Forum regulars will know that a real bugbear of mine is the use of acronyms such as HOCD, ROCD and POCD, I even saw a rarely mentioned term, COCD used on here once too.
These acronyms are pointless for a number of reasons, firstly lets get this straight right off the bat, they do not exist, these terms are NOT medical terms. But if you want other reasons for my belief that these terms are unhelpful and harmful, in some cases they are used as a form of avoidance over using the real words, in other cases some people don't know what the acronyms stand for and have been used to describe different things leading to confusion. Other reasons why I despise the use of such terms is because I have seen some people delay getting treatment because they are mistakenly trying to find experts for the symptom, the 'flavour', the R, H or P part, not the illness itself. I know that using the term 'despise' is a strong word, but when the use of these acronyms leads to delays in treatment then it is not a positive, it really is a great big negative.
But the main reason for my post is to highlight another reason why it is really important not to think of OCD as anything but OCD. Please don't ever pigeon hole your OCD into one thing such as contamination, or any of the above acronyms, because OCD rarely does remain stagnant on one area, over time it will shift its focus onto different things... one day it might be fear of being gay (HOCD) but a year down the line when you are happy in a relationship and expecting a baby, the OCD will suddenly make you fear harming your new baby, perhaps even as a paedophile (POCD) - a good example of where the common denominator and real problem is the OCD part.
What this means is the real problem in the way we allow the OCD to interpret the everyday thoughts each and every one of us gets, the OCD mechanism is the problem, the way we allow obsessive thoughts cause anxiety leading to various compulsions. Other issues are problems also in most of us with OCD, regardless of type, sometimes it is the way our OCD converts the risks from a realistic 1% to make us believe the risk is more likely a 99% risk, and also often that heightened sense of responsibility can play a factor.
However, as I point out earlier in this post, the real problem is not the 'flavour' of OCD, so asking if you have HOCD, ROCD, or POCD is the wrong question, instead the question you must ask is if you have OCD. I guarantee over time the 'flavour' will shift, so if you try and treat the 'flavour' you are taking yourself down the wrong road, the important thing is to recognise what you have is OCD, nothing but OCD.
Perhaps to illustrate this is a tale from my own OCD of recent weeks. For a long time my OCD has focussed on the obsessive fear of contamination, causing constant washing compulsions... contamination OCD, or as I rather ridiculously saw it used on here once, COCD. Over the years I have had minor traits of other 'flavours'. However, a couple of weeks ago the OCD got the better of me in a big and unexpected way, resulting in me spending 90 minutes driving a good 50 miles to 'check'.
Long story short, two months back some idiot reversed into my parked car outside my house. My car is parked on a dead-end country lane so no passing traffic. Anyway, had my car repaired, new bumper. On my way home from collecting the car back from the garage I passed a layby with a traffic cone sitting there doing nothing, discarded I thought, so I stopped, took it, and placed it proudly in front of my car to stop any other morons reversing into my car. (They are actually bigger than they look, only just got it in my car!). All good, until 24 hours later and the thought popped into my head... 'what if the cone was doing something to warn drivers'.... and you know OCD, one 'what if' question led to another. 'what if another driver hits the bollards because I moved the cone?', 'What if someone is hurt because I removed the cone?' and so on... I tried to ignore, but then I started feeling guilty, and like always, Google was my enemy (OCD wise) and I checked the 'street view' to check if the cone was there a couple of years ago when Street View was last updated, and if so, was it in the same place as a warning.... of course it was, it was sat there in front of the metal barrier that separates the dual carriageway to the layby.
So despite trying to resist for a few hours, in the end the OCD got the better of me, so off I drove, a good 20 miles to be able to come back up that side of the dual carriageway to the layby. Parked up, quickly put the cone back in place, and off I drove... or so I thought, OCD had other ideas. I got back off the main A road, and then another 'what if?', 'What if I have not put the cone back in the right spot?'... so I did a U-turn and went back onto the Dual carriageway and drove another 10 miles to be able to come off, and drive past the layby again... expect as I drove slowly past, I did not get chance to check it correctly, so I had to do it all over again. In the end I did maybe 50 miles because of my OCD that night, and not a sign of contamination fears in this one.
So the morale of this story is firstly not to take something that is not yours, and secondly that regardless of the 'flavour of OCD', the problem is the way we allow our OCD to interpret the thoughts, in this case that heightened sense of responsibility was a significant factor, so my usual 'contamination' or in this case the 'checking' flavour that took over me that day was not the problem, it is the actual OCD itself and not being able to accept the uncertainty.
Don't get me wrong, I am not dismissing the genuine fears of all these types of OCD, be the fears are simply the Obsessive part of the OCD cycle and it is imperative that to help people make progress in tackling their OCD, it is diagnosed for what it is, OCD and treated for what it is, OCD. The 'flavour' is merely the target for your OCD that day, so we can resolve the 'flavour' problem by getting rid of the thing causing the 'flavour', the OCD!
I hope my waffle helps one or two people
- Goldie80, dksea, Hyznbrg and 3 others like this