Skip to main content

What If?

If you have OCD, the question of 'what if?' pops up in your brain quite a bit. So often that we become unaware of the chatter it's creating in the background. The last post, 'The Other OCD', briefly mentioned some of the thoughts that people with OCD experience. The list is far from comprehensive.

A common reaction to the intrusive thoughts (obsessions) mentioned in the previous post is, "what if I'm the exception and I'm really a bad person?", "what if I'm one of the few people that feels horrible about these thoughts but I don't really have OCD?", "what if I secretly like having the thoughts?", "what if I seek help and the therapist reports me to the police?" 

An example of a very common intrusive thought is "what if I were to harm someone?". It's an intrusive thought that isn't an OCD thought, it's a human thought. All people, those with OCD and those without OCD, have intrusive thoughts even that thought. The difference is that this thought typically doesn't get more than an, "oh, that was strange...what was I going to get for lunch" response from the brain of a person without OCD. For those of us with OCD what can happen is the thought will get stuck in our head (thus the reason it's called an obsession) because of the anxiety, fear, and/or guilt that it produces.

The presence of the bad feelings that you experience would, for most people, be a strong indication that the bad thought goes against what you value; your internal moral compass. However OCD will trick you into trying to think your way out of the 'problem' created by the existence of the bad thought. Well, there is no problem and there's no need to think your way out of anything; that method only feeds OCD and makes the thought more intense and occur more frequently. It's so easy to buy into the pattern of trying to think your way out of the 'problem' because of the bad feelings that you are experiencing because of the thought. OCD wants you to believe that this thought represents a real 'problem' and that you need to do something about it. The irony is that not responding to the thought takes away OCD's power.

Intrusive thoughts don't belong to OCD. They are part of being a human being with a working brain. Intrusive thoughts turn into obsessions when they occur again and again and again in the brain. You can't control what you think but you can control how you respond to the thoughts.


Popular posts from this blog

Intrusive Thoughts and The Emotions They Bring

From my experience with intrusive thoughts, the kind that go against what we value, they can cause so much anxiety, sadness and guilt. You may be feeling depressed because the thoughts that bother you so much are wearing you down. That's what happened to me. I bought into the thoughts and assumed that they had some value about who I am and because of that, buying into them, I'd taken ownership of them and they were no longer chemical reactions but something that I needed to be concerned about, to worry about, to fix. I grasped them so strongly in my hand and wouldn't let go. The ironic truth is that those thoughts are like hot coals that we hold onto. We try to fix them when what we really need to do is let go of them. Why would one purposefully hold onto something that hurts them so much? 

You are giving energy and power to thoughts that occurred in the past and projecting how they may impact you later, the future. All we have is the present, the now. 
OCD thrives and lives…

ROCD (Relationship OCD)

Relationship OCD is the term given to obsessions that focus on: fear of getting in a romantic relationship, fear that you are in the wrong relationship, fear that you don't love the person that you are with, fear that having romantic feelings for someone other than your significant other means that there's something wrong with the relationship you are in. By no means is this a complete list of fears but I hope you get the idea.

Relationship OCD is something that really bothered me at one time. It still bubbles up from time to time but not with the intensity or frequency that it used to. I remember experiencing a lot of sadness and pain with this obsession. When it first started bothering me, my fiance meant everything to me and I felt so alone and helpless because I had been able to talk to her about what was bothering me. This was so different than other OCD obsessions because I could at least talk to her about them or let her know what was bothering me. With ROCD I felt that …

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 thr…