Harming obsessions typically center around the belief that one must be absolutely certain that they are in control at all times in order to ensure that they are not responsible for a violent or otherwise fatal act.” (OCD Center of Los Angeles). While the obsessions that come with Postpartum OCD very from mother to mother, common ones include: horrifying, intrusive thoughts of stabbing or suffocating a newborn child, unwanted images of throwing or dropping a baby, fear of accidentally harming a child through carelessness, fear of being responsible for giving a child a serious disease. Unwanted thoughts of harming people no longer choke the breath out of me. But the thoughts didn’t care. I won’t. Over a couple years, my therapist and I worked our way up, intensifying the exposures. Someone with Sexual Orientation OCD may also have intrusive images about engaging sexually with someone they’re not attracted to, confusing them even more. It was on a Wikipedia page titled “Intrusive Thoughts.” The entry said that most people had terrifying thoughts, but that some fixated on them. But I did. As the brain and body learn that intrusive thoughts aren’t actual threats, the patient becomes desensitized to them, ultimately managing their fears and interrupting the cycle of panic and reassurance-seeking that fuels Pure O. I was lucky to find a cognitive behavioral therapist specializing in Pure O therapy. For example: why did my eyes fall on that creepy old dude’s crotch? Sometimes I spend entire days trying to figure out if I have ever hurt a child. The logic that OCD is able to employ is, in the worst kind of way, almost perfect. I promise I’ll never ever go near a child. Oh, God! Does this mean I’m gay? You have to stay away from children, do you hear me? My parents went on vacation: What if I raped and murdered the woman who was taking care of me? This self-rating scale is designed to assess the severity and type of OCD symptoms in patients with OCD. I couldn’t socialize. It was a lot of pressure for a young teenager. Let’s put a human face on it. An empath like myself is terrified they might become dangerous and harm someone. Again, it’s about that uncertainty, the frequency of the intrusive thoughts and the compulsions people adopt to help ease these thoughts. I didn’t want to devastate my family, so I decided I’d test out therapy first. It appears you entered an invalid email. Like other types of OCD, the last thing a mother affected by this wants to do is harm her child — and Postpartum OCD is often misdiagnosed because mothers don’t want to come forward about the horrible thoughts they’re having. I didn't show much signs of it at 9 but looking back, I knew I had it back then and I still do. The kid was sleeping, he was safe. I sat there before a kind therapist and told my secrets to someone for the first time. I still have anxiety, but it’s no longer toxic and life-crushing. This subtype often results in panic, anguish, shame and depression. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. I couldn’t take it. Further, those with Pure O may fear they’ve already acted out their worst thoughts, even though logic says otherwise. I was terrified anyone I told would think I was a horrible mother. Of course the most about the people I love the most, my mother. — Phoebe Rusch, from “When OCD Makes You Question Your Sexual Orientation“, Definition: “Many people who [have] Sexual Orientation OCD get stuck on the notion that they may or may not find someone attractive… This idea is troubling for [someone with] OCD who feels a strong need for certainty about the meaning of attraction.” (OCD Center of Los Angeles). What if no one trusts me? It can take a while to figure out your preference (and your preference can change! If … Pure O is all in the mind. The ways in which symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are experienced varies widely from person to person. I could relate to all of that. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. 2 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. That’s why compulsions for Sexual Orientation OCD might include “checking” your sexual attraction by glancing at another’s crotch (like in the quote above), to double check, sometimes over and over again, you’re not attracted. I've had OCD since I was 9 and I got diagnosed with it when I was 12 (I'm 14 now). I knew I couldn’t tell anyone about what I was thinking and feeling. For example, if a straight woman with Sexual Orientation OCD glances at another woman’s butt, but then isn’t able to interpret her physical reaction with certainty, she might start obsessing: Did I feel turned on? Nobody can love you now. What about stabbing yourself, or your roommate, with a kitchen knife? Or how about that quick temptations to jump off a high bridge, even though you would never do something like that? — Autumn Aurelia, from “I’ve Spent 17 Years Hiding From Children – This Is My OCD Story“, Definition: “Pedophilia OCD, or POCD, is a subset of OCD in which [a person] has unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts about children. Someone who has OCD typically obsesses about what they fear most, so people who have Pedophilia OCD are not “tempted” to sexually abuse a child — quite the contrary, they go through extreme measures to make sure they won’t abuse a child. For those who struggle with these thoughts, it’s not something they can just dismiss — and they deserve our support and compassion. Maybe they would call the police or send me to a mental hospital. It was so intimidating to try and explain the thoughts to someone else. It can be hard to admit these violent thoughts, especially if they are aimed at others. OCD is often portrayed in the media as being a kind of cute, quirky fixation on keeping things ordered and neat. A person with Scrupulosity OCD will sometimes experience intrusive thoughts about what they fear — or try to avoid — most, like unwanted sexual thoughts about God, Jesus or a religious figure such as a priest. But Sexual Orientation OCD isn’t simply trying to figuring out your sexual orientation, or being “afraid” of being gay. According to the OCD Center of Los Angeles, common obsessions include: repetitive thoughts about having committed a sin, exaggerated concern with the possibility of having committed blasphemy, excessive fear of having offended God, excessive fear of failing to show proper devotion to God, repeated fears of going to hell/eternal damnation. Eventually, I wrote a “confession” letter, detailing my worst “crimes,” and read that over and over, too. Check again and again, they told me. I promise I’ll never ever go near a child. I won’t. By the time I was almost 30, my intrusive thoughts became so painful, I knew I’d have to either kill myself or seek therapy. You’re evil, Sam. Forum User. Better take a different train, better go to the free clinic, just to be sure. Isn’t that homophobic? And then, after years, I finally found one. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Test & Self-Assessment. ), and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the thoughts were smarter than I was. They were tricky and had a rebuttal for every reassurance I gave myself. What if I started sleepwalking and went after my cousins? How can I ever say it out loud? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Pay close attention to the descriptions of each type of anxiety and see if the symptoms seem like the ones you're suffering from. Someone else becomes terrified they’re “turning” gay. When I learned to drive, every bump in the road became a child on a bike. Do I like looking at women’s butts? Cue endless self-confirming thought loop. Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. For example, when a person without Harm OCD holds a kitchen knife, they know they could hurt themselves but probably don’t think about it much, if at all. The Worst Kind of Anxiety (and what to do about it) ... Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined by recurrent intrusive thoughts or images (obsessions) that create significant distress and compel people to perform repetitive behaviors or mental rituals (compulsions) in an attempt to reduce the anxiety. Living with such a strange secret was suffocating. Who am I attracted to? What if I contracted genital warts and passed it on to the woman I was dating and she developed cervical cancer? I’m so, so sorry. And, if not, I know where to go to get more help if I need it. As the brain and body learn that intrusive thoughts aren’t. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Before you begin the test, read the following definitions and examples of “Obsessions” and “Compulsions.” Take The OCD Test. Also, lots of people are confused about their sexual orientation. I went to visit family: What if I started sleepwalking and went after my cousins? I no longer feel isolated and alone. These types of OCD are characterized by: An inability to discard old, unusable items … I don't know about you, but my week has been pretty awful so this weekend could NOT have come at a better time! People living with POCD have no desire to harm a child, yet they’re tormented by thoughts of doing so.” A core symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is obsessions, which are unwanted, distressing, and uncontrollable thoughts.The content and themes of these intrusive thoughts vary but are often of a disturbing nature. Today is National Voter Registration Day! I was 14 and working as a babysitter when the thoughts first came. I’m a monster. Pure O, I also learned, preys upon sufferers’ worst fears and most cherished values. They will think I'm a psychopath, even if they knew somewhat what OCD is. OCD Online is a great place to start if you think you might be dealing with Pure O. Don’t be afraid. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that involves distressing, intrusive, obsessive thoughts and repetitive, compulsive physical or mental acts. Every time one tries to shake their intrusive thoughts, it only makes them stronger, confirming that the body was right to respond with panic, fueling an ever-amplifying cycle of anxiety. And of course, I felt so isolated. , they told me. Someone affected by this type of OCD spends an intrusive amount of time obsessing about who they’re attracted to, and perform compulsions to confirm of deny this fear. People with OCD consistently report that change of any kind, even positive change, can be experienced as stressful. You have to stay away from children, do you hear me? What if I go back to how unwell I was at Christmas? I heard him. Better take a different train, better go to the free clinic, just to be sure. Summer break came, but brought no relief from the terrifying images of harming people. I looked up police accident reports for months and months, just to make sure there were no unsolved hit and runs. If a new mother experiences postpartum depression and anxiety, she’s often filled with doubt and fears about not being good enough, not connecting with their baby and even their baby being “better off without them.” For someone with Postpartum OCD, these same feelings may arise — but for a slightly different reason. Add your voice! Note to readers: This essay contains graphic and disturbing content. Someone who has OCD typically obsesses about what they fear most, so people who have Pedophilia OCD are not “tempted” to sexually abuse a child — quite the contrary, they go through extreme measures to make sure they won’t abuse a child. Our thoughts do not represent who we are — and OCD is only fueled by the silence. I couldn’t eat. Actually, it exacerbated both. Thankfully, he didn’t think I’d acted on any of these thoughts, or that I would, or that I was insane. While managing my Pure O is an ongoing thing, it’s no longer at the forefront of my mind. Join date: Sep 2014. Or the panic. Praying I would not experience condemnation, hell. All of these OCD pictures are what people with severe OCD probably have nightmares about. I know that with OCD, you are supposed to just let the thoughts drift in and out but I really struggle with this. They might think I was dangerous or crazy. The worst kind! Maybe it would be easier if I wasn’t here. The thoughts and panic remained, but at least I was no longer completely alone. If I was cooking something on the stove, even if my baby was safely strapped into his swing on the other side of the kitchen, I would be terrified of him being splattered with hot grease. I learned that it’s the avoidance that teaches the body that a thought is an actual bodily threat. Thankfully, he didn’t think I’d acted on any of these thoughts, or that I would, or that I was insane. Actually, it exacerbated both. All rights reserved. What if I contracted genital warts and passed it on to the woman I was dating and she developed cervical cancer? If you experience any of these types of OCD, we want you to know you’re not alone and that there’s nothing wrong with you. I heard him. Like how if you turned your steering wheel hard enough, you could just run your car off the road? If you’re interested in learning more about OCD, or need help seeking treatment, please check out the resources below: Oops! Every time I peeked in on the kid, he was fine. That’s where compulsions come in. Those of us with Pure O aren’t hand washers. They treat him like the worst kind of abuser. (For example, “If I do X three times while I’m in the same room as a knife, I’ll be safe.”) These compulsions can become disruptive and take over a person’s life. Pregnancy OCD= The worst kind of OCD. Compulsions vary, but include confessing about something you haven’t done, just in case, and excessive, ritualized praying. Later, in my 20s, living in New York, I was surrounded by potential “targets” I feared harming. Why would I have looked if I wasn’t? People living with POCD have no desire to harm a child, yet they’re tormented by thoughts of doing so.” (IntrusiveThoughts.com). It causes obsessive thoughts that won’t go away and that are negative and troubling, as well as compulsive behaviors that a person feels compelled to perform and struggles to control or minimize. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’s website. Happy FRIDAY all! Pure O, I learned, is pernicious and hard to shake, but thankfully straightforward to treat. Have you ever had a quick, flashing thought of a violent image or idea? Maybe both. Perhaps you did it blacked out in a dissociative trance and that’s why you can’t remember it. Take a look, and know that you’re not the only one out there. Fear of being a pedophile combines the worst of several common obsessions, from Harm OCD (fear of acting violently against the vulnerable), sexual orientation OCD (fear of being attracted to the “wrong” kind of person), and moral scrupulosity (fear of breaking society’s strictest moral codes). Take a look, and know that you’re not the only one out there. I’m so, so sorry. I feared even touching anything potentially dangerous, like scissors or kitchen knives. While it’s possible you’ve experienced at least one of these quick, harmless thoughts without much worry, for people with Harm OCD, violent thoughts of hurting themselves or others are persistent, and worst of all, full of uncertainty. She prescribed a certain type of therapy, and proceeded to laud its far-reaching benefits and its near-universal application. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that causes significant distress and impairment. I’ll stay away from children, I promise. The person is unable to control either the thoughts or activities for more than a short period of time. What is OCD? Hint: Avoid 'don't worry, I'm kind of OCD sometimes, too.' It sucks, I've had suicidal thoughts because of it and jumped off … I tried my best to hide it, but my parents could tell I was upset. A specialized type of cognitive behavioral therapy focused on exposure to one’s frightening thoughts works best. By the time I was almost 30, my intrusive thoughts became so painful, I knew I’d have to either kill myself or seek therapy. People plagued by intrusive sexual thoughts will intentionally summon distressing mental images and scan their body for signs of arousal. Panic accompanied my thoughts and only made things more confusing. Also, people in the LGBTQ community can have sexual orientation OCD, too. I Have A Terrifying Type Of OCD You Probably Haven't Heard Of. What if people become afraid of me? What if I got on this train car and assaulted that little kid on his way to school? Still, this therapist was not an expert in OCD, particularly the more subtle kind I had. Summer break came, but brought no relief from the terrifying images of harming people. I heard his panic, his fear, his urgency. One day she heard someone on the radio say: “Abused children always go on to abuse others.” A fear was planted in her head, and she began to perform compulsions to assure herself she would never hurt a child, including avoiding children all together. Was I checking him out? © What if I wanted to harm the kid I was caring for? What if people think I’m a threat? These harming thoughts are perceived as being ego-dystonic, which simply means that the thoughts are inconsistent with the individual’s values, beliefs and sense of self. If you’re the kind of person who has to count the photos in this post to make sure the amount matches the number in the headline, then get ready to feel insanely uncomfortable. Treatment was scary and grueling, but my therapist believed in me and I refused to give in. This subtype often results in panic, anguish, shame and depression. That didn’t stop the thoughts, though. This is my worst fear and I feel like I have to figure out whether or not I did do something like this. I lived for months in a haze of simmering panic. I’ll stay away from children, I promise. Still, this therapist was not an expert in OCD, particularly the more subtle kind I had. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). Though it’s terrifying to begin this treatment, in which the sufferer faces their worst fears over and over again, repeated exposure to an intrusive thought at the hands of a trained therapist eventually lessens its impact. I became trapped in a vicious cycle: Praying not to die for thoughts too unthinkable to mention, thoughts I did not feel in control of but took absolute responsibility for. Nobody can love you now. Definition: “Pedophilia OCD, or POCD, is a subset of OCD in which [a person] has unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts about children. Since I concluded my treatment, Pure O has gained more and more recognition among mental health professionals and the general public. It's like the OCD end boss that I just can't beat. That’s why it’s important to remember that — in an example of the brain’s ability for cruel irony — people with OCD are actually the least likely people to act on these thoughts. And not only can they not let it go, they might think about it, even see the image of them doing it, over and over again. Since I concluded my treatment, Pure O has gained more and more recognition among mental health professionals and the general public.