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Thread: Existential OCD with DP/DR

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Existential OCD with DP/DR

    I've had OCD for most of my life and been in and out of therapy for it since childhood so obsessive thinking isn't new to me but this form of OCD is. I've had DP/DR in blips all my life too but ever since my stepdad died suddenly at Christmas 2019, it's been constant ever since.
    4 weeks ago, my beloved cat and best friend, Rambo, died suddenly at the vets. He was diagnosed with mast cell cancer a few weeks before that and was in getting more tests done and all the tests came back saying the cancer wasn't as bad as the vet thought and he was a prime candidate for treatment and all his other lab work was perfect. Half an hour before I was due to pick him up to take him home, I got a call from the vet saying he took a random cardiac arrest and couldn't be revived. I know going under anaesthetic for tests is a risk but none of us saw that coming when his pre test work up was perfect. What gets to me more is he died the exact same way as my stepdad did.

    My stepdad got admitted to hospital for tests and died 2 hours after admission from a cardiac arrest all the while my mum was just 20 mins away from heading up to see him and Rambo died at the vet after testing from a sudden cardiac arrest. I haven't got over (not that you ever can really) the grief from my stepdad dying and now Rambo's grief has hit me.

    Whenever someone close to me dies, I always seem to be bombarded with thoughts of "where are they now?", "How can you be here one minute and then gone the next?", "Why live just to die?" Along with all the expected guilt what if thoughts

    And now that my numbness from Rambo's death has worn off, I'm plagued with even more intense thoughts like - "how do I know I'm real? How do I know my husband is real and that I'm not just dreaming or in a coma? Or that I'm part of some huge simulation and it's all a game?"
    "How do I go to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will bring?"
    "If nothing matters and life is just a game, why I don't I do bad things or harm myself or others?" - that one frightens me because why the hell would I think that?!

    Mainly my intrusive thoughts revolve around death, the unknown etc. I know it's all stemming from grief and anxiety and the DP/DR that comes from that but it's so hard to bear. I feel like I am going crazy. I thought years ago my contamination fears when I was convinced everything was laced with LSD would be the worst I'd ever feel due to my OCD but this is horrible. I feel like I can't live for fear of dying. The anxiety is so overwhelming and hits like a punch every second it returns.

    I've spoken to my MH team who have referred me for more online CBT and they are more worried about how long the dissociation is lasting for and think that's a bigger problem than OCD. They think the thoughts I'm having are normal in the circumstances but amplified by OCD.

    I've made some changes such as cut out booze completely, getting outside more often, trying to not seek reassurance as much as I used to, I am going to start a journal, watch films or play games to distract me and I'm trying to eat better.

    Does anyone on here have any experience with existential OCD? I have tried talking to my family but they either have no experience with OCD in general or most likely, they believe in God and afterlife which I don't so I just get their opinions and they don't see my worry or concerns.
    Last edited by GingerFish; 06-04-21 at 02:35.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Re: Existential OCD with DP/DR

    Welcome back GingerFish ... I was wondering where you were as I noticed you hadn't been around since February.

    Sorry to hear you're still struggling, but I think it great you've cut out alcohol completely as that was not helping your situation at all. Starting a journal will help, I've noticed I feel better after writing it out in words, and eating better is good; I should try and do the same as I eat a lot of junk food. Getting outside it also so beneficial to get real sunlight, I find it challenging to go out I admit that, but I'm working on it as the weather is really getting nice here.

    I'm sorry about the loss of your cat I know that must be difficult right now with everything else you're already dealing with.

    I hope you feel better soon and try not to worry so much about tomorrow and focus on the here-and-now and today.

    Take good care

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Re: Existential OCD with DP/DR

    This is so similar to where I am now Ginger, and I too don't know what to do about it. It's like any big concept or unknown sends me spiralling.
    I can totally sympathise anyway, it's the worst symptom I have ever had, and I am desperately struggling.

    My only real plan is just to keep trying to ignore it, and hope it moves on. I'm going to start running again too, as I've found that helps me sometimes.

    Best of luck, Phil.
    Last edited by PHR; 08-07-21 at 17:23.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Re: Existential OCD with DP/DR

    Ginger, I have it too, really bad now. I have always had it, plus other various and horrible OCDs ( HIV, germs...), but since my mother died last June 30th, it has been all the time with me. The fear if overwhelming, and I now regularly wake up after the first sleep, in horrible panic. I also somehow did not grieve, just was almost relieved when she died, because she was very sick and I simply could not take care of her any more, but all that is now coming back with vengeance. I am literally in constant fear , borderline with sheer panic. It has become unbearable. I hide and cry all the time. Plus, I have really bad health anxiety ( seeing two specialists in the next ten days). I do not know what to do, because I had had therapy for years, and it did not do almost anything except empty my finances. Reach out to me through PM if you need - just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. Real clinical OCD is one of the worst things that can happen to a person.

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