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Topic: Feel anxious that I will "go crazy" if certain things happen (OCD coming back?)

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. lonelyglassesgirl
    lonelyglassesgirl avatar
    30 posts
    29 March 2020

    I have a significant personal history of mental illness including anxiety disorders and OCD diagnosed during my childhood/teens (and a major episode about 18 months ago), and also a family history which includes schizophrenia. As a result, a lot of my anxiety at the moment is me worrying that certain behaviours or situations will make my mental health issues get worse again, or even precipitate a psychotic break.

    One of the things I have convinced myself will "cause" me to develop schizophrenia is lack of social contact. What happened is that late last year, I read an article saying that if you are in a risk group for schizophrenia, it is important to have social contact as it can reduce the risk of having a psychotic episode, and also that social withdrawal is a sign that you might be about to have one.

    As a result, when I decided to move from a sharehouse into a studio flat after getting a full-time job, I developed some anxious thoughts that this (living alone/wanting own place) was either an indication that I was about to have a psychotic episode, or could actually cause one. Now with the lockdowns, I obviously have very little social life, and am worried that I could go crazy.

    At night I feel scared, or don't like it to be quiet, or get scared of shadows, or have broken sleep with bad dreams (usually related to coronavirus, e.g. being sick and taken to hospital but the "hospital" is actually a conference centre, etc). But then I worry that not sleeping enough, having weird dreams, feeling scared at night, or doing something odd (e.g. mindlessly brushing my teeth when I walk into the bathroom) are not normal for an adult and am signs that I am "losing my mind", or, more concretely, am about to have a psychotic episode.

    Is this normal, is there any way to stop it, and does it indicate that the stress might be causing me to have a psychotic episode?

  2. Milly_cat
    Milly_cat avatar
    2 posts
    30 March 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    First remember to reach out and call for help when you wake up or can't sleep. Remember that beyondblue has someone available to talk to you 24/7. Talking to someone will help you feel more connected even if you can't see that person's face.

    Second there are ways to be social even in a lockdown. Pick up the phone, find someone to chat with over zoom, FaceTime or another app. Living alone this is something I struggle with as well but I am finding that zooming with my family each day helps me feel like I am still with them. I'm trying to connect with one friend per day just for a chat.

    I also just got off the phone with a counsellor who reminded me that we are all living in stressful time and that it is normal for everyone to be feeling mild anxiety at the moment as this is something we've never experienced before. He took me through a simple breathing exercise that reminded me of this video I've seen used in classrooms in the school where I work. Its aimed at kids but using it every 15minutes is helping me to remember to breathe and get some focus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLbK0o9Bk7Q

  3. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9201 posts
    30 March 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    Dear Lonelyglassesgirl~

    I remember speaking to you before last year and remember some of your family circumstances, also that you were worried you were not fitting some sort of social norm by not having a relationship and also that employment prospects were not all you wanted. As I mentioned it reminded me of my anxiety thoughts (about slightly differing matters) which always came up with the worst alternatives.

    You have had difficulties, coming from a heavily religious community, and early onset diagnoses of mental ill health, together with an unfortunate toxic first serious relationship.

    May I ask if you graduated, you did talk of final year burnout at one stage?

    Despite these barriers you have a job, one good enough to allow you a measure of independence. This is very natural, part of a person's adult development.

    Moving out by yourself is a pretty big step, as is a new job, both taken together will give anybody concerns, and with a history of anxiety it is not a surprise you are reacting. No familiar faces around for a start.

    Add to that the lockdowns and it makes for a difficult time, particularly after having read that idea of bringing on paranoia.

    Your withdrawal is not deliberate, it is circumstances, your anxiety has latched on to a great fear you had before, and your sleep pattern is one you had trouble with before too.

    In short no you are not 'losing your mind' or having an 'episode'. It is anxiety kicking in, very unpleasant (as I know very well) but that's it.

    So can I ask if you are under treatment for your anxiety at the moment? If not I'd seriously consider it, I've needed it to improve. Also do you have personal support, a freind perhaps you can just talk with and be confident they understand and care? It make a difference.

    Perhaps trying to build up your contacts (electronically I guess) during daytime might make you feel less alone. Plus Milly_cat is right, you can ring our 24/7 help line if you become too distressed.

    You can also come here anytime and be welcomed (though there may be a delay of course).

    I hope to hear from you again

    Croix

  4. lonelyglassesgirl
    lonelyglassesgirl avatar
    30 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Milly_cat
    Thanks so much Milly_cat. I think I also feel anxious because I'm about to age out of Kids Helpline, which was my go-to for calling (though probably only used it maybe four times total) during certain episodes from ages 14-25. I didn't know there were phone helplines for adults other than Lifeline which I think is only if you're having issues with self-harm.
  5. lonelyglassesgirl
    lonelyglassesgirl avatar
    30 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Thanks Croix,

    And thanks for your support last year, as well. :) I am not currently receiving treatment for anxiety (following a failed attempt at medication last year) so I might try to get some. Currently trying to see if I can see my GP on telehealth.

  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9201 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    Dear Lonelyglassesgirl~

    I think from now on everyone will be able to see their doctor, psych etc by telehealth, though some of it might be by voice-only rather than video, I guess it depends on their setup.

    I'd agree getting to 25 and no longer being eligible for the Kids Help Line must seem a worry, whoever there is an equivalent called the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467), you can talk face to face, email or web-chat

    https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

    You can contact them more than once without having to re-explain everything, you can ask to speak to the same professional again and although their name includes the word suicide they handle a lot more than that, self harm for example.

    It does not do quite the same job as Lifeline Crisis Lines and can be a real comfort. The only downside is becuse they are so good you may have to wait a bit before getting on.

    I hope this helps. We are always interested in how you are getting on, so please let us know

    Croix

  7. cat_lady4
    cat_lady4 avatar
    1 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    Hi lonleyglassesgirl

    I just wanted to let you know, that you're not the only person to have these feelings.

    My family history has lots of bipolar manic episodes that can get pretty intense and can be damaging. And many of the things that you're panicking about, also heighten my anxiety. I've never had one, but its my biggest fear that one day something will just snap and I'll have one.

    I hate when it's too dark or too quiet because it makes me feel like my brains going to implode. One night, desperate for some silence from my own mind I downloaded smiling mind and used their sleep meditation. I'm not a big fan of meditation but boy it actually helped me so much. So if you haven't already get yourself a meditation app or look up some verbal meditation videos. Because they take away the silence and make you focus

    Now is also probably a great time to find a local bulk-billed telehealth psychologist. I have regular sessions with a psychologis as my treatment, it's not for everyone, but it does make me feel less "crazy" and more like everyone else :)

    Good luck :)

  8. lonelyglassesgirl
    lonelyglassesgirl avatar
    30 posts
    26 July 2020

    I realised that we're supposed to continue the same thread instead of making new ones for updates (apologies for not doing that before), I just thought I'd update.

    Things were going pretty OK, but the second lockdown has been tough. I've been applying for a lot of jobs, and struggling with the feeling that I didn't really contribute much at my previous job. I feel like I'll never find a job, and I'll have to move back with my parents, and that life will basically be over. I feel pretty negative about the idea of moving back with my parents, as they don't know about my sexuality (I'm not sure if I'm bi or lesbian, but it's one of those), and because I don't drive, it is very hard for me to leave their house for any social events, so I would feel extremely isolated there.

    Also, my oldest friend (12 years of friendship) has been acting weird and angry, and I'm worried I've done something to upset her, though she is also facing her own difficulties so it could be that.

    However, I have some savings and I am happy with the news that the Jobseeker increase has been extended, so I feel like I will be able to keep paying my rent at my current place for the medium term. I just feel anxious about the future, and have so much trouble sleeping before job interviews. Sometimes I even take medicine (prescription but not intended as a sleeping pill) just to get the drowsiness side effect, but I feel like that is a bad path to go down.

    I just keep having the same issues at night where I can't sleep, and alternate between catastrophising about what will happen (not sleeping, screwing up interviews, never finding new job, failing uni, moving back with parents, never finding love/having a social life), blaming myself for what I catastrophise will happen, and ruminating on things that happened to me that I blame for what I catastrophise will happen.

    Overall I think it's good that I can now recognise this pattern, and I appreciate other forum members' helping me to do so. I feel like I will eventually get a job offer and feel better. I know it's bad to think that your happiness is conditional on something, but I do feel like that.

  9. FearlessLFC
    FearlessLFC avatar
    7 posts
    6 August 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    Hi lonelyglassesgirl,

    I am in the same boat as you when it comes to having a fear of developing schizophrenia, it has made my life very difficult but I still stay optimistic, have you thought of seeing a therapist? They can reassure that you don’t and are not developing schizophrenia, also social withdrawal can be caused from anxiety and depression, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are having a phycostic episode, googling symptoms can make your anxiety worse so try to avoid it, I do it a lot to and try to cut down.

    i hope all is well.

  10. lonelyglassesgirl
    lonelyglassesgirl avatar
    30 posts
    7 August 2020 in reply to FearlessLFC
    Thanks FearlessLFC; it's interesting, and encouraging, to know that someone is in the same boat. I've definitely been trying to google things less, and in fact to generally use the internet less. I use an internet blocker to really curb that obsessive googling. Not sure if I can say the brand on here, but it's one of the more popular "productivity social media blocker" things, and has honestly improved my life so much by stopping my sometimes obsessive internet browsing.
  11. Petal22
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Petal22 avatar
    232 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to lonelyglassesgirl

    Hello, I have recovered from OCD.... YES you can break free of it’s cycle....

    Try to stop googling symptoms I learned that this was a compulsion... the more you learn what your compulsions are the more you can work on stop doing them ... also practice meditation, mindfulness, challenge your thoughts.... we can learn to be bystanders of our thoughts.... with OCD our minds get stuck in a cycle of thinking you can learn to interrupt this cycle and break free of it... it takes practice I had therapy with a clinic that specialalized in OCD.... with OCD we tend to seek assurance once we stop seeking this it also stops our cycle...😀

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