Friday, August 16, 2013

Google Doesn't Have the Answer for Every OCD Fear


This photo is called Uncertainty by Rieke Photography.  From the time I had access, over 20 years ago, I was searching on the internet for answers to my uncertainty.  I know the feeling of the keys under my fingers, the gentle give of each key when I depress it, the hope that I will get THE answer for my fears.

For a long time, I was glad I had dial-up because at least I was thwarted in compulsive web searching at home, even though I still had it at work.  The fact that I have high-speed internet at home now, and do not spend all my time searching, is quite amazing to me.  

In the thick of my OCD, before I got any treatment, I couldn't imagine stopping my searches.  If I had a health symptom, I searched for answers.  If I was trying to figure out an unanswerable question, I searched for answers.  I remember when Google first appeared.  I was a librarian, and word spread fast that there was this new search engine with a magical algorithm that worked exceedingly well.

But even Google couldn't solve my OCD, because the reassurance I was seeking was a mythical oasis that vanished as soon as I got close.  I will grant though that it was through Google that I found the International OCD Foundation.  I joined, and started receiving their newsletter.  The irony is that I subscribed to the newsletter for 5 years, all the while compulsively searching about OCD, instead of seeking treatment.

Eventually, when I reached my lowest point in 2006, I finally put it together that Exposure Therapy might work for my mental obsessions and health anxiety, and found an Exposure Therapist.

Part of my Exposure Therapy involved stopping a search before I felt "done" and staying with the wave of anxiety until it ebbed.  There are still days when I am feeling stressed, and search Google as a way to dull the anxiety, but it is not my default position, hands poised on the keyboard.


  1. This is a great post, beautifully written and expressed. I can relate so well. I have spent what probably amounts to days of my life using the keyboard in search of certainty and reassurance. I only realized a couple of years ago that this was part of my OCD. now I try to rein in the searches and live without trying to know everything about a certain subject (another compulsion) and without certainty.

  2. "Because the reassurance I was seeking was a mythical oasis that vanished as soon as I got close." Beautifully expressed.......great post!!

  3. There is much truth to this post. Searching relentlessly for answers and reassurances just leads to more uncertainties.