I need help knowing how to deal with this by myself: My ocd got worse about a year ago, my best friend started struggling with health problems and I began struggling with rituals. I already had problems with checking things, now my anxiety is so so terrible, I am now overwhelmed with the fear of harming others with thoughts or not doing rituals..I know how crazy this sounds! And I dont know how Ive become this..I feel crazy, and its not something I can talk about to anyone, its causing problems with the ones I love, so I keep it to myself..but I need to end it. I was so happy before, now Im often depressed and Im desperate to find a way to end this and be normal again! To fix it myself..I also struggle with intrusive thoughts, please help me :( I am so young and I am terrified of looking back with regrets of this being all that I am and held me back :( thank you.

A. You are not “crazy.” You’re dealing with an anxiety issue. Millions of individuals struggle with anxiety problems. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which you may or may not have, is characterized by unwanted intrusive thoughts or obsessions that compel individuals to engage in ritualistic behavior in an attempt to decrease their anxiety. Though it is not true for everyone, many individuals develop OCD after a trauma-related incident or a significant loss.

I would not recommend that you continue to try to fix this problem yourself because as you’ve stated, it has become worse, not better. That is the nature of anxiety disorders, particularly OCD. The more that you engage in your rituals, the more you reinforce those behaviors and thus the problem intensifies.

The wisest and most efficient solution to this problem would be to see a therapist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There are very targeted treatments that deal specifically with OCD, primarily, exposure and response prevention therapy.

This problem requires professional help. The sooner that you seek professional help, the sooner you can be anxiety-free. The find help tab, at the top of this page, can assist you in locating the appropriate mental health professionals in your community. Be certain to choose a therapist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder or in exposure and response prevention therapy. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle