Doubt is thought's despair; despair is personality's doubt. . .;
Doubt and despair . . . belong to completely different spheres; different sides of the soul are set in motion. . .
Despair is an expression of the total personality, doubt only of thought. -
I'm not sure where to begin. It all began in 1997 when we moved. I had my first "attack" of anxiety. It came on so quickly I didn't even know what it was. I suddenly was very afraid of dying and would imagine a funeral (my own) which would just make the anxiety worse. It felt like an impending doom sort of thing...like something really bad was going to happen and I would die as a result. They subsided quickly and I never gave them another thought. I just figured it was due to having a baby and a move and a job change. (The move was from Ohio to Florida) I began to build my life.
We built a house. I found a good job teaching at a private school. As I was driving to work on Jan. 21, 2000, I had a terrifying intrusive thought of suffocating my son with a pillow as he slept. This sent me into the worst panic attack I've ever had. I got to work and couldn't pull myself together. I just kept thinking, "where did this horrible thought come from, and why can't I stop thinking about it?" "What is wrong with me?" I was so embarrassed and terrified. I went to the dr. and was diagnosed with anxiety/depression. Before the attack my husband even noted something was wrong...I was moody, unpredictable. I didn't tell a soul about the thought b/c I was sure they would lock me up and throw away the key. I then began to fear going to jail and obsessing about life in prison. I didn't even tell the dr. until my follow-up visit. I went 3 days before telling anyone and lived in my own silent hell of anxiety and panic. I missed work. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I was afraid that the thought would be carried out by myself--that somehow I would lose control and actually do it. This terrified me even more--and then I began obsessing about it and trying to get it to go away.
I am on a long road to recovery and discovery about myself. I am involved with a self help program called "Attacking Anxiety and Depression" by Lucinda Bassett. It has changed me--literally. I am not the person I was before the attack. I am getting better, but I still struggle sometimes. Some nights are ok, others are not, as tonight I am writing this at midnight. My husband works 3rd so I'm here alone with my son at night. This is when the anxiety is the worst. I have to do deep breathing and talk to myself. I am not a violent person. I love my son more than life. Why does this thought have so much control over me and why can't I just make it go away....it's almost as if you are dreaming except you are awake. You have no control over the thought process--just like you don't have control over your dreams while you sleep.
I wanted to share my story b/c I am still learning more about myself. I have been told that I may have a form of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), but I have not been officially diagnosed with the disorder. I find that telling people, even if they don't understand or think I'm nuts is a very freeing experience. The more I talk about it, the less control the thought has in provoking the panic. I know that I would never harm my son--that's what makes this so annoying. Why would I have the thought, and then why would I let it scare me so?
I hope this is of some help to anyone. I would love to have feedback of anyone in a similar situation, struggling with similar intrusive scary thoughts. I am happy to share, now knowing that I won't go to jail b/c I have a disorder, and more importantly that people never act on these intrusive thoughts.
Thank you for allowing me to share, and please don't judge me--this is not something that I chose to think about and now plagues me as I strive to become well.
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Always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment choice or changes in your treatment. Never discontinue treatment or medication without first consulting your physician, clinician or therapist.
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Gluck, S. (2009, January 10). 'Lisa', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/articles/lisa