June 17, 2011

Oh right - I have OCD......

My therapist has said to me numerous times “by compulsing, you are giving your brain the message that your sexuality is up for debate”.  He’s said that to me.......probably 30 times.  But when I am in the throws of an OCD anxiety attack do I want to take the risk and stop compulsing?  Well – many times I don’t.  Many times I haven’t.  Which is what takes me down that darn OCD rabbit hole yet again. 

Whenever I start a new exposure on my hierarchy my OCD comes up with new messages to send me....all along the same theme.  New questions that MUST be answered, new possibilities for something horrible to happen.  And it gets my attention.  And I get tired.  My first reaction is to ritualize.  To analyze....to question something in my head....to check my reaction.....to reassure myself.....well, you know the drill. 

Right now the hardest part for me to deal with regarding ERP is that it FEELS so dangerous.  I can imagine a person who has violent images OCD, when she starts to expose herself to things that trigger her OCD, she must FEEL like she’s going to become a murderer.  My therapist has told me this SEVERAL times as well.....that the “feeling” like I’m becoming a lesbian is the same as someone who has scrupulosity fears and “feels” like they are going to hell because they have done something bad to God.  But once again, when I’m in the throws of OCD anxiety, it just doesn’t register for me.  I forget that it’s OCD that I’m dealing with – not a sexual orientation crisis. 

I had a small break-through the other day.  I suppose the dark comes before the light doesn’t it?  I hesitate to even write about it because I’m scared I’m going to jinx myself, and I have such a loose grip on my insight that I am scared that I could lose it at any time.  I just suddenly had the realization (that I’ve had many times, and I seem to lose so often!) that I am dealing with OCD.  I am being treated for OCD.  I am not MEANT to spend time thinking about what all of my thoughts and feelings mean about me right now; why I’m not getting disgusted enough at my exposure, or why I had a certain thought.  If at some point after I am out of OCD hell, I suddenly realize that I’m a lesbian, well then I’ll deal with that then.  But right now – I’m learning how to deal with my debilitating OCD.    

It is still SO HARD for me to recognize many of my compulsions.  My therapist pointed out that analyzing what my thoughts and feelings mean about me is one of my BIGGEST ones, and I think it really is one that I struggle with the most.  The other day, while I was on my lunch break at work, I picked up a People magazine for some mindless entertainment, and I came upon an article about Fran Drescher and her ex-husband.  The story was about how they were married for over 20 years, and he then went to her and said that he is gay.  MY WORST NIGHTMARE.  I started to analyze and compare myself to Fran’s ex-husband.  I started reassuring myself that we’re not similar, and I started analyzing the situation to determine if this could ever happen to me.  Then I realized what I was doing.  I told myself: “You are compulsing.  You have OCD and you need to stop.  This stuff might happen to you, it might not.  But what you are doing now is not helping you prevent that from occurring.”  So I stopped.  But HOLY CRAP did I feel anxious.  I felt literally COMPELLED to keep thinking about it.  I felt short of breath.  I felt “funny” in my head.  But I did it.  And I went back to work, and life continued on as normal. 

And onwards I go.   

6 comments:

  1. I know exactly how you feel, POC. I am dealing with HOCD now in ERPT, and it is really hard. What I have been doing is checking as a complusion and I didn't even realize it. For instance, if I thought I found a woman attractive, or doubted my sexuality, I would immediately think about a man, check my feelings against how I felt in the past with a man. This is a BIG no no, as I come to find out. So, now, I just have to let all of the thoughts be there. Eventually the OCD anxiety does fade, I know for a fact that it does because it has in the past for other obsessions...

    Anywho, I think what you wrote here is key--- "I forget that it’s OCD that I’m dealing with – not a sexual orientation crisis."

    Love that. So true.

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  2. Yeah I really like this post as it is soo true.

    And then it's like wait how do i know that this isn't a real crisis and not OCD? How do I know that by not thinking about this as deeply as i can i am doing the right thing?

    That magazine article would have had me thinking i was gay for days on end

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  3. Lolly - these darn compulsions are so entrenched into who I am and my daily behaviour that they are hard to stop!! But my therapist says that even if I can recognize it AFTER OR DURING I'm doing better.
    Anon - Your questions "how do I know for sure this isn't a real crisis and not OCD" is just another OCD trap. More of OCD demanding certainty and trying to lure us into more compulsing. OCD wants the compulsions to "stay alive". Believe me - I've been there, especially when the pain, anxiety etc FEELS so real!!! Keep fighting!
    Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Karin says:

    Congradulations!!

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  5. My issues are different (harm, scrupulosity). I think ERP guarenties discomfort, at least in the short run. It is interesting to think how different people have different obsessions, but the same (or similar) feeling when letting the obsession be.

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  6. Abigail - yes MASSIVE anxiety. It's horrible. I also find it interesting that the thoughts might be different, but the pattern is still the same for all of us.

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