August 18, 2011

OCD Therapy Insights

I’m still having my weekly therapy sessions, even though my ERP is on hold at the moment.  Today we talked about OCD and shame.  It came up because I posted something on the Pure O Yahoo Support Board in response to someone’s comment that people with aggressive, sexual and religious OCD are worried about, or trying to prevent shame.  My initial reaction was “I don’t think I’m worried about feeling shame in being a lesbian.  I don’t think there’s shame in being gay.”  My therapist and I talked about it though, and my thoughts have changed. 

One thing I am definitely ashamed of is the fact that I have OCD.  As I’ve said in previous posts - very few people in my life know that I have OCD, let alone the content of my obsessions.  There’s something “different” for people who have sexual obsessions, I think.  It’s hard to articulate, but let’s put it this way: if someone with violent obsessions was to say they worry that they might snap and suddenly kill everyone in the room, most people would laugh and quickly realize that the fear was completely opposite of the OCD sufferers true nature.  Though the sufferer might not have the insight to realize this, others on the outside could clearly identify the lack of consistency with the person’s true nature.  On the other hand, with sexual and relationship obsessions, if I were to tell someone that I worry that I might be a lesbian in denial, or that someday I will just suddenly fall in love with a woman, most people would probably respond: “That might be the case – maybe you should explore the idea.”  Do you see the difference?  This is one of the big reasons that I don’t share the content of my obsessions.

Anyway – I was explaining to my therapist that I think I really can understand how people who are gay and living “in the closet” feel.  I can understand the shame that accompanies feeling like you can’t live a completely honest life with everyone around you.  And I think that probably perpetuates my ROCD and HOCD.  Why? Because my OCD latches on to those feelings of guilt, dishonesty, and shame and likes to tell me that I’m feeling these feelings NOT because I’m living inside the “OCD Closet”, but because I’m living inside the “lesbian closet”.  Every time I read a coming out story that is full of angst and fear and loneliness, my OCD says “See?  That’s you.  You have those feelings too!  You must be a lesbian!”

I’ve taken some big, bold steps to come out of the “OCD closet” in the last several months.  I’ve started writing this blog, I post regularly on the Pure O Yahoo support board, I went to the OCD convention, and I am working with others to start a Canadian OCD Network.  But I am a long way from BEING OUT AND BEING PROUD.  I don’t quite know how this will all unravel, but one of my goals for recovering from OCD is to be open and authentic with my challenges regarding this disorder.  The truth shall set you free. 

P.S.  Of course in the back of my mind I always fear that I will come out of the “OCD closet” and then will suddenly realize that I was wrong, I didn’t have OCD all along and I really was a lesbian in denial.  :o)  Gotta love OCD. 


  1. Hi Pure O!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a comment.

    Like you, I hardly tell anyone in my world I have OCD but I'm slowly coming out more to my family and close friends. It is such a part of my story since I was about 7 years old. It actually feels good to tell people because I am just telling them the truth and it is okay. That being said, sometimes I feel like I am living a lie because there are many people I don't tell (like no one at work knows).

    Blogging helps me and lately I have found other OCD bloggers and I have discovered such a freedom discussing OCD with fellow sufferers.

    But like you said, I too am not "Out and Proud" yet and maybe I'll never be. I'm so used to hiding it or trying to at least.

    I don't suffer from sexual or violent obsessions but I see your point-- with the difference where if you have sexual orientation obsessions society tells you to explore it but if you have violent obsessions, society may laugh at you.

    Lady Delphinium from

  2. I'm pretty sure that at least one person in my life disagrees with my belief that I have OCD. Yet, it's hard to talk about my life without touching on mental illness. Like the NAMI picnic. It wasn't church. And I couldn't think of a nice explanation aside from admitting to going to a picnic of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I tried "group of people I spend time with," but when that was questioned for more specificity, well...
    Yeah, I struggle with shame.