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Thinking "Bad" Thoughts - The Other OCD

OCD takes the morals that you most cherish, the things that define the fabric of who you are and turns them against you.

Beyond the behaviours of compulsive hand washing and checking lies the other OCD that doesn't get talked about often. It's the OCD that shows little to no outward behavioural actions. It exists in the form of thoughts that have the ability to make your world seem like it's ending and that life isn't worth living. Many refer to it as Pure O because it displays no apparent compulsions; physical behaviours.

The name Pure OCD, or Pure O as it's often referred to, can be very misleading because it suggests that it's 'only' obsessions. It must not be that scary, anxiety provoking, debilitating, or there's nothing that can be done about it because it lacks a compulsion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I live with this type of OCD. I'm not trying to minimize the suffering and hell that people with washing and checking OCD go through. My goal is to  bring awareness to the other OCD that ruins the lives  of so many people because they don't know it exists. 

What are some of the common obsessions that affect a person that has Pure O? They frequently take the form of 'what if'. "What if I'm X?", or "What if I were X?"  

Substitute X for any of the following (this is not a conclusive list) : wrong relationship, gay, evil, hate god, don't love my partner, to harm someone, a pedophile. 

What if I'm in the wrong relationship? What if I don't love my partner enough? What if I'm capable of doing evil things? What if I harmed someone? What if I'm a pedophile? What if I were to think horrible things about my god? What if I'm a homosexual? 

If you have Pure O, any one of the 'what if's' listed above can cause your heart to stop, your anxiety to skyrocket and your mood to bottom out. The thing that you must remember is that there's a strong sense of fear and/or anxiety when you think about these what ifs. That is because the thoughts go against the very things that you value most; the values that make you who you are. The intrusive thoughts (obsessions) can take away your desire to live in a split second. 

It can be so taboo to talk about the content of the obsessions because they are scary things but you must remember that if you have OCD you are not these thoughts.  You are also not any more likely to act on any of these thoughts than a 'normal person without OCD' is likely to act on any of these thoughts. 

Please learn more because knowledge is power with this disease. Find a therapist qualified to treat OCD. Check out the International OCD Foundation's website, check out the Beyond OCD website, buy the book "The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD",  by Jon Hershfield and Tom Corboy. Read the book 'The Imp of the Mind'. 

You are not your thoughts, OCD only wants you to think that you are. You deserve to live a life filled with contentment and peace. You are not a worthless person. You may feel that life isn't worth living but don't buy into it. I know because I've been there all too many times.

Here are a couple of updates. Direct links to blogs that talk in depth about ROCD (relationship OCD) and POCD (pedophile OCD).

ROCD: A great blog that focuses on the topic of ROCD. I just ran across this and wanted to share:

POCD: Great, great blog by an expert on OCD:


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