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Author Topic: Advice  (Read 227 times)

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Offline Luck of the Irish

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Advice
« on: March 02, 2014, 12:51:11 AM »
So, this is my first post. I always read these forums for every day advice/motivation, but lately things have been so unbearable to the point I felt the need to publicly ask advice from others who have the same experiences.

Since I was a kid, I had always had very bad anxiety and just accepted it as being anxiety. When I was younger, I would have panic attacks whenever my parents left the house because I thought they were going to die, and I would hyperventilate, lash out, and eventually go unconscious from the surge of panic. It dulled off a little as I was going through grade school but was always there. Just a couple of years ago, my symptoms came surging back with full force and since then, I have been averaging at least one panic attack every single day. I started going to a therapist last year, and along with ADHD I found that I have been dealing with OCD since I was that young kid, it just wasn't obvious. My diagnosis states that my obsession is a fear of losing control, and my compulsions are rage/anger. You can see how we always mixed my OCD up with panic/anxiety disorder, anger management, etc.

When I feel out of control of a situation, my life, anything, etc. I use rage to try and regain control over whatever the situation is. This realization has really brought me peace in explaining my entire life and why I am and do things the way I do, but that doesn't help control my OCD. On a daily basis, I am tormented by horrible thoughts that can be about anything, the physical symptoms of panic (numbness, loss of control, hyperventilation, heart racing, etc.), and the constant isolation of myself by pushing people out of my life. When things are going bad, I have a panic attack, punch a wall or something (not a human/living thing) to get out of the panic, then feel humiliated or depressed depending on the situation.

I got a dog as an Emotional Support Animal to help ease my panic when I am at home, and it helped a ton and was able to start focusing on myself and bettering myself. But I didn't hit all the steps in making it official so it was kicked out of my "no-pet housing" which sent me spiraling downhill again. I turned down medication because I am nervous about coming off of them, and after being on anti-depressants as a kid I know that I become a zombie and lose all aspects of my personality.

My OCD has naturally pushed those I love out of my life, and I am having an especially difficult time right now in my current relationship with the love of my life. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and was the one that made me realize for myself that I needed to change and I signed myself up for therapy. My OCD and constant use of her as my punching bag is finally catching up and I am losing her more and more every day. She knows my problem, but I don't blame her for being at a breaking point because I wouldn't be able to deal with the ***** I put her through.

I am sorry for the lengthy history, but I feel like it is necessary in order for me to get the advice I need. I am tired of not being able to control myself, hurting those around me, and I can't lose my girlfriend. If anyone has any advice or is going through the same thing, I would really appreciate the help.
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Offline bluecanary

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Re: Advice
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 02:31:00 PM »
First, I'm compelled to ask... when you say you're using your girlfriend as a punching bag, do you mean physically, or emotionally? You say when you get angry that you punch a wall or an inanimate object, not people, but I just wanted to clarify.

I think the first step to overcoming any kind of a problem with yourself is to first recognize that there is a problem. You've done that, and you're actively seeking help for it, so you're off to a good start. I think the best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be as open as you can with her about your emotions and how you're feeling about things - if you're constantly venting bits at a time and discussing how you feel, things will be less likely to build up to the boiling point where you start to get angry. You may even want to talk to your therapist about inviting her to some of your sessions - she very likely has her own set of concerns and frustrations, and it might be useful to her both to be able to talk to the therapist about her concerns as well as to understand your condition better.

Medication is a tricky issue - some swear by it, others do all they can to avoid it. You're the only one who can really decide whether or not it's the right course for you. But not every antidepressant is the same. If one makes you feel like a zombie, you should talk to your doctor/therapist about either adjusting the dosage or trying a different medication. It can be difficult and unfortunately it's very often just a matter of trial and error, but eventually you should find one that's a good fit for you.

Overall, as someone who struggles with OCD, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is to stop living in your head so much. I'm so guilty of this so frequently - I'm an introspective person, a thinker. Getting out of my own head is a constant struggle, but I attempt to get out into the world and involve myself in things in any way that I can. Find something that you like to do - physical activity is a great way to get out your energy and frustration. I always feel a nice sense of release after I've gone to a training class at the gym. Anything requiring your active participation can help you to put your brain power into something other than your fears and obsessions. It's been a good coping mechanism for me. I hope it'll be of some help to you, too.
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Offline Luck of the Irish

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Re: Advice
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 06:03:41 PM »
First, I'm compelled to ask... when you say you're using your girlfriend as a punching bag, do you mean physically, or emotionally?

Sorry I should have probably picked better wording, I meant using her as my punching bag emotionally.
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Offline StudentOfHope

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Re: Advice
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2014, 07:55:21 PM »
-Just read your post.  I think the person who'd responded above made very good points and hopefully it helped you to read through the post.

I completely agree too, that you're doing a lot to try and better yourself and that's a huge step to improvement and overall well-being.  Continuing to see a counselor
and maybe picking up some behavioral tools to lessen the anxiety at the height of your anger/panic will probably be extremely helpful too.  You already have insight into your behavior (at least that's what I am hearing when I read your post) so now you can work on shortening the length of time you obsess/experience panic and spiral into anger with some exposure therapy.  Does your therapist work on behavioral treatment with you?  -Has it been useful?  What helps/what doesn't help?  Those kind of things would be good to bring into a session.

I was really sorry to hear that you lost your dog because of your living situation.  It sounds like having the dog was really helpful for you and I wonder whether you might eventually be able to arrange for having one again by changing your living arrangements?  I know that moving has all kinds of considerations (financial being a big one) and without knowing your circumstances I don't want to make assumptions about your current situation- but would you consider moving at some point to have another dog?

Finally- I was wondering what else might be contributing to your anger.   Please forgive my forward questions- but are you a vet?  Only asking because if so, you may be able to do some Post-trauma work and maybe it'd be useful.  Of course, again I could be way off on that.   It is good that you recognize the impact your current difficulties are having on your relationship.  Without beating yourself up (because you are trying the best you can and that's all anyone can do)- maybe you'd consider couples counseling?  Is your therapist able to see you with your girlfriend?  Is this something you would be willing to try?  A good counselor can help you both to see the ways in which you communicate contribute towards both good and bad circumstances- and help you to work on your communication style.

I hope you're doing okay today, and it is good you've opened up about what you've been going through and that you're moving forward to try and make changes.

All the best
-A
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