For as long as I remember I’ve dealt with ocd. When I was younger and used to walk to school, I would set a number for crossing the street, and if I didn’t make it to the other side – let’s say by 10 seconds, then I would “go to hell” and “not make it to heaven”. When I was 14 I had my first panic attack and it was extremely scary. I entered a extreme dissociative state and that’s where everything spiraled. I’ve been dealing with chronic depersonalization/derealization. My anxiety mostly manifested into hypochondria. In typical anxiety disorder fashion, I convinced myself I had every disease and disorder under the sun. One time I was right, and actually had bacterial meningitis which was a life or death situation that permanently scarred me with “what if I’m right again” questions about some other disease or illness. After an evaluation they came to a conclusion of pure ocd. I have those sleep hallucinations, I’ve actually had them for as long as I remember, but of course when looking up what they’re actually called, I see that they’re a symptom of schizophrenia. That’s when I went into a schizophrenia deep search and convinced myself that I was in my prodrome and I have been for years. My mind began playing tricks on me these past couple of days, shadows in the corner of my eyes, the white noises like my bird chirping, TVs, and fan noises became auditory hallucinations, everything has became too loud and too bright, my depersonalization turned into a “Alice and wonderland” affect and my ocd itself even became a schizophrenia symptom. I did used to be peer pressured by my ex best friend to smoke marijuana which was not good for me at all, and it scares myself because I feel like I put myself at risk. White cars became intrusive thoughts that “what if I’m being followed “ even thought I’m able to disregard that as ridiculous – I can’t help but think what if I’m developing some form of psychosis. Is it possible for ocd to play tricks on people like this? Because the good old internet keeps telling me no- saying that I am indeed in a prodrome.
I understand your desire to learn more about what you think might be wrong but it’s causing major distress in your life. That is one reason why people should avoid attempting to diagnose themselves via the internet. It’s a bad idea. This is especially true for people prone to anxiety. The nature of anxiety is to worry, often about things that are unlikely to be true.
It is worth mentioning again, as I have in prior responses to similar questions, that this is one of the most common questions that I receive here at Psych Central. Most commonly, these questions seem to come from either worried teenagers or people with anxiety disorders who fear that their symptoms are indicative of schizophrenia.
Obviously, it would be impossible for me to know whether or not your symptoms are indicative of any particular mental disorder without having interviewed you professionally. However, it’s important to note that anecdotally, it does seem common that people with anxiety worry about developing schizophrenia.
There may be an explanation for it. In the minds of many people, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is a psychological disaster. It’s considered the “worst of the worst” disorder. It may even be the most stigmatized mental health disorder around the world. People with anxiety often focus on worst-case scenarios. It makes sense that people with anxiety disorders, who are often focused on worst-case scenarios, would worry about developing schizophrenia.
Regarding use of marijuana, it has been linked to an increased likelihood of psychosis. While that may be true, it does not mean that you will develop schizophrenia. It should be something you avoid in the future so as to protect yourself from any possible negative outcomes associated with drug use. What may be happening is that your untreated OCD is worsening and causing you to feel more out of control.
Why have you been dealing with OCD “for as long as you can remember”? This would suggest that you have not been in treatment. If you’re not in treatment, you should be. The sooner, the better. Anxiety disorders are highly responsive to treatment. There’s no reason to continue to experience symptoms when both psychotherapy and medications can successfully treat your condition.
I would highly recommend contacting a mental health professional as soon as possible. Left unabated, your symptoms may be worsening. Couple that with your actively searching the Internet for more information about schizophrenia. You may be feeding your fears. A change is needed. It takes years of specialized training and advanced degrees to diagnose. The solution is consulting a mental health professional.
In the meantime, avoid self-diagnosis. Consult a professional who would be in the best position to advise you about a potential diagnosis. I hope that you will strongly consider mental health treatment. Once you begin treatment your symptoms should decrease and you will likely feel better. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle