Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turning the light switch off

It's been longer than usual since my last post. The last week has been a mixture of things. The highlight I guess has been that my HOCD has practically vanished (let's knock on wood here). I have been able to interact with friends, employees at stores, watch movies with gorgeous actresses, and quite simply just walk down the street without discovering things or seeing other people that I believe make me gay. It's a pretty crazy feeling when you've finished watching a movie and realize that you have not had one single thought related to HOCD. Or, after walking to a destination on campus you realize that you did not look at a single person walking by you on the street and question if they were gay, if they thought you were gay, if you are attracted to them, if you could see yourself being with them and bla bla bla. Definitely making progress.

But, let's not get too excited (that's what I keep telling myself). Because, we all know that OCD likes to knock on the front door when everything seems to be just dandy. It has done exactly that in a couple different ways this week. When driving home from school for Christmas Break I realized that both forms of my OCD had been incredibly under control for about two days, which is a big deal. I wasn't obsessing over anything (well I was, but it was the positive aspects of my relationship) and like I said, the HOCD seemed to be something that I had trouble with decades ago. Then like clockwork, BAM, my first anxiety provoking thought in literally weeks. I was listening to Dr. Joy Brown on the radio and a caller asked for advice about her father who she believed to be a narcissist. For some reason I was not fully aware of what being a narcissist entailed. So, sure enough I googled it (damn you google) and started reading through descriptions and wikipedia pages. Like a freight train, it hit, "Am I a narcissist"? I immediately found several similarities between myself and the characteristics listed on the internet. Of course this led to immediate rumination and over thinking on my drive home. This was of course accompanied by the tightness in my chest and butterflies in my stomach. Luckily, it is something that created anxiety and really bothered me but didn't "stick" I guess you could say. It definitely didn't develop into some new obsession, but chose to slide its way into my ROCD instead. For the last two days anytime I talk to my boyfriend, my little OCD shadow just says to me "you're selfish, you don't care about what he has to say, you just want to talk about yourself. If you really cared about him you would want to listen to everything he had to say and wouldn't be so concerned about yourself. When he talks a lot you just get annoyed, which obviously means the relationship can't last long term". The most frustrating thing about it is that it is literally like a light switch. For a week straight I was feeling great about the relationship and like I said was obsessing about it but in a positive manner (still not a good thing, I know). I was incredibly excited for our vacation and missing him terribly. Then, we have one conversation, through text messages, that causes the switch to turn on. There was absolutely nothing about this conversation that should have caused any concern. I simply wasn't in the mood to talk and was watching a show online. He, however, was very talkative and texting left and right like we always do. The conversation completely turned me away and immediately made me start feeling like I didn't care. It's like all of the sudden I see that as some tall tell sign that the relationship isn't meant to be. Like normal people are ALWAYS in the mood to talk to their significant other. Right OCD, right. Anyways, it has basically turned into two straight days of grouchiness with him and me feeling like I am "faking it" again. This of course leads to rumination about past relationships and picking apart every tiny aspect of this relationship that will cause it to fail. It's like someone turns on the OCD light switch and the OCD causes you to have to put on sunglasses that blur your vision from all reality. Like no matter what you tell yourself or what you do you cannot see things clearly. When you are stuck in those moments you can't assess anything for what it really is. I see my boyfriend almost as a figment of my imagination. Like I don't actually think about him, I only think about the negative storyline I have built in my head. If I manage to cut through all the fog and illusions I begin to feel better because thoughts of him as a person and not an idea make me feel great. This probably doesn't make any sense at all,  but it's just how things have been for the past couple days.  Eventually, something will cause the light switch to turn off again, and I will come to the realization that my bad days were ridiculous and I will question why I could ever think that way. But for now I'm stuck and hoping something flips the switch for me.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading over break, and will fill everyone in on my next post. For those of you with Pure O who haven't read "Imp of the Mind", I strongly suggest it. It's the only book I have read that is directly written towards the pure form. I have also started to read a lot about mindfulness and Buddhism actually. I am finding it to be incredibly interesting and am working on putting a lot of the mindfulness techniques into practice. If you haven't read up on this theory of thought I would suggest it as well. Goodnight all.


  1. My OCD manifests itself in the same way as yours. If I hear something new or see something different, I wonder, "Could I be like that?" I totally get it.

    ROCD has always been a struggle for me as well, but my strategy lately is to try not to "figure it out." I literally tell myself to stop trying to figure everything out and try to be OK with the uncertainty. Super hard to do, but after some practice it becomes a positive habit. Know your OCD and the thoughts that you are having, they are directly related to your OCD. That makes me feel better too. It's great when a thought comes and you can "tag" it as OCD, work on it for a short time, and move on and focus outward...

  2. The tagging has really worked for me with HOCD, for the most part. I can almost always tell myself it's OCD and move on. I think that is why I have gotten rid of the obsession so quickly, because I have been able to recognize it as OCD. The ROCD is so much harder though. On bad days I still have trouble telling myself it's OCD. I guess it's because relationship concerns can be so "real". I am just still not at the point where I can always tell myself it's OCD and be ok with it, which is why it is still so difficult to move forward.

  3. I've had those thoughts too. For awhile I obsessed about whether I had OCPD. I've also obsessed that I have Bi Polar and different kinds of personality disorders. One thing that I noted about your post is that you are TRYING very hard to have positive thoughts about your boyfriend. Why wouldn't you? I fall into that same trap with ROCD - I make the assumption that others have that experience so why shouldn't I? It's a tough one - ROCD. I can't give you a lot of advice because my last relationship ended after four years, but I feel like since then I've learned a lot and I'm ready to try again!!! Good luck!!!

  4. I love your description of a light switch turning on OCD and making us put on glasses that blur reality. So true!
    And I understand what you say about something or someone not seeming real because you've thought about it and made up stories in your mind about it. So me!
    I'm glad the tagging is working. And even if you can't always stop the ruminating, you are AWARE of it. That is half the battle.
    Studying mindfulness has helped me a lot.
    Merry Christmas!