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What is Anxiety?The Biopsychosocial Model of AnxietyDevelopment & Maintenance of Anxiety DisordersClassification & Diagnosis of Anxiety DisordersAnxiety Disorder Theories and TherapiesTreatment of Anxiety DisordersAnxiety Disorder References & Additonal Resources
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Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Is My Anxiety a Normal Reaction?

Mon, Aug 5th 2013

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!

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