So here we are with another OCD classification, there really are a whole world of subcategories aren’t there but you know when you’re suffering from OCD you probably have no idea about which subcategory you fall under and actually it’s not hugely important. OCD can actually morph as well, when I was younger I had a lot of physical compulsions but nowadays 99% of my OCD would be classed as ‘Pure O’ I guess.
Pure O is when your OCD is internalised and you don’t really have any compulsions. I would guess it’s more common in adults (though I have no evidence to support this) than children as I would say adults are generally more socially aware and better at hiding things, especially over time.
It’s also potentially a more dangerous form of the disorder as well, as if someone is particularly practised at hiding it, you can have no idea they have it and that person can suffer in silence for years and probably will, as if they’ve gone to such extreme levels to hide the thoughts then they’re probably ashamed of them.
So how can you tell if someone is suffering from ‘Pure O’? I think my biggest tell was always mood swings, if a thought hit me that I couldn’t shake I would become quite withdrawn but if this wasn’t possible for a some reason then I would get very touchy as trying to rationalise a thought while trying to behave ‘normally’ is well, impossible to be honest.
People will not want to just open up and tell you what they’re thinking if it’s already causing a massive level of distress. To get someone out of one of these episodes is tough. Thoughts can take hold for days, weeks, months sometimes. I’ve had to come home from holidays in the past because I just can’t break out of the spiral and have been unable to go out or do anything,
OCD can be so terrifying and at times like these suicidal thoughts are not far from your mind, anything to stop the thoughts and associated anxiety!
So that was all a bit dark, sorry about that but I wanted to try and get across to anyone reading this who’s not suffering from OCD how scary it can be. I’ve purposefully not put any of my personal thoughts in there so as not to trigger anything for anyone.
Different people find different ways of breaking out of ‘Pure O’, for me it has been a mixture of things. Something that really helped me initially was talking to my CBT councillor. Just by voicing the thoughts out loud and to see her completely non judgemental face sitting opposite me was amazing. Thoughts I couldn’t even bear to think of, she just confirmed were completely normal – what a revelation!
I had a course of CBT therapy, I haven’t spoken much about CBT on this blog so far, personally for me it didn’t work. Now I don’t want to bad mouth it in any way as I know it’s helped a huge amount of people but for me it just wasn’t the right method.
Some things that have helped me are:
- Mindfulness, amazing! Not the deep meditation sort but the bringing your mind back to the present moment sort.
- Distraction – best thing ever
- Structure, work and routine – has saved me on numerous occasions.
- Socialising – interacting with others and not being stuck in your own thoughts, never underestimate how important this is.
- The knowledge that the thought will eventually pass – even though sometimes it feels like it will never, ever go and actually the thought itself may not but your anxiety levels will. I still get intrusive thoughts daily but everyone does – it is ‘normal’, never forget that, they’re not going to disappear you will just be able to dismiss them more easily.
- Take good care of yourself and like yourself – I seem to say this one a lot but it’s so true and I seem to constantly need reminding of it myself!
- Don’t drink the thoughts anyway, this is a short term fix which DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!
- Talk to someone! Remember you are not alone, someone else is probably having the same thought as you right this second and suffering in silence as well – how annoying is that – if only you knew and you could reach out to them, you could both laugh about it together, please talk to someone if you can.
Opening a conversion with someone who has OCD
If you think you know someone who may be suffering and you’re not sure how to start a conversion with them then offer them an indirect opportunity to talk, sometimes this can be easier for people, something like:
- ‘I’ve been reading this amazing blog/book/article recently about OCD……….’
- ‘Have you seen that celebrity_________ she/he has been talking about their OCD………’
- ‘My ______ has recently told me they’ve been suffering from OCD, I’m so glad they opened up to me, now they’re getting help’
All these approaches are not direct and allow the person to open up a conversion more easily if they feel they want to talk. Speaking from experience if someone says to me, ‘how are you?’ the automatic response is normally ‘I’m fine’, when sometimes that’s not the case.
Sending love to all today, I know it can be so tough
Stay Strong xxx