Undiagnosed Scared - I don’t know whether what happened qualifies as “trauma” or if I’m being ridiculous.

AliVike2022

New Here
Hello Everyone,

I don’t know if I’m in the right place and just feel I need to put this out there in the hope someone understands and can empathise with how I’m feeling. I was diagnosed with OCD at 19 (I am now 43) and have been on medication daily since that time.

My OCD has always been fairly quiet and manageable, however, over one month ago now I experienced an event that has completely changed everything and has made me fearful, constantly tearful and feeling unsafe.

My issue is: is that I don’t know whether what happened qualifies as “trauma” (it has certainly traumatised me) or if I’m being ridiculous. I live in a ground floor flat and the person above me was being evicted due to anti-social behaviour. The night before their eviction they and a group of friends (all younger males and I am a woman living alone) decided to target my flat by banging on all the outside walls and my ceiling, trying to scratch stuff on my door and they did this every hour from midnight until 4am. The police came twice and spoke with them the final time at 4am. I packed some clothes and my cat and fled to my parents for over week (they live one hundred miles away) after the police had left. I stayed with my parents for a week but kept reliving the feelings of being unsafe and at risk of attack or even death.

I have since returned to my flat and I am hyper alert to any noises outside my flat (my flat faces a busy main road so there’s always noise) and sometimes I perceive noises that aren’t there. Its getting to a point now where I burst in to tears and feel highly agitated as soon as open my front door after work. I have also started sleeping in my clothes and in the living room (I was in my bed when the neighbour and his friends started banging my walls, doors and ceilings, cracking three of the latter) in case I need to “escape” and drive someplace else.

I have spoken to family and friends about this who tell me it’s my OCD or that I’m making a big deal out of it and that it will pass – they don’t know how anxious I get when in the house or that I am sleeping fully clothed for my “escape”. I have also tried to keep lights off so that anyone on the street outside will think I’m out. I have tried to find alternative places to rent and even asked my parents if I could return home. As soon as I leave the house for work in the morning, I am already fretting about going home later that day. I check the weather reports to see if it will be sunny over the weekend which my mind has rationalised that’s when people will more likely be out in the town drinking and could bang on my door or try to access my property. It is a holiday weekend this weekend and my anxiety is sky high. Another person has moved in above me and although she seems nice, I am terrified she will also start attacking my flat. The slightest noise any time of the day or night makes me super jumpy and also scared.

I feel like I can’t be at peace and that I won’t ever feel relaxed or smile again. I have avoided going to town without a friend or my partner (who lives away) as I fear someone or my previous neighbour and his friends attacking me. I do not know what is happening to me.
 
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AngelkeeperJ

Sponsor
I am SO sorry for what happened to you! I can’t even imagine how I would feel safe in the same circumstances!

I can’t diagnose but the sooner you get to a therapist to deal with the overwhelming feelings, the sooner you can begin to heal.

Please don’t be hard on yourself…only you know how you feel and NO ONE is allowed to say that your trauma is something that you can just “get over”…I do not like that phrase. We don’t get over trauma, we learn to deal with and put the pain in a safe place.

Blessings of peace to you!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
It sounds like it caused you alot of stress and maybe your hyper vigilant, paranoid and suffering from cognitive distortions because of the stress?

I find it helpful when I'm in a similar state of mind to say to myself "it's over now"! I might still be thinking about it but it's over, and "they're not coming to get me". Put yourself "in check" and say to yourself "that's not clear realistic thinking".
 

AliVike2022

New Here
It sounds like it caused you alot of stress and maybe your hyper vigilant, paranoid and suffering from cognitive distortions because of the stress?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and comment, it is appreciated. I just keep trying to employ the strategies I have learnt over the years to manage my OCD and they don't seem to be working for this. I am usually popular, gregarious and optimistic with a real love for people. Since this happened though, I am consumed by fear, mistrust of others, and the need to move anywhere away from that place. It seems hugely disproportionate to the event to be called even sub-clinical PTSD, not when you look at the traumas other people have been through. But still, this feels very new and frightening to me and the emotional reactions and panic I have in response to the event are greater than anything I have experienced before in my life.

I am SO sorry for what happened to you! I can’t even imagine how I would feel safe in the same circumstances!

I can’t diagnose but the sooner you get to a therapist to deal with the overwhelming feelings, the sooner you can begin to heal.

Please don’t be hard on yourself…only you know how you feel and NO ONE is allowed to say that your trauma is something that you can just “get over”…I do not like that phrase. We don’t get over trauma, we learn to deal with and put the pain in a safe place.

Blessings of peace to you!
Thank you so much for your kindness and your comment and for hearing me.
 

AliVike2022

New Here
Yeah, I understand how that would make you feel that way. Being "harrassed" where you live would be very unpleasant indeed. Can you maybe get help from a therapist?
Maybe. Think I'm going to have to do something and soon-ish. I can't go on like this.

I've been traumatized at my home twice.

It sucks so much.

Are you able to enjoy something small? One thing at a time?
It's just dreadful, isn't it? Home should be a safe haven, a shelter, not a battleground. When I know i'm not going back to the house I can relax and enjoy things a bit easier. When I know i'm going home, I become agitated, can't concentrate and become tearful.
 

Friday

Moderator
What you’re describing isn’t the kind of event that can cause PTSD, but it is very much the kind of event that can exacerbate pre-existing PTSD (or other conditions like OCD, GAD, most mood disorders, etc.)… causing previously well-managed, or even asymptomatic, disorders to tick tick BOOM! into unmanaged out of control explosions.

So the good news, as far as things go in the land of “this f*cking sucks!”? Is that Occams Razor says it’s most likely a combo of your OCD + massive stress (or moderate stressor) = Kaboom. Which would mean that it’s most likely not a question of learning how to manage an entirely new disorder on top of your existing disorder, but learning how to manage a disorder you’re well familiar with under extraordinary circumstance. Which is the opposite of “being ridiculous”. It’s a big deal. If the simplest explanation is, in fact, the correct one.

It may not be. You may well be dealing with a comorbid diagnosis of many many many possible things (psychological, neurological, medical) on top of dealing with your known disorder under great pressure. There’s no way for a professional, much less a layperson, to even begin to run a differential diagnosis off of a few paragraphs, no medical history, no background/context, labwork, etc.

What I would strongly suggest… is to start with what you know, and work from there.

- You know you have OCD.
- You know that everything has changed recently, following this precipitating event.

- Getting in touch with others with OCD (peer support) to see if this sort of massive reaction is common/expected & here are amaaaazing / practical tips & tricks for how to manage when this happens.
- Getting in touch with professionals familiar with OCD who can help you sift/sort what’s OCD and what’s beyond the scope & really rates further investigation.
 
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