Introducing T-OCD! (OCD Subtypes and Not Fitting in Them)

As someone who has OCD, I recognize the importance of classifying OCD symptoms. It makes it easier to educate professionals (and advocates), and makes it easier to find people who have the same OCD sub-type you do.

HOWEVER, the form of OCD I identify with the most doesn’t have a name.

I have sexual obsessions.

But they’re not about the same sex, they’re not about children, and they’re not about animals. I have obsessions about therapist figures in my life.

Usually middle-aged, male therapist figures.

So, completely opposite from the sexual obsession acronyms we’re used to.

THEREFORE, today I introduce to you a brand new OCD sub-type, Therapist OCD (TOCD)!

party_emoji

Ah. I finally feel like I belong in the OCD world. I’m going to call the IOCDF right now to initiate this.

YOU can qualify to have TOCD too, if you have any of the following:

  • Obsessions about your mental health professional
  • Obsessions about your doctor
  • Obsessions about other doctors and other mental health professionals

What if you have one of these things and not the other? What if you have harm thoughts with sexual obsessions? What if it’s one or the other? What if you have thoughts about a therapist-like figure in your life who is not licensed?

You lose. Go back to OCD limbo.

If you’re taking this seriously, you’re missing the point.

When I say OCD comes in all shapes and sizes, I mean OCD really does come in all shapes and sizes. OCD is different for everyone.

Sometimes we don’t fit exactly into one OCD sub-type. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you have any less OCD than anybody else.

Some OCD symptoms fit into multiple sub-types. For instance, my sexual obsessions also leak into my religious obsessions because I fear if I act on a thought, I’ll go to hell.

This doesn’t mean I need to go off and make Sexual Scrupulosity. OCD is sneaky. It will sneak into any area of your life, even ones that have never been mentioned to any therapist before. (I put it that way because even if there’s no literature on it, there’s a good chance that someone has had that symptom).

To explain OCD symptoms, I like to give the example of windows. People who have OCD commonly have obsessions about germs, order, and harm. And people who have OCD commonly have compulsions involving hand washing, straightening, and avoiding knives. However, people who have OCD can have symptoms about anything! Including seemingly harmless things like plates, chairs, and windows!

You may be thinking, “How could someone be afraid of a window?!”

But OCD is a master of fear. It can get you to fear anything. I am convinced of this.

My OCD symptoms around therapists and professional figures may be uncommon, but it doesn’t make it any less OCD.

OCD is comprised of two things. Obsessions and compulsions. If you have those two things (and it significantly effects your life), you have OCD. Regardless of the theme, sub-type, or lack thereof.

In that way, OCD is the same for everyone. Same formula, different variables.

MATH!

Formula: O + C = D

If “O” represents obsessions and “C” represents compulsions,

“O” plus “C” always equals “D”.

So it doesn’t matter if you plug in dirt, harm, or symmetry for O.  It doesn’t matter if you plug in hand washing, straightening, or avoiding knives for C. It always equals D.

Ugh, algebra. I have a headache.

But do you see what I’m saying? You don’t have to fit in to an OCD sub-type to have OCD. Even the most severe cases of OCD may not fit into a sub-type. Anyone who tells you otherwise either does not understand OCD or is incredibly superficial.

Don’t feel left out if you have an uncommon obsession like I do. It’s my guess that most people who have had OCD for a long time has also recognized an obsession that doesn’t really fit anywhere.

If you have an obsession or compulsion that you can’t place into a sub-type, please comment it below! I know people who have struggled with this with be grateful to see it. 🙂 At least, I know I will be!

Have a nice day everyone and do your exposures! 😛

-Kat

By the way, this post is coincidentally timed to be on #WeirdThoughtsThursday. Weird Thoughts Thursday is a hashtag I started for us to share our weird or scary thoughts. They can be intrusive thoughts or just random! If you have a Twitter, join us every Thursday to reduce the stigma around weird thoughts. My twitter is @thekatway. If you don’t have a Twitter, feel free to start a #WeirdThoughtsThursday on your favorite social media site.

Since starting Weird Thoughts Thursday, I’ve gotten messages saying it’s helped OCD sufferers take power away from their intrusive thoughts. This was it’s mission to begin with and why I’ve continued doing it every week (except when I forgot)! Being able to laugh at OCD has been a big part of my recovery and I want to extend that to you all too.

If you know people with OCD, whether you have it or not, initiate a Weird Thoughts Thursday with them. You’d be surprised at how amazed a sufferer can be when they find out they’re not alone.

The Four Most Powerful Words to OCD

Lately I’ve been kicking out little (but significant) OCD compulsions I haven’t gotten rid of yet, despite it being years since they first started. 

Sometimes OCD will bring about a compulsion that initially you try to fight, but it stays around long enough that you end up doing it without even thinking. It becomes automatic.

I recently made a list of things I’ve taken back from OCD. The list includes:

  1. Singing
  2. Reading
  3. Praying, witnessing and reading the Bible with my legs crossed
  4. Praying without kneeling
  5. Praying while sitting down
  6. Driving
  7. Video games
  8. Going to my basement and being in dark places
  9. Writing without rewriting
  10. Drawing without redrawing

Some of the ones I’ve regained recently include playing video games, reading and praying while sitting down.

One of the compulsions I’ve had for years is not wearing button-up shirts. When I first started dressing modestly, OCD hopped onto my modest journey and decided that button-up shirts are immodest. It’s reasoning? Button-up shirts are too easy to take off. 

This compulsion proved to make clothes shopping hard because most actually modest shirts out that year were button-ups.

Since then I’ve casually avoided button-up shirts.

When I go shopping, being a woman who values modesty, I keep a mental checklist for what qualities I want in my clothes. When going through that checklist, sometimes a shirt will make every qualification. Long sleeves, not too low cut, etc., but it’s a botton-up. On those cases, I politely move onto the next item. In other cases, the shirt may have some buttons, but is not a complete button-up shirt. Therefore leading to a very unnessesary mental battle. 

Since I’ve been trying to kick out these ingrained compulsions, when I saw my one button-up shirt hanging innocently in my closet, I decided today’s the day to kick out this one. I’ve tried to do this a couple times before, but was never successful at wearing it out of the house. Not always because of anxiety, sometimes because the weather wasn’t right or I decided on another outfit.

Here’s how it went:

I took it out of my closet and started buttoning it up. That’s when I remembered before OCD, I used to always wear tank tops under my button-up shirts. I decided not to put one on because it will add to the anxiety around being immodest.

Then I started thinking about my button-up modesty “rule”. The reason I didn’t wear button-up shirts for so long was I believed it was a valid modesty rule. I believed it was a religious rule, not an OCD rule.

Beliefs like this is what kept me from recovery from my religious obsessions for so long. Learning what OCD thoughts look like helped me identify when a rule was really OCD. That took a long time too, and I still struggle with it. That’s why I had a spike of anxiety when I realized this rule might be a religious rule, not OCD.

If it’s a religious rule, that means I’m disobeying Almighty God. It means I could go to Hell (my most feared consequence).

Instead of ruminating, instead of trying to figure out if it’s God, I said “Well, maybe it is.”

Four powerful words for an OCD sufferer.

What helped more than learning what an OCD thought looks like, was learning that ruminating over whether it’s OCD or not  is a compulsion. Cutting that out is key in defeating OCD. 

Despite my anxiety, I pushed past the fear and I finished buttoning my shirt.

Then I promptly went to the full-length mirror to take a selfie of my accomplishment.

Writing this out has brought back my anxiety. If I were to rate my anxiety on a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, it would be an eight. I’m having urges to figure out if it’s OCD. I need to be certain that it is. I’m resisting those urges quite well, if I do say so myself.

This is another exposure that has made me realize how far I’ve come. A year ago, when I was in an Intensive Outpatient Program for OCD (my 2nd time), I would not do exposures around religious obsessions due to my false beliefs regarding them. Now, I’m challenging my biggest fear.

To be honest, this was a bit of a flooding exposure. I only started religious obsessions 4 months ago and I’m still at the bottom of my hierarchy. When I started this exposure I was so certain that it was OCD. I didn’t expect that I would even doubt it.

OCD, “the doubting disease,” obviously had other plans.

Regardless, I already started the exposure and my anxiety is tolerable, so I’m not giving up now.

I hope one day to take back everything OCD has taken from me. I want to enjoy those things again. Although, it hurts to know I can never take back the most precious thing, lost time. Now that the time of OCD is over, I know I must spend the rest making healthy decisions to improve my life.

One of those things being avoiding compulsions, no matter how much it hurts.

And having fun outside of my house, which I’m about to do now.

Here’s my outfit of the day: