Door locking

For about two years now, every single night, I have had door locking stress. I walk from door to door in my house, checking checking and rechecking that I have locked all the doors and windows, turned off the stove, unplugged cords etc. I take photos on my phone off the locked doors to try and convince myself that I have indeed locked them. I then try to go to bed, but worry creeps in. Although the logical part of my brain knows that I’ve locked all the doors, a little part of me wonders “but what if I didn’t? What if tonight is the night I forget to lock a door and something bad happens and it’s all my fault for not locking the doors properly?” The emotional part of my brain takes over. I work myself into such a panic that I force myself to climb out of bed and check the doors again. This cycle often repeats itself several times a night and take hours, depending on how worried I happen to feel. Some nights if I’m too tired to check the doors for the third or fourth time I force my body into uncomfortable sleeping positions, fearing I might sleep too soundly and not hear someone breaking into our house or a fire starting. The worry kinda comes in waves… one night I might have it really bad and the next it might be a bit better. Anyways I just wanted to see if anyone else here struggles with similar things and/or has some advice… thanks for reading, have a wonderful day:)

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Hey @Writer

Thank you for posting, this constant cycle of checking and worry if you have checked and checking again must feel like like a revolving door of anxiety and the worst part is that its anxiety that is causing it so its all a huge endless circle.
I don’t know if you know anything about OCD? It is something you have probably come across if you have ever googled what you have been doing. I am not saying you have this as I am not a medical professional however I would encourage you to go and see you doctor talk to them about this because it can be helped with therapy.
Constantly checking things is one of the five main symptoms
it is a disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over .
What helps OCD go away?

6 Best Strategies to Combat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder*

  • Practice mindfulness to manage stress. Two key characteristics of OCD are high anxiety and the presence of intrusive thoughts. …
  • Get plenty of exercise. …
  • Sleep well and enough. …
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol. …
  • Reach out to family and friends. …
  • Find an ERP therapist.(Exposure and Response Prevention)

Again I would like to stress, this is not a diagnosis, I just wanted you to know that if you are told that you do have it, there are options available as help. You are not alone, you can talk to us,
Right now this constant endless checking must feel so suffocating and I you deserve to be able to breathe freely and enjoy your life without this sort of worry hanging over your head. Please see your Doctor and make the first steps to making things better. We are right here for you anytime.
Much Love Lisalovesfeathers. :green_heart:

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Hello @Lisalovesfeathers! Thank you for responding. I have thought a decent amount about whether I have OCD… I guess I’m just afraid to ask anyone/a therapist. I’m afraid that they’ll tell me that it’s something I should be able to control, and that it’s my fault. I afraid that I don’t have OCD and they might think I just want attention. I’m afraid to ask my family about OCD, because last time I asked my brother whether or not he thought I had OCD he laughed at me and said I was worrying too much about it. I’m afraid I’m over exaggerating. I’m afraid I don’t have it and by thinking I might I’m invalidating people who do have OCD. So yeah… I guess I’m just afraid to ask. And honestly part of me doesn’t want to give up my rituals. They make me feel safe. They make me less worried for my family’s safety, even if it’s only temporarily.

Also, out of curiosity, what are the 5 main symptoms of OCD?

Thank you again for responding!

Writer

Hey again @Writer
Thank you for your reply, I am giving you a link to a really good website, it gives you lots of details about syptoms etc.
I can understand all of your fears, they are all valid but isnt the fear of the unknown the worst fear? once you know either way you can deal with it.
As for giving up your rituals, no therapist is going to make you just stop everything just like that, this is a process, they help you to change your way of thinking so that you are ok with giving up those urges to check, its not to just tell you not to do it. Anyway give that page a read and see what you think.
Lisa. x

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Hey @Writer,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. I personally have (undiagnosed) OCDs that have been present since I was little, and some of them are checking routines just like yours. It has taken me years to accept to put the name “OCD” on them as I felt ashamed of myself whenever I considered that possibility. Among checking type of OCDs, I particularly have fixations with our entry door whenever I go outside. Sometimes I would have already started to walk away and be far that I would have my mind having this intrusive “what if?” thought, projecting the worse, which pushes me to go back home and check on the door over and over. I often think that if someone sees me, they’d think I’m crazy. Not good for a nice start of the day - when I was working, I often missed my train and had to leave early in case I would struggle with this again. Some days I seem less stuck with it, and I’ve noticed that it’s often when my general anxiety is lower, when I feel more at peace.

You’ve described the situation so very well: it is reassuring and brings safety as it gives a feeling of regaining control over something scary. The paradox is that we end up being controlled by the need to check in or respond to specific “rituals” in order to feel okay. Although it’s a never-ending cycle too: one intrusive thought, and boom we doubt everything all over again and need to start over. It’s a repeated delusion, and the worst part is to be aware at times of how nonsense it can be if we just look at it from a behavioral perspective.

Personally, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my OCDs have been developed in reaction to personal traumas. Anxiety itself can be a repeated manifestation of the distress we have experienced during adverse situations in which we felt highly unsafe, if not in danger. I have yet to address this directly with a therapist as I am still ashamed of dealing with this - I feel like it doesn’t make any sense, even if it is part of a kind of thought system that makes sense to me at the moment. It’s tough to feel like we both need it and knowing that it’s actually not serving us.

You’ve been taking a great step by acknowledging it and putting words on it. We can spend a VERY long time stuck in those patterns without even being actively aware of them as they become part of our life, almost like some kind of life automatism.

Being afraid of asking about OCDs because you’ve received a bad reaction from your brother in the past is also absolutely understandable and a valid fear. However, it would be unfair to prevent yourself from getting the help you need because of his own ignorance. It is his reaction that was wrong and invalidating, not the fact that you asked this question or that you struggle with this. Whether the answer would have been yes or no, it is okay to ask yourself these questions and it’s not subject to be laughed at at all.

If you fear that your struggles are not valid enough, then I’d encourage you to ask yourself: how are these patterns and behaviors affecting your life? Is it negative? Do you suffer because of it? Is it preventing you to live as you want? Do you feel shame because you experience these? Just from your first post, it seems for example that it is really affecting your quality of sleep, which is far from being nothing in my opinion, and definitely worth to be discussed with a professional. This is about your life, your mind, your time, and no one gets to tell you that your personal experiences are not valid. They are real, they are yours, and it is absolutely worth it to try getting some professional help for it - OCDs can be very complex behaviors to address and symptoms of other conditions that could be the root cause.

I don’t know if you ever heard this before, but please know that you are not weird for struggling with this. You’re not abnormal and there is truly nothing to be ashamed of. The lack of predictability in life can make anyone develop a lot of different responses to what stress them and is out of their control.These behaviors are ways that your mind and body have developed in order to seek safety. Now that you’ve acknowledged that something might be wrong there, it might also be time to start considering being helped as you need, so you can unlearn, at your own pace, this need to check on things repeatedly, and develop new ways to re-create a real sense of safety in your life, one that would not be conditional. :hrtlegolove:

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