Random (Resonant) Anxiety and OCD

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I don’t hate the overuse (and possible misuse, but this not being a grammar blog that’s not relevant) of the term “random.” I am actually fascinated with things such as the math and science behind random numbers. That too is not important here. With my OCD, I hate all things random in real life. This is a major theme to my OCD and is part of having Pure-O, as there is no compulsion to utilize when faced with the randomness of life.

“Randomness of life,” however is one thing. And one uncomfortable thing, as I’d prefer most of life to be rote, structured, and predictable.

One place this really causes problems is my issues with anxiety. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My OCD overshadows this by far, but they do meet somewhere on some form of Venn diagram in my head.

I’ve been suffering lately with completely random anxiety. These are not “anxiety attacks” to any point of feeling like I need to go to the hospital and the like (I’ve had those!) Rather, these are a simmering feeling of the following, all of which have no roots in reality. None of these feelings can be attached to a consequence of anything I’ve done:

1. That I am in trouble with someone for no reason.
2. A feeling of guilt about nothing in particular.
3. That something negative is due to happen soon.

None of these have anything to do with reality. And here’s another issue: I know this! And I cannot do anything about it!

These feelings of anxiety are what I’ve come to call “resonant anxiety.” I have a feeling that they are like ripples from anxieties I once felt about real things resonating later in time. That may not make a lot of sense, so let me explain.

At one point I’ve felt guilty. I’ve been in trouble in my life at certain points. Bad things have happened to me at times. All human and normal stuff, though of course not fun.

It is as if my brain still has the recipe for the firing of neurons to create the reactions to all of the above, and at random times just fire them off. In a way, like déjà vu, but just with feelings. And not at all “passing.” This anxiety lasts for days.

So that’s a good description of how I experience anxiety. Except we need to add in my OCD. With my OCD, my brain really needs—is, in fact, obsessed with—actions and reactions being connected rationally. While I’ve tried to grasp these anxiety issues through my “resonance” theories, the part of my brain that handles OCD does not accept this.

Thus my anxiety increases by an order of magnitude—because I am now having feelings of anxiety about the random anxieties. I’m actually angry at myself for feeling anxiety for no reason at all.

Random anxiety is messy. On the surface, when you strip away all the… brain stuff… it almost seems preferable to anxiety rooted in reality. If I am anxious about something that really may go wrong—that is worse, right?

It turns out that is not how my brain works. If there is something I could do to ensure my anxiety is mitigated, my OCD would move to an extreme compulsion to make sure those real things that could go wrong, causing the real anxiety, are addressed. I’d do it obsessively. I’d even risk coming off as an embarrassment for approaching potential negative things with far too much energy.

But where does one with OCD apply compulsion to something not real at all? Nowhere. And there we see the trappings of Pure-O OCD mixed with GAD.

There is nothing I can do, and I am obsessed with wanting to do something, anything to solve the anxiety.

With my OCD, I always want to solve. I am obsessed with solving.

There is no solution to resonant anxiety.


Well, except waiting it out. Which I am doing now, fists clenched.