OCD can latch on to any theme but there does seem to be similar subject matter amongst suffers. It is also import to understand that mainstream media has inaccurately depicted OCD, showcasing individuals washing their hands and engaging in cleaning rituals. While there are elements of germs and hand washing it is very different then what has been showcased in films or television.
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress. For example, hand washing is the compulsion and is in response to the distressing thoughts, images or ideas. Someone with OCD could experience a distressing thought or image every day all day long. The sensation and imagery is so vivid the sufferer begins questioning the probability of the distressing thoughts coming true. The sufferer also begins to question who they are as a person, what they are capable of and fixate on their surroundings and thoughts.
Imagine your mind telling you all day everyday that you must be vigilant against germs and that you or a loved one can become extremely ill if you do not take measures to protect yourselves. OCD doesn’t just stop there you begin to feel a strong sensation of being contaminated and vivid images begin to pop into your mind showing you as sick, dead or a loved one sick/dead. When handling objects or touching things images and sensations creep up making you feel disgusted. Even when you feel safe and have taken the “measures” to ensure nothing bad can happen, OCD plants even more doubt and a lot of times people are left feeling trapped by endless uncertainty. It isn’t just a fleeting thought it bombards you and there is no escape, the more you try not to think about it the worse it gets. OCD can take over very quickly, leaving the individual exhausted and terrified.
OCD can also manifest by torturing the sufferer with thoughts/images of violence either of oneself or others, sexually aggressive and taboo ideas such as incest, pedophilia, and bestiality. It can also bombard an individual with ideas of sexual identity and religious sins (scrupulosity). These are just a few examples OCD can manifest in any form and is really good at being creative.
It is important to note that no matter what theme someone has the response is always the same extreme anxiety, fear and constant questioning of “why am I having this thought”, “why me?” And “I want it to stop”. OCD suffers do not enjoy having these thoughts it is quite the contrary they begin to engage in rituals to rid themselves of these thoughts. Someone with harm OCD may have hundreds of images pop up in their mind depicting scenes akin to a horror film but the characters are the most precious people in their lives – children, parents, spouse and friends this is also the case with sexual images. The people you would do anything for, the people you have the most love for OCD attacks and makes you feel afraid of yourself, environment and of life. There is no escape you just have to take being forced to view and think thoughts that are completely against your inner values.
Some of the common themes (there are many others)
- Fear of evil or hostile thoughts, including warped ideas about sex or religion
- Excessive doubt or fear of making a mistake
- Fear of hurting yourself or someone else
- Extreme need for order
- Fear of being gay
- Fear of dying or contracting a deadly illness
- Fear of accidentally hitting someone with your vehicle
- Feel responsible if something terrible happens example) fire
- Afraid of going crazy or that you will snap
For a more detailed list please visit – https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/
OCD can silence the sufferer into a deep depression, it makes you believe you are crazy and no one normal could possibly have these thoughts. It is very important to know that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts. When I first experienced OCD symptoms I had no idea what was going on I truly believed I was going crazy, my thoughts were out of my control and I was tortured by harm obsessions. I was terrified to share what was happening inside my mind as I thought for sure I would become institutionalized. I finally had the courage to search “Intrusive Horrible Thoughts” on google and that day was the start of my journey. Google brought up a website called intrusivethoughts.org and that was the first time I saw that this was an actual “thing” and it was called OCD. I wish I did not wait 2 years to search up my symptoms as I would of been able to get the help I needed way sooner. No matter how afraid you are, scared or the doubt you feel just know there is a large community of support and specialists who have heard it all and come from a very loving and non-judgemental place. I highly recommend http://www.cfcbt.ca/ as a local resource.