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DreamTheater81

Intrusive thoughts without OCD diagnosis

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Hi all,

 

Starting about 6 weeks ago, I've been tortured by intrusive thoughts of all kinds. Mostly they center around hurting or killing my wife. They make me so upset. I know they're just thoughts, but I have such a great fear that I'll act on them one day. It makes me feel like a horrible human being and has made my depression worse. About 2 months ago I suddenly fell into a deep, deep depression that left me barely able to function. I had to take short-term disability from work and I went to a partial hospitalization program for 6 weeks. It was during that time that the thoughts really started. I've had smaller bouts with them at certain points in life (once I was terrified I was a pedophile for a few days), but this has been 6 weeks of hell.

 

I finished the partial program and am back at work now. My depression and anxiety are much better than they were 2 months ago, but these intrusive thoughts have become my new tormentor. They go beyond just thoughts - sometimes they feel like impulses or urges, and I get the fear that maybe I actually want to do these things. It makes me so upset, and it's all I can think about these days. My therapist has tried to reassure me that she doesn't see any warning signs that I'm a danger to anyone, but I just can't convince myself.

 

I have never been diagnosed with OCD, but I'm posting in the OCD forum since I figured there would be more people in here that have had experiences with these thoughts. My diagnosis is generalized anxiety disorder with "obsessive tendencies" (doctor's words there). It sure feels like I have "Pure O" OCD, but haven't been diagnosed with it. 

 

Have any of you had intrusive thoughts that felt like more than just thoughts, like an actual impulse or urge too? Did you ever find relief? I'm miserable here.

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My intrusive thoughts feel like urges at times, like I am compelled to carry out certain activities.  When things are really bad, I run from task to task trying to quiet the thoughts by doing various things.

 

What has your tdoc suggested that you do when you have intrusive thoughts?  How about your pdoc?

 

I try self-talk and distraction when I get intrusive thoughts.  I also use passive muscle relaxation to quiet my mind.  Sometimes I write the thoughts down as a way of "getting rid of them".

 

I hope you and your tdoc and/or pdoc can come up with some things that work for you.

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My old tdoc used to explain obsessive thoughts to me like this:

 

Our brains are really good at making connections of random things appear like they're logical.

So you're chopping a carrot in the kitchen and your orange cat walks by.

You have an impression that the orange cat's tail looks vaguely like a carrot.

You're mortified by the thought that your brain has just considered cutting up the cat's tail and putting it in your soup.

So mortified that you judge yourself harshly and think you must be a horrible person for thinking this thought.

And the spiral of anxiety and obsessiveness continues.

 

It might not be like that for all thoughts, but it was really helpful for me to see that process lined out in a way I could understand.

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My intrusive thoughts feel like urges at times, like I am compelled to carry out certain activities.  When things are really bad, I run from task to task trying to quiet the thoughts by doing various things.

 

What has your tdoc suggested that you do when you have intrusive thoughts?  How about your pdoc?

 

I try self-talk and distraction when I get intrusive thoughts.  I also use passive muscle relaxation to quiet my mind.  Sometimes I write the thoughts down as a way of "getting rid of them".

 

I hope you and your tdoc and/or pdoc can come up with some things that work for you.

 

I try a lot of self-talk, too. I tell myself, "These are just thoughts" and "Thoughts don't dictate actions" but it's like I just don't trust myself. So I am constantly afraid that I'm going to act on these terrible thoughts.

 

They just raised my Prozac from 60mg to 80mg to try and help with the obsessive thinking. My therapist is working with me on accepting that everyone gets these thoughts sometimes, and to work on not giving them so much attention. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be helping, as I'm plagued with these thoughts every day. I've never had them like this before. I've been happily married for 6 years, and never had these kinds of thoughts about my wife until recent weeks. I so badly just want to get my life back to how it was.

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Having such "urges" or "impulses to act" is very common and one of the more annoying and scary aspects of intrusive thoughts.

 

You can even feel like you want to do these things, that you don't care about your family, etc. Just like people with HOCD feel gay, but they don't want to be. 

 

Imagine someone with handwashing OCD. They have a clear obsessive-compulsive chain. Like this: I am dirty (obsession) -> I must wash my hands (compulsive urge). Or checking: Did I lock the door? -> I must check.

Your "impulse to act" is a misinterpretation of the obsessive-compulsive chain. Your urge is your obsession, not your compulsion.

 

Also, with Harm OCD, you are not the "victim" (like people with germs obsessions feel like they are). With Harm OCD, you are the "danger" (to family, yourself, or whoever the target of your obsession is). This logical twist is contributing to make harm OCD even more frustrating.

 

The good news is: No one have ever acted on their obsessions (no matter how real they feel) and no one ever will. 

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I'm starting to wonder if there's another explanation. These violent intrusive thoughts started within a couple of weeks of me starting Prozac. I've been reading a lot about Prozac being linked to violence, and violent thoughts. How common is that, could there be a chance that the Prozac could be causing them? 

 

I'm seeing my pnurse tomorrow to discuss a possible med change, but I'm not sure what to do yet. 

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Certainly possible if you're getting too much serotonin.

 

Though my understanding is that more serotonin generally lends itself to more "aggro" type behaviors.

 

Sounds like checking in with pnurse is a great idea.

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I don't have OCD but I have had intrusive thoughts before. Like you they did sometimes feel like an urge or an impulse. Mostly to do with hurting or having sex with people. But always directed at people I'd never want to hurt or have sex with. For me, the thoughts went away when I started on Prozac. They didn't come back when I stopped taking the Prozac. My pdoc said these thoughts were caused by anxiety. My experience is that anxiety symptoms don't stay neatly clustered in their little boxes (GAD, OCD, PD etc.) I've had symptoms of all the anxiety disorders at different times in my life, but at no time would I have met criteria for all of them to be diagnosed. Suffice to say, I suffer from anxiety.

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I'm starting to wonder if there's another explanation. These violent intrusive thoughts started within a couple of weeks of me starting Prozac. I've been reading a lot about Prozac being linked to violence, and violent thoughts. How common is that, could there be a chance that the Prozac could be causing them? 

 

I'm seeing my pnurse tomorrow to discuss a possible med change, but I'm not sure what to do yet. 

It could be. Sometimes a med just doesn't agree with someone and makes their symptoms worse. Definitely bring it up with your pnurse. 

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So I saw my pnurse today and told her my concerns about the Prozac. We are going to gradually lower my dose and see how things go. It will be interesting to see if the thoughts get less frequent with the lower dose.

She also gave me some klonopin to take daily for now, to help with some of the anxiety I'm having about the thoughts.

Thanks all for the advice!

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I don't have OCD but I have had intrusive thoughts before. Like you they did sometimes feel like an urge or an impulse. Mostly to do with hurting or having sex with people. But always directed at people I'd never want to hurt or have sex with. For me, the thoughts went away when I started on Prozac. They didn't come back when I stopped taking the Prozac. My pdoc said these thoughts were caused by anxiety. My experience is that anxiety symptoms don't stay neatly clustered in their little boxes (GAD, OCD, PD etc.) I've had symptoms of all the anxiety disorders at different times in my life, but at no time would I have met criteria for all of them to be diagnosed. Suffice to say, I suffer from anxiety.

Yeah. My pnurse says I have definite obsessive tendencies, but I don't show enough symptoms in her opinion to be diagnosed with OCD.

My therapist likes to remind me that sometimes the exact diagnosis isn't so important; we treat whatever symptoms present themselves. Sort of what you said about not being clustered neatly into their boxes.

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