A girl with too many thoughts...

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Secret Side Of OCD

Before I begin, please ignore the silly title of this post - but I do honestly believe that there is a secret side to OCD that doesn't get much recognition, and there's a reason for this. The reason being, we are ashamed of it. This unspoken side to OCD brings with it masses of guilt and embarrassment, so we just prefer to keep it under wraps. Well, not anymore, because I'm going to speak about it...

Intrusive thoughts. Yes, I said it. Those nasty little thoughts that most of us who suffer from OCD get, but do not divulge to anybody. Intrusive thoughts are characterised by unpleasant and involuntary thoughts. They can take the form of images or, sometimes, they are just ideas that pop into your head uninvited. I took to OCD-UK's website to help me explain them a little better, and this is what it said:

'Intrusive thoughts, in the spectrum of OCD, are where a person generally suffers with obsessional thoughts that are repetitive, disturbing and often horrific and repugnant in nature.  For example, thoughts of causing violent or sexual harm to loved ones.' - taken from OCD-UK

The media doesn't appear to cover this aspect of OCD very much. Sure, you can watch a programme on TV of somebody cleaning obsessively.  Everyone knows of that one celebrity who has OCD because they keep their tins neatly lined up in their cupboard. And it doesn't take much searching on the internet to get the idea that OCD equals nothing more than a need to be organised and excessive hand-washing. But what the media fails to emphasise, is that there is so much more behind this image that is portrayed to us. And that 'so much more' is the intrusive thoughts.

With OCD, intrusive thoughts can cover just about any topic, but usually, they are based upon the things that we value the most. So, if you care dearly about your family, your intrusive thoughts might concern you causing harm to a loved one. However, that is just one example, they can cover a range of different themes, from sexual to religious thoughts - there is no limit to the topic that intrusive thoughts can target. There is no limit to the torment they can put the sufferer through.

For me, my intrusive thoughts used to be based around violence and they mainly came in the form of images. They started at the age of around thirteen. I would often have disturbing thoughts about murder and harm. Watching the news would only fuel these thoughts further, providing my mind with more ideas to worry about, more terrifying thoughts to conjure up and punish me with. I developed compulsions in order to deal with these violent thoughts, convinced that if I didn't carry them out, then they would surely come true.

The problem is, we prefer not to admit to these thoughts. We are scared that if we do, people will undoubtedly accuse us of being a terrible person, or even worse, a murderer, a paedophile. We are convinced that there must be something seriously wrong with us, if we are capable of having such thoughts. So, if we were to tell somebody about them, then they might also believe that we are crazy and actually want to carry out such actions. In reality, these thoughts symbolise the things that we are most averted to. They go completely against our morals, our personality, our beliefs. And yet, we can't help but ruminate about them all of the time. We are powerless to stop the thoughts from infecting our minds, no matter how much we do not welcome them.

Don't get me wrong, OCD sufferers aren't the only ones to experience intrusive thoughts. In fact, I have read before that something around 95% of the population get them. Yes, as high as that! But, the thing is, people with OCD respond to them differently compared to the general population. They can't believe that their very own mind was capable of producing such a terrible thought, and they dwell on this. They dwell on it so much that it soon becomes an obsession, that is, they reoccur again and again, until they can't focus on much else. Intrusive thoughts can soon take over the OCD sufferer's life, sometimes to the extreme that they can no longer function. Their life revolves around these thoughts -  there is no room for anything else.

Unfortunately, that is the harsh reality of intrusive thoughts. That is the truth of the part of OCD that people refuse to acknowledge. Many people assume that OCD is only about cleanliness and tidiness. Little do they know, there is so much more to it than that. Behind every OCD behaviour, lies a intimidating intrusive thought - one that they feel responsible for, and must rid their mind of forever. But it will never work, because the more they try to destroy the thought, the more it will fight back - it's never-ending.

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