January 16, 2013

The Problem with OCD....

I’ve had many days, weeks and months that have been relatively “OCD free” recently, and it’s amazing how clear thinking my brain is when it’s not clouded with all of the obsessive thoughts, ruminating and trying to “figure things out”.  I like to call it my “Moments of Clarity”.  I love those moments.  I suppose one might also call them epiphanies.....sprouting me forward in growth.  From a Buddhist perspective, these moments might be called getting in touch with our “inner wisdom”, or “Bhudda nature”.  The truth. 

As we all know, OCD tends to latch on to that which we feel is most important to us.  For me it’s relationships and my sexuality.  (And if you read my previous post, it’s my aging body!) A few days ago I had a big HOCD spike.  Probably the biggest that I’ve had in awhile.  Rather, I had a few in a row, and it caught me off guard.  In all honesty, it knocked me down.  I’m working through it, but I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. 
So I’ve been anxious for a few days.  And I’ve looked for some support.  No, I wasn’t “internet searching” – for the answers.  I was looking for support – as we all do when we are experiencing difficulty.  Anyway, I found this fantastic blog about a guy who suffers from ROCD, and is “recovered”.  It’s got fantastic tips and insight.  I highly recommend reading some of his posts. 

As I was reading one of his posts, it occurred to me that (particularly with my type of OCD) obsessively looking for answers really is counter-productive.  When really hit with a bad spike, our minds go on and on with mindless, useless, VERY unhelpful banter, that really gets us no closer to the “answer” anyway.  We are lured into believing that if we just thought about it for a few more minutes, or just reviewed yet one other incident from the past, or just solved this one problem  – that we would figure out THE ANSWER once and for all.  It’s such a trap. 
But – it’s hard to stop.  It’s SCARY to stop.....and just feel the anxiety.  Scary to sit with the uncertainty...that our worst fear may be coming true.  To endure the tightness in our chests, the sick feeling in our stomachs, the “tingly” feeling in our bodies.....and worst of all the obsessing....the thoughts that say that our worst fear is about to come true....or that we are crazy for not doing SOMETHING to try to stop our worst fear from coming true.   
Some days I really feel courageous.  Some days I feel like I could face my worst fears and be OK.  Some days I really don’t.  (My therapist says feelings aren’t facts and it deosn’t really matter how I feel right now - that if I am faced with my worst fear I would deal with it.)

But I do know that even if I DO have intimacy problems when in relationships (and who doesn’t?) for example, when I am obsessively trying to figure out if I am in the “right” relationship or if I am a lesbian in denial – I am not effectively able to deal with the REAL problem at hand.  I am not effectively able to concentrate on the things that I need to concentrate on in order to grow and evolve as a person.  When in a relationship, I’m not able to deal effectively with the REAL problems and issues that inevitably come up with two people when in an intimate relationship.  I just don’t have the head space for that clarity/inner wisdom to come through. 
I know that I am not my OCD, but sheesh – on some days – days like this where my mind is going, going, going, and I have a sick feeling in my stomach all day – it sure feels like it.  I look forward to having more of those epiphanies.  This too shall pass. 

P.S. There is something wrong with my spell check....of course I had to let you know that.  Wouldn't want you to think that I would publish a blog post with spelling errors.  :o)


  1. This is a great post, POC. It's true, that OCD thinking takes up so much head space that it is hard to focus on anything else at the same time.

    Also, obsessively searching for an answer is just a compulsion. I should know, I do it all the time!! It IS very scary to just sit with the yucky feelings. I'm still not very good with that. I usually end up trying to distract myself, but I know I have to work on that.

    I'm sorry you've had some anxious days lately. I've been having some too. Don't know if it's because it's dark and cold now, or if it's something else. But, I guess I just have to learn to go with the flow. Like you said, it will pass. It always does. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Great post which really shows how OCD interferes with "real life." Hope you feel better soon. You have a great attitude.

  3. If you are gay is it really a big deal? My brother is gay. We still love him. I have Pure OCD same as you and it does your head in when you can't stop thinking about something no matter what you do. I am not a fan of uncertainty either but not much I can do about it. Go and do something nice for yourself like get a massage or see a movie or something :) Also what 71degrees and sunny mentioned before. It is the middle of winter where you are and for me I am definitely worse during winter. You need to sit in the sun if you can. Hope you get back on track soon. Your blog helps me alot. Louise

    1. Louise - thanks for your post, and your kind words. Though I appreciate your support, as someone with OCD, I am sure you can understand that logic always interferes with our biggest fears. Saying to someone "so what if you get your family sick from not washing" really doesn't matter or help. Of course we can rationally understand that either the fear doesn't make sense or that we would deal with it, but that's the point of OCD.

  4. Yes, i hate going around acting normal when there's a big anxiety battle going on inside of me. I hope you are feeling better now.

  5. As always.... I can relate to everything you have written here. Great post. I have been struggling the past month or so with some major ROCD hiccups, as well as some issues with HOCD (that I hadn't had in a long time...and were/are VERY unwelcome). I hope you begin feeling better soon. Thankyou so much for the link to their ROCD blog. I have a feeling every post will be read in the next few hours :)

    1. I hope you're feeling better! It's crazy how quickly this type of OCD can run away on us....I think it's because most of our compulsions are in our heads so it's hard to catch them all the time.