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Chels

Looking for some positive recovery stories

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I am 25 years old and have had OCD for as long as I can remember. I only new I had this from 2015 when I started my first proper relationship. I started to get feelings of guilt worrying that I’d cheated then confessing every thought that popped up into my head sexual thoughts, thinking of other people during sex and during orgasm making me think that was how I was being able to orgasm by thinking of others. This then led to ROCD and convincing myself I didn’t love him, didn’t find him attractive, thought other people were better at sex etc. Drove him away... second relationship was short lived through the same thing apart from no ROCD but more POCD as he had a child I’d think of child during sex couldn’t touch anything as I was imagining I was touching their genitals. This led to us putting. Now my most recent relationship has gone to pot well I thought it was him as he has his own issues and is VERY narcissistic and sort of controlling very bipolar like (hot and cold) I was waking on egg shells... now he is saying the reason behind this is my thoughts because ‘who wants to hear their girlfriend is thinking of someone else during sex’ ‘wondering if someone else is better’ ... etc etc

 

 Now I have had 2 lots of CBT and I just can’t stop everytime I get into a relationship I feel the need to tell them my past (mostly bad) and that I have OCD if not I feel I’m keeping something from them! 

I know that the thoughts are not what I really think it’s more the confessing. My recent ex partner has basically said nobody will put up with my thoughts unless I stop telling them and I know I can’t fully do that. I just can’t 😢😢 I’m beginning to think it’s nasty of me even thinking about starting a new relationship as nobody deserves to be with me and to be hurt by my thoughts... does anyone actually have a relationship (successful) with this type of OCD? I’m so unhappy and depressed and would much appreciate some help or advice I am currently on  a waiting list for more CBT

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Hey Chels,

I’m really sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I can relate, I’ve had these types of problems myself and know how awful it is. My first serious relationship ended only because I felt like I didn’t really love him, like I needed to confess. The guilt completely ate me up and made me really depressed. At the time, I didn’t know I had OCD yet and had never been in therapy so I was doing all the wrong things. After this it was so difficult to start a new relationship because I didn’t want to go through that again and said to myself that I have to be certain that some is right for me or I’d have all the doubt again. Well such strict criteria meant that I couldn’t find anyone I was 100% sure about.

I’m happy to say that I am in a relationship now and have been for 5 years, we live together and I can see us being together long term. It hasn’t been easy, in fact I broke up with him a few weeks after we first met and then we stayed friends and were practically in a relationship but I was too scared to call it that. Luckily for me, he just didn’t give up. I had the whole doubting and confessing thing with him for a long time too.

However, I had a big relapse in my OCD last year and had CBT again and have decided to make a change.  I am trying very hard not to go down this path again and so far it has been going well! I can’t really tell you any secret to this, I’ve found that you just have to make a decision to work on the OCD and to really commit to it and be prepared to meet the challenges head on.

So you absolutely can have a happy relationship, it’s just that you have to work on this!

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Hi,

 

thank you SO much for this helpful reply! I just feel so numb and empty at the moment. I am quite sure that if I did get ROCD again I could overcome it, the worry for me is I always compare or I just know that everytime I have sex someone else WILL pop into my head, although I know it means absolutely nothing... I then when I know I’m about to orgasm (sorry for explicit) but I will put a random person in my head outpost (well I don’t but OCD does!) and then I think that’s what helped me to get that feeling! And I compare whether or not the sex is better/has been better with others, if others are better looking. Which is life! I know everyone is going to be different obviously I know that in my head but the confessing has drove all my partners away I’m so guttered and honestly feel like I’m just unlovable and unable to move forward I do want a family in the future and I want someone to love me fully and accept that I have my issues I am a genuine loyal and faithful person with a great heart who loves with all of me and am kind and give my alll but I just have this one thing holding me back and really just ruining every relationship I have and it’s OCD and yes I admit I am letting it but I am such a truthful person it doesn’t seem ‘right’ not confessing! I’m in tears writing this because I feel like such a let down 😢... I can’t see how I will ever make someone happy in love xxx

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Hi @Chels  Sorry to hear about your struggles,   I can appreciate how frustrating and distressing this is for you.  I think a lot of OCD sufferers struggle with confession in relationships.  One reason is the OCD itself obviously, but also the message that western society often sends about how important "honesty" is in relationships.  While it is true that honesty is important, like most things it doesn't mean indiscriminate, absolute honesty.  For example, most people would agree that its good to be honest with your partner.  But lets say your partner has a shirt he really likes.  You aren't a huge fan, but there's nothing particularly wrong with it.  If he asks you how he looks, saying "you look great honey!" is technically not COMPLETELY honest, but saying it doesn't cause him or you or anyone else any harm.  There are lots of situations like this not just when it comes to honesty, but with any value.  OCD unfortunately creates a very black/white demand on how we view the world.  You feel the need to be 100% honest or that means you are dishonest.  But when you really look at it, really think about it, of course the world doesn't work that way.  No one is 100% honest, in fact there are many times when being perfectly honest causes more harm than good.  So when OCD demands we meet this impossible standard we find ourselves stuck and distressed.

The bad news is there is no quick fix for OCD problems, the good news is you can fix them, it involves applying those same CBT principles to this problem too.  

Confession, when its driven by OCD, is a bad thing.  So how do you know when its driven from OCD?  A good rule of thumb is: if you think it MIGHT be OCD it probably is.  To get past this, to get to the point where you don't feel the need to confess all the time you need to stop confessing.  At first this is going to be hard, you are going to feel anxiety when you don't confess.  Its just like exercise, at first its hard, but the more you do it the easier it becomes, until one day you don't have any problem not confessing these kinds of thoughts, you won't even consider it, or if you do you'll dismiss it easily.

You asked for success stories, so I'll share a bit of my own history.  I first developed OCD when I was 13, I'm now 38, so I've been working on improvement and living life as free from OCD as possible for awhile now :)  When I first started having problems with OCD my primary anxiety was throwing up, especially in public.  To some people this might seem silly, and I understand how trivial it seems in the grand scheme of things, BUT to me, especially at that time, the idea filled me with absolute dread.  As they say, the worst OCD anxiety is the one you are having right now.  So anyway, this particular fear made many aspects of my life quite difficult, in particular travel.  The longer the travel or the more restricted I felt while traveling, the worse it would be.  10 minute drive to the store with my family? No big deal.  1 hour bus ride across town.  Big deal.  2.5 hour plane ride. BIG DEAL.  I would take anti-nausea pills, I would have to sit on an aisle seat.  On the bus I would sit as close to the front as possible (there was usually a trash can or I could get out the exit faster that way. I would try to sleep if possible.  I would avoid eating close to traveling time if possible.  I wouldn't eat on the vehicle if possible.  Well over time as I got older I had to travel more and more.  In university my girlfriend lived across town so I had to take a bus to see her.  I joined the marching band so we had to bus or fly to away games.  After college I would sometimes have to travel for work.  I had to face my anxieties and push through them, and as I was later introduced to CBT I began to take a more systematic approach to how I dealt with my anxieties.  Now?  Well 4 years ago I moved from Seattle, USA to Osaka, Japan (now I live in Tokyo, Japan).  Thats a 10 hour flight each direction, I travel back to the US about once a year, so thats two 10 hour flights.  Each year I take at least one international trip so thats more flying, and I travel in and around Japan by train/subway all the time now.  I no longer really think about my original anxiety.  It took time and effort, but I was able to get the point where throwing up in public, especially on transit, was just something that didn't really bother me.  it doesn't mean I never think about it, but when I do I can ignore it and go about my day.  ERP and CBT helped me achieve that level of freedom (along with medication which I have also taken since 13).  

Improvement and management of OCD is absolutely possible.  I still have problems now and then but I've been able to do things (like move to a foreign country!) that I never would have thought possible 25 years ago.  I've had other OCD intrusive thoughts over the years, I've been through some rough periods, and I've been through some periods where I practically forget I have it, where if it weren't for the pill case I put by my bed, I'd probably even forget to take my medication at night! (which is why I have the pill case, to remind me).  It can be incredibly difficult to imagine things being better when they have been bad for awhile, when you are in the midst of struggling.  It can seem like you are trapped in the middle of a forest, with no way out.  But you might be surprised, you might be much closer to the edge of the forest than you think.  As long as you keep moving down the path, going mostly in the right direction (after all none of us is perfect) things can absolutely get better.  If you are working with a therapist or psychiatrist I'd encourage you to discuss your specific struggles right now with them, and to work on coming up with an action plan.  If you have a set of steps you can take that you know ahead of time it'll be a lot easier to respond to an anxiety situation than if you try and remember it all and figure it all out in the moment.

 

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Hi @dksea , thank you so much for taking your precious time to respond to my post! I’m so grateful and overjoyed to hear that! You should be so proud of what you have achieved and I hope that one day I can say I did it too! 

I’m just really struggling with the fact I may never be happy with my thoughts, now that I am newly single I look back and think WHY did you ruin your relationship confessing!? The thoughts meant NOTHING and I think it’s quite stupid of me! But then I know when I get into a new relationship the thoughts will feel catastrophic and the worst things in the world and that the anxiety with get worse and eat me away until confessing which I know is a compulsion that I must put a stop to! Hopefully I can’t learn to put this into place and stop the cycle x

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So you have no jealousy of your partners pasts?

If you met someone who knows how to deal with your confession ocd you’d do just fine. 

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32 minutes ago, Handy said:

If you met someone who knows how to deal with your confession ocd you’d do just fine. 

 

Not really.  It's not about if other people can 'deal' with our OCD, it's about learning to cope, deal and overcome our own OCD. 

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3 hours ago, Chels said:

Hi @dksea , thank you so much for taking your precious time to respond to my post! I’m so grateful and overjoyed to hear that! You should be so proud of what you have achieved and I hope that one day I can say I did it too! 

I’m just really struggling with the fact I may never be happy with my thoughts, now that I am newly single I look back and think WHY did you ruin your relationship confessing!? The thoughts meant NOTHING and I think it’s quite stupid of me! But then I know when I get into a new relationship the thoughts will feel catastrophic and the worst things in the world and that the anxiety with get worse and eat me away until confessing which I know is a compulsion that I must put a stop to! Hopefully I can’t learn to put this into place and stop the cycle x

Hey Chels, I totally understand the feeling of this being catastrophic and the worst thing is the world, but the more you engage with them, the longer they will continue to feel that way. Have you considered giving CBT another try? I think it's really hard to change your thinking and behaviour and sometimes we need a few gos at therapy before we really get there. 

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@Handy no I don’t get jealous if it was in the past as who am I to judge them when I have a past also! And it’s hard for non OCD sufferers to understand and sometimes they give reassurance and they don’t realise it’s probably not helping :( 

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@malina Hi malina, 

 

yeahh i am on the waiting list and have been since February they said for high intensity CBT I would be waiting until September at least so I’m still waiting xx

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That's good @Chels! I think that they will be able to teach you strategies to overcome this. In my place, what really helped was just letting go and accepting my doubts, but ignoring them and getting on with my life. For example, I kept having these thoughts that my partner is wrong for me, it was like a "gut feeling" that I didn't really love him and that this relationship was wrong for both of us. I was then thinking that we needed to break up because, what if we get married or have children and I then realise he is wrong for me, I could hurt so many people! But I've tried to shift that perspective and think:" it is possible that he is wrong for me, it is possible that I will hurt everyone. BUT many things are possible and for the moment I want him in my life, so that is all that matters". Ultimately, lot's of people divorce, lots of children grow up with divorced parents, and yet they survive. Everything can be solved somehow. So, you know you have OCD, maybe your doubts are true but most likely they are just intrusions caused by OCD and nothing more than that. Accept those odds and move on. You also know that you're causing more harm to your partner by confessing something that is most likely down to OCD, rather than reality. They don't want to know your every thought!

Relationships are based on a certain degree of trust and within that trust, there is room for mistakes, doubts and other things. Let me give you an example - I once told my boyfriend that I'm curious what kind of women he thinks are attractive so he can tell me if he things a woman is pretty and I won't care, I am just curious to know. But then he actually started telling me and I found it really annoying, I was jealous! So in the end I told him that, actually, I'd prefer if he doesn't tell me. I am aware he thinks other women are attractive, I trust that he won't cheat on me so I don't need to know all the details! 

I think most people are like that, they trust in you and don't need to know your every thought, every doubt or every minor transgression. You're human and are allowed to have these personal things that you don't have to share. 

Edited by malina

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20 hours ago, Ashley said:

 

Not really.  It's not about if other people can 'deal' with our OCD, it's about learning to cope, deal and overcome our own OCD. 

But they can give you the emotional support you need assuming they are in recovery. 

Another OCD is Retroactive Jealousy. It’s when a person obsesses about their partners pasts. 

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1 hour ago, Handy said:

But they can give you the emotional support you need assuming they are in recovery. 

Another OCD is Retroactive Jealousy. It’s when a person obsesses about their partners pasts. 

Are you suggesting people should meet someone with OCD and they would do just fine?  I really, really, really hope that is NOT what you're suggesting. 

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@malina that’s great advice Malina thank you. Yes I know exactly what you mean and hopefully with the help of CBT and being strong minded I will do it... I have had POCD, ROCD and all sorts to be honest. I was getting the ‘groinal response’  when it came to POCD and that was awful 😢 still really cuts me up just thinking about it.. I sometimes have little outbursts if someone is speaking about children or something I will convince myself I’m getting groundless response and it means something :( it’s so hard 

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