October 16, 2011
OCD and "The Backdoor Spike"
I’ve commented about this before, but I find it quite amazing that OCD is so similar from person to person and really, the content of the thought is irrelevant. This realization came to me from reading other OCD sufferers blogs, and belonging to the on-line Yahoo Support Boards. However, I do think that those of us with violent and sexual obsessions have one additional disadvantage which I can’t really sum up into one word or sentence. But it has to do with “desire” and “denial”, and this relates to The Backdoor Spike.
The Backdoor Spike essentially relates to those of us who have been “reassured” by the fact that we don’t enjoy or are disgusted with our obsessions. Of course, the idea of ERP is to become habituated to our obsessions so that the thoughts no longer bother us. So, we do ERP, and start to become habituated to our bothersome thoughts and then suddenly OCD starts telling us that there must be something wrong PRECISELY because we are no longer upset with our thoughts. For someone with fear of contaminating others with germs, I don’t think the Backdoor Spike is really an issue......is it?
For example – I’ve been doing ERP and have habituated to a lot of the work that I have done. I have been watching short music videos of lesbians together, kissing and having wonderful, fantasy relationships. Watching this stuff no longer really bothers me. (My therapist said that he thought the actual act of becoming disgusted by watching it was actually a compulsion by the way.) But OCD won't let me off the hook. It has now started with: “This doesn’t bother you anymore. Does this mean that you are in the process of coming out of the closet? Maybe you’re starting to accept who you really are. Are you sure you don’t actually enjoy watching these videos?” It is very frustrating and discouraging.
The other day, after reading another blogger’s post I became inspired about how she actually attacks her OCD with tenacity and even continues to PLAN exposures into her life on a daily basis. This, to me is amazing – and – I think how she maintains recovery from OCD. I started feeling more determined and thought to myself: “Screw this. I’m going to attack this OCD and face this stuff.” To which my OCD said: “Hmmmm....you’re actually planning exposures. Actually looking forward to doing ERP. Are you sure this isn’t just you finding a reason to expose yourself to lesbian content? Maybe you really WANT to do this stuff because deep down inside you’re gay and you’re just slowly realizing it.”
I can’t win.
I just can’t win. Does a hand washer get these backdoor spikes? And if he/she does, what form do they take? Hmmm....you’re looking forward to giving germs to everyone – you must be some kind of evil person? I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t matter – my theme is my theme and feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to change anything. But it really, really, really frustrates me. I hate OCD.
Another example: a few days ago I was thinking about how I look forward to a day when I didn’t isolate myself from relationships because of fear that new female friends might be gay, or that becoming close to a woman will cause me to spike and wonder if I’m falling in love with her and coming out of the closet. My goal is really to be able to have friends of all kinds, no matter what their sexual orientation because that is what truly fits with my values. I was thinking to myself that I look forward to a day when I’m not afraid to become friends with whomever I want to become friends with, lesbian or not. Of course my OCD jumped in and said: “Aha! Are you sure it’s not that you can’t wait for a day when you can become friends with lesbians? When you can truly be yourself and come out of the closet?”
OCD is relentless. It is beating me up. No matter what I think, it finds a way of turning it around and shocking me into abiding with its rules. I long for freedom.