Graham, USA

Did I unknowingly commit a crime or wrong in the past, for which I will be horribly punished in the future?


I have struggled with OCD since I was in my early twenties. Back then, my family doc called it “stress-related anxiety.”  When I was finally diagnosed with OCD what I had been dealing with made sense for the first time.

My OCD has tended to focus on whether I could have unknowingly done something wrong in the past.  The feared mistake changed with time and circumstance, but the expected outcome was always the same: I would be blamed for something I never meant to do and never thought was possible and be ruined.  Compulsions were all mental: rumination, memory checking, and reassurance seeking.  I endlessly played out hypothetical scenarios or arguments in my head to try to convince myself that my fears were impossible.

Although my fears had no logical support, OCD kept whispering that because I couldn’t prove that they were 100% impossible, and because I kept feeling them, then they must be true.

Getting the right treatment has brought me back to the fullest possible life – lived in the present.   If you are fighting a similar battle, don’t give up!  There is hope.

Categories: The Wall

12 replies »

  1. Hi Graham – I’d be so grateful to chat with you, as I have a similar type of OCD and am struggling with severe relapse. Can you email me at to arrange a phone conversation?

    Thank you!!


  2. Hey all. Graham’s description of his OCD describes mine to a T. I am currently seeing an therapist who specializes in OCD. He is having me work through the book “Getting Over OCD” as one aspect of the treatment plan, of that’s if any help to anyone.
    Anyway, in the therapy, it was surprising to find out that even though I don’t do the well-known compulsive behaviors of OCD, like hand washing or counting, reassurance-seeking or checking (in the form of checking info sources or checking memories) are other forms of compulsions. All compulsions serve the same goal–to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. But the relief is only short-term.
    Every day I fight the same fight–rehashing old memories and mistakes, dlteuing to determine how serious my mistakes were, were they illegal, against my religion, in violation of my workplace policies, should I confess or turn myself in? Ugh, I empathize with all of you.


    • Stef, I am sorry that you’ve had to go through the same stuff I have. You and some others who have responded to my wall post have been some of the first people I’ve gotten to talk to whose OCD manifests itself the same way mine does. No matter how tough it gets, just know that you are not alone.

      If you’re like me and you don’t have a local support group available to you, you might find the Yahoo Groups called “OCD-Support” and “pure_o_ocd” to be helpful as well. They’re moderated by some real experts in the field and it’s great to be able to help and be helped by others who are going through the same things.


  3. I keep coming back to your description Graham. I’m a writer as a profession, yet I’ve never been able to articulate my particular “kind” of OCD. In fact, I have days where I question whether or not I really have it, because for so many people they fixate on just one thing. But for me, I am the same as above. The “crimes” I might have potentially “committed” in the past without realizing that I did change on a nearly daily basis, but like you, my experience is the same. I ruminate and ruminate. I go over the evidence in my head to see if I really did actually commit a “crime” or wrongdoing. I seek out validation and reassurance that I didn’t. (But of course, that reassurance is NEVER enough because unless something has a 0% change of happening, to me it has the same as a 1000% possibility of happening.) I fall into deep, hopeless pits of despair, thinking I’m the most worthless creature in the world and don’t deserve to live.

    I just wanted to say thanks. I’ve saved your description and I’m going to keep coming back to it to remember that there is at least one other person in the world that experiences OCD in the same way and understands.


    • Adrienne, I am really happy that something good could come out of all the bad stuff. I have the same experience of doubting if it’s OCD. I’m learning that’s just part of the package. When you say that, unless something is a 0% chance, to you it feels like a 1,000% chance, it’s like you’ve been inside my head. My OCD has, at times, almost had me completely convinced (with no facts or evidence – just fear) that I might as well “turn myself in.” I’m sorry that anyone else has ever felt that. You and I are not alone. You should also read Stephanie from Ontario’s wall post. There’s a bunch of us out there 🙂


    • Hi Adrienne – I’d be so grateful to chat with you, as I have a similar type of OCD and am struggling with severe relapse. Can you email me at to arrange a phone conversation?

      Thank you!!


      • Fo me, I’d like to see some support groups at local hospitals. But until then, this is a great opportunity here for just that.


  4. I believe therapy and medication(or a combination of the two)are a great way to help rid us of OCD. The key word being “help”, because, as you imply, even with this assistance we still are’t yet over the hill, but we do feel better about our situation than we once did. My therapy(“talk therapy)isn’t as frequent as yours, but what a blessed relief, just the same. My OCD, by the way, falls into the category of “doubting and checking”..


    • Paul, I meant to tell you I agree with you about the lack of local support groups specific to OCD. There’s a couple of good online OCD groups on Yahoo Groups that are moderated by some real experts, and I’ve certainly found them helpful, but having people to talk to face to face who have been through the same thing would be a blessing.


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