Denise’s Diary: The Doubting Disease

Doubting one’s self is another major aspect of OCD. That is why OCD is sometimes referred to as the “Doubting Disease.” I will try to explain this in a way that is easy to understand, because, believe me, there is nothing about this disease that is easy to comprehend. Even after living with it for forty-three years, I still cannot figure it out.

Basically, when you are in doubt, what happens is that your senses fail to reassure you. For instance, I would see a class ring on someone and I would think it looked like THE class ring of The Guy. It might have a different color metal or stone, but my mind would not reassure me that it was true. It would convince me that ring was the one I feared, even though my eyes could see different. I was not able to believe my sense of sight because my OCD was more powerful than my senses.

While driving in my car I would also experience doubt, thinking I hit something. I’d glance in my rearview mirror, but that was not enough. I was forced to turn around and go back to make sure there was not a person or animal lying in the road. Even after returning and leaving, I was still worried about what I may have hit.

Other times this would occur when I would leave the house to go to work. I would lock the front door and be on my way.  The tension would begin to mount and I would think, “Did I unplug my curling iron?” So I’d get out of the car, unlock the door, and run upstairs. It was unplugged. So I would get back in the car and by the time I settled back in my seat, ready to turn the ignition on, the doubt re-emerged.  Maybe it wasn’t really off. So back in the house, up the stairs and…it’s unplugged, I think. I had to actually look at the plug and see it lying on the floor to convince myself that it was absolutely not plugged in. And, even after all of this, I may still feel anxious throughout the day.

How could I doubt my own senses? I could see something, but my mind would overshadow my senses and cause great anxiety.

I was always asking for others’ opinions for reassurance in so many situations. Doubt really fuels the fire for OCD. I felt I needed total control and certainty in every aspect of my life. The fact of the matter is, this pursuit for control leads to just the opposite—complete loss of control over your life.



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