you.)

So I guess I can downgrade it from ultra-terrifying to "needs to be dealt with before it sends me nuts but currently is at worst annoying"?

Yup. Well, it won't literally send you nuts either [Smile] - it's just obviously unpleasant and annoying.

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mizchastain
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Eh ... think it's got worse over the past couple of days. But then I think that happened last time it happened. At least now I'm getting help specifically for this. It sorta faded when my depression faded a little over a year ago, but I think this is a separate problem.

Big problem is it makes me terribly uncomfortable to be around my family, for obvious reasons, and I also feel really uncomfortable around any children at all. I probably shouldn't, but it's a natural worry reaction in a situation like this, I guess.

Now I think about it, I have other problems which could be obsessive behaviour. Don't know if it's part of the Asperger's or whatever, but ... if I'm going to be going on a car trip as short as an hour, or otherwise away from an easily accessible bathroom, I have to go at least twice before I leave. I don't wash my hands any more often than usual, which I've always thought of as the classic sign of OCD, but if my hands are grubby they itch until I do wash them and I wind up wiping them on my clothes a lot until I can wash, which I guess is similar. I fiddle with things constantly - like, I click pens in lessons and if I'm wearing a watch or bracelet I fiddle constantly with the catch. Oh, and I have to check my email about ninety times a day, and I think it's bordering on addiction. Should probably get treatment for that too.

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logic_grrl
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Now I think about it, I have other problems which could be obsessive behaviour. Don't know if it's part of the Asperger's or whatever, but ...

It can be a really blurry line, because people with Asperger's tend to be very prone to obsessive thinking and anxiety anyway.

So it's often hard to decide when to slap a separate label on something and call it "anxiety" or "OCD", or to just call it anxious/obsessive stuff resulting from the AS, and it's often purely a question of degree.

The good thing is that it doesn't really matter whether it gets called "OCD" or "OCD-like" or "obsessive anxiety" or whatever: basically, the same techniques apply to managing it.

And you're right, it's not the same thing as the depression, although it can overlap and both can be caused by stress. And they can all interlock and cause each other.

It certainly sounds like you've got a lot of low-key obsessive and tic-like behaviours going on, and it'd be really helpful to mention that to the doctor, so that s/he can get a complete picture.

Big problem is it makes me terribly uncomfortable to be around my family, for obvious reasons, and I also feel really uncomfortable around any children at all. I probably shouldn't, but it's a natural worry reaction in a situation like this, I guess.

It's totally understandable, but it's also not helpful to try avoiding your family or any children (just as the checking isn't helpful), because it reinforces the thought and keeps you stuck in the loop.

But I know that just saying "Don't do it" often isn't enough *rueful grin*. And that's where professional help is really invaluable.

In the meantime, you might find it very helpful to start reading up about cognitive-behavioural techniques - here's a fantastic short on-line guide (and I've heard good things about the book it's based on):

http://www.ocduk.org/2/foursteps.htm

Looks like the whole site has some good resources, including advice on raising the subject of OCD with your GP and getting a referral.

[ 01-19-2007, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Thanks. I don't try to avoid my family, I just feel iffy around them. To be honest I can't really avoid them, since I live in the same house. And the walls of my room are so thin I can sometimes hear conversations downstairs clearly, and my sister's room's on the other end of the hall but I can still hear every time she rolls over in her sleep. (Or maybe I just have really sensitive hearing.) Think that may be related to the problem - feeling like my family's invading my mind? Getting symbolic? Heh, probably not, but it's interesting.

Thing is, the imagery disgusts me, but it keeps coming up when I'm trying to think of something else, usually just when I think the whole thing's stopping, and I'm frightened I'm accidentally training myself to like them or something. Pretty sure that's not possible, but the fear's there.

I also keep getting my sister showing up in my normal dreams, and even the non-sexual imagery feels kinda invasive and annoying ("she annoys me all day, and now she's showing up in my dreams too?"). I think that has to be related to this problem. This probably shouldn't be making it worse, but when your kid sister's shown up in your dreams three nights running it's annoying even *without* the bigger problem.

Will try to use techniques on that site. Must remember to make sure I keep using them and don't just give up after the first time it doesn't work. I have a habit of doing that.

Maybe I'm rambling here, but hey, anything which might help me to get rid of this problem.

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Think that may be related to the problem - feeling like my family's invading my mind?

Actually, it's not uncommon for people with Asperger's to have a really hard time tuning out noise (and general disturbance from sharing living space with other people) so - without getting too Freudian - it's not impossible that could be a factor [Smile] .

Thing is, the imagery disgusts me, but it keeps coming up when I'm trying to think of something else, usually just when I think the whole thing's stopping, and I'm frightened I'm accidentally training myself to like them or something. Pretty sure that's not possible, but the fear's there.

The fear's part of the OCD too. These thoughts will keep on popping up; you just need to work on recognizing them for what they are and redirecting yourself.

And it does take a lot of work and practice and won't work instantly, but the less you get stuck into the obsessive loop, the less the thoughts will recur (and the easier it'll get to brush them off when they do).

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Another problem is I'm bothered that my sis'll notice something's wrong. I sincerely doubt it, since nobody else has said anything and I'm not even doing anything unusual - though when it gets bad I do tend to look at her more often (that's the "reassuring myself" thing again) - but it's just adding to the problem.

Sorry if I seem to be "bumping" the thread or posting obsessively or whatever, but it's nearly two weeks till my doctor's appointment and I need something to keep me sane till then.

Should I maybe make a list of what I'm gonna say to the doctor or something? How much detail should I go into? Just "I get flashes of disturbing imagery"? Thing is, when I told my parents that, they didn't really seem to take it very seriously, and I don't know how seriously the doctor'll take it, but I can't really bring myself to go into detail. If I just say "disturbing imagery which really upsets me and I obsess over it" and mention all my other little obsessive tics, will that work?

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logic_grrl
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Another problem is I'm bothered that my sis'll notice something's wrong.

Again, that's part of the obsessiveness - your brain is just finding a new angle to freak you out.

Should I maybe make a list of what I'm gonna say to the doctor or something?

Yes, that's one option - preparing a "script" for yourself can help ensure that you get everything said that you need to say.

If I just say "disturbing imagery which really upsets me and I obsess over it" and mention all my other little obsessive tics, will that work?

I don't know your GP, so I don't know if s/he has a clue.

That sounds like a good beginning, though, and I'd suggest explaining how very stressed and upset you are by all this.

And if you want, you can say that the imagery is so horrific you don't feel able to go into detail.

It's also worth specifically asking about the possibility that you might have something like OCD, and whether you could be referred to a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Sorry if I seem to be "bumping" the thread or posting obsessively or whatever, but it's nearly two weeks till my doctor's appointment and I need something to keep me sane till then.

It's absolutely fine to keep posting, but obviously "obsessively checking internet threads" can get to be a bit of a trap too, so watch out for that [Big Grin] .

(Um, not that I do it or anything! Really not! [Wink] )

There's also the cognitive-behavioural stuff I linked you to that you can start reading up on and practicing - this sort of stuff really does help, although it takes time.

--------------------
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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mizchastain
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Heh. I looked up OCD on Wikipedia, and it's making me feel a little better. I'm still not sure I have the full-blown version or whether it's just a mild case aggravated by my Asperger's, but it explains a lot.

Symptoms may include some, all, or perhaps none of the following:

Repeated hand-washing.


Not sure this one counts, but sometimes I wash my hands about four times after I've been to the bathroom because I swear they smell bad. Maybe I'm right and so it doesn't count ^_~ but I should probably get that checked.

Specific counting systems — e.g. counting in groups of four, arranging objects in groups of three, grouping objects in odd/even numbered groups, etc.

I don't think I do this one consciously. I do remember that when I was little I had to chew every mouthful an even number of times and eat even numbers of sweets so they "had a partner and wouldn't be lonely". I don't do it any more as far as I can tell, though.

Perfectly aligning objects at complete, absolute right angles, etc. This symptom is shared with OCPD and can be confused with this condition unless it is realized that in OCPD it is not stress-related.

Don't think I do this one either.

Having to "cancel out" bad thoughts with good thoughts. Examples of bad thoughts are:
Imagining harming a child, and having to imagine a child playing happily to cancel it out.
Sexual obsessions, or unwanted sexual thoughts. Two classic examples are fear of being homosexual or fear of being a pedophile. In both cases, sufferers will obsess over whether or not they are genuinely aroused by the thoughts.


Yep, that's the one. I realise it's cruel to be glad that anyone has a problem like this, but it's kinda nice to know it's not as unusual a problem as I thought.

A fear of contamination; some sufferers may fear the presence of human body secretions such as saliva, sweat, tears, or mucus, or excretions such as urine or feces. Some OCD sufferers even fear that the soap they're using is contaminated.

Aha, I think this is a more accurate reference to my hand-washing thing - which isn't really bad, but it's something to think about.

A need for both sides of the body to feel even. A person with OCD might walk down a sidewalk and step on a crack with the ball of their left foot, then feel the need to step on another crack with the ball of their right foot.

Once again, don't think I do this anymore, but I definitely used to when I was little.

Also, if one hand gets wet, the sufferer may feel very uncomfortable if the other is not.

Actually yes, I have this problem as well.

And then there's my "constantly checking email" thing ...

I should probably print this part off and show it to my doctor. I don't know how accurate these things are, but there's enough to make me think.

[ 01-22-2007, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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Oops, didn't see your reply until now - sorry.

Yes, printing it off and showing your doctor could be a good move.

Sometimes doctors will get snotty about patients who read up on the Internet, but it can be a really good basis for discussion.

I realise it's cruel to be glad that anyone has a problem like this, but it's kinda nice to know it's not as unusual a problem as I thought.

Hey, you're not making anyone else have the problem [Smile] .

It can be a huge relief to know that you're not the only one, and it can really help with "putting a frame around" the thoughts - being able to say "Okay, this is the obsessiveness talking, not me."

[ 01-24-2007, 05:17 AM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Well, it's been a few days, and I'm still getting the intrusive imagery on and off, but it's not as bad as it has been, and since it's been going on and off for a couple of years it's hardly surprising. I feel like I should have told my counsellor about it in more detail last year, but I honestly thought it was stopping at the time, so we didn't go into it more that a couple of sentences of "relax, it's linked to the depression". But even when I wasn't getting the intrusive imagery, I found myself thinking about it when I was around kids and saying to myself "nope, no panic reaction, yay! It's going away!" But of course that IS a reaction. It's not fun.

Doc's appointment is next Monday. Fingers crossed.

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Really, if you're managing to make any dent in it at all, after only a few days and trying to handle it on your own - that's great [Smile] .

This stuff takes practice, and it can take time to get a handle on it. Often, it will keep popping up - you'll just find you can brush it away more and more quickly and with less and less stress. And having the right professional input can really make a difference.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you on Monday [Smile] .

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Well, sometimes it goes away on its own for a few days, but I think those techniques may have helped a little this time. It hasn't been going on *all* the time for the past two years, or I'd have got help a lot sooner.

Of course, I WOULD have nightmares about it the same night I told someone I thought it was getting better. *sigh* Murphy's Law, I guess.

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logic_grrl
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Well, sometimes it goes away on its own for a few days, but I think those techniques may have helped a little this time.

Yay! Seriously, keep hanging in there - it does make a difference, the more you practice. And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you today.

(Ouch about the nightmares. Your brain fights dirty!)

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mizchastain
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Just a heads-up;

Spoke with the doctor (finally), and apparently he doesn't think I have actual fullblown OCD, but he recognises that I'm not doing so well emotionally, so he talked to my mum and I now have an appointment with someone who does cognitive behaviour techniques. So things are kinda looking up. ^_^

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I've been out of action with flu, so I didn't see this until now, but I've been wondering how things went with the doctor, so it's good to hear.

Cognitive-behavioural stuff is absolutely the way to go, and yay for having an appointment.

And it's good that your doctor seems to be on the ball and willing to be helpful, whether you meet the criteria for full-blown OCD or not.

--------------------
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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