Since my late 20’s, every significant personal decision I have had to make has turned my life upside down. Curiously, during my career I was able to make many business decisions without difficulty. This problem seems to be a combination of phobia and ocd. Even when I make a decision whether by impulse, through extensive research. or by following advice of others, I absolutely panic when trying to carry through with it and if I do stay with it, I am often physically sick about it for days. I have been to many psychiatrists and therapists, many of whom could not seem to understand that this is more than just indecisiveness. I have taken nearly every tranquilizer and antidepressant on the market. Do you know of any therapist or psychiatrists that has successfully treated this particular phobia? If not, what type of therapy should I seek?
A: Thanks for writing in with your question. I do not know any specific therapists or psychiatrists in your area to recommend for your particular issue, but have you tried working with a provider who does specialize in the issues you mention, OCD and phobias? You can look up therapists and their specialty on PsychCentral, Psychology Today or by contacting your state’s licensing boards (counseling, psychology, etc).
You say your problem goes beyond indecisiveness, and I agree, especially considering the length and severity of the problem. However, have you tried to educate yourself on the underlying issue? I did a quick search and found a few self-help books that might interest you. http://boomersandbooks.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/the-art-of-indecision/
Finally, if you are not getting the results you need through traditional psychotherapy, I would suggest that you broaden your scope. For example, have you examined your problem from a spiritual perspective, from a philosophical perspective, etc.? Ask yourself what is at the root of your fear and face it directly. It reminds me of a quote I heard once, “There are no mistakes, only feedback.” In other words, every choice and decision we make is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the world around us. Take the pressure off yourself and just live your life. You’ve been suffering long enough.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 May 2014
Counts, H. (2014). Panic When I Must Make a Decision. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 30, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/24/panic-when-i-must-make-a-decision/