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Please help, POCD will make me commit suicide.


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During last summer, I developed a sense of high anxiety around being in the company of young people/babies that I'd never had prior. This was a result of feeling intense distress over finding out that an ex teacher was a pedophile. I came to realize in March this year through research that this is called POCD, which provided me with a lot of relief.

In the late evening of Monday, 23rd September 2019 after having moved back into university halls of residence for my second year a week prior, I basically watched lewd stuff (obviously with adults in) for around about 2-4 hours intermittently when my depression was as its worst height. I'd already experienced false memories by this point.

I would go from lying on the front of my chest and push into the bed (an awkward way of doing it that I developed when I was in my early teens) while watching the lewd stuff on my phone, to then sitting up and watching random videos on YouTube.

The second to last video I watched was a video of Kurt Cobain and his 2 year old daughter, that appeared on the homepage after going back from and sitting up in bed again. At this point, I remember thinking that if I were to watch this video, I shouldn't watch another video afterwards, purely ''because this YouTube video had a baby in it'' - even though I knew deep down that the two videos were entirely separated by tabs on my phone, not to mention obviously by content.

Nevertheless, I watched the interview video, scrolled through the comments and paused at a specific point then went back to the lewd stuff, and only then did I kneel down again, but with a video loaded.

Finally, I remember sitting up again and going back to the YouTube homepage and the first video shown was a slideshow of Cobain's daughter through the years and I remember feeling so much guilt for having watched the prior stuff. The reason for this is that - as best as I can describe - seeing her (as a baby, the pinnacle of innocence) exemplified the essential humanity that we all have, including the adult performers I'd been watching.

As a result, I felt heavy guilt (that I now realize to be misplaced) for being what I considered to be ''anti-feminist'', and an ''evil person''.

Perhaps I overthink the morality of things, I don't know.

My brain at the time immediately started to go into overload and overlap what would otherwise be two separate actions of watching YouTube then lewd stuff. I remember going to the sink afterwards, and dry-vomiting.

With regards to the actual first-person recollection of possibly staring at the Cobain video, I have no explicit sensory memory of this. The 'image' in my head is grainy at best. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself were this the opposite.

After leaving the bathroom and panicking a lot, I walked through it step-by-step, and eventually felt comfortable enough that I hadn’t done anything wrong and so I left it. This, as a general worry didn't reappear again till May 2020, with the rest of 2019 being spent going from day-to-day worries and false memories. I even felt happy and content on New Year's Day this year.

Surely, if I'd done this horrible thing, I wouldn't have been able to feel anything happy ever again?

At first, I wondered if I did do it, and I just repressed it, or I didn’t and actually it’s just my overactive imagination mixed with my anxiety. I know that in my heart I didn’t do anything wrong, as I had listened to Nirvana plenty of times afterwards, and didn’t feel pangs of guilt or shame that I know I would’ve if I’d done anything wrong.

Things have gotten better mildly. My first appointment with an OCD therapist is soon. I'm currently on the fourth day of taking a beta-blocker to regulate my heart-rate and blood pressure that helps ward off the panic attacks I have about it.

I'm trying to sleep better, but sometimes the image creeps in too much. I'm due to get a new set of the anti-depressant mirtazipine soon, too.

But even with that, it all feels like too much right now and I'm more suicidal than ever about this.

I don't want to die over an image in my head, but is this a belated guilty conscience?

I worry that I might, out of a morbid curiosity, have done it. I remember faintly thinking how awful it would be to do it, and then - as far as I know - not doing it.

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I'm so glad you'll going to see an OCD therapist soon ad that you're already taking meds than can help! I know it's all very difficult for you now, but you're well aware that killing yourself over such a thing would be absurd. And you also know you haven't done anything bad, it's only a problem of your mind that sometimes causes the misleading thought that you have. You wouldn't forget it. The false memory is a creation of your mind. 

Is there anything you could do in the meantime to clam down and re-direct your attention when you feel so agitated and guilty? What has helped in the past? What new strategies could you try?

Good luck and take care!

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I really hope that it helps, and you're right, killing myself would be silly. Still, it just upsets me that I might've done it. You're right, I wouldn't forget it; yet still, it scares me to death that it might be true. Well, talking to my friends helps, and I'm going to try and get a fresh stock of medicine today. Music and writing poetry has helped, I've read so much between December and April, then this worry floored me out of nowhere in May. Although I remember being worried about what I watched in the order I watched it in October, this specific thought wasn't there. I'll try to be positive about the medicine helping me, and I'm going to try and reschedule this new OCD therapist's appointment, as I've missed the first two due to the depression. Thank you.

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