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July 27, 2020 at 6:07 am #362838MiaParticipant
Just found out about this website (?) while Googling to find someone who I could relate to, and I’ve found it here, which has helped calm me down a bit. I thought I’d give it a try and share my troubles as well.
(Disclaimer: English is not my mothertongue so I’m sorry in advance if something is unclear.)
I am struggling with intrusive thoughts related to my sexuality, even though I have a boyfriend who I really care about and feel attracted and connected to.
To be honest, it has a backstory, although it only started bothering me (again) a few weeks ago. Back in 2017, I questioned my sexuality for the first time, when someone told me that I should be with a girl, that I’d like it, and implied that I am someone who they could see being with a girl. I never thought about that before. I never felt attracted to women nor the desire to be with one romantically. But having that thrown to my face made me really nervous for the following month, which ended up taking me to the hospital with severe anxiety and a very fastened heartbeat (which wasn’t healthy at all). By the time, when I started questioning it, I’ve started questioning everything else as well, such as my future and what it holds for me – which I think is one of the biggest struggles one can endure, that is, living thinking about the future instead of focusing on the present. I was only 17. Eventually I’ve come to terms with myself: I am straight, I’ve always been straight and questioning my sexuality as a teen is a normal thing to go through. Because I spent too much time alone at home, I was met with those thoughts constantly and couldn’t distract myself. So part of the solution was to go out with my friends more often, and eventually school started again so it faded away (it was summer back then). I think those events scarred me, though, because since then, sometimes in the Summer, I have these days when I suddenly start thinking about it and take very long to let go of it. Maybe because it’s a time when I spend a lot of time alone, home, and browsing through social media, which bombards us with many things all the time. In 2018, I spent about one week questioning myself again: it eventually faded away; in 2019, I don’t remember questioning it. This year, though, it came back, very suddenly, and I feel ridiculous to have been triggered by it again and in the way I did. I’ve been dating this guy for 5 months now, and during quarentine (#covid19) I actually started questioning if I actually liked him and if we were right for each other or not. This too happened because one night I had a dream where I was romantically envolved with a boy I used to have a crush on two years ago. I thought that because of that maybe I didn’t like my actual boyfriend that much, and I even thought we should break up. Looking back (this was two to three months ago, I think), I see that I was very taken by anxiety and by questioning everything around me (not sexually, yet…). This is unrelated but needed for context: I am quite the hypochondriac and for months I’ve lived worried about some health issues I was dealing with, so I’ve been anxious about it until then. I think I couldn’t make a fair judgement of my relationship while I was feeling so anxious and repulsive (of people around me, because of the anxiety), and I’m glad I didn’t do anything because it turns out I’d have regretted it. (Quarentine seems to have brought us even closer.) Once my health issues and concerns were disgarded, as in, I made some health exams and it turns out I had nothing serious, it was time to stop being so anxious and enjoy Summer. But it took me just a few days to find another concern: the sexuality struggles. Now the timing of all of this was very confusing. I stopped taking my medication for neuropathic pain on a Tuesday (because I had no more pills), and in that evening I dealt with a strong headache, so I took a pain reliever for the headache and went to bed. I woke up at around 2 AM feeling nervous, but I don’t remember what I was dreaming about. I decided to watch some videos on YouTube and saw that one of my subscribed creators had uploaded a video, in which she ends up saying that she found out she was queer earlier this year and that she’d always lived with internalized homophobia and whatsoever. I don’t know why that made me feel so nervous and questioning, but that’s how the loop started again. I’ve watched videos of people coming out before and it didn’t trigger me. I don’t know if it was the whole scenario (waking up in the middle of the night already feeling anxious and then being exposed to something I’ve previously been nervous about?). I don’t know how I got there but since then I’ve been feeling anxious again, about this topic, and I’ve been trying to let it go – I’ve been distracting myself from those thoughts. Sometimes I fear I’ll never get rid of these thoughts or that I’m in denial, even though I’m pretty sure I know what I’m attracted to and never felt that way for something else. I try to reassure myself that I’m just nervous and think about this because I’ve never been very open to my sexuality, not in terms of my sexual orientation, but in terms of exploring myself sexually, so anything that can remotely make me aroused makes me feel nervous and my brain, remembering what happened in 2017, starts looping around that topic. What bothers me the most is that I spent months not questioning myself about this topic – though my brain was looping around thoughts related to my health and even my relationship (is he the one? should we break up?) -, and seeing homosexual related stuff didn’t bug me, as it doesn’t now because I’m pretty open-minded and supportive of the community. The thing is, after this thought loop started again, everything suddenly became too much, and I feel so bad because even seeing news about the LBGT community (usually they aren’t very positive, but even when they are) makes me nervous. I don’t want to feel that way both because I genuinely don’t think I belong to that community and because I feel like avoiding topics related to it is not accepting it and a form of homophobia which I don’t ever want to be perceived as. At the same time, when I’m faced with this I start thinking that this means I’m in denial and it’s internalized homophobia, a concept that pretty much contributes to this whole mess. Also, one thing that is bothering me is that I’ve read articles – I know I shouldn’t Google so much because it makes my anxiety and my thoughts worse – about people coming out, some of them in their 30s/40s, and I’m afraid I’m in denial and I’ll break my and everyone else involved’s heart if that happens to me in 10/20 years. I can’t imagine myself in that scenario, but when I think about it, I suffer and picture myself with a woman (usually of an unknown face since I never felt attracted to a woman especifically), and many people online say that if you can see yourself with a woman, you might be gay/bi, which just heightens the fear. Am I making up these images now because I’m nervous?
I don’t wanna diagnose myself online (lol) though I felt very understood when I read about sexual orientation OCD. I don’t know if you guys have any suggestions on how to overcome this? I just want to be able to enjoy every moment I spend in a romantic/sexual scenario without overthinking what I’m getting from it and if it’s real to me or not.