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Thread: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

  1. #1

    Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?


    Philosophical warning:
    Really desperate. This is my first big theme, and it had to be stupid solipsism. It just popped in one day, scared the crap outta me and hasn't left in 6 months. 6 MONTHS! Constant. Im so afraid ive ruined my life now. I know on one level its stupid, but my obsessive brain keeps what ifing. Its making me scared, depressed etc. Being with my mom and dad hurts ALOT. Im trying to find a pdoc, as this doesn't seem normal.
    Can anyone give me hope that they got over this obsession in time and didn't doubt the world was real?

  2. #2
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    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    I know exactly how it feels - I went through a phase of being obsessed about solipsism when I was 19. Here's how it came about and also how I overcame it:

    I have experienced derealisation several times in my life, and it's a horrible feeling, especially when you start worrying about existential things. The first time I had it, I was only 9 years old. Thankfully it wore off after about a month, but then when I was 12 it happened again towards the end of my first year at high school (during the summer term).

    When I was 19 years old I went through a phase of solipsism (in my specific case, I was worrying that I might be the only person in the world, and that everyone and everything is a figment of my imagination). This was the most extreme derealisation that I'd ever experienced.

    I was just sitting there one day when I was 19 and I was on holiday, waiting to go to the bathroom, when suddenly this awful thought came into my mind, "What if the whole world and everything/everyone in it is all a dream? All a figment of my imagination."

    That really scared me. The thing is, I'm still not exactly sure what triggered that thought to come into my mind. It happened when I was on holiday with my friend, and my friend's grandmother wanted to go to the toilet. I let her go first, even though I needed to go too. As I was sitting in the bedroom, waiting for her to come out of the toilet, that's when the scary thought came into my mind. I started to think that maybe I should have gone to the toilet first, because my friend's grandmother might not actually exist anyway. (I know that last bit sounds really funny, but back then it was really scary for me).

    The thing is, I had done several things in the past to help other people, but never until that day did I have a scary thought like that come into my mind.

    From that day, I started to worry about it a lot. This obsession carried on for the rest of spring 2003 and the first half of summer. It took me several months before I got over it completely.

    I started to search on the internet, and it was only then that I found that there was a word for my feelings - solipsism. Closely related to it is the "brain in a vat" philosophy. Also, the film The Matrix scared me, as it dealt with the topic of everything being controlled by a computer and not really existing.

    Fortunately, as the months went on, the feelings of solipsism gradually wore off. Every day I would try to look for evidence to disprove solipsism. For example, if you really were the only person in the world, then it must mean that you created everything yourself, including famous writing such as Shakespeare plays, famous pieces of classical music etc. I definitely wouldn't have been capable of creating those things in my own mind. So, for me, this disproved the theory of solipsism. I do still think about it occasionally, but nowhere near as much as I used to. I didn't have any more anxiety episodes for a few years. Years later, when I had my next anxiety episode, it was about a different theme.

    Looking back, I think the reason why it came about could be because I was studying hard for my first ever university exams - I was in the first year of my degree course at the time, and I was told that I had to pass all my exams in order to move on to the second year of my course. I do now believe that the nerves and pressure could have contributed to me developing obsessive thoughts.

    I hope this helps you. The obsession will die down eventually.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Great posts above. I had this and I'm ok now, I studied philosophy for A level, and because I was anxious I became sensitized to issues such as these.
    Remember - even though you are scared now you are having these thoughts, in reality, nothing around you has changed! It's all how it was before so you can get back to thinking about things how you did before. Just let it all wash over you, treat it with humour if you can. Don't block the thoughts out, maybe even play with them a bit. This will pass in time
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  4. #4

    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Thank you guys for giving me hope. Did it stick with you guys constantly all day too? And at times did you feel you believed it? That has me disturbed.
    I've tried the evidence to disprove, but my brain shoots back a 'but what if that's part of it too?' as fast as I could come up with something.
    I was trying to find people with similar problems and I stumbled upon someone whose been dealing with this for 15 years, which has me terrified.
    Last edited by Otulissa; 18-04-13 at 21:22.

  5. #5
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    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Yes, it did stick with me pretty much constantly all day at the time. I remember feeling that everything I do might be pointless if I wasn't real and the world wasn't real, so it affected pretty much everything I did.

    In the first few weeks, I did keep getting the "but what if that's part of it too?" type thoughts. I just had to try my best to keep going through life as normally as I could, looking for evidence to disprove solipsism along the way. For me, it was worst for the first 2 or 3 months, then it gradually began to fizzle out. I found it really helpful to develop new hobbies and interests so that I wouldn't have time to spend hours ruminating about the solipsism thoughts.
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  6. #6

    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Im going to try to live my life as normally as I can, and hopefully it will slip out on its own. Ive never been to a psychiatrist, so I don't know how they could help, but im going to go ahead and give it a try.
    I just hate not feeling that 'connection' with people.

  7. #7
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    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    just remember, however bad you feel, it does not have any impact on your life. its just something some guy made up. It will go eventually, there are things more important.
    Keep up with carrying on as normal!
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  8. #8

    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Did you have it for quite awhile too Pancho? Ive really been trying acceptance, that we aren't meant to know some things. Ive been having moments of clarity I guess where it feels stupid, they don't last long though. But its more than I had before. Im just so stressed since someone who had this obsession told me I wouldn't go back to the way I was before.

  9. #9
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    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    Well you've thought about something you've never thought about before and you will remember that for some time, yes, but you won't be thinking about it all day for ever. You might simply remember it once in a while and look at it objectively. That's what I'm like now, I can just look at these issues with minor anxiety.
    Don't try to accept, just think that you have this now and one day you won't, and there's nothing really you can do about it so you can just let it be, then move on to thinking about something else. And if you are afraid about it, don't try not to think about it, experiment with it instead.
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  10. #10

    Re: Has anyone overcome Solipsism ocd?

    That's what im hoping for. My biggest problem is that its like a connection is lost between me and people right now, not sure how to explain. I can be with my family, but I still kinda feel alone. Did you experience this?

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