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Existential OCD and Derealization

existential ocd derealization

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#1 ta82



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Posted 21 March 2018 - 04:51 PM

I’m a 35 year old male and I’ve had OCD my entire life. My OCD has taken on many forms since I was a child, starting with the classic germ/handwashing stuff, then counting, then certain words were good or bad, and at some point in high school it turned into religious OCD, having to say certain prayers over and over again, etc. Recently (a couple years ago) it turned into what I would called “existential” OCD, or maybe more accurately a type of OCD where I had to be completely aware of every little thing in my environment, I.e. when I would drive I had to know exactly what direction I was going in, and if I wasn’t going directly north south east or west it would mess with me and make me feel dizzy and disoriented. It was at that time that I started experiencing derealization. I was also going through SSRI withdrawal, and I was dealing with terrible anxiety and depression as well. This lasted for about a year and slowly I got better and back to myself. I’m on a new SSRI now and it seemed to have been working until about a month ago, when my OCD latched onto a new topic that’s somewhat odd and difficult to explain. I became obsessed with what time of year it is and what it’s supposed to “feel” like. For instance, it’s March, and all I can think about is “what does March feel like” or “how is today supposed to feel, it’s Wednesday, so what does Wednesday feel like?” The more I think about this the more I doubt that everything is “perfect” so it causes really bad anxiety and eventually leads to me feeling disoriented and derealized. Another thing that is having an effect is now I’m trying to visualize time and the past and the future and where it is. I’m almost trying to visualize time spatially and I can’t obviously have a definitive answer to that absurd question so then I get disoriented thinking that, and it takes me right out of the present into derealization and causes more anxiety and so on and so on. I was thinking that March is a transitional month so where is it? It doesn’t feel like it’s here and now and it’s causing a lot of problems for me. So anyway, I know all this is in my mind and my OCD is just latching onto it and not letting it go, and it’s totally stupid and all that, but it’s causing me stress because I need to know that everything “feels” right all of the time and I need to know where I am, when it is, and what exactly is going on around me at all times, and these doubts about what certain days and months are supposed to “feel” like is really messing with that. Anyway, I don’t expect anyone to have that particular problem, but I’m just wondering if anyone with existential type OCD has these issues that lead to excessive rumination and eventually DP/DR. And if so, how do you deal with it? I know ERP is the preferred method, and I try to let these thoughts just pass without reacting, but it’s difficult when I feel like I’m getting lost and losing my freaking mind over this dumb stuff. Thanks for reading, any advice would be much appreciated.

#2 nocturnalman


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Posted 21 March 2018 - 10:00 PM

When my DR was over ,I was left witeh existential OCD and Solipsism.I think you will find a few people here ,who actually are more bothered with this type of OCD than DR.
What I believe is that almost all the people who have thia type of OCD are people who want everything to be perfect.
Not long time ago ,I started to remember things ,I realized that I was like that since childhood.If I touched for example fish with my hands ,I used to wash my hands more than 5 times in an hour.Everything in the house had to be in perfect order ,otherwise I couldnt just sit and watch TV.
Then when I got DR ,this type of OCD turned into having to know everything in life ,what a soul is ,what physical mattet is made of.The difference between obsessing over things now and in the past ,is ANXIETY.
I am still learning to reach a point were my brain fixea on this fact : Do not worry ,the worst that can happen is nothing.

#3 solus


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Posted 22 March 2018 - 04:03 AM

Seems like a pretty innocuous topic for your mind to latch onto, but not very useful unless you become a poet.
My obsession has been trying to do everything with the conscious part of my mind. I have trust issues with my unconscious. If my mind tells me something, I often feel I need to verify or test it consciously, which is slow, frustrating and exhausting.
All that happens is that I go from being unconsciously competent to consciously incompetent since I get in my own way mentally and trip over myself. I think it stems from a general attitude of doubt, fear of self-deception, and fear of failure. It feels like the polar opposite of the flow state.
Maybe something similar is going on with you. You don't trust your present experience when you're immersed in it, and in that moment when you question it you withdraw yourself mentally from it - which is the beginning of derealization.
As soon as you try to precisely define and capture something so fluid and dynamic as what the present feels like, you interfere with it and disturb its perfection, like the surface of a pond. Then it's replaced with that feeling of disorientation -- which you might also see as perfect -- and anxiety ripples out, until it settles down again.
Instead of disturbing the present moment, perhaps you could recall to memory how a past moment felt when you were actually immersed in it. Like, how did last Thursday feel? If like me you had a day off last Wednesday, I expect it felt a bit like a Monday. Or if you can't remember, just knowing that you fully experienced its perfection, if only briefly, would be enough.

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