Doubt is thought's despair; despair is personality's doubt. . .;
Doubt and despair . . . belong to completely different spheres; different sides of the soul are set in motion. . .
Despair is an expression of the total personality, doubt only of thought. -
Søren Kierkegaard

Doubt and Other Disorders Logo

1 a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making
b : a deliberate suspension of judgment
2 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertainty, hesitation, or suspense
3 a : a lack of confidence : DISTRUST
b : an inclination not to believe or accept

1 : to disturb the order of
2 : to disturb the regular or normal functions of

Definitions from
Merriam-Webster Dictionary


My main disorder is checking things. I have made sure the drip coffee pot was off a couple thousand times, checked to make sure the six knobs on the stove were off, the same amount of times right before l leave the house; the latch on the chicken's brooder house to make sure the thing was closed properly; the column to see that my car is definitely in park and I have the keys in my right hand when I get out of the car; clothes washer and dryer to check that the water's at the right temperature, etc. and dryer's O.K., doing this thousands of times. When I try to speed the process up, I can't leave the thing, I have to spend several times checking; the stove dials on the radiant bake and 325 degrees; when I shut the barbecue grill off I make sure I leave the two dials on and first hear the sound of the gas being cut off when I turn the cylinder knob, then put the two dials OFF. After everything I check I have to stare at the thing a couple minutes to get it into my head that the process is done.

When I used to smoke (I quit 6 months ago) I would have to have water or iced tea in my double-sided yellow ashtray and flick the ashes directly into the water with none going towards the wood things outside the front porch, or leaves or cotton from the elm trees; then on windy days it was scary to have the sparks fly around. Then to put my butts out and look for a minute to check and make sure the filter was all wet. When I stood in my parent's place in their yard and smoked, I had to make sure what direction the wind was blowing my sparks and how far away I was from the fuel barrels. Then when I stomped my butt out, I ground it into the ground it into the gravel for a couple minutes so I wouldn't start something on fire. One day 25 years ago I was walking in my parent's field smoking and I remember putting it out on the ground, then building gravel and rocks around the butt pretty big. Of course I had to have a carton of cigs around all my smoking years so I wouldn't run out and have a big panic attack. My mind could rest a little easier knowing I had a good supply.

These all got started because I was always a conscientious girl and tried to do things perfectly for my parents and school and horse shows to be one of the best at everything I tried to do.

When my husband tries to hurry me out of the kitchen to get going someplace, I feel unsure that it's all off in the kitchen and also the bathroom faucet has to be checked so it doesn't drip or run.

When I checked to make sure my cigarettes were out, I felt good that I knew mine wouldn't start a fire, and then when I was really sick last year I would pour water over my butt if I was out somewhere, then ask my husband to look and make sure they were out. When I was sick I would have my friend or my Mom re-check my coffee pot and stove because it was just too much anxiety for me to. Also, I couldn't start smoking until 11 A.M. when my day care friend would come; then I would really have a big nicotine fit besides all this stress.

I was put on Paxil for it. Seemed to help some. But I have since taught myself to check only so much.

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Always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment choice or changes in your treatment. Never discontinue treatment or medication without first consulting your physician, clinician or therapist.

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2009, January 12). 'Jane', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: May 26, 2013

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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