June 19, 2011

My OCD Compulsions.....Pure O Style

I’ve been meaning to write my compulsions down in list form for awhile, so that when I’m in an OCD anxious moment, hopefully it will help to separate the obsession from the compulsion.  So – here goes:

1.       Avoiding – I avoid things that will bring up OCD thoughts, or negative feelings.  This one is pretty easy to “spot” and one that I’ve been working on a lot.  Avoidance can take very subtle forms.  For example – I work in a bank, and if someone comes in who “looks” like she might be gay, and she comes up to my teller wicket, I will just be less friendly with her, or try not to make eye contact.  Some days I even struggle touching the money or items that she gives me. 

2.       Reassurance – I don’t seek reassurance from anyone else because so few people know about my OCD.  However, I reassure myself constantly, and many times without even knowing it.  An example of this might be reading the article about Fran Drescher and her husband in People Magazine, and then telling myself “this would never happen to me because.....” or “I don’t have to worry about that because I’m not at all like X.” 

3.       Analyzing/Figuring Out – This is another HUGE one for me.  Trying to find the meaning in why I have certain thoughts or feelings/reactions.  I do this a lot, but not only with my sexual orientation OCD, with relationship OCD, and anytime I have negative feelings about anything or anyone.  This compulsion is the hardest one for me to stop, and I’ve written about it in past blog posts.  My OCD lures me in by saying “Analyzing and trying to figure out the answer to why you are feeling a certain way or having thoughts about your sexuality is the way towards the answer.  Most people don’t analyze and figure out ENOUGH.”.  This is the scariest compulsion for me to let go of. 

4.       Checking – I don’t usually physically check things, but I definitely do mental checks.  I have a little mental checklist for what makes someone a lesbian.  (Of course I’m learning in therapy that this list is bunk now, but anyway....) I’ll check my physical and emotional reaction to certain things.  I’ll “check” for stories in the past, which also works into the reassurance compulsion.  For example, I can spend many hours thinking about my past....for times I may have acted “gay” or had thoughts that might be construed as “gay”.  I remember in girl guide camp when I was 14, the two camp leaders were two women.  For some reason I’ve fixated on whether or not one (or both?) of them were gay.  I remember having a lot of respect for them, and really liking them at that time, but I can spend hours trying to remember exactly how I felt about them.  Was it a lesbian “like”?  Or just a young girl looking up to two older women in a position of leadership. 

I think those are the main ones, though I’m certain that I’m missing some.  These compulsions happen for me almost AUTOMATICALLY.  I have been performing them for almost thirty years.  They are hard to stop, but I am working hard on it!!!!

Do any other Pure O sufferers have any other compulsions to share? 

P.S.  My Mantra the last few days has been “F-YOU OCD.....YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WIN AT THIS GAME.”


  1. I have to compare my compulsions to yours and if they aren't the same then i tell myself i am gay in fact i pretty much tell myself i am gay all the time for any reason at all. Another thing is checking out people in the street, if i look at another guy then i must be gay etc.

  2. Anon - that's another OCD trick. Comparing your compulsions to mine is another form of checking. And checking people out on the street or catching yourself looking at another guy - I do that too....that's another form of catching - very automatic for me. Are you in therapy?

  3. yeah i am in therapy i have done quite a lot but never with any real results.

    I have had 2 sessions of CBT though and hopefully...

  4. Anon - that's great! I've been through years of therapy too - even some CBT! But there's not a lot of people who really know how to treat Pure O because it is so hard to recognize compulsions! And if you're not stopping with the compulsions you won't ever get better. Keep me posted!

  5. One of my compulsions was to major in feminist theory in college, as a way to figure out if that was the only way to be safe--be a lesbian and feminist(not every lesbian is feminist, so in my world, I needed to invoke both in hopes of being completely safe from violence by men, or betrayal).

  6. Expwoman - YES!!! I did that too when I was younger. I didn't major in feminist theory because that would have been too "overt" (I would have been rejected by my father for sure!), but I read some books on feminism, Gloria Steinem etc. And then when I started agreeing with some of what they wrote that scared me even more because I thought for sure I was going to become a lesbian man-hating feminist, so I started avoiding anything to do with feminism. It's true, not every lesbian is a feminist. I also agree that it is all in an effort to be completely safe from getting hurt by men - whether that be violence, betrayal etc. Thanks for your comment!! You point out some things that make me realize my compulsions.

  7. Number 3, number 3, number 3! And this is dangerous terrain for many reasons. One can convince themself of just about anything. Also, humans are sexual beings and we can learn and condition ourselves to have a sexual response to just about anything let alone the same sex. Furthermore, everyone has fantasies of taboo and forbidden subject matter now and then. Also, thinking about a forbidden or taboo sex act can trigger even more arousal because of the very nature of the idea of doing something nauty! This is why this compulsion can actually lead to long term brain lock. I love the p.s.! I agree!!!

  8. Thank you so much for writing about something that is so misunderstood. Even among professionals there seems to be a disconnect. You gave me tear in my eye. I am not alone! Number 3 compulsion is also my worse compulsion and it is a terribly dangerous road to go down. First of all, human beings are sexual and we can convince ourselves and even condition ourselves to become aroused by just about anything(shoes,leather,feet etc.) - let alone the same sex (this still doesn't change orientation). Second, people fantasies about taboo and forbidden things all the time and human sexual arousal is such that one can be turned on even more by taboo subject matter simply because it is naughty & unusual(not the same old same old). So when trying to convince oneself that one is not gay by testing, one may very well become aroused by the sexual thought in some way and this will set of a bunch of alarms and in the long run always create doubt. Your p.s. btw is exactly what I have said to myself and I find something powerful about think out loud. It removes it from being a compulsion-it gets the conversation out of my head! Thank you :)