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So...I'm pretty sure I have undiagnosed OCD...


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So, I'm about 80% sure I have OCD, if I don't I may have GAD.  To complicate matters, I'm currently a grad student in Counseling Psych, and I have three main fears surrounding seeking treatment:  

 

1.)  I live in a pretty rural area, and I want to practice here.  I'm afraid if I see someone I will get labeled as "crazy."  Maybe I'll want a job at the clinic I visit, and they will not want to hire an obviously "crazy" person like myself.  

 

2.)  I'm afraid I might just have grad student disorder--like maybe I'm just a faker, and I just want the attention, but then I'll also think, maybe being exposed to and constantly discussing mental disorders and diagnosing is somehow rubbing off on me, like I'm catching these disorders.  I know this is completely illogical, because I've had these thoughts and behaviors since long before I started grad school.

 

3.)  I'm just terrified to talk about my obsessions and compulsions out loud--they're odd.

 

I also know I am being insanely hypocritical--how can I expect my future clients to seek treatment if I can't do it myself, but I'm stuck.

Edited by gladys
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I responded to your other thread, but will respond here as well.

 

I think its very important that you seek treatment.  Think about it, would you be a effective counselor if you haven't tried to deal with your own issues?  I know its frightening to think about talking about your fears, but I can assure you that a good therapist will understand and likely be able to help you.

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So, this is going to sound like an incredibly stupid question coming from a future mental health professional, but how should I even start--like, literally when I call a psychologist on the phone, I don't even know what to say.  This stuff has been happening under the radar for so long that I feel paralyzed.  

 

And, when I actually sit down in his / her office, like do I say, "I think I may have an anxiety disorder."  I mean, obviously there will be intake, confidentiality, etc. and then, he or she will get to asking me about the problem, but I feel like the problem has been such a huge deal I don't even know how to introduce it.  I'm afraid he'll think I'm nuts or just pity me, which would be worse.  Or, I'll just freak out and lie and say that I'm having relationship issues or something.

 

And, then, what if I know the receptionist or someone else sitting in the waiting room?  Like, how awkward would that be?

 

And, what if they actually diagnose me with OCD?  Like, do you tell people about your mental illnesses?  What do I even do with that information?  And, then, I assume I would obviously have to start CBT / ERP, which also seems completely terrifying!  It almost doesn't seem worth it--at least I know the kind of misery I feel right now without opening Pandora's Box to some new fresh hell.  

 

And, like I know I'm being resistant / reluctant, etc., but I'm just super embarrassed to talk to anyone about this stuff--does anyone care to share what your first session was like--how you told your doc about your OCD?

 

Thanks so much Phoenix--I'm totally sorry I started two threads, but thank you so much for your insight.

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The first thing to remember is that people see mental health professionals all the time, they are accustomed to people who aren't quite sure how the whole thing works.

 

Like Notfred said, you'll just call a counselor's office, say you'd like to make an appointment.  If they ask what you would like to see the counselor for, you can describe your symptoms--tell them you are having problems with obsessions and compulsions.

 

As for sitting in the waiting room, just take deep breaths and, like I said, remember that the staff in the office is used to working with people who need assistance.

 

Once you're talking to the counselor, they will likely lead the discussion.  They may have had you fill out some paperwork detailing your symptoms while you were in the waiting room.  They will probably ask you a lot of questions.

 

The diagnosis will be determined by the counselor and what you do with that is up to you.  It might make you feel better to come back here and report what happened.  Please feel free to do that.  

 

You can do this, gladys.

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1.)  I live in a pretty rural area, and I want to practice here.  I'm afraid if I see someone I will get labeled as "crazy."  Maybe I'll want a job at the clinic I visit, and they will not want to hire an obviously "crazy" person like myself.  

 

You should not have any hesitation about seeing someone about your concerns.  And it does not mean you're crazy (do you think everyone who comes to see you when you are practicing will be "crazy"?  That might offend some future patients/clients if they knew you felt that way!)

 

My daughter also has a degree in counseling therapy..... when she was in graduate school, her entire class was REQUIRED to see a therapist.   REQUIRED!   

 

It was felt that to deal with the potential pressures of providing therapy to others, it would be good for them to have someone to talk to outside of whatever clinic or office they'd be working in.  They also had to write a paper about the experience of therapy (not with their personal details; just the experience of asking for help).  

 

Now that she's been practicing for a couple of years, it's still more common than not for the therapists to be seeing another therapist for help with whatever issues they have .... many therapists have underlying anxiety issues, OCD, or possibly depression.   It doesn't prevent them from being hired or promoted as far as I know, as long as they can do their jobs. 

 

In fact, I personally think a therapist who has sought help him/herself may be more empathetic to their patients.  It would make sense. 

 

So please don't hesitate.  It won't get easier once you're treating patients.  See someone now.  I would be very surprised if your school or other colleagues would think badly of you.  And of course, they will not know ANY details unless you choose to share.  

Edited by FlamelessCandle
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Whether or not you have OCD or GAD – you could have both, one of them, or neither – you still need to address the symptoms as they’re clearly interfering with your quality of life. It is possible to have them both, I certainly do.

 

If it helps I see myself in what you’ve described – for about a year after I was diagnosed with OCD one of my obsessions was whether or not I had OCD, and it was a consistent issue that came up several times a day for months. It seems funny to me now – but its stressful to have to go through that. If you’re making an appointment with a psychologist – usually you talk to their secretary (in my experience), you can say simply that you want to have a psych evaluation or a consult on your mental health.

 

If they ask further questions then you can answer them as you go. When I finally returned to therapy after years of trying to deny it – I had so much going on that it was really, really difficult for me to articulate what my issues were, but the psychologist I met with was able to cover every area (briefly) in two sessions before I met with a psychiatrist for official diagnoses.

 

As you can see in my signature – there are a lot of different diagnoses I had to sort through. It falls into place. Try not to lie because a lot depends on you telling the truth. You won’t get an accurate diagnosis or the treatment you need if you lie. Usually in doctors offices we all just ignore each other like a GP’s office. If they do take notice of you – well, they’re clearly also there for mental health reasons and aren’t in the position to judge. Bring a book or something to look at - that might help.

 

Its completely up to you who, where, when, and if you disclose your mental health issues. I never bring it up with anyone. My family members know I’ve been seeing mental health professionals since my early teens, they know I’m on meds, and that’s it. It’s none of their business – I’m a private person. Other people come right out about their illnesses – that’s okay, too. There is no right or wrong way to deal with it.

 

Dealing with that information would involve going step by step with your mental health team. You’ll most likely be set up in therapy – individual, perhaps group if you’re interested, you’ll be offered medication. You get used to therapy. I’m an extremely introverted and solitary individual with bad social anxiety – so I understand how daunting this all can be. I think that if you’re at the point where you think you need help then you can only benefit from reaching out.

 

Before I got my diagnosis of OCD, I didn’t mention I thought I had OCD (I actually hadn’t considered it – I knew I had severe anxiety but everything was tangled in my mind). The psychologist doing the inventory asked me about my symptoms and went off a checklist to make sure she covered everything. I was asked to elaborate on certain things, and then I was given diagnostic forms to fill out – around 8 or 9 of them. The next session we talked about what she gathered from what I told her, and then the third session was when I got my diagnoses.

 

My advice is to do it as promptly as possible (making the call/appointment). The longer I dwell on things the more anxiety builds up and I become paralyzed. Of course, it's not easy to act in the state you're in, but it really is worth it. I never realized how bad my mental health was before years of steady therapy and meds. I'm not in perfect health right now and I have myriad issues to work through but the change has been amazing

 

I wish you luck.

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1.)  I live in a pretty rural area, and I want to practice here.  I'm afraid if I see someone I will get labeled as "crazy."  Maybe I'll want a job at the clinic I visit, and they will not want to hire an obviously "crazy" person like myself.  

 

 

Now that she's been practicing for a couple of years, it's still more common than not for the therapists to be seeing another therapist for help with whatever issues they have .... many therapists have underlying anxiety issues, OCD, or possibly depression.  

 

I know, and honestly, intellectually, I know that no one in my program would have a problem with it--I don't think of other people with mental health issues as "crazy."  There are several people in my program who have struggled with various mental health issues: PTSD, depression, etc., but it's just different when it's me.  It just feels way different.

 

 

 

 

My advice is to do it as promptly as possible (making the call/appointment). The longer I dwell on things the more anxiety builds up and I become paralyzed. Of course, it's not easy to act in the state you're in, but it really is worth it. I never realized how bad my mental health was before years of steady therapy and meds. I'm not in perfect health right now and I have myriad issues to work through but the change has been amazing

 

Thanks so much for the encouragement, radicalfeminist.  I am going to try to make an appointment on Monday--I'm kind of afraid I actually will not go through with it, but I'm going to try!  

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I am really glad you're going to make an appointment.  

 

The hardest thing (for me, at least) was picking up the phone that first time.  I think everyone, whether they are training to be a therapist or not, is somewhat afraid afraid to make that first call.      

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