Q: I have always been a worry wart, and the past few years it
seemed to have surpassed. Then one day I was watching Oprah about a man who killed his 2 daughters. I can’t get that out of my head. Right away I thought “What if I snapped and hurt someone I loved?” Then it kept going farther of me imagining myself hurting my boyfriend or any family member I was around. I love everyone and I love my life. Everything is great so why all of a sudden this incident I saw (the man was extremely depressed and everyone in his family knew he was mentally unstable) triggered a fear in me? It comes and goes and I have talked to MANY people who have the same fear. However it still bugs me and the anxiety I have scares me to believe one day I will do some harm which I never have and never want to. It disgusts me to think about it and to watch stuff on the news and shows that relate to harm. Also, the one thing I can’t be around is sharp objects now, I think that is because the man used knives. Is this obsessional OCD? I am normal and happy, but these thoughts disgust me, is that
why they won’t go away because they scare me?

A: Of course I can’t diagnose your problem without a thorough evaluation but the situation you’re are describing sounds like a fairly common concern that some of my clients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) describe. If you are not seeing a therapist, I would suggest you find one. If you already have one, then be very honest with your therapist about what is happening. If this is outside of his/her area of expertise then you may want to ask for a referral. It is likely that seeing the situation on the show spurred some obsessional thinking on your part. Having the thoughts does not in any way mean you will ever act on them. The fact that you are concerned is a good sign, ie: it is more of an obsession than a delusion. You can most likely get rid of the thoughts or at least reduce them by using cognitive therapy techniques. Just in case, you may want to remove sharp objects in your home and talk with a trusted member of your family about your concerns. I know it is scary but it is more common than you think. Help is out there that is very effective. Good luck.