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Hi everyone, I wanted to post on here because I have no idea how I’m feeling lately and I’m looking for some answers/relief that I’m not alone. It'll be along post!! I'm sorry.

Some background: Starting just after Christmas this year, I have really struggled with health anxiety stemming from problems that did not really exist. I thought I had a brain tumor and spent every moment trying to convince myself I didn't. I took two trips to the ER during that period, where they told me that I had a pinched nerve and on the other trip, an anxiety induced migraine. Things have calmed down since I have been to a doctor and she told me I don't have a tumor. Then recently, I had a sensitive tooth and I couldn't help but think it was infected and I HAD to go to the dentist that day - or else the infection would reach my blood and I would die. I know this sounds nuts, but I'm just trying to give you a picture of my life. 

I am 20 and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 4 years. I can't tell you how wonderful he is. He is kind, smart, funny, and comes from an amazing family that I love so much. Our love has always been stable and strong; he is my rock and my very best friend in life. We have the same goals and values, and I know that I want to have a family and future with him. We don't have giant arguments - we are really good at communicating and working out any problems we might have had. I've never once questioned us.

Until about a month ago, when I literally woke up and felt nothing. This is the scariest feeling in the world. I went from absolutely ADORING him, to feeling nothing. It has given me such bad anxiety the past few days to where I can't eat or sleep really. I pace around my house obsessively, thinking about every little thing about us. I feel pangs of guilt anytime that he does anything sweet because he loves me SO much and I feel like suddenly, I can't reciprocate that. I've struggled with the question, "Am I still in love with him?" and it has broken my heart to even ask myself that. I feel so guilty. I don't want to leave him, and I don't ever think about what it would be like to be with anyone else. It makes me anxious to be around him because I'm constantly overanalyzing everything to see if I feel the same way, and to not be around him because I just keep overthinking.

I have talked to him about it. I couldn't live with feeling like I was keeping a secret from him. He, amazingly, didn't go running. He told me that he knows I love him and that he's going to be right here while I work this out. That was so important to me.

Recently, it has gotten a bit better. I have an appetite back, somewhat. I still wake up everyday with this crushing anxiety and pit in my stomach. I want him to be around me, and when we’re together we laugh and I enjoy his company. Then there would be pangs - intrusive, dark thoughts - that I loved him, but wasn't in love with him. I look at pictures of us, read our old texts, and know that that I AM in love with him. I knew it literally a few weeks ago. We've been together for years so it hasn't been fireworks for awhile, but he is my very best friend and I loved him on a deeper level. 

I'm a college student, and lately I don't have the motivation to do my work. I used to be outgoing and ambitious, but now I feel like doing the bare minimum to graduate. I am so anxious that I won't actually get into law school and will embarrass myself because of that. I kind of feel like I'm always waiting for the next thing to come along and that I'm just sort of... existing. I find it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, and while I used to love doing my makeup every day it now just sits there. I just don't really feel warm and fuzzy feelings of love anymore.

I feel truly disconnected from the world. I see people laughing and smiling and hanging out with their friends and I can’t ever imagine myself being happy like that again. I am constantly upset and ruminating over how I feel about my boyfriend – I just want to feel those feelings of love again. While we used to spend hours talking about getting married and moving in, which I KNOW I wanted more than anything, I can’t see myself that far in life. I feel stuck here, perpetuating in this hopelessness.

My latest intrusive thoughts are absolutely overwhelming. At first, they were about my abusive ex boyfriend. My mind would replace everything about my boyfriend with my ex, and it was absolute torture. I would be with my bf and a thought would pop into my head, "would my ex think this is funny? " or "what would my ex think?" The worst part was that I DID NOT want these thoughts! Now, they have changed into the same sort of thoughts, but about a boy in one of my classes. I literally barely know him and to be honest don't even find him that attractive. However, the intrusive thoughts are ridiculous. They say "do you think he finds you attractive? Would he find you funny?" and other random questions like that. Once again, I DO NOT want these thoughts. I've stopped going to class because seeing him triggers things all over again (not heathy, I know). I feel so guilty, like my mind is trying to get me to like someone else but I KNOW on a rational level that I have no desire to be with anyone else. I know that my boyfriend is who I want to be with, but these thoughts are so convincing and are telling me otherwise. I keep thinking that because I don't want to go to class and see him, that MUST mean I like him. Or that because I was thinking about my ex and now him, I MUST not love my boyfriend and want to be with someone else.

I guess I'd just like to know if anyone has had intrusive thoughts like this? How did you deal with them? I am in therapy right now but have just started, and am considering talking to my doctor about medication as well. Any insight/help would be sooo appreciated!

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  • Posted

    Hi Carly 

    I hope you do find this- I have only just read this post and it  is speaking volumes to me. 

    I suffer with the same problem and have done for most of about two months of mine and my finace's relationship (now 3 1/2 years in). 

    Something that I have learned is to just expose yourself to the trigger... which is horrible and I struggle with myself. 

    It's good that you have gone to the doctors and talked to your boyfriend about it. 

    My obsessions happens so often and change every few months and I have recently volunterily come off of medication (which I am now swiftly going back on again because it was a f***ing stupid idea).

    I would replace every precious moment (not voluntarily with the people that I thought I liked at the time). It's taking its toll at the moment with my other half and me and now I have started having major anxiety and panic attacks becuase I have started a new job. There is a guy here who i have spoken to about 3-4 times and that is it but that was enough to for my brain to switch on to that person. I take every day as it comes becuase some days I question if I am happy about these thoughts (which is basically the next step on from thinking it) and It's so overwhelming, i know I am not happy with these thoughts. I remind myself that it's not real and it can be horrible when the anxiety takes over and convinve myself it is real.   

    I would never do anything to hurt my finace and I love him to the moon and back and it's incredibility horrible to think like this and to be so overly emotional. 

    How are you doing? It;s been a few months since your post! I hope things are getting better for you. xx

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    • Posted

      Hey Michelle, Carli replied to to me on one of her other discussions about the exact same thing so maybe you can get some answers from that!

      I've been suffering with the exact same thing as you both. I can especially relate to the guy in work thing, I keep convincing myself I want to be with some guy in work over my long term boyfriend and we've only ever had about 2 conversations aha, But it's so hard to break out of the cycle of those thoughts!

      Hopefully you're managing to break away from the thoughts! X

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  • Posted

    Ok..I hope someone will see this.. I am a 39 year old single female. I have recently started a relationship with someone(2 months).  Once again  I am questioning whether I could find someone Im more into/attracted to. I know for a fact i have never met anyone that I have gotten along better with and I have dated tons...I have officially been diagnosed with body dysmoprhic disorder....and anxiety ....There are days I pick him apart physically in my head..I get sooooo irritated with him and hes doing nothing wrong!

    This is going to be all over the place so I am sorry in advance.  I have done this with men many times before. I am known as the overly picky female who always has men interested in me and pursuing me...and I always seem to find something wrong with them.. I break up with them and they go on to find women they get in serious relationships with and marry. Dont get me wrong. I have had a few men break my heart. I had a very traumatic 3 yr relationship in my early twenties where it was a case of unrequited a father who has told me he loves me less then 10 times in my life...blah blah a couple other men that I was very into and they broke up with me...Now, heres where i analyze...These men i have dated after my 3 year relationship , only seem to break up with me because my anxiety and possible rocd causes me to be annoying as eff with anxiety made me act a certain me which im sure pushed them away....Up until 2 years ago i feel as if my rocd was centered around the i loveable? I had a 7 month relationship with a man i really cared for and throughout that I came out knowing and believing he trulyyyyyyyyy loved me but we were just too different....not compatible....

    A year later..i started taking zoloft...lowest dosage.. I found a hobby and some passions and within the last year every man I have dated i have not been interested in...I feel all of a sudden my life isnt centered around finding a man to love me...and now im constantly questioning and obsessing...will iiii ever be capable of loving someone.. I feel like im not capable....I feel no emotional connection to anyone......its very scarey,I watch movies and cry at the marriage scenes....the true love scenes..and i know i want that very much..i want marriage in my end game....but i cant like anyone! or its very fleeting and i go back to being numb..

    Now this currrent guy......has lasted the longest in the last 2 i said...2 months...we get along minute im so seeing a future..I even texted my sister after a ocuple drinks last week saying i wanted to marry him one now..a week later..literally feeling emotions towards him..wouldnt care if we continued dating.. Ive been picking him apart .....i cannot understand myself...i hate this..why cant i just be do i know if i def have rocd...or if im just super picky or if its just a fear of vunerabiluty or if i just havent found the one??!!! ugh!!!!

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  • Edited

    i think the first thing to always remember is that there are so many people out there who struggle with ROCD , a quick search on google and you will find so many forums , so many youtube channels dedicated to ROCD with thousands of followers. I mention this because the issue with this mental disorder is that it attacks love , love is not measurable and it cant be seen so it makes it much easier to question your thoughts and doubts when in reality we need to remember that these are just anxiety based thoughts caused by a mental disorder .

    Knowing that this is a condition recognised by psychologists and health experts and that millions of people suffer allows us to better ignore the thoughts and not take them personally.

    What helped me a great deal in understanding what i was going through was actually watching peoples experiences on youtube who were suffering with other types of OCD that werent ROCD. For example one girl who really suffered because everytime she saw a knife she had thoughts about harming herself or others and she would then feel so guilty and confused and led to anxiety and panick attacks. I myself have never experienced OCD with this kind of thing so it really opened my eyes . It opened my eyes because it wasnt something I was in the middle of , as an outside perspective i could see how irrational this was and so it made me realise that my ROCD was just another type of OCD that was just as irrational.

    ROCD will always cause you to find a fault with your relationship or your partner , it will outwardly look for a problem . With this your brain is wired in a way to always be on look out or stressed , if everything was to be good and normal this would contradict your brain's pattern to be in anxiety mode - your brain likes comfort and what its used to , so if you enter a healthy relationship and all is good your brain gets panicked and confused. This is where ROCD kicks in and sends out obsessive thoughts and anxiety , your brain is used to these feelings and almost feels a false sense of comfort from this .

    You mention that you have suffered a lot with other OCD in the past - let this be a reminder that your brain is just playing the same tricks on you as before .

    Oftentimes people who suffer with OCD have suffered loss of a love one or an abusive relationship in the past , this means that subconsiously we are scared of love because we are scared of the potential loss of grief that can come with it-we naturally go into flight mode because of our past but in reality the relationship may be great and exactly what we need but our subconcious brain is not going on rational its going on past experiences which arent the current situation. It is not because you have a thought or a feeling that you have to believe it.

    The way I like to see is this : When my room is black with the lights turned out and im walking around i feel alot of anxiety and fear-i have thoughts of someone being under my bed, i convince myself i can see faces in the dark ... rationally , of course i know this isnt true , but because i cant see , my brain convinces myself in that moment that it is true i get so overwhelmed with fear that my heart starts beating fast i deliberately look out for noises and clues , because my brain is looking for clues to confirm the feeling of fear i convince myself of noises that arent even there . On top of this , my past experience of watching horror movies based on dark rooms further fuels this anxiety . i say this because this can be compared to ROCD , love is like a dark room - love cant be seen , love is uncertain . Your brain is scared of the unknown , it is looking for clues and 'evidence' to explain the uncomfortable feeling of fear rather than to confront it (essentially your brain is being a pussy). To add to this , just like my point with the horror movies , you may have experienced a negative association with love in the past which further fuels this fear or even causes it all together .

    Last point , you mention you compare your boyfriend to your ex and that you think of your ex , your worried , im guessing, because you now think that maybe this means you cant be in love with your boyfriend and you feel alot of shame and guilt around these thoughts . i too have had these thoughts in the past , and so has pretty much everyone with ROCD -so yes it is normal and a part of the disorder and this does not mean you dont love your partner . However , the issue with seeking reassurance on the specific thoughts your having is that it causes you to obsess over the thoughts , your brain then looks for clues and signs that either contradict or go with this thought as a way to judge the thought (think of the horror movie analogy) but because your focusing on this thought your making it seem real and giving it the attention that it doesnt deserve , just like a bully -you ignore them they get bored , you rise to it and they get a thrill and carry on . So even though i know its easier said then done try and not pay attention to what thoughts your having instead just label it as an ROCD thought that is seperate of you , something you cant control but you can learn to let go of. Many people who have suffered with ROCD have now found hapiness with their partners and in marriage , keep fighting and stay as positive as you can 😃

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