First and foremost, nothing that you’ve written was stupid in any way. Having this kind of problem doesn’t make you stupid. I admire your willingness to seek help.
Secondly, what you have described could be a phobia or a related anxiety disorder. You mentioned that you have displayed some symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s possible that this is a progression of those symptoms.
OCD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by symptoms of obsessions and compulsions. Many people have both. Obsessions involve repeated thoughts or urges that cause anxiety. Compulsions involve repetitive behaviors that an individual with OCD feels compelled to engage in.
OCD is a common anxiety disorder. It affects people across all ages of the spectrum but most people are diagnosed around the age of 19. Research indicates that the exact cause of OCD is unknown but many researchers attribute it to a combination of genetics, environment and potentially abnormalities in brain structure and functioning.
Too often, people dismiss anxiety as not being a serious problem. Untreated OCD can worsen over time. The good news is that it is highly treatable.
Treatments for OCD involve psychotherapy and/or medication. Some people prefer a combination of both but each case is different. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as exposure and response prevention (ERP) are to highly effective treatments for OCD.
You stated that your mother is a doctor but you don’t think that she will understand nor will your family members. Not only will they not understand, in your mind, but they are also going to laugh at you. I highly doubt that this will happen. They will likely be thankful that you came to them and will assist you in finding the right treatment.
In fact, they may be able to relate. Research has shown that anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1/3 of all adolescents and adults have reported symptoms of anxiety. You’re not alone in your anxiousness.
I would highly recommend speaking to your parents about this issue. If it’s easier, you might give them the letter that you wrote to us here at Psych Central. It presents your symptoms in an easy to understand way. Your letter could also help them to understand some of the fear and shame you have around the possibility of having an anxiety disorder. Giving them that letter would be a good place to start.
There’s no shame in experiencing anxiety. Virtually everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their course of their lives. Some will experience it worse than others. Thankfully, treatments do exist and it can be corrected. Thank you for your question. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle