asker

Anonymous asked: Been struggling with OCD since November. Started with HOCD now unfortunately Harm OCD, and its so hard understanding it. Have you had any experience with this theme? It's super distressing thinking I may harm others!

Hello! I’ve not had much experience with it though it has occasionally tried to get into my head. Luckily I’ve got ERP down pretty well by now as well as ACT, so new themes don’t tend to stick for long.

It sounds riskier than it is, but trust me when I say to trust yourself. Exposure works wonders for this theme just like any other. Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable needs to be tackled head on. If you fear you’re going to stab someone, make a meal with a fellow family member. You’re not going to act on these thoughts because they’re ego-dystonic (the opposite of your true character), but your mind won’t believe that until you prove it to yourself.

For me, Harm OCD has kicked in when my girlfriend and I play fight (I always fear getting too aggressive). However I trust myself I’d never actually harm her and now I don’t get nervous about it.

You have control. Never let the illusion OCD provides tell you otherwise.

HOCD - Coping Mechanisms by OCD Free

There are a ton of asks on HOCD so I thought rather than repeat myself by answering each one individually I could make a summary that covers all main concerns.

First of all, for those that do not know, HOCD is a form of Pure-O. The intrusive thoughts are often of a sexual nature and focus on doubts centered around a sufferers sexuality.

This theme seems to be one of the most common. It is not a homophobic mindset but rather a threat to the sufferer’s identity. If you’ve always identified as straight/gay and then all of a sudden one day you have a fleeting thought of finding the same/opposite sex attractive, it can set off a cycle of misinterpretation and as a result self-doubt.

Below I’ve listed the knowledge/coping mechanisms I believe to be most beneficial when dealing with HOCD:

Everybody gets intrusive thoughts. They do not have any significance. The reason sufferers struggle so much with them is because it triggers an anxiety response. This response, when misinterpreted, leads to falsely teaching yourself that these thoughts are threatening when they are not.

Everybody can see attraction in both genders. The difference is finding somebody good looking does not equal sexual attraction. There’s a lot of stigma about this in society so it isn’t talked about much (possibly a factor in why it’s a common theme) but males know when another male is good looking and females know when another female is good looking. The trick is to understand that just because you find them good looking, doesn’t mean you want any kind of sexual activity with them.

Testing yourself is not beneficial. Many sufferers often watch gay porn if they identify as straight and are struggling with this theme, and vice versa (as HOCD can be a gay person fearing they are straight) but this is a BAD IDEA. One of the most common asks I get is panic related to a groinal response. This is because the sufferer relates this response to attraction. However this is a damaging misconception that usually leads to more reassurance seeking. We as humans can get turned on by ANYTHING of a sexual nature. It is not related to sexuality but rather the sexual nature of whatever act you’re watching.

Recognize anxiety for what it is. One of the biggest reasons Pure-O is hard to deal with is because of ruminating. It’s extremely hard to cut out analyzing your thoughts and emotions when they begin to feel like they’re taking over but again, this will only make you worse. Anxiety is a dominant emotion and irrational in circumstances like this, so don’t actively try to search inside you for any kind of signs of reassurance during a spike as it’s going to make you worse. The best thing to do is let that anxiety be there and continue on as normal in order to desensitize. Anxiety can also cause a groinal response so link the two together and you should over time be able to cut out two of your biggest triggers.

CBT. Sadly not an option for everybody, but for those that can get it for free or that can afford it, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a highly successful form of treating OCD. It’s a form of therapy that focuses on changing our thought patterns by altering our approach to them. Negative thoughts can be discarded and replaced with positive thoughts and intrusive thoughts can be identified and ignored as opposed to feared. Journals are a common part of CBT and are used to track progress, so I recommend using one if you can’t afford CBT.

ERP. Exposure Response Prevention is a coping mechanism used in CBT to treat OCD. A common response to anxiety is to flee. In OCD/Pure-O we know this response as avoidance behaviours. These behaviours are counter productive as the problem isn’t being dealt with but avoided. ERP involves putting yourself in situations that trigger your OCD/Pure-O in order to work through the anxiety. Doing this will help your mind to stop sending these inaccurate warning signals, and will also stop your body misinterpreting them. A good example I can provide related to HOCD is making sure you hang out with all of your same sex friends (if you identify as straight) and opposite sex friends (if you identify as gay). Many sufferers avoid their friends due to the discomfort HOCD provides but friendships should not be lost over a disorder and hanging out with them will trigger you in a way you can use to your benefit.

stuckinadoorway.org or other internet forums. A major factor in my recovery was stuckinadoorway.org. Learning about other sufferer’s circumstances made me realise that I’m not alone and that there are ways to put this disorder in remission permanently. Environments vary from site to site and there are tons of options out there so you should be able to find one where you feel comfortable. It’s a great way to feel less alone!

Mindfulness. Mindfulness comes from Buddhism and can involve meditation. It focuses on ‘the now’ and is extremely helpful for dealing with regret from the past and apprehension for the future. There’s a lot to this approach that I can’t all type now so I highly recommend a good Google search for this one!

I hope this post gives you guys the boost you need to tackle what you’re going through. Stay strong and get back to me if you have any questions unanswered here. I can’t answer the reassurance seeking ones though!

asker

Anonymous asked: Does this sound like HOCD? I had HOCD for ages and all along i was saying "at least i don't actually have a same sex crush cause that would mean i was a lesbian' then I became friends with someone I admired from afar (cause she was really good at singing) and we got on like a house on fire! We had so much in common! But then my HOCD started saying "you get excited around her it means you have a crush" I now know i didnt it was just I was happy to finally have a good friend, CONTINUED

I’ve replied in part 2. :)

asker

Anonymous asked: Now a year and a bit on I still worry about it. When i see her I get a shot of anxiety which I mistake for attraction (butterflies etc.) is this possible? When I see her on weekends I feel nothing but at school it is intense... I am so confused - I don;t have fantasies only with boys. At the moment I like this guy but I don;t get many butterflies cause I am comfortable around him... HELP ME,

The level of analysis you’re doing and what you’ve been spiked by does sound like a case of HOCD to me but I’m not in a position to diagnose you, only to advise. Search the HOCD tag and see if you can take anything from the previous asks as I’ve covered this issue multiple times. I’ll be more than happy to give you further clarification on anything you don’t understand though or if my previous asks don’t help. Stay strong! Keep me updated! :)

asker

Anonymous asked: girls' bodies are extremely fetishized in society and i know tons of girls who used to watch lesbian porn but are in no way lesbian or bi. that's how i am. i can't understand why i did this even though i'd rather die than be with a girl. and i've been torturing myself on and off for this for five years. i'm so done with this, but idk what to do :(

I know what you’re going through and how it’s hard. Please search the HOCD tag as I’ve covered this issue multiple times and reading a ton of previous asks will be better for you than for me to type a full ask out again.

That being said, if you need any clarification or there is a HOCD issue I haven’t covered, I’ll be more than happy to elaborate. Keep me updated! Stay strong!

asker

Anonymous asked: (Part 3) So the worst part is that now I don't actually feel the anxiety, but in my mind I still care. I'll have an intrusive thought but no emotional reaction, so then I think it must be a part of me since it doesn't bother me emotionally. I am 16, just moved from the US to Mexico, I hate it here and I absolutely loved the US. I have only actually "liked" a couple of girls (of course i think tons of girls are attractive) but it never works out with the girls I choose.. General advice?

Well first of all, it sounds like you have a good understanding of what’s been going on in your mind until recently. That’s a good start. The lack of anxiety is actually a positive thing and something that often happens when sufferers are starting to recover. However your thought processes are still clear compulsions as you haven’t managed to stop ruminating. You’ve managed to stop your body firing warning signals all the time because you’ve been accustomed to the cycle (which is good) but that doesn’t mean the battle is over because you’re still latching onto that “what if?” Moving has probably also contributed to your struggles, but try to make the best of your new environment. I’m sure you do miss the US but missing it will only harm your experience in Mexico now. Try to keep the fond memories of the past and make brilliant new ones where you are at present. :) What you’re experiencing is a backdoor spike. This is a common part of recovery where the lack of anxiety is what triggers the problem, because sufferers misconstrue the lack of reaction as a warning sign that they’re becoming what they fear. The reality is you’re desensitizing and not recognizing it. Try to understand that this is part of your disorder and for the most part a good sign. Don’t let that lack of anxiety trip you up but rather look at it as progress and continue to use the coping mechanisms that have worked for you up to now and you should be fine. I’m sure when things work out with a girl you really like that you’ll become focused on that too, and it could be the last step in you completely getting through this. Stay strong and keep me updated!

asker

the-nightimetyou asked: I had HOCD for almost a year now. I'm recovering really well which will hopefully be a permanent thing and I feel really positive about it! I just thought I'd let you know as I've written to you several times and honestly your advice helped me so much. Thank you so much for that! :) x

That’s absolutely brilliant! I’m glad to hear you’re doing better. Stay strong and if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to come back! Hopefully you won’t need to though. :) x

asker

Anonymous asked: ive had hocd for so long, and its gotten to the point where i dont care anymore, i dont have the anxiety, but i have the thoughts which still make me freak out, i cant make new friends or even hang out with old friends, how do i beat hocd?

You say you don’t care anymore but from the sounds of your actions towards friends it sounds like it is still a major issue. Not caring about your intrusives is good if it means you’re not giving in, paying them attention etc, but if you’re in a constant depressive state and are emotionally numbed then you might have depression as a knock on effect of your suffering. You beat HOCD through acceptance, perseverance and by never giving up. Through understanding your disorder, establishing the difference between you and intrusive thoughts and by living in the moment, you’ll recover. It’s not that black and white and it’s a long road but there’s this blog and plenty of non-professional as well as professional services that can help you. Forums were a big help to me when I didn’t use them compulsively. Stay strong and a Merry Christmas!

asker

Anonymous asked: i feel like im not attracted to men anymore! i have had hocd for a couple of months, and it has been very good, but all of a sudden im just not the same, i want to go back! i would never ever be with the same sex, and just the thoughts bother me soooo much. what do i do? :(

If you fear relapse to the extent you get anxious over the possibility then it isn’t true acceptance and can almost spur it on. It’s a tricky one but if things have been very good then you’ve been doing well, however when you feel better don’t take that as a sign to stop. When you implement CBT and ACT and mindfulness etc, into your daily life, you’ll never fear Pure-O again. Hell, you’ll hardly fear anything! Practise the techniques, let all the thoughts be there and don’t engage. It’ll die down just like it has before.

asker

Anonymous asked: Myhocd has been getting better. It's been there in the back of my mind, but I haven't been obsessing because I am more preoccupied with my social obsession (same person who asked you about that a while back). But yeah it feels like it doesn't bother me and I say a pic of this girl I know switch her boobs like majorly showing and I got a groinal response kinda and like an intrusive or like urge to fantasize (I think it was like a test) and it kinda felt like I wanted it. I'm coming up on two (1)

I’ve replied in part 2! :)