December 29, 2021 at 9:54 am #390488
First, I will re-arrange your story according to timeline:
3rd & 4th grades: “I was bullied in 3rd or 4th grade”.
5th grade: “In 5th grade I dealt with anxiety for the first time and had to be homeschooled for 5 months due to intense panic attacks…During those 5 months, I went to therapy”.
When “little” (age not specified): “I dealt severely with body image issues and low self-esteem… this was prevalent when I was little”.
Middle School & most of High School: “I went through middle school and most of high school feeling back to myself”.
11th grade (Junior year in High School): “I dealt severely with body image issues and low self-esteem from Junior Year-On… I ended up obsessively counting calories, constantly considering purging, restricting all day and binging at night, weighing myself three to four times a day, measuring my arms, etc. I became obsessed with being skinnier and my appearance became the only thing that mattered to me”.
12th grade (Senior year in High School, the quarantine of the Spring of 2020): “When quarantine hit, I dealt with the loss of my senior year and seeing any friends… I cried constantly. This continued but got easier through summer”.
<b>First semester in college</b>: “This… returned through the holiday season due to gaining a bit of weight. That’s when I started therapy, in regard to the eating and body image issues but anxiety became the bigger topic”.
Second semester in college: “When second semester came, something changed, and he… wanted friends with benefits and would make physical moves… It took him four 2-hour conversations to say he didn’t want a relationship with me ever. This being after I slept over and he held me in his arms the entire night… Fast forward a month or two and he… called me at 2am to yell at me and hasn’t talked to me since…. I was crying every day and constantly thinking about him”.
This past semester in college, September-December 2021: “I officially got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in September of this year due to excessive panic attacks regarding sexuality while I was away from school to the point where my roommate had to force feed me… I was terrified…I ended up going to the hospital and going to classes became really difficult for a bit. I became hyper aware of the girls around me… I still do this and it’s December. I’m on medication now for anxiety so there aren’t panic attacks as much anymore, but I experience depressive moments constantly… I have trouble sleeping and getting up in the morning, I constantly need to stretch because my muscles ache… I constantly ask myself “Are you bi or gay?… I’m in therapy… However, these thoughts keep returning and spiraling and I’m so tired. I’m tired of testing and looking up stuff and analyzing every move I make… Is this HOCD?”
Second Part of my post: no doubt that you suffer from anxiety (validated by your recent diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD), and have suffered from significant anxiety from at least the 5th grade, if not earlier.
The nature of anxiety is such that it attaches itself to this or that worry or concern and changes attachments over time. This is true to everyone who suffers from anxiety: it’s the same anxiety but different attachments. Anxious people focus and obsess about one specific worry, then on another, then on yet another, they go back to previous worries as well as finding new ones.
It’s the same anxiety, different attachments.
In your case, the anxiety attached itself to the topic of your body image and to lower your anxiety you counted calories, weighed yourself, etc., developing an eating disorder. Later, the same anxiety attached itself to the troubled relationship you had, and later to the topic of your sexual orientation. To lower your anxiety in regard to its latest attachment, you keep testing and checking etc., having developed the symptoms described under the title of HOCD.
The problem is not your body shape or your sexual orientation, the problem is not the attachment. The problem is the anxiety itself. Think of this example: the problem of a person who is very anxious about spiders, an arachnophobe, is not spiders, it’s the anxiety itself. So, the treatment will have to be aimed at lowering and managing the person’s anxiety, not at trying to eliminate the world populations of spiders, an impossibility.
Try to focus on lowering and managing your anxiety, instead of focusing on what your anxiety is attached to. Learn and improve your interpersonal skills such as assertiveness and other communication skills with people (the more skilled you are, the lesser your anxiety). Do so with the help of quality professionals and you will improve by much!
anitaJanuary 20, 2022 at 7:50 am #391633dixieParticipant
Hi. I just stumbled across this post and felt like I needed to write about own my experience as well since I can relate to almost every post here. Maybe someone can help me.
I have always been attracted to boys growing up. All my crushes were boys, I have always fantasized about dating one. I never doubted my attraction to boys. When I think of my future, I always see myself with a husband and kids. I like hugging them, being close to them, I get „butterflies“ wjen I think about my recent romantic encounter with a guy I liked and even felt heartbroken when I left him (summer romance). Whenever I fall asleep I imagine scearios with boys I have a crush on and thinking of doing sexual tjings with them turns me on.
Whenever I see a beautiful woman my first thought is that i wanna look LIKE them not have sex with them or that I wanna be friends with her.
Now this is where it gets complicated pls bear with me. When I was around 13 years old or so I was walking with my cousin with our arm interwined like friends. As a joke she said: Oh we look like a couple haha! And since then I had the thought in my brain: OMG what if you like WOMEN and not MEN? From then on I have periods of time where I overthink my sexuality. I even questioned if i was in LOVE with my cousin which is so stupid because I‘m obviously not into my family. When I don‘t have these intrusive thoughts I don‘t even question it all! As I said I never had a crush on a woman and thinking about who I liked there are only men and male characters. But then they come back over the course of the past years and today I am 21 and since mid of last year it has becomen way worse. I don‘t feel like myself anymore. I am scared to go outside because I don‘t wanna be close to a female in case I feel attracted to her. I‘ve cut friendships with some of my female friends over the past 3 years bc I randomöy question if im in love with them. I google coming out stories, do tests if im gay, read in these forums like this. Just recently I started watching porn some times to see whether i‘m attracted to the men and women. Watching porn is not enjoyable to me, I only do it to give myself relief that I am in fact attracted to men. But this doesn‘t help at all. 24/7 I question my sexuality in my brain and it‘s making me miserable. The first thing I think about waking up is : I am lesbian. Because I think so much about this I even dream about it and have trouble falling asleep. I‘ve read that straight people don‘t question it and this is making my anxiety even worse. I don‘t want to be lesbian at all. The thought makes me uncomfortable, I feel at ease when thinking of men but women not. As of now i feel like I‘m just in denial and when I think:“ Okay you know what I‘m gay/bi“ just to make these thoughts go away but it doesnt help at all. It just feels so so wrong. I get anxious reading about gay things, watching lesbian couples. Becase of this anxiety I get so many groinal repsponses whenevee i see any woman. It‘s making me uncomfortable to the point where I believe that Inmight just be in denial. My brain doesn‘t shut up at all and I just want to cry.
Also, I want to mention that I never kissed someone at all. I‘ve had the chance with some but as of now I‘m scared that I won‘t like it which will comfirm that I am in fact gay. This is making me feel terrible because on the one hand I know who I like but then its like my brain telling me other things to the point where I believe it. I also had the fear for a short time that I was attracted to my dad or something which is just so sick bc again this is of course not the case. My brain is just going through this right now for the past year almost and I don‘t know what to do anymore. I‘m also on dating wensites and sometimes I change it to women to see if im attracted to that but it just doesnt feel like right and makes me jncomfortable.
Idk if this is important but I was also bullied in school for a few years where guys called me ugly and stuff. It still messes up with my confidence and I feel like no guy will ever think I‘m attractive. I am pretty self concoous about my looks and I think this stems from the years of bullying. I also don’t have many friends and birthdaS have always been hard for me because i felt like im alone. I always wanted to hwve many friends. Just 2 years ago I toöd my friends that this happened to me. Also, during school I was very anxious around getting grades and were always afraid to look into my exams. I‘m a person who needs reassurance and I always feel like I‘m annoying others and overthink that. Overthinking my sexuality is however the longest I overthiugh something and im just scared that it‘s true and that Im in denial since it has been this long. I can‘t go out anymore without thinking: Am i attracted to her?
I also talked with my friend who is bi about this and she said that it is not normal to be afraid to go out bc of this fear. Idk what to do anymore and wpuld appreciate all the help. Also, sorry for the mistakes but english is not my mother tongue.January 20, 2022 at 10:37 am #391661
What troubles you so much is not your sexual orientation but your anxiety, intrusive thoughts and overthinking (all words that you mentioned). Reads like you suffer from OCD with sexual orientation being your current Obsession. The googling on the topic, watching porn and checking how your body reacts, etc., these are the Compulsions, the C part of your OCD. Did you see a medical doctor on the matter?
anitaJanuary 21, 2022 at 1:50 am #391669dixieParticipant
No I didn‘t see a medical doctor and unfortunately I‘m not able to do so bc of some private reason. These compulsions have become such a natural thing that I don‘t know how to get rid of them. I‘m scared that I will never be able to live a normal life because of these thoughts since I‘ve had them for so long now. I‘m really frustrated and don‘t feel like myself again. What would you suggest that I could do? Do you think I‘m just in denial, or…?January 21, 2022 at 7:17 am #391672
“Do you think I’m just in denial, or…?” – if I, a person who never met you and read only two posts from you, answers you: No! You are not in denial! You are not a lesbian!!!, you will feel better for just a little bit of time, and a moment later, the obsession will return, and the anxiety that goes with it, and you will ask me the same question again, and again… and again, for as long as I am willing to answer. This is the case because Obsessions are Never Satisfied with Answers.
You know that you asked this question many times, online, maybe elsewhere and people ran out of patience answering you again… and again, and yet again, only to be asked again.
“What would you suggest that I could do?” – read the 12 pages of this thread and take notes. I posted here many times sharing my own experience with OCD, my understanding of it, and my suggestions. After you read and take notes, post again and let me know what you think and feel about what you read.
anitaApril 14, 2022 at 9:23 am #397857leoParticipant
Hey Anna I’m having something similar to what you are explaining how did you tackle the problem if you have? I’m straight and been my whole life and don’t find guys or my friends attractive in that way. But recently I’ve been feeling unlike myself and questioning myself like you did and I don’t know what to do. Feels like what might’ve caused this was my recent relationship which I feel like damaged me some way. I study engineering and it’s mostly boys who are around and I hang out with, whom are also my friends, whom I love very much and it’s really fun, but sometimes we joke around weird stuff and these thoughts creep in and I feel uneasy. From reading the posts I have realised that watching porn and smoking weed wasn’t ideal, and I will stop and see where that will get me, also as someone mentioned I also don’t have a close relationship with my father and that could play the role in this too, he lives with us but is distant and for most of my life I had to learn/ teach everything myself. If anyone has found a solution or even advice, I’d greatly appreciate it. As the thoughts keep coming up for past few days and it gets more intense where I question myself “am I gay” for no reason and I have no clue why and how to stop it. I’m already thinking to maybe go to a psychologist to discuss as it’s better than a screen. But as I said any help would be appreciated, thank you in advance!April 14, 2022 at 10:17 am #397859
“Sometimes we joke around weird stuff and these thoughts creep in, and I feel uneasy… As the thoughts keep coming up for past few days and it gets more intense where I question myself ‘am I gay’ for no reason and I have no clue why and how to stop it” – it is important that you realize that thoughts are fast mental events that do not have any power in themselves: if you don’t get scared of your thoughts and you don’t act on them, they have no power.
We all have so many thoughts going through our brains every waking hour, every day, thoughts that don’t mean anything much. For example, a person looks at an elephant in the zoo and thinks I wonder how it would feel if I was an elephant. That thought is not scary because you know for sure that you are a person, not an elephant and there is no social taboo and prejudice about being an elephant. So, you move on to look at other animals.
But if you think I wonder how it would feel if I was gay, that’s scary because it’s not so far stretched, and there is a strong social taboo and prejudice about being gay, and so the next thought may be: what if I am gay?
This thought triggers the fear of being subjected to prejudice and rejection; the fear then triggers more thoughts, and more thoughts trigger more fear.
“Feels like what might’ve caused this was my recent relationship which I feel like damaged me some way. … I also don’t have a close relationship with my father and that could play the role in this too, he lives with us but is distant” – if you would like to elaborate on any of these two things, please do, and I will reply to you further.
anitaMay 19, 2022 at 3:09 pm #400714MollieParticipant
I hope you are all doing well.
I posted in this forum about 7 months ago to do with HOCD (with some ROCD tendencies too) and I just wished to provide an “update”, on how I am doing but more on techniques which I have used that have helped me free myself from my thoughts and not feel like a prisoner to my own mind. I hope it may help someone.
Firstly, I think that my past experiences and poor decision-making regarding love impacted my obsessive thoughts hugely (aka past trauma). I questioned all aspects of my current relationship and this quickly gave rise to the endless “obsessive thoughts” (update- my boyfriend and I are still together almost 10 months later). Until recently, I realised that these thoughts were a form of defence mechanism: by convincing myself that there was something wrong and questioning my relationship over and over, my brain was “protecting me” from any future disappointment, which I would “inevitably” go through given that all my past relationships had been sour ones, so why wouldn’t this one be? This was just not true and I guess what I’m saying is: acknowledge your past, but just because past experiences have been bad does not mean that the current one will be too, so try not to “self-sabotage”.
Secondly, what has really helped me is changing my perspective on ROCD. Reading the “AwakenintoLove” blogs has really helped me to do this, and I encourage you to also take a moment to read one or two of them too. The blog writer really encourages you to trust yourself and your decisions, find love within yourself and use the opportunity that when you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, to pause and take a moment to breathe.
Thirdly, practising gratitude has helped me. I didn’t really get how it would help at first and it took time, but it makes you appreciate everything you have, rather than focus on anything you don’t have. As Oprah says ‘Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more; if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough”. To help you do this, maybe take time each day to listen to a guided meditation (Insight Timer is a wonderful resource for this) even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
Finally, see time as your friend, not your enemy. I truly know the urge of needing to know what the future holds right this second, but get comfortable in the now and appreciate every second; this is another way to find self-love and appreciation.
By no means is my ROCD/HOCD fully behind me. Some days are better than others, of course, but day by day I feel mentally stronger and able to overcome my obsessive thoughts. When you feel like you are not in control of your own mind, it can be terrifying (for me, at least). So, thinking about some of these things can help, and has helped me. (I am not a licensed therapist or trained in any way – just someone who is finding ways to help others).
Wishing you peace and love.May 19, 2022 at 3:18 pm #400718HelcatParticipant
It is good to hear that you have found some techniques that help you! Thank you for sharing them. These tips are great advice and I’m sure they will be helpful to many people.May 19, 2022 at 8:21 pm #400724
“Day by day I feel mentally stronger and able to overcome my obsessive thoughts” –
Congratulations, well done!
anitaMay 20, 2022 at 1:40 am #400739HoneyBlossomParticipant
I don’t think you are gay either but as gree with Anita. Stop smoking cannabis. I would refrain from recreational drug use. I think it’s messing with your mind also. I have read posts by people from other forums who claimed they had relationship problems when they became addicted to porn/over-used it.
I think it would be rare fir a person to suddenly realise they were gay.May 20, 2022 at 2:00 am #400740HoneyBlossomParticipant
I am the odd one out here because I have had times of wishing I was gay but unfortunately, I don’t feel sexualising attraction to women. I don’t like MOST men. Some are okay but all my relationships were disappointing – mostly due to my own poor decision-making and desperation for love.
I do find Keanu Reeves very attractive and LOVELY. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if anyone like him exists in real life. If th we y did, there would be such a long queue if interested women, I wouldn’t stand a chance. Yes, he’s handsome but it’s more his personality I’m very attracted to. I used to really like Viggo Mortensen too. LOL, largely because of “just how he is with horses”. I think you have to be a horseperson to understand that.May 20, 2022 at 12:35 pm #400820
I decided, since I have the time and prefer to spend it this way, to re-read what you shared back in November 1, 2021, and then re-read your update May 19, 2022, six months and 18 days later.
Back in Nov 1, you shared that you were in a healthy relationship with a supportive man, and that a month and a half earlier (in mid-September 2021) you started, for the first time in your life, to question your sexual orientation, panicking about the idea of being a lesbian or bi-sexual. You mentioned that prior to obsessing over your sexual orientaion, you obsessed about other topics and suspected that you suffer from OCD.
This questioning of your sexuality led you to read a lot of forums online on the topic of sexual orientation, taking online tests aimed at determining one’s sexual orientation, and “whenever I see a woman… I imagine doing sexual things with her as a test to see whether I am bi/ lesbian or not”.
In your update yesterday, you shared that you have questioned all aspects of your relationship with your boyfriend. You have since gained insight into the motivation behind this questioning: to protect yourself from future disappointment, given that all of your past relationships, before the current, were sour.
You read blogs that encouraged you to “trust yourself and your decisions, to find love within yourself”. You’ve also been practicing (1) Gratitude, so to help you appreciate and focus on what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, (2) Relaxation techniques and Mindfulness skills: “when you feel overwhelmed with thoughts… pause and take a moment to breathe… take time each day to listen to a guided meditation… get comfortable in the now and appreciate every second”, instead of being in a rush to know what the future will bring.
Some days you still suffer from HOCD (doubting your sexual orientation) and ROCD (doubting your relationship), but day by day, you are feeling mentally stronger, having better control of your mind- being better able to overcome your obsessive thoughts.
Thank you, Mollie, for posting back in November and again yesterday- it is very kind of you to return to this thread with encouragement and advice for those who still struggle as badly as you struggled back then.
You read like a good person, Mollie. I have the feeling that the more you believe that indeed you are a good person, the more peace of mind and heart you will have. Feel free to post again anytime, here or anywhere else in these forums.