One of the manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder is the fear of harming yourself, in which a person is haunted by obsessive, frightening thoughts that cause strong internal tension. Such thoughts do not correspond to the true values and beliefs of the patient, which leads to even greater suffering and experiences, often accompanied by remorse.
How Does the Fear Declare Itself?
There is an endless struggle inside a person who is afraid of harming himself. His head is constantly full of images of the rooms where there are items that can cause injury. The patient is afraid of his own thoughts and tries to stop them. However, the more he resists any alien idea, the more obsessive it becomes. Thus, the patient begins to be afraid of being, for example, in the kitchen because there are knives and other cutting objects, but he also feels obsessive painful need to go there. In addition, the patient tries to avoid any information that can provoke the emergence of negative thoughts in every possible way – he does not watch programs or movies where suicide cases can be shown, does not read the news and so on. Anxiety fear of harming yourself is characterized by the following:
- constant analysis of your own thoughts, the desire to gain confidence that obsessions are not justified;
- search for the causes associated with the ability or inability to perform one or another act of aggression against yourself;
- imagining situations of injury and trying to prove to yourself that such scenes can cause nothing but disgust;
- purposeful immersion in positive perceptions and images that are the absolute opposite of obsession with harming yourself;
- reading prayers, performing special “rituals” that can (according to the patient) prevent dangerous situations;
- constant questioning of people around you, as the way to confirm that frightening representations do not bear a real threat and do not make you a dangerous person.
The appearance of obsessive thoughts does not mean that a person wants to hurt himself somehow. On the contrary, he is afraid of this and is horrified by the images and scenes that appear in his head. This fear has nothing to do with the implementation of behaviors associated with self-harm (for example, the habit of cutting hands). A person’s fear that he may commit suicide has nothing to do with suicidal plans that can become a reality. In the presence of OCD, a person is tormented by thoughts that at some point he will lose control of himself and hurt himself, while with a real tendency to suicide, a person scrolls through the scenes of suicide in his head and thinks about how to make them real.
Causes and Treatment
The development of fear of hurting yourself may be caused by number of reasons.
- Constant stress and inner turmoil. Because of the long-term nervous tension, internal anxiety increases, provoking the appearance of inadequate thoughts.
- Traumatic situation. Any event that has left a negative imprint on the human psyche can lead to neuroses and phobias.
- Excessive suspiciousness and emotionality. People with excessive susceptibility often become hostages of their own ideas and images.
- Low self-esteem and guilt. A person who worries that he did something wrong or hurt someone can sometimes be haunted by thoughts of harming himself.
Treatment of the patient, who is pursued by obsessions, usually begins with an explanation that such manifestations are not the beginning of madness. A very effective method in the fight against fears is drug therapy. The use of drugs involves a strictly individual approach to each patient. Such conditions in most cases are accompanied by depression, the treatment of which usually leads to a decrease in the symptoms of obsessive fears.
Fear of hurting yourself may occur since childhood. At any age, the occurrence of such fears can cause severe pain and significantly worsen the quality of life. The lack of understanding of the nature of OCD often leads to the fact that patients begin to consider themselves dangerous and inadequate people. However, the probability of aggression against themselves is not higher than that of the entire population as a whole. Obsessive thoughts about self-mutilation do not indicate that a person is a danger to himself or others.