How Can A Silly Little Brain Thing Become Such A Mental Monster That Controls Your Thoughts And Mind And Eventually Your Whole Life?

My I'm a 21 year old female in Phoenix, I used to be a college student but anxiety and a lack of guidance and information on how to function with a severe anxiety disorder, among other factors, caused me to drop out of school. I also gradually lost touch with good friends, I stopped answering phone calls and found myself having to psych myself into doing things that I actually enjoyed in the past. Even though I've only recently come to understand and identify them as such, my symptoms started appearing a long time ago.

When I was young I was a typical shy kid, but I was also inexplicably unhappy for most of what I remember during childhood. I probably could have conjured up a long list of reasons why at the time but not one would prove a viable explanation for a child to be constantly depressed and just generally unhappy. I was often disturbed in the middle of the night by what I then referred to as "bad thoughts". These were primarily violent or tragic in nature and would would consist of flashing images or quick montages of graphic, detailed imagery which mostly reflected and spelled out the worst most horrific things I thought could happen. I feel though, prior to being confronted with these thoughts and images, I wouldn't have known what my greatest fears were. It's almost like they were deliberately put there and I had no control over my own mind. This would happen at least a couple times a week. The times I couldn't shake the thoughts and struggled getting to sleep, I would crawl to my parents room and wake up my mom saying I was "having bad thoughts again". Eventually the only thing that could comfort me long enough to go to sleep was the knowledge of her presence and some distraction, strong enough to influence the content of my thoughts but not so mentally engaging or taxing as to keep me awake, something like soft singing or a familiar story with her near by.

It wasn't until adolescence (18/19) that I started to really struggle with my thoughts in normal everyday life. This time it was a bit different though, they weren't explicit images like what I experienced when I was younger, and were not restricted to when my mind was open and wandering. These new thoughts / feelings would come on suddenly without any rhyme or reason but were so overwhelming in the moment, every fiber of my being would be at the mercy of this absurd and unfounded but completely paralyzing wave of anxiousness (or nervousness). I could be completely comfortable with myself and my surroundings one minute (like engaging in light discussion around a table at a laid back party) then without warning, something will trigger a total mental meltdown, including but not limited to one or more of the following physical and/or psychological reactions: increased heart rate, trembling, persistent need to swallow, complete loss of train of thought(usually mid-sentence) heightened sense of self awareness to the point of paranoia, intense/focused examination of my own actions and behavior in the very moment through as many possible perceptions I feel could apply(ex:trying to remember mid-conversation what it looks like to listen to someone when they're talking to you ). Also, difficulty regaining control of my thought process and difficulty redirecting or countering thoughts and feelings when I feel it coming on.

At the time, I had no insight into what exactly was happening to me in these strange instances or why. I was bewildered by the specifics, the fairly consistent properties involved in these occurrences. The influence, the reaction, the progression... All I knew was that there was something wrong with me, and I hadn't the first clue how to explain it much less why it was happening or what I could possibly do about it. There was a period of time I remember I still had no problem going out with friends, planning trips/events/activities or hanging out with new groups of people because I hadn't made the connection yet that those types of environments were what created the situations in which I began to notice the sudden drastic changes in my perspective and behavior. But the more it happened the more I tried to make sense of it.. The more I attempted to define it, even repress it by disregarding any significance attached to it, the more it consumed my thoughts and influenced my every move.. subsequently awarding it undue significance and power in my daily life.

The point I'm at now, reality is unbearable. No one really knows or tries to understand what my problem is, I think my family just cuts me slack because I've endured some tough experiences throughout the years, but this infuriates me to no end because I know to everyone else, my behavior just comes off as laziness, incompetence, poor judgement etc.. And I wish so very much that I could explain what it's like.. to possess all of the will and desire, all the curiosity, the intellect and natural insight, the uncommon common sense and intuition, endless creativity and all of the ability of a mind aching for knowledge and challenge and purpose... longing for fulfillment in life, fully aware of my potential... yet every day being faced with a reality in which fear ultimately governs my life. I don't know how I could ever fully encompass all the factors that play into what has become my current state of mind and being.. I can hardly make sense of it myself. I have this unsettling feeling that my ultimate fate is to just occupy space and time and try to maintain a minimal level of functionality in order to endure this incredibly cruel unfortunate version of existence... But it goes against my nature to surrender. It's just not me, in fact, none of it is. I remember who I was and the visions of who and where I wanted to be.

I hate knowing my burden and seeing myself from an outside perspective.. because facing it every day and coming to accept it as part of my life is one thing. Seeing the course of one's life and weight of one's burden and applying the hurt and defeat and confusion and utter hopelessness.. and witnessing it all happen to someone LIKE me.. makes me cry. Not for myself but for the loss.. the ultimate cost of what appears as an invisible mental attack on a single individual human life. All I know is, if anything is ever going to change for the better, I have to have the power already within me to change it... because I'm really alone in this. I was lucky to have stumbled across a forum online which revolved primarily around OCD but associated some other anxiety spectrum disorders as well. as I read into it, a description of what the obsession part of OCD was caught my eye. "unwanted, intrusive, thoughts, images or impulses.." As soon as I read it I knew why it was familiar. I remembered a line in a journal entry I wrote back when I was first really trying to understand and define my problem. What I had written was "Intrusive, disturbing, unwanted thoughts... learn to control and eliminate." I think I must have always known my condition was anxiety related in some way but OCD never crossed my mind until I read that. It's the closest I've come to giving my myriad of issues an official name and common root. I'm still learning and trying to understand my unique condition but from my understanding so far, I'm assuming I have OCD but for some reason failed to carry out the compulsion part.. which may or may not have influenced the evolution of my condition.. which could have eventually lead to the insanely massive and merciless all-consuming mind monster that now dictates the entirety of my existence... or what's left of it now.

It sucks so much because I know I am strong. I am resilient, I have endured and survived, far more than what ANYONE.. no matter how old, should ever have to face in a single lifetime. And I accepted everything life threw at me and I took it and got through it. I learned and became stronger for it.. And yet, I've become practically paralyzed by some mentality that's a product of my own mind? Are you kidding me? I feel like the punchline of a rreally cruel joke.
Sheeebs Sheeebs
5 Responses Jan 23, 2013

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This is the first excerpt on the internet that I have found (so far) that is the most similar to what I have been going through for the past several months. I honestly feel like I am the only one in the world with these strange thoughts that govern my everyday life. Please respond when you have time because I'd love to share with you what I am going through too. Maybe we can finally relate to another human being and help each other. Thank you so much for sharing.

Drakneko, Sounds like you have a common form of OCD where you have fear of harming/killing your own child. You never would 100% certain. Its the OCD. Seemingky CBT is the best answer. Are you trying it?

Yeah that's what it sounds like. I will if my psychologist wants me too. She might say something next session. That was the reccomended treatment from the doctor anyway that I got my referral from.

Yeah because it's 'invisible' it's a silent struggle. I admit myself before tonight I had no idea what puro-o was and just thought ocd was washing hands too much or checking locks.
Its hell in your head and I think that sometimes mental pain is worse than physical pain coz its harder to see and understand. Even worse is when you cannot tell others because you are scared to be called a murderer and locked up or to lose your child .

Your story is so like mine. The will to live is incredible. I have thought of suicide countless times because of OCD Pure O, but never done it. It is hell on earth. I no longer ruminate, but the 34 years of anxiety, depression and stress of the OCD has left me a emotionally numb permanently unhappy person. Life can be f'ing cruel.