Crisis Intervention Services are available 24 hours a day by calling, toll-free 1-800-621-8504
Behavioral Health & IDD Centralized Intake 1-800-669-4166

Skip 
Navigation Link

Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Is My Anxiety a Normal Reaction?

Hello Dr. Schwartz,

At the end of the month, my husband and I will be moving to England for a graduate program I am attending. However, shortly before I left my job, I heard that one of my co-workers was diagnosed as HIV positive. Ever since then, I have been panicky about it and can't stop obsessing over it. I was afraid to touch doorknobs, phones, anything that the co-worker had touched.

I have been with my husband for 6 years and even went so far as to accuse him of having it because I was so afraid. I was having night sweats and loss of sleep over it because these thoughts would just enter my head beyond my control. I was so afraid about it I even went and got tested, but my results were negative, and I am still obsessing. I wonder if these obsessive thoughts over this are my mind's way of tricking me--but it causes me such anxiety.

I went to a physician and explained this, and he put me on an anti-depressant which I just started taking. I only have a month before I leave the country. I'm thinking I might start therapy while there.

Is it possible that my mind is focusing on these unreal fears and obsessions to dissuade me from having actual anxiety about the move? It seems that it's just magnified recently, especially since I have sold my car, given up all my cats, and everything comes together for this. I know I should be happy, but I can't focus on it. All I can do is obsess about my health and anxiety, and I have lost weight because I'm not eating. I'm starting to question whether I'm sane or not, and all I want is to be able to go over there and enjoy it. The physician put me on citalopram so I am hoping in a few weeks the symptoms of my anxiety will subside and I can gain some clarity on what's real and what I've imagined.

I feel insane!

THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.

Disclaimer

  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Share This

Resources