BreakingFree

A confession that could change my life - please help

13 posts in this topic

Hi
I'm 23 and I've been an OCD sufferer my entire life but have only recently become aware of the extent the condition has damaged my quality of life. For as long as I can remember I've had compulsions about small things and OCD of varying different types, including HOCD, sporadic cleanliness, order, repeatedly reloading video games when things aren't perfect, compulsively avoiding reading nasty things so I don't dwell on them later etc. Until now I've never told another soul about this and always been firm in the belief that I could handle it on my own. Eventually all the compulsion and worries have passed until now, which is why I'm reaching out for help. 
I'm a masters student at university and currently under quite a lot of stress during deadline season when I've been hit by an absolute freight train of OCD regret specifically relating to my relationship. It's so bad I haven't eaten or slept properly for the past few days and need any available advice. I have been an extremely sexually repressed individual. It was a topic that wasn't discussed in my house growing up and I started masturbating at a late age and incorrectly. I suffered from prone masturbatory syndrome that I didn't self cure until my gap year and I also had to have a penile frenuloplasty to correct tight foreskin in the same year. I'd had a terrible time at high school having gone through an 'ugly' phase and been badly bullied to the extent that I considered killing myself. As a consequence I'd had no sexual contact by the time I arrived at university. 
When I arrived at Uni I was obviously interested in sex but never managed to have it in my first year. I was lucky in that I'd become better looking since high school and a few attractive girls were interested. I came close but never gone through with it always having performance anxiety. I was anxious (OCD anxious now I remember it) about sex. By the end of first year I was happy, having made a bunch of friends but sexually I was very frustrated. I'd discovered porn while there and used it to help me relieve my frustrations. In second year is where the regret is. At the start I was invited by a girl to go back to hers but due to anxiety and being incredibly drunk couldn't get aroused. I became depressed and wish I’d sought professional help. Instead, I did something I really regret. While at a friends house after a night out that I'd had a big crush on in the past I was left alone in her room. I was looking around and noticed her underwear on her laundry and had a look at it, having little experience with ladies' underwear. I didn't steal them but I took pictures and later masturbated to them. I’d done this once before a couple of months previously with a house-mates underwear that had been left outside my room but didn’t take any pictures. Even then I felt ashamed and deleted the pictures shortly afterwards. This now disgusts me. 
Later that year I met my current girlfriend. She was beautiful and had an amazing personality and really hit it off after she initially acted weirdly around me, having had bad uni relationships in the past. We started dating in late Feb and I knew this is who I wanted to lose my virginity to and eventually the moment came and once again nerves got the better of me after putting the condom on. I was utterly devastated and my anxiety spiralled out of control. I was afraid of losing her but at the same time hadn't told her the truth about being a virgin. The pressure crushed me and I didn't behave well going through a phase of ‘testing’ my sexuality. One of the ways I acted was by flirting with friends who were girls to boost my esteem. I think because at the time everyone at uni was cheating on each other this didn't seem like a bad thing, even though I deeply regret it now. I made it explicit to the girls I flirted with that I would never cheat and I didn't. But on extremely rare occasions there was inappropriate touching like a hand on waist etc. On one of these occasions my girlfriend saw me and I think assumed I wanted to cheat which I made emphatically clear I didn't. At the same time I bought viagra from the Internet to help with the problem and almost had a heart attack in my girlfriend’s bathroom. Something which seems funny now but wasn't at the time. Things had gotten out of control and the worst OCD guilt comes from being in my friends room again. I seem to remember her underwear being on her laundry again and me picking it up. I cannot accurately date this event but I know it happened and that it was different. I wasn't aroused and I think I was testing myself again, to see what I found sexually attractive. I don't remember taking a picture this time, if I did I deleted it quickly or I'd remember but this event horrifies me. I just don't know what I could have been thinking to do such a thing. Over the summer things got better. I told my girlfriend I was a virgin and it felt like a huge pressure off me. The last time I flirted at all was that October at the start of the new academic year when out extremely drunk and then I made it emphatic to the girl I wouldn't cheat and didn't. 
Its been a year and a half since and I've never cheated or flirted and always been firm when girls have come on to me out etc. My girlfriend did her year abroad and this fourth year I've fallen incredibly deeply in love with her. We are extremely close and never fight. With her my OCD symptoms have even all but disappeared, it's only now that I’ve been alone for weeks shut up working that they have returned. We haven't had sex yet but I've stopped watching porn and masturbating and am ready to take our relationship to a sexual level with her after finally becoming comfortable but that's when the guilt hit. For the first time in years I could have nothing to be anxious about but I can't stop thinking about the past and confessing to all my mistakes. Those first few months when I was so anxious and stupid. I never intended to cheat or hurt her in any way and though I knew I'd behaved badly and would change it if I could I'd all but forgotten about it until now. Those events had no emotional significance for me, it was just a bad way to deal with the overwhelming stress I felt at the time. 
Over the past few days the OCD guilt has crippled me. I can't complete my work and I've barely eaten or slept. It goes without saying that I would never behave that way ever again but at the same time I feel the urge to confess the mistakes I made. I'm so close to having everything I've ever wanted with a woman I absolutely adore and I'm not sure if telling her these things would destroy that. I think ultimately she'd understand but she'd never look at me the same way again and I'd desperately want to spare her any pain. This confession could change my life and it'll hurt her which I'd hate to do but maybe it's better to be honest?
Any advice would be hugely appreciated from anyone who took the time to read that. Thanks

 

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Personally I don't see any reason to confess. I say this because all this stuff ur thinking about wasn't bothering u to such an extent before OCD hit! OCD is fuelling ur urge to confess, everyone at some point or another has done something silly sexually, but u didn't hurt anyone, the best thing to do is leave the past in the past and focus on the present. U already know you'd never behave in such a way again so what's the point in bringing all of this stuff up to ur girlfriend? It will achieve nothing and then when ur OCD settles u will be full of regret at confessing all these little things that seem huge in ur mind now, only becaus u are ill. Xx

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Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it. You're right i didn't think about this much before. All I've ever wanted was things to work with her and compared to that, the rest didn't seem a big deali think what my OCD is latching on to in particular is the idea of being 100% honest about everything with a partner. Even about everything in my past before we met. I don't care about her past relationships or particularly want to know about any mistakes she's made but I wonder if she'd feel the same and want me to tell her. 

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9 minutes ago, BreakingFree said:

I don't care about her past relationships or particularly want to know about any mistakes she's made but I wonder if she'd feel the same and want me to tell her. 

The best thing to do is stop wondering if she wants you to tell her, this is ruminating, it is a compulsion. Focus on the future with her, that is what really matters.

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Thank you Mike, you're right that's the biggest part of it. I know I've had issues in the past but I've dealt with those. The feeling is almost as if I don't deserve her unless I report exactly what happened that I'm trapped with. Even though I love her more than anything and have never done anything to intentionally hurt herAs a side note I'm so glad to finally be talking to people about this condition. It's something I've kept hidden from everyone I love for so long, I think out of pride and not wanting to be seen differently. The reality is though that I should have been asking for help years ago 

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Honestly, I have a loving partner of 15yrs, I don't feel like I need to know everything about his past, before me, because it doesn't matter, what's the point? He doesn't know every detail of mine either, I'd love to say we know everything about each other but that's a lie, because before we met doesn't concern either of us! Unless it was something we really had to tell each other for example if one of us was carrying an STD or if we had done time for murder lol. All the little details of our lives are not significant and we aren't obliged to tell anybody anything that doesn't concern them. The past is the past, we can't change it, it's wasted energy even thinking about it! Live for now x  

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Thanks Wonderer. I hear what you're saying but what keeps hitting me so hard is that as I see it I've done wrong. It's not hurt anyone and nobody else would ever know what I did but if I don't confess I'm getting away with it without punishment or forgiveness. The irony is that if I confess I could hurt people which is what I've always avoided in the first place. I'd be lifting the weight off of me and potentially hurting others. Such an easy target for OCD and I honestly have no idea how to deal with it. I don't want to set myself on a path of confessing every mistake I've ever made in the past to everyone I know but right now I'm not sure if I can live with myself

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You're wrong if u think confessing will take a weight off ur shoulders, it won't because it's OCD fuelled, u will find something else to obsess and compulse  about, you should always do the exact opposite of what ur OCD is telling u to do.  I've been where I are and I've recovered and am living just fine with not confessing things that I once felt I had to confess or my life was over. It gets better and easier with time, u need to get therapy xx

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You are worrying about trivial, inconsequential stuff. A hallmark of OCD. If everyone who did stupid things was held to the high standard you've set for yourself, there'd be a lot if disillusioned people out there.

There is no wrongdoing here. OCD keeps bringing it up, making you think you did domething ghastly, but it's all an OCD lie.

Confessing would be a compulsion and would only serve to make matters worse. No, you don't have to punish yourself. Let yourself off the hook and get on with your life. Critical is that you must recognize ruminating when you are doing it and work hard to get it under control and stop it.

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Thanks Wonderer I think/know you're right that's exactly what would happen if I confessed. All I want is to be the person my girlfriend deserves and love her in peace for as long as that's what she wants. Worst few days of my life without a doubt. As to therapy I don't even know where I'd start. This has affected me in a myriad of ways for a long time and I've been incredibly lucky so far that I've always managed to deal with it on my own. I think the next time I'm home I might tell my mum everything and ask her advice too. I have no idea how she'll react to the fact I've hidden a serious mental illness for years from everyone So it might come as a bit of a surprise

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It might not be that hard actually finding out where to start with a therapist, because there's actually very little talking about the themes as such, maybe a session or two to let you offload, very minimal reassurance and then it's just diving straight in to the CBT which if done correctly, gets rid of or helps u manage ur OCD no matter what the thoughts are, because the thoughts don't matter, the condition is what needs tackled! I think it's a great idea to talk to ur mum, its time for u to reach out and get that help! X

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Thank you too PolarBear. I'm so glad I did this it feels really good to talk. I'm not sure how to stop ruminating to be honest. In the past when dealing with intrusive thoughts they gradually just went away. I've never had an attack this severe though. I've seen lots of people recommend CBT but I can't see what form that could take to help me, I know so little about dealing with OCD really.

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Stick around. You'll learn soon enough.

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