Hi there, I'm Rachel. I'm a 21 year old college graduate (I can finally say that!) who majored in computer science and math and I'm hella nerdy. I'm probably the biggest Avatar fan you will ever meet. I blog about my life, Avatar, Dragonlance, books, Jewish things, vegetarian things, and super cute animals (especially bunnies!) I love making new friends, so please message me if you want to talk! ^_^

I keep getting this awful anxiety symptom of feeling like my throat is closing up and I can’t breathe. It makes it hard to fall asleep because I’m afraid of suffocating. Logically I know that I’m not dying but it’s still super scary and the anxiety makes it worse. Now I’m on tumblr in bed because I can’t sleep. This isn’t a full blown panic attack or anything but I’m worried I’m going to have one if I don’t calm down.

lappi replied to your post:lappi replied to your post:Can I ask for an…

If you’re going to be living with her/be her friend, it should probably be a thing she knows about anyway. If not, she’d be a stranger and you’d never see her again! You can try to put it lightly, and if she kind of shrinks away you’ll know that living together might not work out. Just say something like, “Hey, I have anxiety, so if we live together, sometimes I might [hole myself up, etc.]. Are you okay with that?”
Mmm yeah. Most of my friends are okay with it but it’s not generally something I tell people right away, though maybe I should change that.
Hopefully she won’t mind, she seems really nice. But I have had really embarrassing moments of trying to explain my OCD to people. Two I can remember offhand, one was a friend asking to see my solution to a math homework problem but he was sick so I didn’t want him to touch the paper…that was hella awkward and after that he kept assuming that I wanted to keep a distance from him when he was sick…another was when I was at a Shabbat dinner and someone passed me a Challah roll and I really wanted to just touch it myself instead of someone else touching it, and trying to explain it just made me look like an asshole who didn’t believe other people’s hands were clean. But then again, those have always been spontaneous, like, crap, this is going to trigger me and I need to say something but it never comes out right. If I word it carefully ahead of time hopefully it’ll be good.
"OCD is hard to explain
but I’d like to explain it to you
anyways
there are so many forms and each it’s own
form of personal torture
It may be the need to clean
give everything a place and keep it there
or the need to brush my hair
exactly 47 times
It can be as simple as avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk
or as restraining as not allowing myself to dream of good thoughts
in case I jinx them
but at the root of it all is a need
it burns you alive
forces you to attend to it
OCD is like an intense paranoia that you live with every day
You cannot explain it to everyone
and sometimes to no one at all
because it’s hard for them to understand
that you NEED to shake your head 5 times every time a possible bad thought enters your head
you NEED to brush back your carpet each time it is moved out of place
My room may be a mess
—my life a bit too
but nothing compares to the mess in my mind and my unrelinquishing belief that everything will go wrong if I don’t do exactly this
I can’t explain OCD to someone who listened to the words of Neil Hilborn and saw a tragically beautiful story
there is nothing beautiful in the fact that I find it hard to breathe sometimes
that I am struck up by dark thoughts that give me panic attacks in the dead of the night
even when there is nothing real for me to be worrying about
I can’t explain OCD to someone who’s mind is peaceful
I don’t know how to make you understand this"
- 365 days of ugh [day 65] (via 365daysofugh)

So yeah classmate who has been sick with the flu for the past week asked if she can borrow and photocopy my notes.

Meaning sick classmate wants to touch my notebook causing me hours of anxiety.

And I have to say yes of course I’ll lend her my notebook because I’m a decent human being and to not would just be really mean.

But the anxiety I’m going to have after touching that notebook again…math homework is already stressful without worrying about getting the flu while doing it.

You idiots in the tag can hashtag #ocd when you color coordinate your stupid closet and feel so PROUD of yourselves for being an ignorant clever idiot but little things like this that wouldn’t even make you pause for thought are giving me massive amounts of anxiety.

Based on a few posts I saw in the OCD tag.

If you know someone with OCD (or even if you just think they might) and you deliberately mess with their stuff or set things up in a way that you know will get a reaction out of them because you think it is funny, you are the worst kind of scum and need lessons in common human decency. Deliberately setting up triggers for people is an awful thing to do and can cause hours of anxiety and distress for them. Their compulsions are unhealthy behavioral patterns that are mechanisms to handle severe anxiety and do not exist for your amusement.

rileyisafox:

fitnessforarmedforces:

mcgroodz:

copingdaily:

Helping loved ones who deal with anxiety/panic attacks, ptsd, or even just depression can be difficult, but here are some really great pointers.

(Source)

This is great. My mother has severe depression and anxiety and I’ve often sat with her through panic attacks wondering how to help.

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST.

I love this comic. I wish someone could do this for me when I’m upset. When I’m at home it’s my mom or dad because they’re good at seeing when I’m upset or anxious about something even when I’m trying to hide it because they can read me like a book but few other people I know can do that. And my anxiety includes social anxiety which is only heightened when I have OCD-induced anxiety which makes me less likely to reach out to people for help because I don’t want to bother them.

I’m actually jealous of people who are close enough with their friends that they know how to support them without even needing a verbal cue. I’m too introverted and embarrassed about my mental health issues to be too open with them and when I am, I always feel guilty for bothering people afterwards and so it becomes a cycle of painfully holding it in, letting it out, and regret, which leads to holding it in again. Often tumblr is an outlet.

Why am I rambling about this? I guess I just want my followers to take away that if you know someone with OCD or severe anxiety that you have to watch body language to know if they are upset because a lot of people out there need support but aren’t going to outwardly tell you that they need it. For me, it’s being quiet, fidgeting my fingers, looking at the ground or often looking away from people, sometimes looking like I’m daydreaming or unfocused on whatever I’m doing. Yesterday I broke a glass on the floor in the morning and even though I vacuumed I kept idly walking around the kitchen looking at the floor, moving my sock around looking for glass shards, and my sister noticed this peculiar behavior and helped me snap out of it.

With that, here is my little list of ways to support people you know with OCD:

ocdandaway:

Ignore those Buzzfeed lists and read this instead. This article is 100% accurate. If you want to understand OCD, this is a starting point. Cracked does it once again

I need to talk about a thing.

Does anyone else with OCD have this obsession with being honest and not lying or cheating to the point where it becomes unbearable?

So, everyone knows you aren’t supposed to lie, I’m not talking about right vs. wrong here, I’m talking about being obsessed with it. I can’t lie. If I do something then I have to tell someone or else I feel incredibly guilty. For example: Back in high school I was that person who, upon noticing I got points for a question that I actually answered incorrectly, I would point it out to the teacher. Most of the time they would say it was their error and let me keep the points anyway, but I would feel horribly horribly guilty to the point that I would become really depressed if I didn’t “confess.” (I don’t do this anymore but there are fewer grades in college and graders rarely make errors grading exams.)

So I tend to obsessively confess things. Like if I’m cleaning and knock over an object belonging to a roommate I feel like I have to tell them because even though they most likely won’t care, I envision myself in their place and with my extreme phobias of germs, I sometimes don’t grasp that other people aren’t always as freaked out about little things as I am and so I have to confess just in case.

But this also applies to what is considered cheating and here’s what is bothering me now. I have a dick professor who doesn’t provide enough help but also makes it clear on the class website that we have to figure out our assignments either alone or through working with classmates, and he specifically says “Do not consult solution manuals or other people’s solutions from similar courses” through which he implies that consulting anyone else is cheating. But I need extra help. I want to ask grad students I know for help so I can better understand how to do the homework assignments. On the last problem set I was so lost I turned it in incomplete. So if I can’t get the necessary help from the professor during office hours, is it still “cheating” if I get the help elsewhere?

My parents tell me that I should just get the help and not to ask my professor, just do it because I should be allowed to get the help I need without feeling guilty about it.

But this is hard for me and I need to talk about it. I’m being unreasonable but I’m worried about any crushing guilt I might feel if I do this even if I don’t have any “real” reason to feel guilty. The compulsion I would normally do is ask my professor if getting tutoring help is okay but I have a feeling he will say no and then the moral ambiguity completely falls apart and I then I won’t allow myself to get any help and my mental health will suffer from the stress.

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takethegodlymedicine:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Is there anyone out there with some medical knowledge that can put my mind at ease?

Is this bullshit? I came across this article accidentally and it’s making my anxiety peak. It seems really unlikely to be true or have any science behind it but that doesn’t stop OCD unfortunately. I also lack the knowledge to put my mind at ease and I know from experience googling something like this is a bad idea. When I’m as stressed out as I am today stuff like this has a way of getting into my brain, and my OCD won’t let me stop thinking about it. Especially since I have dermatillomania, this is freaking me out.

Also if you are a fellow sufferer of contamination OCD I would not recommend reading the article.

Sorry for the random personal post but I’m in freak out mode and need reassurance.

So yes, help please ;-;

Anonymous said: SERIOUS: I've been having these thoughts that I can't stop thinking. Thoughts of doing things that would cause harm to other people. I know that I would NEVER maliciously do harm to another person. EVER. Yet these thoughts persist in my mind, and they terrify me. Whenever they emerge, huge waves of guilt envelope me and I can't shake them easily. Why do these thoughts persist when they go against my very nature? Do these thoughts make me a bad person?

boggletheowl:

No, they absolutely do not make you a bad person.

What you are describing are known as ‘intrusive thoughts,’ and they are much more common than you think. They are the single most common symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (which frequently goes undiagnosed, especially if you don’t exhibit what one might consider the ‘classic’ symptoms!), but are also a possible sign of depression, body dysmorphia, ADHD, or a variety of anxiety disorders. They’re so common that it’s really strange people don’t talk about them more. They are nothing to be ashamed of, and they are not your fault.

Please don’t feel guilty over a symptom of an illness. This is something to investigate and treat, not beat yourself up over! And until you can seek treatment, I think suppressing them will most likely only make them worse. The best thing to do is just to accept that they are happening, that right now you don’t have the tools you need to get rid of them, but that they don’t reflect anything about you. Intrusive thoughts don’t make you dangerous or sadistic: clearly you aren’t enjoying them!

I know you would never hurt anyone! Everything is going to be okay, I promise!

neurosciencestuff:

Breaking habits before they start
Our daily routines can become so ingrained that we perform them automatically, such as taking the same route to work every day. Some behaviors, such as smoking or biting your fingernails, become so habitual that we can’t stop even if we want to.
Although breaking habits can be hard, MIT neuroscientists have now shown that they can prevent them from taking root in the first place, in rats learning to run a maze to earn a reward. The researchers first demonstrated that activity in two distinct brain regions is necessary in order for habits to crystallize. Then, they were able to block habits from forming by interfering with activity in one of the brain regions — the infralimbic (IL) cortex, which is located in the prefrontal cortex.
The MIT researchers, led by Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, used a technique called optogenetics to block activity in the IL cortex. This allowed them to control cells of the IL cortex using light. When the cells were turned off during every maze training run, the rats still learned to run the maze correctly, but when the reward was made to taste bad, they stopped, showing that a habit had not formed. If it had, they would keep going back by habit.
“It’s usually so difficult to break a habit,” Graybiel says. “It’s also difficult to have a habit not form when you get a reward for what you’re doing. But with this manipulation, it’s absolutely easy. You just turn the light on, and bingo.”
Graybiel, a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the June 27 issue of the journal Neuron. Kyle Smith, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, is the paper’s lead author.
Patterns of habitual behavior
Previous studies of how habits are formed and controlled have implicated the IL cortex as well as the striatum, a part of the brain related to addiction and repetitive behavioral problems, as well as normal functions such as decision-making, planning and response to reward. It is believed that the motor patterns needed to execute a habitual behavior are stored in the striatum and its circuits.
Recent studies from Graybiel’s lab have shown that disrupting activity in the IL cortex can block the expression of habits that have already been learned and stored in the striatum. Last year, Smith and Graybiel found that the IL cortex appears to decide which of two previously learned habits will be expressed.
“We have evidence that these two areas are important for habits, but they’re not connected at all, and no one has much of an idea of what the cells are doing as a habit is formed, as the habit is lost, and as a new habit takes over,” Smith says.
To investigate that, Smith recorded activity in cells of the IL cortex as rats learned to run a maze. He found activity patterns very similar to those that appear in the striatum during habit formation. Several years ago, Graybiel found that a distinctive “task-bracketing” pattern develops when habits are formed. This means that the cells are very active when the animal begins its run through the maze, are quiet during the run, and then fire up again when the task is finished.
This kind of pattern “chunks” habits into a large unit that the brain can simply turn on when the habitual behavior is triggered, without having to think about each individual action that goes into the habitual behavior.
The researchers found that this pattern took longer to appear in the IL cortex than in the striatum, and it was also less permanent. Unlike the pattern in the striatum, which remains stored even when a habit is broken, the IL cortex pattern appears and disappears as habits are formed and broken. This was the clue that the IL cortex, not the striatum, was tracking the development of the habit.
Multiple layers of control
The researchers’ ability to optogenetically block the formation of new habits suggests that the IL cortex not only exerts real-time control over habits and compulsions, but is also needed for habits to form in the first place.
“The previous idea was that the habits were stored in the sensorimotor system and this cortical area was just selecting the habit to be expressed. Now we think it’s a more fundamental contribution to habits, that the IL cortex is more actively making this happen,” Smith says.
This arrangement offers multiple layers of control over habitual behavior, which could be advantageous in reining in automatic behavior, Graybiel says. It is also possible that the IL cortex is contributing specific pieces of the habitual behavior, in addition to exerting control over whether it occurs, according to the researchers. They are now trying to determine whether the IL cortex and the striatum are communicating with and influencing each other, or simply acting in parallel.
“A role for the IL cortex in the regulation of habit is not a new idea, but the details of the interaction between it and the striatum that emerge from this analysis are novel and interesting,” says Christopher Pittenger, an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not part of the research team. “Thinking in the long term, it raises the question of whether targeted manipulations of the IL cortex might be useful for the breaking habits — and exciting possibility with potential clinical ramifications.”
The study suggests a new way to look for abnormal activity that might cause disorders of repetitive behavior, Smith says. Now that the researchers have identified the neural signature of a normal habit, they can look for signs of habitual behavior that is learned too quickly or becomes too rigid. Finding such a signature could allow scientists to develop new ways to treat disorders of repetitive behavior by using deep brain stimulation, which uses electronic impulses delivered by a pacemaker to suppress abnormal brain activity.

Research like this gives me hope that there might soon be better treatment available for OCD (and OCD-spectrum disorders). Though this research seems to be more targeted at compulsions than actual obsessions, which would not help people with Pure-O. But it is still a big step forward. I’m curious how this would work with OCD, though, because the obsessions and compulsions are very cyclical in nature. For example, if I’m afraid someone will make me sick, my compulsion is to avoid them and things they touch and if I can’t, I wash my hands. But if there was some sort of treatment that would make me stop avoiding/washing my hands, would that necessarily make the fear of getting sick disappear? Food for thought.

neurosciencestuff:

Breaking habits before they start

Our daily routines can become so ingrained that we perform them automatically, such as taking the same route to work every day. Some behaviors, such as smoking or biting your fingernails, become so habitual that we can’t stop even if we want to.

Although breaking habits can be hard, MIT neuroscientists have now shown that they can prevent them from taking root in the first place, in rats learning to run a maze to earn a reward. The researchers first demonstrated that activity in two distinct brain regions is necessary in order for habits to crystallize. Then, they were able to block habits from forming by interfering with activity in one of the brain regions — the infralimbic (IL) cortex, which is located in the prefrontal cortex.

The MIT researchers, led by Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, used a technique called optogenetics to block activity in the IL cortex. This allowed them to control cells of the IL cortex using light. When the cells were turned off during every maze training run, the rats still learned to run the maze correctly, but when the reward was made to taste bad, they stopped, showing that a habit had not formed. If it had, they would keep going back by habit.

“It’s usually so difficult to break a habit,” Graybiel says. “It’s also difficult to have a habit not form when you get a reward for what you’re doing. But with this manipulation, it’s absolutely easy. You just turn the light on, and bingo.”

Graybiel, a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the June 27 issue of the journal Neuron. Kyle Smith, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, is the paper’s lead author.

Patterns of habitual behavior

Previous studies of how habits are formed and controlled have implicated the IL cortex as well as the striatum, a part of the brain related to addiction and repetitive behavioral problems, as well as normal functions such as decision-making, planning and response to reward. It is believed that the motor patterns needed to execute a habitual behavior are stored in the striatum and its circuits.

Recent studies from Graybiel’s lab have shown that disrupting activity in the IL cortex can block the expression of habits that have already been learned and stored in the striatum. Last year, Smith and Graybiel found that the IL cortex appears to decide which of two previously learned habits will be expressed.

“We have evidence that these two areas are important for habits, but they’re not connected at all, and no one has much of an idea of what the cells are doing as a habit is formed, as the habit is lost, and as a new habit takes over,” Smith says.

To investigate that, Smith recorded activity in cells of the IL cortex as rats learned to run a maze. He found activity patterns very similar to those that appear in the striatum during habit formation. Several years ago, Graybiel found that a distinctive “task-bracketing” pattern develops when habits are formed. This means that the cells are very active when the animal begins its run through the maze, are quiet during the run, and then fire up again when the task is finished.

This kind of pattern “chunks” habits into a large unit that the brain can simply turn on when the habitual behavior is triggered, without having to think about each individual action that goes into the habitual behavior.

The researchers found that this pattern took longer to appear in the IL cortex than in the striatum, and it was also less permanent. Unlike the pattern in the striatum, which remains stored even when a habit is broken, the IL cortex pattern appears and disappears as habits are formed and broken. This was the clue that the IL cortex, not the striatum, was tracking the development of the habit.

Multiple layers of control

The researchers’ ability to optogenetically block the formation of new habits suggests that the IL cortex not only exerts real-time control over habits and compulsions, but is also needed for habits to form in the first place.

“The previous idea was that the habits were stored in the sensorimotor system and this cortical area was just selecting the habit to be expressed. Now we think it’s a more fundamental contribution to habits, that the IL cortex is more actively making this happen,” Smith says.

This arrangement offers multiple layers of control over habitual behavior, which could be advantageous in reining in automatic behavior, Graybiel says. It is also possible that the IL cortex is contributing specific pieces of the habitual behavior, in addition to exerting control over whether it occurs, according to the researchers. They are now trying to determine whether the IL cortex and the striatum are communicating with and influencing each other, or simply acting in parallel.

“A role for the IL cortex in the regulation of habit is not a new idea, but the details of the interaction between it and the striatum that emerge from this analysis are novel and interesting,” says Christopher Pittenger, an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not part of the research team. “Thinking in the long term, it raises the question of whether targeted manipulations of the IL cortex might be useful for the breaking habits — and exciting possibility with potential clinical ramifications.”

The study suggests a new way to look for abnormal activity that might cause disorders of repetitive behavior, Smith says. Now that the researchers have identified the neural signature of a normal habit, they can look for signs of habitual behavior that is learned too quickly or becomes too rigid. Finding such a signature could allow scientists to develop new ways to treat disorders of repetitive behavior by using deep brain stimulation, which uses electronic impulses delivered by a pacemaker to suppress abnormal brain activity.

Research like this gives me hope that there might soon be better treatment available for OCD (and OCD-spectrum disorders). Though this research seems to be more targeted at compulsions than actual obsessions, which would not help people with Pure-O. But it is still a big step forward. I’m curious how this would work with OCD, though, because the obsessions and compulsions are very cyclical in nature. For example, if I’m afraid someone will make me sick, my compulsion is to avoid them and things they touch and if I can’t, I wash my hands. But if there was some sort of treatment that would make me stop avoiding/washing my hands, would that necessarily make the fear of getting sick disappear? Food for thought.

Just a little derma ranting under the cut. If it makes you squeamish, don’t read. I just have to vent a bit.

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