April 23, 2011

Negative Emotions and OCD

Wow - today I just feel horrible overall. I feel anxious, sad and most of all irritable.  I think irritability and anger are my primary emotions.  And I have no idea why!!  I could just scream at the entire world today.  (I’m even inpatient and cranky with my dog!!!)  I don’t really have any OCD thoughts racing.  It’s a beautiful, warm, sunny day.  And I feel pissy.  And then I start beating myself up for feeling this way on such a gorgeous long weekend – especially when there really is nothing wrong.  I feel like I need to have a REASON for feeling this way.  I have to justify my feelings.  The whole notion of just being in a bad mood is foreign to me.  I suppose I’m still under the impression that I should somehow be able to control my feelings. 

Then I start obsessing.  Analyzing and trying to “figure out” why I’m feeling this way.  Am I suppressing something?  Am I mad at someone?  Is there some sort of stress in my life that I’m not coping with effectively?  WHAT IS IT????  I know what my feared consequence is.  REJECTION.  I am scared of feeling and expressing negative emotions.  Why?  There are a few reasons, really.  The first is that I was taught by my parents that negative emotions are “bad” and that I should always just put a smile on my face and stop feeling [insert negative emotion].  I am a very emotional person and if I ever expressed any of the “bad” emotions I would get in trouble or shamed and I would feel rejected.  The second reason, closely related to the first, is that even outside of my family, I have felt rejected from close friends and boyfriends when I express my feelings.  In my opinion, there are very few people who are comfortable with emotional people.  They don’t know what to do or say to people like me, so they either do the same thing that my parents did and say “you shouldn’t feel that way” – or – even worse – they avoid me or run away.  
Due to these experiences, my OCD latches on to bad days like this.  I don't want to reach out to anyone - for fear of rejection.  I don't want to tell people how I really feel.  Who would understand?     
Does anyone else ever just feel crappy for no “good” reason? 
I wish I could just cry. 
I really could use a hug. 


  1. I hope you're feeling a bit better! You don't have to justify being in a bad mood nor do you need to just make it go away!

    I can certainly understand the way you feel. My guess is that it probably relates to something you mentioned in a previous blog - when you stop trying to compulsively avoid feelings, all of a sudden they feel so powerful. As evidenced by my outpouring of anger in recent blog posts, I can really relate to this. I know I'm used to forcing myself to feel "fine" when I'm unhappy or am at least used to spending a lot of time trying to make myself feel "fine." Sitting back and realizing that I really don't have very much control over my emotions is hard to accept sometimes. But I'm learning. Likewise, I'm trying to learn that it's okay to not always be in a perfect mood. That I don't need to justify my bad moods or make them just go away.

    I hope you're feeling better, but I can certainly relate!

  2. Wow, we are on the same wavelength here! I hope you are feeling better--I know that I used to spiral into worse and worse moods when I tried to figure out why I was having a bad day with no obvious cause, and it really sucks. It's weird how emotions do actually pass if I let them, but I never knew it was possible. I also get the urge to hold onto good feelings, and start fearing they will go away, which doesn't end well either. Or good feelings would sometimes scare me, because I assumed then something bad would happen. I really had to take it on faith that feelings ebb and flow--I thought my therapist was crazy when he first said that to me.

  3. Fellow & Expwoman - yes I am feeling better - thanks! The three of us seem to definitely be on the same wavelength at the moment with this topic. It's definitely exposure to let myself feel the feelings because like you - I'm scared that they won't go away or - get worse. I feel better today - had a good talk with a friend last night and had a small epiphany about how OCD latches on to some of my negative core beliefs. I feel like I made some small bit of progress!

  4. I used to get super stuck in trying to "figure out" what was causing my bad mood, which would make it even worse, because I couldn't always figure it out and that would stress me out more. A friend once told me, "In the moment, your priority isn't to figure out what's causing it; your priority is to take care of yourself and get through it." I always remember that whenever I get in a bad mood--that I don't have to figure out the answer. I just have to move through it. That's such a comfort to me--like a big weigh lifted off my shoulders. It removes the pressure and instills compassion and comfort.

    Hope you're feeling okay!

  5. Thanks Amelia! Great advice from your friend too. I think I will write that down and keep it on a post-it note. I'm doing much better these days!!