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hiv phobia and weird coincidences ocd?
anxietyextreme posted:
hello everyone,I want to share my story because i think i have a type of ocd. Recently i had a fear of getting HIV. I had really bad anxiety over it . Eventhough most people said that i didnot need testing because my risk was vry low to zero but i did test myself 3 times. Now, i am finding stuff related to hiv everywhere like once i turned on the car radio and a song about hiv was on! How weird is that?! I was watching stand up comedy on youtube and this comedian mentioned aids now thats not the weird part, before playing the video i told myself ''there better not be anything related to hiv in this video" my fear came true, i got sudden chills of fear all over my body. I m also seeing other coincidences which are not related to hiv. Now i took my last test at 80 days post exposure to hiv 84 days is recomended , but doctors said 4 days wont make any difference. My mind tells me if the coincidences that i experience have very low probability but they are still happening so the probability of me getting hiv is really negligible but what if i got it and i am a very rare case where my tests cant detect hiv or what if 4 days made a difference in tests. Its so annoying every thing i see i get scared that there might be a coincidence its like finding it everywhere and if its related to hiv i panic. Is this somekind of ocd or anyother disorder? I was an atheist before but now i m thinking these might be messages from god. I am going really crazy please help?
anxietyextreme responded:
Please any advice?
rohvannyn responded:
You aren't going crazy. It's a well known phenomenon, that once you get an idea in your head your mind will begin noticing all kinds of coincidences and symbols related to what you are thinking about. Try thinking about white cars, for example, and suddenly you will see a whole lot more than you had noticed before. The mind naturally seeks out patterns and symbols, particularly when you are worried about something.

I doubt that you are OCD, but it's plain that you are worried about the possibility of HIV. This is natural enough. Believe the tests, take another test if it would make you feel better, and use that anxiety that you feel as a reason to be more careful about your exposure. Finally, when you start to panic, take deep, slow breaths. It is physically harder for you to be afraid when you are doing that.
Reid Wilson, PhD responded:
Hey, anxietyextreme- I am sorry you are having such worries about HIV. Rohvannyn had a smart and caring response. I think it would be helpful to take a step back, get a little perspective, and decide, "Do I want to consider these thoughts and coincidences as a signal?" If so, then take action, whatever that might be. Or, "Do I want to consider these thoughts and coincidences as noise, as some kind of stuck preoccupation I am having with HIV?" If you tend to be a worrier, then I can tell you that you will have trouble being certain that these thoughts are simply you getting stuck on an idea.The tendency to worry won't LET you know that you have checked enough. That's why you need to take a step back and get some perspective. These are one of the types of worries that people with OCD have. They get fearfully stuck on a specific topic, they think that they have done something wrong or have put themselves at risk. (That's the obsession.) And then they check (i.e., have another test, search on the internet, etc.) to reassure themselves that they are okay. (That's the compulsion/ritual.) They feel relieved, but their relief doesn't last very long--back they go with more worries on the same topic and more urges to get reassurance. If it sounds like you, then you need to decide when you will be ready to start addressing the pattern (of worry and then checking), instead of always focusing on the topic of your worry.
anxietyextreme replied to Reid Wilson, PhD's response:
Thank you so much doctor you are right on target, what you describe is exactly my condition, i feel ok after a test but for just a little while then i start to panic again. I will take your advice and focus on the pattern of worry.
Thank you again!
Hschoolingmomof2 replied to Reid Wilson, PhD's response:
Dr. Wilson,
I want to thank you so much for your advice and knowledge. I have battled OCD ~ Cancer Phobia for over 16 years. I wish I knew about this site years ago. It sure would have helped, but it still helps now and that is a true Blessing. I was wondering, if you have any helpful "hints" that might help us talk with our doctors about what we experience. I think most of us would say that we have been looked at as if we were freaks. All of the doctors I have met thus far, do NOT understand anxiety or panic disorder. They don't think it's "real" and we should just calm down. Can you help us talk with our physicians about what we experience? Thank you so much for your help and for what you do.

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