January 29, 2013

You have to be willing to face your worst fear....every minute of every day......

......and that’s the hardest part.  We really don’t ever get a break from our OCD fears.  Wouldn’t you all just love to wake up one day and truly NOT be afraid of your worst fear coming true?  I’ve definitely had days, weeks, even months where I thought to myself “if I find myself in love with a woman one day I will deal with it” – but that “theme” was always in the back of my mind.    

I try to say to myself “what’s the big deal?  If you someday fall in love with a woman why would that be such a bad thing?” and all the other stuff that people who don’t have HOCD probably tell themselves.  I really WISH I wasn’t scared of that.  But we all know that wishing doesn’t change anything. 

I just returned from an amazing holiday in Mexico.  My aunt lives there for four months in the winter.  My cousin/best friend met me there.  But OCD was with me every step of the way.  I suppose I have “slipped” a little, which is frustrating, but I am trying not to battle that fact and just accept where I am at today. 

I’ve managed to allow myself to avoid some things.  I've also been ruminating and mental checking - a lot.  I’ve had a few pretty big anxious moments, which have led into days.  It really is all about being willing IN THE MOMENT to do whatever is necessary to accept and face the possibility of your worst fear coming true. 

Travelling alone is really good exposure for me.  (As a side note – I really resent this fact.  Why does a holiday have to be exposure for me?????)  I’m exposed to situations, people and places that are all uncertain.  Who knows who I will meet and where? 

For some reason I think I’ve “backed off” of my willingness to face my worst fear.  I think it all just became so overwhelming.  Luckily it’s a moment-by-moment thing and we always have new opportunities to kick OCD in the ass.  I just know that right this second - I am so overwhelmed that I don’t have that wholehearted commitment to being willing to do whatever it is in order to face my worst fear.  In my opinion, this type of discipline is required for all of us if we are to avoid getting swallowed up in OCD.  How do the rest of you do it?  I would love to hear from some who have ROCD/HOCD. 
I had a few opportunities while in Mexico to really kick my OCD in the teeth.  One of the ways I do this is to purposely be friendly and smile to everyone - even women who look like they might be gay.  I just couldn't do it.  The voice in my head said "If you do that these women will think you're coming on to them and they will come up to you and try to meet you.  They will think you're a lesbian.  And THEN what will happen?????"

I had an experience with a man while I was in Mexico.  We met at a restaurant, and I thought he was cute.  We obviously felt a physical connection.  Without going into all of the details, we ended up meeting each other, and spending some time together.  He is from Mexico, so I knew that whatever transpired between us was only going to last for the duration of my trip and just be light and fun.  But as soon as we started spending time together the obsessing (and MASSIVE anxiety!) started:  How do you feel about him?  Why are you feeling so anxious?  What’s the big deal?  Maybe you don’t like him.  Marian said that she once dated a guy who would cry every time they were intimate because he was really gay.  Maybe that’s why you’re so anxious.  WHY CAN’T YOU JUST ENJOY THIS?  WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? Do you want to kiss him?  Do you feel attracted to him?  I just couldn’t wait to get out of it.....to get away....it wasn’t fun.  In all honesty, it was hell.  And then the "Maybe you're just afraid of facing who you really are....a lesbian." thoughts start.  We didn't sleep together, and of course that was a source of obsession as well.  Why didn't I want to sleep with him?  Is it because I wasn't really attracted to him?  Was I scared that I wouldn't like it?  If I didn't like it - that would obviously mean that I'm gay. 

Now that I’m home and I have 20/20 hindsight, I can see that I was wrapped up in thinking, thinking, thinking.  I couldn’t stop.  I tried so hard to just be with the anxiety, but my mind wouldn’t stop.  And then the urge to avoid started.  I wish I could have just enjoyed it more.  It drove me crazy that after meeting me for two hours he was constantly telling me how beautiful I am, and how much he loves me.  I used that as an excuse to “back off”.  Why couldn’t I just have enjoyed the compliments knowing that it was only going to last for a few days anyway?  Instead I had to spend my time TRYING TO DECIDE/FIGURE OUT IF I LIKED THIS GUY.  Or justify why I DIDN’T like him – because making a choice to not like a guy means that deep down inside I’m probably a lesbian.  No, I didn’t love the constant doting, and I was suspicious of the compliments.  But in the end it really didn’t matter.  Of course I wouldn’t have had a “real” relationship with this man.....so none of that really mattered! 
Anyway, I’m in a spot of “yuck”.  I’ll get through it.  I know I will.  I’m not sure where I go from here, but I have a session with my therapist next week and I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan.  I need to find a way of switching on that willingness....willingness to feel the anxiety, the doubt....the panic.  I’ll find it.  I know I will. 


  1. I hate it for you and for me and for all of us that OCD treatment is so darn hard! And I totally agree that it sucks that so many things that should be great fun are exposures instead.

  2. Oh man, that is so hard - I have struggled with massive HOCD and ROCD - right now I tend to obsess about something different, but there is still the same anxiety about what I am "deep down inside." How OCD loves introspection!

    ROCD really is terrible, and there's not much about it out there. You really are fighting it, though - that is clear. I'm sorry it's giving you a hard time right now.

    Your title really hit home with me because I am realizing that is what I must be willing to do to move forward.

  3. Sorry you've been going through some rough times........you'll get through it!

  4. Yes, you WILL get through this. You're a tough cookie. : )

    I am sorry you vaca was tormented by that though. Vacas are really hard for me too - all the changes in schedule and location. It really wrecks havoc with my mind. I do think you are being a bit too hard on yourself though. NO ONE can fight OCD every minute of every day. Impossible. You fight the ones you can, and leave the others for the next time. It sounds to me like that is what you are doing. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. You may not like me saying this but my Psychologist would MAKE me go to a gay bar as exposure if I told her I thought I was gay and was wrestling with this thought and I would basically think she was evil because that is generally what she does to make me comfront my fears. I do not think you will get the motivation to do this. You won't want to do it. I think it may do you good even though you will possibly feel like crying the whole time your there. It is not a nice feeling but I think this would be a good exposure. If I avoid things they get worse. I remember reading one of your sayings which I liked. "If a dog is chasing you, whistle for him." Just trying to help. I have OCD too and I know that it is a 24/7 thing and I am constantly arguing with myself in my head all the time. Louise

  6. Sorry OCD mucked up your vacation. What's been working for me is to do a thot record in my head- or on paper to help lower the anxiety/dread. When that is down, i have a space to think a little more clearly. Has your therapist taught you about thot records? They work well in stopping new ocd thots from getting lodged in. That way I don't have to ERP them out. It doesn't work every time, but it cuts down the erps i have to do on myself.

    PS. Tell OCD it's not a good idea to sleep with someone just to prove you can :p

  7. Yeah, my HOCD and ROCD are woven together like a braid. I've realized I've created this paradox of "Well, if I KNEW I wasn't gay, then I could fully invest myself in my relationship with my boyfriend" and "If I KNEW I was in love with/attracted to/right for my boyfriend, then it wouldn't matter if I wasn't 100% straight." Neither makes sense, and it puts a lot of pressure on him and me. "Why can't you just enjoy this??" is something I ask myself a lot too.

    Also, I wanted to say thanks for your blog. I've been reading it for almost a year, and it's been great to see your progress. Your rough days help me realize that I (and you) probably can't make OCD go away. But don't be too hard on yourself! It seems like your less frequent posting means you're doing so much better! It's all about managing the problem, not making it go away. Thanks for inspiring me. -VB

    1. VB - wow - what great insight!! I love how you call it a "paradox", and those words I could have written myself. It puts us in a situation where we just can't win....stupid OCD. I am so glad I have helped others by writing this blog! It has been very therapeutic for me, and the bonus is that there are others out there who are benefitting from reading what I write. You are correct - my less frequent posts have meant that I am coping a lot better....I didn't want it to be like that, but I just haven't had a lot on my mind....such a great feeling! Thanks for inspiring ME to keep writing. :o)