John’s Story

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My name is John and I have OCD, It’s taken me quite a while to admit to it. 35 years. Phew. I have had anxiety on and off throughout my life but OCD in in the latter part of my life. It’s triggered by stress so if I get really run down then out comes the OCD dragon.

There is a history of sexual abuse in my family. My sister was sexually abused by my Grandad and another sister was sexually assaulted. From the trauma of this I have to deal with a lot of sexual obsessions relating to abuse or anything to do with sex. As a gay man this is very distressing and takes a lot of energy to let go of some of the thoughts that come up. I know they are false but they feel so real when it’s bad.

Some things that happen are when I’m walking past women I will look at their breasts and think what if I reached up to them. Then I will wonder why I’m even looking at breasts when I’m a gay man!

I might have a word stuck in my head like women genitals or a song. My compulsion is too figure the thought out so I will go back over time and try and figure out why I’m thinking such a disgusting obscene thought.

I’ve just recently found out OCD brains are a little different to regular ones. I’ve ordered a book from my local bookshop called “Brain Lock” by Jeffery Schwartz which I think will help me.

My therapist puts it this way. Having these thoughts proves what a beautiful and loving individual I am as I am so appalled by them, especially when they relate to people I love. It proves I’m overly responsible and kind. These thoughts are so in contrast with my own personal values.

What’s happened with me is that love and sex have become confused and mixed up. If I think how much I love someone dearly, sex might come into the thought. Very distressing as you can imagine but that’s what sexual abuse can do in a family.

My Mother and sister had/ has bad OCD so it’s definitely a gene thing to a degree. I’m just so relieved that people talk about it now especially sexual obsessions as to admit to them is quite painful but the start of healing.

Some other obsessions I have had are:

Thinking I could abuse baby’s or my sisters.
Linking flower smells to sex.
Women in skirts.
Knives or pointed items. Thinking they are phallic like. (I was involved in a knife point hold up at a hotel I worked at in my 20’s)
Feeling strange at parks with kids there. Wondering if mothers are thinking what’s that man doing there on his own.
Hot water. Thinking I might scald someone with my cup of tea.
Bad religious thoughts.
Bodily fluids, urine and faeces mixed up in thoughts and related to food.

I used medication when I had a bad episode when I was 30 for three months and then went off it gradually and decided to go it alone just with my own brain. I had to learn to relax, walking, yoga, guided meditation time out to myself. Anything that made me feel calmer helped long term.

This is just a small part of my story. Thanks to all the other stories here. They have helped me to realise it’s not just me and that was the biggest relief. I have OCD and that’s ok. Life goes on. Good luck to you all. We are family all my OCD brothers, sisters and me.


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