Sunday, November 27, 2011


I don't know how many of you watch the Oprah Network (OWN), but I am obsessed. I love every single show and absolutely love Oprah. With that being said I thought I would share a little bit about the "Aha" moment I had yesterday (Oprah is always looking for "aha" moments and talks about them constantly on her show). Like I said in my previous blog post, I have been struggling quite a bit with my (R)OCD the past couple weeks. As you all know when one theme fades another ones rears it's ugly head to take it's place. So, naturally as my HOCD has been fading away bit by bit (Thankyou Prozac) my ROCD has taken over. My therapist and I have been diving into my HOCD a lot more than ROCD, which is why I believe I am having a much better time with it. We have talked through almost everything thought I've ever had, rationalized, and have been constantly reminding myself that it's the OCD talking. However, we haven't done much discussing in the ROCD area, so it's really been tough for me the past couple weeks. The aspect I have the most trouble with (as I have stated in other posts) is my previous relationship. I COULD/CANNOT let it go. I have always wondered what in the world is wrong with me. People move on from relationships, especially when they know they have done everything they can to make it work and it just doesn't. It is not meant to be. End of story. Nope, not for me. Two years post final break up (and we haven't even officially been together in 3 years) and a year and half into a relationship with the most wonderful guy on the planet, the relationship still plays a huge role in my ROCD theme and GREATLY affects me. "What if you just give it one more try, you will never be over him, he is the only one for you, you loved him so much and won't ever have that again because you are only supposed to have one soul mate, you will go on for the rest of your life wondering if you regret not being with him, you will never be able to fully invest in another relationship because that relationship will always pop into the back of your mind" Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla. Along with the thoughts of if I really love my current boyfriend, and if my feelings are strong enough, the ex boyfriend theme always plays the homewrecker role. In the back of my mind I have known that it is very OCD related, but COULD NOT convince myself enough. It just didn't feel right ,like always, and I am always convincing myself that the only answer is going back to my ex. My mind does that wonderful little trick of only reminding me of all the wonderful things we went through. It conveniently excludes all the tears, disappointment, and hurt I experienced in the relationship, which are things my current boyfriend would never put me through. Anyways, like I said, it's been a struggle and it just seems so REAL (the worst part of Pure-O) because they are legitimate life concerns, just coupled with irrational behavior.
Now, about the Aha moment. Somehow I missed a very important portion of the "I think it moved" article by Dr. Phillipson. He says:
"Persons with this form of OCD who have ended relationships often incessantly ruminate about whether the choice was justified. After the relationship has ended, the mind becomes very selectively focused on only the positive memories and tends to disqualify the negative times. The natural discord associated with getting "the answer" in regard to whether to be in the relationship is tremendous. When OCD is involved, the magnitude of this discord is amplified to the point of torment. Persons who, in their reasonable mind, are aware that the relationship is truly over, can still spend hours pondering whether or not it might still be worthwhile making one more attempt to salvage it. When this element of obsession is present the natural healing effects of time tend to be eliminated."
"Amongst persons with relationship justification spikes, there tends to be much less clarity about the irrational nature of their particular concern. This is in large part due to western society's romantic notions about what being in a relationship entails. Our fairy tales and popular media present all-loving relationships as being endlessly earth moving, firework events".
" Persons often contemplate and occasionally dabble in the effort to establish whether they would feel different if they were with someone else. This explains why a number of patients have initiated therapy up to five years after they have ended the relationship and are still trying to bring a close to justifying that the final choice was the correct one."

HELLO! That is what's wrong. My OCD won't allow to move forward like normal people. I hadn't read much about other people having trouble with this aspect of the ROCD theme, but this article explains everything. While many OCD sufferers leave relationships  they possibly wouldn't leave if they didn't have the disorder, I have the opposite problem. My OCD won't let me leave the relationship I know I should have left and forgot about a long long time ago (still doubting). When I realize how much this has affected me over the past few years and how impossible it has made investing myself in another relationship I want to grab OCD by the hair and drag it behind my car. I hate it. But, I finally have the insight and finally feel like I understand what's been going on. I couldn't quite convince myself before that it was a problem with OCD (and will still have trouble convincing myself in the future---I know). But, I will take every bit of help I can get and am incredibly excited about the "aha" moment...and can't wait to share it with my therapist. So--Thankyou Dr. Phillipson, Thankyou.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thank you Dr. Grayson

I have had a rough couple of days with my ROCD as I've been home for Thanksgiving and that entails lots of trigger. Ugh. But, I am going to save my complaining and annoyance for a later time and just post a little something from Dr. Grayson's book, "Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder", that gave me a little feeling I comfort today. (I'm sure most of you have read it, and if I I would highly recommend it). He says: "I have noticed all three traits that characterize almost all of you: creativity,imagination, and above average intelligence. Creativity because the core of creativity is asking "what if". Imagination is the ability to think about a subject so vividly that it feels real. You scare yourself to death. As for intelligence, if one accepts the basic premise of your OCD fears, the complex systems you devise are logical. These traits serve you in many ways that you probably appreciate. Many of you are the ones whom friends come to for advice. They do this because you understand. And you understand because when you listen to others, you can suspend your own reality and judgement to creatively imagine what it would be like to be in your friends position". So, if you need to shed some positive light on your OCD use this excerpt as an opportunity. We are above average. We have traits and qualities others can only hope to have. We are empathetic, understanding, intelligent, self aware, creative, imaginative, strong, and most important of all we have the opportunity to fight through something that will make us stronger and better individuals down the road. We just have to keep working on managing this unique disorder and turn it into an asset.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Thoughts for the Day

I don't have any real inspiring material for the night. Just some random thoughts that have been going through my head. :) I was talking to my boyfriend this evening about my moods incorporated with my OCD. I found it quite funny that I actually used the title of my blog to describe it to him (he isn't allowed to read it). Days with OCD are literally like rollercoaster rides. Now that I am on meds, I will find that I literally have hours here and there where I forget that I even have OCD. I feel like a normal person and how I assume I felt before my OCD started---it's been too long ago to really remember. Sometimes this will be two or three days lapsed together. I won't necessarily forget about the OCD, but it's just like the thoughts really don't bother me. The anxiety isn't as prevalent and I guess you could say I shrug off the irrational thoughts like a normal human being. Other days--BAM! Sometimes I don't even know what triggers it. I just feel so down. It is almost like now that I know I have OCD there is a big gray cloud that follows me around from time to time that just makes me feel gloomy--even if it's not necessarily the obsessive thoughts and anxiety that cause it. It's just something that is there. But, don't get me wrong. I am using this excerpt as a spot to declare something I am grateful for tonight, which is: going to a therapist who immediately realized I had obsessive compulsive behaviors and immediately started me on an SSRI. On the days where I wonder if I even have OCD, because I feel great and happy, and of course am still questioning the legitimacy of my diagnosis, I simply remind myself of the deep dark hole I was in just a month ago before I sought out help and started my meds. I think about how incredibly out of control my brain was and how in the world I did not realize something was terribly wrong so much sooner. I feel so bad that I wasn't able to recognize the seriousness of my thoughts and behaviors, and continued to put myself and those around me through the horrible effects of OCD. For all of you out there finding yourselves debilitated by OCD, please don't hesitate to try medication. Not necessarily as a long term solution, but atleast a way to calm down your brain while working your way through therapy. It has helped me so much already.

My other random thought of the day is just a simple "What I am thankful for". Today I just want to say how thankful I am for the support system I have, and tonight that specifically refers to my boyfriend. He is the number one reason why I finally sought out help and has been more supportive and wonderful than I could have ever hoped or asked for. He is quite simply one of the kindest and well intentioned people I have ever met. I don't know what in the world I ever did to deserve him, but I'll count my blessings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OCD's blur

Over the past several months as my OCD got progressively worse I found myself experiencing what I refer to as blurry vision. I don't know if it is directly related to OCD, just obsessive behaviors, depression or what. But, I find that there are times when I don't feel like I am experiencing things through my self. It is so hard to explain. It is like I am so stuck in my own head and my own thoughts that my brain can't process anything going on around me, and I am just in some kind of fog. I was at dinner one night and just felt crazy. Like I wasn't really there and couldn't process what was going on around me. I tried to explain it to my therapist last week. Sometimes it's a feeling where there is just too much going on around me, like in grocery stores or heavily populated areas with lots of people and things. When I am in these places I tend to just feel overwhelmed. Not necessarily by the people just by all the commotion. Last week I went to a dog expo with my pup. There were hundreds of vendors there and obviously hundreds of people. I started to get a horrible headache and even got disoriented. It was that foggy feeling, like there was just too much to process and the fog just starts to set in. Like I'm not there. It happened to me at dinner one night as well with a group of people. This is the most specific experience I remember. The whole dinner I just felt so odd, like I couldn't figure out what was going on in the conversations and I couldn't process anything. Again, that foggy feeling. It's almost like your brain is so overloaded all day long and so worn out that its defense mechanism is to stop working and not put the effort into figuring out your surroundings and the people and things around you. I would love some insight on this super unorganized and hectic post. But, it's pretty reflective of how these experiences make me feel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OCD's High Standards

During my appointment last week my therapist used a phrase that I hadn't really thought about in terms of my OCD, and a light bulb went off. We were talking about my issues with sexuality and she stated that I had set incredibly high standards for myself in terms of being straight, and these standards are ones that can never be met. It clicked. That is what OCD does.

In regards to my sexuality, I (and my OCD) have created this picture in my head of what straight is supposed to look like. This involves everything from how I sit to how I eat to what kind of dogs I like (ridiculous I know) and how hairy my arms are. This list could literally go on for days, but let's just say it's gotten to the point that it's actually pretty comical (on the days I know it's the OCD of course). Any little things I do, action I take or person I look at provides the opportunity for my OCD to latch on and scream, "Hey! that's not straight of you!" and off I go into the immediate questioning, checking, and rumination. Would non- OCDers who are gay or straight ever have any major issues with the things I listed above? Of course not. Because they aren't afraid of their orientation. They don't have the fear I have, and OCD hasn't ingrained all the ridiculously high standards in their brains. For them, it is what it is and they're comfortable. For me, it's the I want to rip my hair out feeling.

Now, in terms of my relationship OCD, the same can be said. I have built this picture in my head of what love is supposed to look like. This involves everything anyone has ever seen on TV or in romantic comedies and love stories. EVERYTHING. And, the second my relationship doesn't live up to these standards, or I hear a statement in ones of these movies or tv shows that challenges my feelings---hello OCD. The even funnier thing about the ROCD is that when you are in a relationship and the OCD causes you to look for the "perfect love" so hard--it's never going to come! The standards are so high, and no relationship will EVER live up to these standards (which I have to force myself to believe-because of course a part of me wants to think there has to be ONE relationship that is perfect, and nothing else is good enough). Now, the part I really struggle with in this regard, as I stated in a previous post, is my past relationship. It was my first serious relationship (5 years) and I was head over heels. Although I can see the faults in the relationship most days, and realize my current boyfriend and relationship are SO MUCH better for me, my OCD still finds opportunities to latch on. "You'll never know if he wasn't the one, and if you're missing out" "You never questioned your love with him" "You were always happy with him". The other unfortunate part of this circumstance (some wouldn't see it as unfortunate) is that my ROCD didn't start until my second relationship. So, the questioning and checking is much much worse because I am always wondering why it didn't ever start up with my ex--which brings on the OCD question of "Is that because he is the one for you" Bla. Anyways, my point is--OCD and its perfectionism have a way of creeping into your mind and creating all these false illusions and high standards. And I guess the first step in controlling the OCD is realizing how unrealistic and irrational these standards really are--and learning to deal with the doubt they cause. OCD is awesome.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Magical Fix--That Never Comes

When planning this blog out in my mind I wanted to start with a sufficient overview of my history with OCD. Today, however, has been one of those days that I feel like my brain has been so overloaded with questions, thoughts and ideas that the thought of organizing 6 years of OCD history makes me dizzy. So, I'm going to write about something I believe to be one of my (and possibly many others) biggest issues with OCD. For the past several years I have found myself constantly searching for the "magical fix". Something that will just magically make things "ok". When I find this fix I believe I will be happy, and everything in my life will be the way it is supposed to be. I will go through bouts where I obsess over this fix, and spends days and days researching what I believe to be the answer at that given time. I had always assumed this constant searching was just a result of the "problems" I thought I had (that I was gay and in the wrong relationship) or the fact that I am incredibly self aware, perfectionistic, and hard on myself. However, once I started reading and learning about OCD I clearly made the connection between this magical fix and the very unmagical things going on inside my brain.

I can see that some days this fix will revolve around my relationship. I will think that if everything was the way it was supposed to be and I was in love and could stay that way, everything would be "ok". Therefore, clearly the relationship I am in is not the "fix" and isn't right for me. If it was, I wouldn't feel this way.  Other days it will revolve around another huge issue I have with my ROCD: my past relationship. I will be convinced that the only way I am ever going to be happy again is if I get back together with my ex. The one who I for so many years convinced myself was the only person in the world for me. And, in my mind built a force field around all the wonderful times we had together, while seemingly forgetting about all the horrible ones that made up a much much larger portion. These thoughts will make me miserable for days. Other days I will obsess over things simply related to myself. Last week the only thing I could think or research about was ADHD (this isn't completely irrational because I am being tested) and the fact that if I could just fix that about myself then all my problems with school would be fixed. Other days I will obsess over purpose in life. What really is the point? If I could become more faithful with more belief in God, I would have more purpose and everything would be ok. If I could just be in love the way I want to be I would be happy and my life  would have more purpose. The list goes on for days. It's like a constant battle with myself to find the fix. But, the scary thing is that it will never come. This fix is simply a figment of my OCD. It is my brain looking for some absolute definitive answer. But, if there was one wouldn't I have found it already? With all the wonderful things I have in my life wouldn't I have been able to find the happiness I am looking for, couldn't I just be content? I should be and would be if it wasn't for that little voice in the back of my head that rears its ugly OCD behaviors. I have learned that one fix will simply bring on another. The days that I feel like I am in love and happy in my relationship inevitably get thrown to the wayside by the thoughts brought on by my OCD and that fix is once again in question. The days I read about faith and religion get thrown off the tracks when I start  scaring myself with another OCD theme. The positive fact is that I have identified it. Working my way thought it, and finding a way to not always be in search of that definitive answer is the trickier part.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"It just doesn't feel right"

The phrase "It just doesn't feel right" probably resonates well with most Pure O sufferers. You find yourself drowning in a sea of unwanted, irrational, head pounding thoughts. These thoughts follow you everywhere you go- day in- day out. You may have 15 seconds where you have this wonderful feeling of euphoria with the realization that--"These thoughts are ridiculous! You aren't gay, you aren't a pedophile, you love your significant other". But, whatever reassuring thoughts enabled you to feel this brief moment of relaxation and relief are suddenly challenged--just 15 seconds later. Somewhere in your brain you find any experience or feeling you can to challenge your rationality and sabotage yourself back into the clutches of your OCD. This is accompanied by tightness in your chest and butterflies in your stomach. You again start battling with yourself. Anything you walk by on the street, any person you see, any tv show or song on the radio somehow relates to whatever theme you find yourself suffering from on that given day. ROCD causes you to not be able to watch chick flicks or listen to love songs. HOCD doesn't allow you to sit and watch "Ellen" on TV. Anytime you hear the word gay your chest automatically tightens. If it's a day with ROCD you find yourself examining whether every second spent with your significant others brings "the butterflies". You absolutely cannot figure out how in a matter of minutes you find yourself determining if you are gay or not gay 6 or 7 different times...or how the first week of the month you feel wonderful with your significant other. You have the butterflies everyone wants, you are relaxed, you can enjoy their company. Then a week later you are in tears and suffering from constant questioning because your brain will not allow to you even look at the other person without examining every emotion running through your body, and questioning every single thing about the relationship. But, you don't know what OCD is. You eventually get to the point that you want to come out of the closet and break off your relationship because the anxiety is too much. But even when you reach that point you STILL QUESTION. You still know that "something just doesn't feel right".

Two weeks ago I finally found out that the "It just doesn't feel right" statement could finally be justified. I went through years and years thinking there was something wrong with me. I thought I was just going to have to live with these thoughts forever. While I knew they weren't normal, I was too afraid to go to anyone. I feared if I went to a therapist they would simply tell me that I was gay, and everything would finally topple down in front of me, and I would have to live with that realization for the rest of my life. I thought this would explain why the feelings I had in my relationship were constantly changing--because I wasn't supposed to be with a guy anyways. Fortunately for me, my final breaking point occurred about three weeks ago. While visiting my boyfriend I found myself in my second worst episode I have had with my OCD.  I fell into a deep state of depression, with such great anxiety that I was making myself physically sick. It was one of the worst weeks of my life. Through the encouragement of my wonderful and supportive boyfriend I finally decided there really was something wrong, and I needed to see someone. I returned home and called my dad for help. This resulted in me seeing a therapist and being told I had symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Behavior and that I needed to be put on an SSRI to calm my mind and body down. This was the very beginning of what I know will be a long journey will OCD, and I hope to share more about my experiences with both HOCD and ROCD in the coming weeks. I would love input from others who have suffered through the same experiences, and I would love to provide feedback as well.