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HOCD and if it is or not

Hello everyone, i am a 17 year old female and this is my first time on a mental health forum so excuse me for the very long explanation. I have been bottling it up for quite a while now and dealing with my health problems by myself, so i thought it was time to talk about what is happening to me. Here we go.

 

At the beginning of last year (when i was 15), my best friend came out as gay to me over text, and this was a massive shock as i had never really suspected it. At first i was happy for her but it soon sunk in what it really meant to be that and i began to question myself as a result of this. I have always been straight, always had crushes on boys in primary school before heading to an all girls school in high school where i never developed any feelings for anyone and boys were scarce. However following her coming out, it sent me into a spiral of questioning and worry that i might be what she is. And i have no idea if i have made this up or not but i also have a feeling i may have started the questioning/doubting a few days before which freaks me out more. I am from quite a conservative family so i hadn't encountered anything like this before and i had never questioned myself.

 

Anyway, my condition did not improve and then another somewhat friend of mine came out as bi and did not help my condition. I tried to tell myself i wasn't what they were, though i kept having to check and check over and over again even when i told myself i wasn't. I began to avoid my friends and avoided both people who had come out to me. i didn't speak to either of the girls who came out to me for months, even though i had had a 10 year best friend relationship with one. I forced myself to think thoughts of being gay or bi and i hated doing so and i was repulsed by them, though i kept doing it due to the impending 'what if' in my mind. And if i didn't feel anything towards those thoughts or i felt horny that day anyway from whatever and felt even the slightest tingle of anything 'down there' i would convince myself i must be gay or bi. This soon developed into panic attacks alone in my room where i would cry because i just wanted to go back to normal and not think these thoughts.

 

After a few months of this, i decided to make an appointment with the school Councillor. This did not help my situation at all and if anything made it worse. I was very reluctant to talk to her and i felt ashamed at what i was going through and didn't want to tell anyone. I don't remember much of what she said i just remember it did not help. I soon began to associate lyrics of my favorite songs and books with being gay or bi, so i would avoid listening to the songs because they reminded me of what i was going through and i felt like they would make me accept being something i was not. I tried to tell my parents and they reassured me that i was not that and that parents can usually tell from an early age if their child was like that. My friends did not understand either. I began to look at other women on the street and look at them to decide whether i was attracted or not. it was taking over my life. I diagnosed myself with HOCD though i refused to get help as i didn't want to think about it.

 

After a few months, whenever those thoughts popped into my head, i immediately thought 'no' to stop it from going any further. This helped and fast forward a few months I barely had thoughts regarding this. Life went back to the way it was. I even developed a crush on a guy i met at a friends party which lasted for about 7 months before depressing rejection (rip). I tried not to avoid those who i thought were gay or bi and talked to my friend a little more and let her know what i was going through. She said shed gone through the exact same thing but the opposite way around which i found kind of ironic. I also developed an unhealthy obsession with Kpop, as it was music i could listen to and enjoy without understanding the lyrics that would trigger my symptoms. Life was back to normal. Or for a few months at least.

 

I began my preliminary year 11 year with a bang, acing and enjoying most of my subjects. I was also becoming really good friends with a guy i treasure immensely to this day. However, my HOCD symptoms soon began to come back, though this time in small doses. I began to subconsciously do what i did last year. I would look at women's chests to see if i was aroused or not and the like. Though i didn't really notice myself doing so and i still found men attractive. I also had a celebrity crush on a gorgeous and handsome male kpop star. Still do. However recently this has become worse because i have noticed myself doing so. I have been linking it to past experiences as well. The friend i was becoming close with told me he liked me and i realized i kind of had feelings back. So one day we started cuddling, no kissing or anything like that. Though afterwards i felt really unsure about it and i put it down to not being ready for anything. Though now i am linking it back to feeling how i am now and wondering if i didnt want it because i might be something else. I am again forcing myself to think thoughts and i again don't really want to think them. And at the moment (tmi but its important) i am on my period so im a bit horny and feel sensitive down there, and this did not help my thinking at all. If i was thinking thoughts and feeling sensitive at the same time i put it down to i must be something other than what i have always been. And although i think about being with my guy friend when he does anything touchy feely i get freaked out. I dont want to think like this and i dont want to question whether it is HOCD or not but i am.

 

So long story short, your opinions would be really helpful on this. Is it the remnants of HOCD re-emerging or something else?

 

I apologize for the long post, i just needed to get it all out for a better understanding.

 

 

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hi @comerfordius welcome to ReachOut and thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like you're going through a lot and having a difficult time. I think you will find this thread in particular helpful and @gina-RO's post - see here. 

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hey @comerfordius, i'm sorry to hear that you're feeling a lot of confusion and uncertainty right now.
Even though there's nothing wrong with being gay, i can see that the thoughts you've been having are really upsetting to you and are causing you a lot of distress and self-doubt.

I know you didn't have the best experience talking to the school counsellor, but i really think that talking to a professional might be a good idea if you think you are having intrusive thoughts surrounding your sexuality. They might be able to help you sort through your thoughts and emotions, regardless of why you're experiencing them. How would you feel about maybe talking to someone?  I know talking about intrusive thoughts is hard and can feel shameful though Smiley Sad 

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Re: HOCD and if it is or not

I am not particularly comfortable talking to people about it. I tried to tell my parents of its recurrence but they didn't understand and neither do my friends. They don't really know how to respond. The thing is, as soon as i try to talk about it with people who listen its like my mind puts up an immediate barrier and i suddenly don't want to talk about it. Its like i don't want to remind myself what i'm thinking about or say it out loud which makes it very hard to talk about, though the thoughts are constantly recurring in my head. I may look for professional help but i think i will have a problem actually going through the therapy as I've heard a lot of it is accepting your thoughts which i really do not want to accept. I just don't want to think about being anything other than straight.

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hi @comerfordius Good on you for reaching out here, even though it sounds like it’s been hard to talk to other people in your life about this.

 

I can hear that you’re worried about seeing a psychologist because you’re worried they might work with you to accept things you don’t want to accept. 

I think is worth saying that there’s a difference between accepting thoughts to be true, and accepting that thoughts are just thoughts - seeing a professional might help you to work through these thoughts but shouldn’t be trying to change you or convince you of things you don’t want.

 

I echo @ecla34 that there is nothing wrong with being gay- and there is nothing to fear around your sexuality shifting or being fluid. In fact it’s really normal for people of all sexualities to have thoughts such as the ones you’re having. However this sounds distressing for you, and I think extra support could really help. 

 

Let us ya know how you’re doing, and your thoughts on this ❤️

_____________________________________________
I'm leaving ReachOut on the 5th of June Smiley Sad Say goodbye here

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

 

Hello all,

When i started writing this i didn't think it would be this long but i ended up writing in detail about what i have been going through, so apologies in advance Smiley Sad

 

Just an update on how i am going. Pretty much my mental state has definitely gotten worse. I had a panic attack for the first time last night in 1.5 years because i so did not want to think about or be bisexual. It was terrible, as you may imagine. I was panting like a dog and crying, my head and face were tingling and i wouldn't even consider my heart beating because of the palpitations i was experiencing.

 

For the last few weeks i have begun a relationship with a dude i have liked for a while and it has started at the worst time because i am going through all this. And i am very scared because i think my attraction towards him has diminished because of my thoughts and i really don't want it too. I now constantly feel like i am lying to myself and i must be in denial. I think i have convinced myself i am in denial. I can no longer tell if my thoughts are intrusive or not which is very confusing and distressing for me. I feel i am no longer making a conscious effort to 'check' and i am programmed to do it anyway which further adds to the confusion and distress. I began to cry again tonight because i did not feel i was as turned on by the person i have started the relationship with as i should have been, considering I've been thinking about it for months. The thing is, when i am talking to him most of my worries go away.

 

I think i have identified the trigger that has led to my mental state today as before this happened i was not worried and crushing on guys. It was when my school signed a controversial document which led to an outrage in my grade leading them to stick the rainbow flag around the school and senior space, which i think triggered my current condition. I actually stayed away from all of this to protect my mental state and spent the day away from fellow seniors in the library during lunch. However, this obviously did not work.

 

My panic attack last night was triggered when i was watching a video on youtube, and my brain being my brain, decided to inspect every woman on the screen to 'check'. It stopped on this one woman and my brain kind of reacted and said 'you have a crush on her because you are staring at her' and i wont lie that she was pretty and attractive in her own way. However this completely threw me off and sent me into panic because i instantly thought 'no i cannot be that, i do not want to be that' and i began to check through scenarios in my mind, making me feel like i had to puke as when i repel and am repelled by thoughts i do it physically through making a weird facial expression and clenching all my muscles. I don't want to say this but this reaction is kind of like when you are pooping (sorry needed something to relate it to).

 

The next day (today) i still felt like shit and tried not to think the thoughts. Which worked slightly but i felt down for most of the day. My sort-of boyfriend rang at 11 and we talked for hours, making me forget much of what i was going through. Though afterwards was a different story. I began checking again and for much of the day, although distracted, i felt i was lying to myself about my sexuality. I did not want to check what happened with the YouTube vid the night before for fear of being attracted. I did so anyway and wasn't, or at least i don't think so because imagining scenarios gives me the same repelling, pooping reaction. I also saw a video by ASAP Science (which i did not watch for my own sanity thankfully) which was titled 'Does everybody have a gay gene' which did not, in any shape or form, help my mental state AT ALL!

 

Pretty much, i feel like i am in denial but i'm confused and scared because i don't know if i am or not. I just want to cry whenever i think it because i want to be attracted to boys and my sort-of boyfriend as i was before. Its like i'm accepting being something i am not, though anything i think about regarding my sexuality i doubt. I think i'm straight, then i doubt it, then i think of the other side and doubt it as well. wth is going on?! I've even begun thinking that if there were no homosexuals in the world would i still be having these thoughts and i don't know the answer to that, which is scary. I am just one big mess at the moment.

 

Also, i have talked with my parents about the psychiatrist and possibly seeing one and i don't think they understand what i am going through. They have told me that when the holidays hit i go into one big bundle of worry and everything is heightened because i have nothing else to think about. Which is true in a sense. The other week i was convinced i had a melanoma on my foot but got it checked by my GP and then a professional who confirmed it was just a blood blister. I had honestly just accepted i was going to die. Anyway, they don't believe it is necessary, so i am stuck battling with my own mind.

 

I just really don't know who i am anymore and i always feel like something is wrong. I question whether it is HOCD or not. I really really really just want it to be HOCD. Any thoughts?

 

Again, apologies for the long post. Writing my feelings down makes me feel somewhat better.

 

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hey @comerfordius, I'm really sorry to hear that you still feel so distressed about this issue. It sounds like it's a very exhausting and stressful time for you at the moment Heart It also sucks that your parents aren't fully grasping what you're going through. They might be right in that you're thinking about this a lot more now that school is finished for the year, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue! 

 

Have you thought about calling/online chatting to a helpline? That way you could talk about these issues with a professional counsellor, without having to ask your parents. Kids HelpLine (1800 55 1800) are always a good service to call whenever you're feeling worried or sad about anything at all. You can also visit your local headspace centre (https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/); they've got a bunch of services they provide for free/low cost to support youth mental health. 

I am glad to hear that writing out your thoughts feels helpful to you! Maybe that could be something to try doing in a journal whenever you're feeling particularly stressed out? 

Hopefully this helps! Heart 

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hey @comerfordius just in case you didn't get a chance to read over the post @gina-RO made about the topic of HOCD, I'll copypaste it here Smiley Happy 

 

HOCD isn't recognized in the DSM as a specific mental disorder. Intrusive thoughts can fall under OCD and anxiety disorders. We want to emphasise that only a psychiatrist can diagnose mental disorders. It isn't always helpful to self-diagnose, even if some of your symptoms are in line with things you've read online, or heard from someone else. 

 
There are a few key things that are important for us to say in this thread:

- Every single person's sexuality is unique - there is a wide spectrum of experiences, feelings, orientations etc. 
As long as your sexual expressions are safe and consensual for all parties, it is likely to be healthy.

- Being curious about your sexuality is completely normal  - a lot of people, if not most, question their sexuality at some point or another, especially as young people! 

- Sexuality can change, adapt, and shift throughout your life, and your experiences may not always fit a particular box. 

 - Lots of us are on a spectrum when it comes to sexual preferences - being "completely straight" or "completely gay" isn't the case for a lot of us, and that's perfectly okay! 

- Enjoying certain types of porn, having crushes on people of the same or opposite gender, or having certain experiences of arousal, doesn't necessarily mean anything specific or fixed about your sexuality.

-Being attracted to men is not exclusive from being attracted to women, or any other gender expression.

- Labels such as "gay", "straight", "bisexual" etc, can be helpful for some, but are not compulsory or fixed terms. You choose how you define yourself, and if a label feels right for you! 

 

The pressure and the preference society puts on us to be heterosexual can make us fearful, but there is nothing wrong with not being heterosexual.  

 

 See our article here for more on this. 

 

Also a note to be mindful of how we talk about sexuality, as this can impact on others. Being gay is not a negative thing. While fear is a valid and difficult feeling, (society has given us lots of reasons to be scared), we celebrate the LGBTIQ+ communtiy loudly and proudly at ReachOut!  Heart 


If you are having thoughts of any nature, including about your sexuality, that are repetitive, intrusive and/or distressing, seeing a clinical psychologist is definitely the best next step. They can help you to work through any fears, and thought patterns. 

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hello everyone,

sorry for the lack of communication the last couple of months. I am now seeing my school Councillor every week and on the way to being a better person. She has diagnosed me with severe anxiety and i am beginning CBT treatment. I have found that i am worrying less about the sexuality thing as more major things in my life have popped up.

 

The thing on my mind at the moment is what sort of girlfriend i am being. I feel so ashamed that i always go to my boyfriend when anxious or crying because he makes me calm and feel better. I find myself getting jealous if he comments about other girls and i find myself asking for his validation all the time. I cant believe the person my anxiety has made me. I am ashamed of my behavior and i would very much love to reverse these feelings.  He always tells me he loves me and that he doesnt mind and its better to keep him in the loop, but because i have anxiety this only provided temporary relief and i absolutely hate it. I do not want to be the person i have become around my boyfriend because of my anxiety. I am clingy and i do not want the relationship to end because of me and i am so scared it will. It is currently my biggest fear. I guess the good thing is that im not freaking out about the sexuality thing anymore, but id rather not worry about anything and not have anxiety. I find myself constantly upset and i cry myself to sleep most nights now. I actually woke up this morning and felt like i was about to compete in the olympics. I was so nervous. I hate the person i am in my anxiety and i dont want it to affect my relationship wih my loving, supportive and amazing boyfriend.

 

So that's the update Smiley Happy

Re: HOCD and if it is or not

Hey @comerfordius Thanks for checking in Heart
I can hear that the last couple of months have been full of lots of big and confusing emotions for you, but i'm so proud of you for opening up your counsellor about the upsetting thoughts and anxiety that you've been having. Heart Telling people what you struggle with can be so daunting and you're showing so much courage. Heart

The way you're feeling right now sounds so draining and overwhelming, I don't blame you for being frustrated by your anxiety. It sounds like you're dealing with a lot of self-blame right now, is that right? You're definitely not at fault for what you're experiencing, but it can be so hard not to take it out on yourself Smiley Sad Is there any self-care that you do for yourself that helps you in moments when you're really wrestling with your anxiety?