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Obsession: afraid of becoming psychotic


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Hello,

I'm new here. I have sometimes read the boards as a lurker and am really impressed with the conversations that go on here and the level of support. So here's the thing. I am a forty-year-old woman. About three years ago, after many years of depression, I became severely anxious. I started to obsess over one thing, and it is virtually, with occasional variation, the only thing I obsess about: becoming psychotic. I have a sibling who has had schizophrenia for 20 years. I know that the course is different for different people, but my sibling has chronic daily symptoms, and seeing how difficult that is has affected me.

So it started off where I would think about the things I could think or perceive if I were psychotic. Then, I think I thought so much about what I could think about, that I actually started to have the thoughts. Now they are chronic. Like, I'll be in the library and leave my water bottle and books to go to the bathroom, and I'll imagine the water bottle being poisoned. Or after taking my car to the shop, I'll think that my mechanic could have done something to the car to break it so I'll have to return and pay more money. I'm generally negative about people's motives (I have PTSD, and was hospitalized those three years ago in a facility I now know to be a "hellhole," as a psychiatrist put it--I was severely mistreated, and though I've gotten over it, at the time it helped to reawaken my PTSD--hypervigilance, fear of being attacked, nightmares). I think through these thoughts and go, okay, here's why that won't happen, or I seek out reasons to not think those things. I don't really believe them and it freaks me out I think them. But these kinds of thoughts still pop in my head. And sometimes I am slow to let go of my negative/paranoid thoughts.

A therapist had diagnosed me with Pure-O OCD. I have not been diagnosed with psychosis, but twice psychiatrists have told me that it's good to think rationally through my thoughts; if they thought I was OCD, they wouldn't take that approach. I know the approach is almost opposite--to note the thoughts, but not give them too much attention.

I'm just scared. I talk outloud to myself, talking myself through steps to do something, or talking while I read, or rehearsing the way I might say something or could have said something. I sometimes dissociate, I guess: I imagine conversations I could have, or imagine the way a situation could play out. I sometimes tune people out. '

I am not sure I understand what is clinically paranoid and what is not. For instance, I went to a hospital in my family's town. I got really angry at the doctor because I thought I had a pelvic infection and/or UTI and he wouldn't do the pelvic because I didn't have a fever, even though I had pain. And as I recalled, I asked for a urinalysis and he wouldn't do it. So anyway, a week later, when I got back to my home and went in to my doc, it turned out I had three infections: a bowel infection with a very toxic bacteria, so I was really sick, a UTI, and BV. This began a year of infections. I got my medical records from that hospital later, for my record keeping, and in them was a lab analysis of my urine. I could have sworn that he wouldn't take a urine sample. Now I think I remember, though it's fuzzy, that he did a basic urinalysis and wouldn't do a culture because the urinalysis didn't show anything. I think that's what happened. But for a few days, I kept having this niggling idea that maybe he inserted a copy of someone else's urinalysis into my record, because I had complained about my treatment to the hospital, and maybe he was covering his butt. I kept trying to make the thought go away, but I kept thinking it and to some extent believed it for those few days. Is that paranoia, in your experience?

I also get very anxious because the Arizona shooter shares a middle name with my sibling. I panic when I see text with his full name. Am I overvaluing synchronicity?

How do I stop this? I feel like the dissociation, the talking outloud, the negativity, and the tendency to get angry and hold on, for awhile anyway, to grudges are really going to do me in. I know that schizophrenia happens on average at age 20, but there is second statistical spike for women at midlife, where some end up with with the first break around 40. I wonder if I am and have been in a prodrome.

Anyway, sorry this is so long. I hope you can help with your perspective.

Catniss

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I don't think I can say much other than that I can kind of relate to something similar. I have written about it, if you are interested, in more detail here.

I have psychosis, with a terrible fear of losing touch with reality. Yeah, that really sucks!

But none of us can diagnose you. It is probably best bringing this up with your pdoc.

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Hello, & thank you for your response. I see that we share obsession over these kinds of issues, for sure! But I have never had a psychotic break, and haven't had delusions, because I know that the intrusive thoughts aren't real. I was hospitalized for extreme anxiety. But I guess I wonder if sometimes the intrusive thoughts are paranoid, and if that means that I will become psychotic. And I wonder, what if I did fully believe that the ER doctor would have put in a urinalysis from someone else's record into mine, in order to cover his less-than-satisfactory treatment, since I complained to the hospital about his lack of treatment (and I think I specifically complained that he wouldn't do any urinalysis)? Would that be delusional? Until I started remembering more fully and clearly (this happened a year ago), I didn't have any evidence to the contrary. So is that negative or paranoid? Irrational?

I don't currently have a psychiatrist, but in the past have been diagnosed with severe anxiety, PTSD without psychosis, BPD (emotional dysregulation), and depression. I did see a therapist who specialized in Pure O OCD who diagnosed me as that. I'm in the process of trying to find another psychiatrist. Frustrating thing about them is that I don't have a lot of time to ask them questions in depth like the one I asked above.

thanks again~

I don't think I can say much other than that I can kind of relate to something similar. I have written about it, if you are interested, in more detail here.

I have psychosis, with a terrible fear of losing touch with reality. Yeah, that really sucks!

But none of us can diagnose you. It is probably best bringing this up with your pdoc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pure O and schizophrenia have a narrow cross over point where the symptoms are similar. I was diagnosed with OCD, pure O, and then later revised by my p-doc as having schizophrenia. I was diagnosed late, at about 28. I get intrusive thoughts, clinical obsessions, paranoia, hallucinations and some delusions.

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Hello,

I'm new here. I have sometimes read the boards as a lurker and am really impressed with the conversations that go on here and the level of support. So here's the thing. I am a forty-year-old woman. About three years ago, after many years of depression, I became severely anxious. I started to obsess over one thing, and it is virtually, with occasional variation, the only thing I obsess about: becoming psychotic. I have a sibling who has had schizophrenia for 20 years. I know that the course is different for different people, but my sibling has chronic daily symptoms, and seeing how difficult that is has affected me.

So it started off where I would think about the things I could think or perceive if I were psychotic. Then, I think I thought so much about what I could think about, that I actually started to have the thoughts. Now they are chronic. Like, I'll be in the library and leave my water bottle and books to go to the bathroom, and I'll imagine the water bottle being poisoned. Or after taking my car to the shop, I'll think that my mechanic could have done something to the car to break it so I'll have to return and pay more money. I'm generally negative about people's motives (I have PTSD, and was hospitalized those three years ago in a facility I now know to be a "hellhole," as a psychiatrist put it--I was severely mistreated, and though I've gotten over it, at the time it helped to reawaken my PTSD--hypervigilance, fear of being attacked, nightmares). I think through these thoughts and go, okay, here's why that won't happen, or I seek out reasons to not think those things. I don't really believe them and it freaks me out I think them. But these kinds of thoughts still pop in my head. And sometimes I am slow to let go of my negative/paranoid thoughts.

A therapist had diagnosed me with Pure-O OCD. I have not been diagnosed with psychosis, but twice psychiatrists have told me that it's good to think rationally through my thoughts; if they thought I was OCD, they wouldn't take that approach. I know the approach is almost opposite--to note the thoughts, but not give them too much attention.

I'm just scared. I talk outloud to myself, talking myself through steps to do something, or talking while I read, or rehearsing the way I might say something or could have said something. I sometimes dissociate, I guess: I imagine conversations I could have, or imagine the way a situation could play out. I sometimes tune people out. '

I am not sure I understand what is clinically paranoid and what is not. For instance, I went to a hospital in my family's town. I got really angry at the doctor because I thought I had a pelvic infection and/or UTI and he wouldn't do the pelvic because I didn't have a fever, even though I had pain. And as I recalled, I asked for a urinalysis and he wouldn't do it. So anyway, a week later, when I got back to my home and went in to my doc, it turned out I had three infections: a bowel infection with a very toxic bacteria, so I was really sick, a UTI, and BV. This began a year of infections. I got my medical records from that hospital later, for my record keeping, and in them was a lab analysis of my urine. I could have sworn that he wouldn't take a urine sample. Now I think I remember, though it's fuzzy, that he did a basic urinalysis and wouldn't do a culture because the urinalysis didn't show anything. I think that's what happened. But for a few days, I kept having this niggling idea that maybe he inserted a copy of someone else's urinalysis into my record, because I had complained about my treatment to the hospital, and maybe he was covering his butt. I kept trying to make the thought go away, but I kept thinking it and to some extent believed it for those few days. Is that paranoia, in your experience?

I also get very anxious because the Arizona shooter shares a middle name with my sibling. I panic when I see text with his full name. Am I overvaluing synchronicity?

How do I stop this? I feel like the dissociation, the talking outloud, the negativity, and the tendency to get angry and hold on, for awhile anyway, to grudges are really going to do me in. I know that schizophrenia happens on average at age 20, but there is second statistical spike for women at midlife, where some end up with with the first break around 40. I wonder if I am and have been in a prodrome.

Anyway, sorry this is so long. I hope you can help with your perspective.

Catniss

I feel like that sometimes. It comes in waves. I can't tell if it's a panic attack or a mixed state. I find clonazepam helpful.

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You really need to get a pdoc, and if necessary to be sure you tell him everything important, you could just print out your post here, and read it to him/her , or hand it over to be read directly.

I don't really understand why you're reading so much into pdocs telling you to think rationally through the obsessive thoughts. There are multiple clinical approaches to treating OCD.

And you really, really, need a tdoc.

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I have experienced psychosis and I couldn't reality check like you can. I don't have ocd, but I have a lot of anxiety. I've had times where I was convinced I had AIDS when I don't, just because it's something that I've worried about, probably similar to how you may have worried about developing schizophrenia like your sibling.

Thinking rationally through your thoughts sounds like cbt. Lots of tdocs use this approach and it isn't specific to psychosis.

I agree that you really need to see a pdoc and tell him everything and a tdoc.

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Hello everyone, thank you for your responses and sorry for not replying earlier--I've been away from the boards. I really appreciate each and every one of your responses.

I had a tdoc but mine wasn't helping much with the anxiety (that might sound strange; what tdoc was doing more than anything was helping me to just feel safe and valued). But I talked to tdoc about feeling like our work wasn't touching the anxiety at all, except for when I was actually in the office and I felt happy. So we came up with a plan--he gave me three names of anxiety/OCD specialists. I'm going to try one out for brief psychotherapy. If I feel like the work is helping, and the therapist does too, I'll go back to tdoc to resume work. But if I need long term work, then I'll not return to tdoc for however long I need to work with anxiety specialist. I don't know how in the world it got so bad, except I guess I keep reinforcing neural connections by freaking out.

Oh--thanks for the reality check about not reading too much into what psychiatrists say. I do that in spades: read too much into things. :wtf:

Thanks again!:)

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