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Senior Contributor

OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi there

This is my first post . I'll try and make it brief.

I've had OCD for 30 years now and it involves constant visual distractions. I am always trying NOT to look at inappropriate (private) parts when talking to people and also my peripheral vison (eyes flicking back and forward) with people in the corner of my vision.

The peripheral vision problem may involve being distracted by people whenever they come into my field of view e.g at a cafe I must either face a wall where I can't see anybody or put an arm up to shield my eyes.

I remember the exact day in school (year 9) I was sitting in Geography class watching a documentary on the television and casually glanced at the crutch of the guy sitting to the right of me. I thought in my head that 'you can't look there!' and ever since that moment my staring/peripheral vision OCD has made life a struggle ever since. 

As far as therapies are concerned , you name it and I have defintiely tried it, from psychiatrists to spiritual healers and all of the medications that that you can poke a stick at.

I had a break from traditional treatments for quite a number of years and tried the natural healing side of things, with the occasional visit to my GP for SRI scripts. At one stage I was borderline ready to  give up on living entirely. 

As a last resort  I decided to reconnect with my psychiatrist to see if anything new regarding treatments had popped up. He told me there were not alot of options apart from the usual SRI medications .

Almost as an aside he mentioned that ADHD was closely related to OCD and that there can often be a combination of the two. 

He told me there have been some success stories with the use of PRESCIBED STIMULANTS for some types of OCD. I was asked if I wanted to give it a try and after thinking about it for half a second I said 'yes'.

The following day I popped the new medication into my mouth and had my early morning walk with the dogs.

Roughly an hour later I noticed something I hadn't felt in 30 years.

Another dog walker was approaching and usually I would have strolled in the other direction as the thoughts and anxiety would overwhelm me.

But something had changed. It was  as if an intencity volume switch had been turned down inside my head. I was able to make much better eye contact and felt a new internal confidence .

The level of intencity with the OCD thoughts had diminished quite a bit. 

I have continued taking dthe stimulants everyday (morning and lunchtimes) ,I do not feel like I am on any medications at all, (not like some I have had in the past)

The new STIMULANT  has helped my OCD more than any other medication.

I would say that the improvement is 50 to 60 % better, life is easier then it has been for many years.

I guess you could say the stimulant helps with the less intense OCD inducing environments ie going to the shops, walking in the park and general day to day engagements involving people.

Just thought I'd better let eveybody out there who suffers from a similar form of OCD that this new treatment helps me a lot and maybe it can help them also. I could not mention the name of the medication directly as per the rules of this forum.

Thanks and good luck

205 REPLIES 205
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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi @Tyler01 and thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about your 30 year struggle with OCD... It sounds like you have really been through the mill with it, searching high and low for some kind of strategy or solution that might help you. I always feel so proud of people with OCD who share their lived experience.

Most people have heard of OCD before, but not many people truly understand the impact it can have. I often see people on TV who poke fun at OCD.. or what they think is OCD... (e.g., joking that they like to have things neat and tidy). This type of thing really bothers me because it is such a misguided representation of the disorder, and really plays down just how debilitating it can be for people. Likewise, many people don't know that for some OCD sufferers, their obsessive thoughts can be of a sexual nature. I have spoken to many people who have really struggled with the shame these obsessions can bring on, for fear that they may be judged as a pervert etc. Quite the contrary, these thoughts are actually incredibly distressing and horrible for people to live with, and not arousing in the slightest. I had a friend who lived with an OCD obsession revolving around homosexuality... and he was very ashamed of it. It took him many years of suffering in silence before he sought help, and thankfully he is doing a lot better now Smiley Happy

It is so wonderful to hear you have finally found a medication that works for you! What a victory. Even if it is just a 50-60% improvement, I can only imagine the freedom this has brought about in your daily life. Thank you again @Tyler01 for sharing your story. I am sure it will be of great interest and a source of hope to many members on here.

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi Mosaic

Thanks for the reply.

What you mentioned about OCD being played down and made light of in some cases is very true.

 "Oh darling you're so OCD.... !!"  etc etc and the flippant quality people tend to regard it with is very annoying. I realize that people may not mean to be this way but unless they are personally affected by this nothing will ever change in that regard.

The unfortunate thing with this particular 'not looking' type of OCD  is that it invovles sexuality (although it has nothing to do with that )  and as a result people are too embarrassed to talk about it.(as you understand)

It is the polar opposite of a 'pervert'. The OCD is made worse because I don't want rejection from the person I'm 'trying not to look at' OR I don't want to be labelled a 'creep' or 'pervert' by the people or person who is within my 'peripheral' vison.  I just don't want to appear 'weird' or have 'crazy eyes' that 'flip'  back and forward to the person without my control. In both cases the OCD seems to win and I feel judged and outcast as a result (the last thing I want to happen).

The frustration is iintense.

Internally I feel completely sane but externally I appear unstable. I have always found goodbyes very difficult , I tend to walk off without making eye contact (last impressions)  ,and this can appear rude and I am sure doesn't help another persons opinion of me.

Formal situations invovling eye contact with more than one person talking to me (not at the same time obviously) is still difficult.  

Over the years I have learnt to avoid OCD caustic environments as it has always resulted in pain and self loathing .

BUT THE GOOD NEW IS....

The NEW MEDICATION I mentioned helps me to concentrate and relax in public  and is benificial in relieving the OCDs intensity in more informal scenarios . This is pretty HUGE for me .

NOW I can walk down the street and look in a shop for example and actually enjoy the experience !!.

General eye contact (informal) is much easier as the OCD meter has dropped very nicely and there are moments when I don't feel affected AT ALL.

I think another MAJOR benefit of the stimulants is that I tend to have more CONFIDENCE in handling the OCD scenarios as they occur.

As a result my BODY LANGUAGE must be different. In informal social situations I don't seem to get the 'fearful' reaction from people that I had become accustomed to . (fellow sufferers will relate to this)

Previously the OCD was 110%,  24 hours a day and affected me even during my sleeping hours. Since I have been prescribed stimulants my life has improved greatly and I feel postive about the future.

I realise that my OCD may never be completely eliminated but to have breathing space and actually enjoy situations I never thought I would is a MASSIVE thing for me .

The use of stimulants has helped improve my quality of life.

I hope it helps others just as much.(if not more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi again Mosaic

I forgot to mentioned your friend in the previous message . I'm glad to hear he is able to talk about it now .I think it's important that people try to get on top of the OCD as early as possible .Gives them a much better chance of taking charge .All the best
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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi @Tyler01,

It’s so good to hear that things are changing for you with your new medication and that your life has improved so much. It sounds like you’ve had a pretty tough time with OCD for quite a while now, so that’s massive to be getting some relief after all this time!

I’m not sure if you’ve had a look around the Forums yet, but there quite a few other users who live with OCD or know a friend or family member who does, so there are many like-minded and supportive souls around! A few that spring to mind are @Denv12, @Shan, @Mrs_T, @kenny66, @Tim_H, @Kiera80, @Matty and @kristin. You might like to check out some of the threads they've started and contributed to; they've all had some very insightful things to share. These two threads here and here might be a good place to start.

Thanks again for sharing your story, and we look forward to ‘seeing’ you around on the Forums.

All the best,
supernova.

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Good morning @Tyler01 

I have been struggling with OCD for a while now and I know how obtrusive it can be as part of your daily life.

I wanted to ask you a bit more about how your doctor came up with a stimulant for the treatment of your ocd.  Normally stimulants make any anxiety disorder worse.  There are a few things that link ADHD and OCD but they affect different areas of the brain.

I am on the lowest dose on an SRI medication and am thinking of asking my doc if I can increase the dose to hopefully increase the serotonin levels in the brain.  From all that I have read, it's the seratonin that doesn't appear enough in 5 certain areas of the brain that pretty much all OCD sufferers experience.

The idea of adding a stimulant to the mix scares the hell out of me.  My symptoms might become much worse.

Can you share a bit more of what the stimulant has done for you.  Has everything been good since you started or do you still have the odd really bad day?

 

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi

I had been on high doses of SRI 's  (4 a day) for many years . It never really seemed to help with the OCD symptons in my particular case.

The main thing it helped me with was the depression.

If I had a terrible OCD encounter it helped me not to dwell on the self loathing so much.

Stimulants are used when the SRI's and other avenues do not help.

As there are many variations on OCD types and some OCD (like my particular type) are closely related to ADHD or are a combination of the two.  

The stimulant I have been prescibed is also used for ADHD patients.

The only side effects I found with the stimulants was a little bit of anxiety if I got stressed , but overall the benefits far outweighed any negatives.

Sleeping can be an issue if the dosage is high or taken later in the day.

Recentlly I have started taking an SRI (from way back) that seems to support the stimulants I take now.I had taken this particular SRI when I was 14 or so and it didn't help me on it's own, but seems to help the OCD when taken together with the stimulant.

In some case (I guess ) combinations of SRI and Stimulants  are beneficial, although I don't think that it is very common or recommended for most people. 

I know it sounds weird. I was a tad cautious before I took the stimulants but it feels very natural to me and takes a definite edge off my OCD symptoms in 'non high impact zones'  (if you know what I mean)

As mentioned earlier , the OCD has'nt gone away altogether (maybe it never will) but it is 50-60 % better in low impact OCD environments.

Formal social situations with my eye contact/staring OCD is still very difficult ,but now I have space to breathe. 

Generally the intensity of the OCD thoughts is lower in most situations. .

I know everyone is different , some people get even more benefit than I do. 

It gives me great hope that new things are always being found.

As I have had my OCD for so long now and have tried absolutely everything under the sun to try and control it, I know the stimulants are the best thing for me personally.

Please have a serious chat with your doctor about it . Good luck and best wishes

 

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Hi @Kiera80 it's great you have found @Tyler01's post helpful. 

Just a friendly reminder about the Forum guidelines on medication conversations. While it is okay and can be helpful to share some general information about our medication journey, we ask that members reserve more detailed questions, comments or concerns for the GP or psychiatrist. This is just to ensure the information shared between peers on the Forums is not taken to be medical advice. As we know, medication is often a very personal and unique journey - and what works well for one person may not be as helpful for another. It is great to hear this discussion has prompted you to consider asking your doctor a few more questions. It really shows you are interested, engaged and participating actively in your own recovery journey - which is so crucial. Settling on the right medication/dosage is often is a process of trial and error, so if you are curious to find out more, I encourage you to go ahead and book that appointment with your doctor. Knowledge is power, after all! Please keep us posted with how things are tracking Smiley Happy

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

@Tyler01

Thanks for posting again.  I am very glad that you found something that is helping with the OCD.  I don't think it's the right avenue for me to go down.  I have never had ADHD so there's no link I can fall back on there.

Isn't it interesting that there are so many different things that can affect someone with OCD, anxiety, depression etc etc.  There's no magic pill is there?

Are there any other things you are doing to keep the OCD under control?  I have been directed towards cognitive behaviour therapy.  I did an online course and found it next to useless.  There were a couple of things I learnt that I didn't know before hand but I'm still stuck where I was.

I'm getting so sick and tired of having OCD.  I wish I could make it stop.  I think I'm getting depressed over having OCD and I don't want to go down that road again.

For me the thing that doesn't make sense is why OCD is so hit and miss.  Why does one thing bother me so much and something else of equal importance does not. 

I think I'm just frustrated in not being able to control what's happening.  Maybe there's something in that.  I wonder what would happen if I didn't think I had to control everything that I do.  Hmmm, something to ponder I guess.

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Re: OCD staring / eye contact / peripheral vision

Thanks @Mosaic for the reminder.  Will try to keep things on a general level.  You are so right, medication is a very personal journey.  I think it's good though to hear what others are doing or trying so that more research can be done on whether something is viable. 

Have an awesome day!

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