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My life is hell because of OCD


thegarden
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Hi folks. I'm a new member here, and I'm posting this out of increasing desperation, so I might go off rambling. By the way, I have OCD, which is why I'm here.

I am a 16 year old male, and for about 3 weeks now, I've been thinking nonstop about whether or not I am a sexual offender. Right now, I remember how, in late grade 7 and grade 8, I was very attached to little kids (kindergartens to grade 1-2). I loved how innocent they were, and how, well, cute they were as well. (I still had sexual thoughts about OLDER people though.) I think it was because, about three years before that time, I fell into serious depression, and once tried slitting my throat in my garage. I missed the innocence I had before those dark times. Anyway, I consequently spent lots of time around them. In particular, there were 3 second graders who always came up to me, and talked to me about things. One day, they wanted to play tag, so I agreed.

Now, what worries me is that I was thinking about their physical appearances for a couple of weeks then. Little kids are cute, right? We can all agree about that. I think I was obsessed with how physically cute they were. So I'm worried that, when we were playing tag, I inappropriately touched them and covered it up with the fact that we were playing a contact game. None of the boys said anything about that to me, and there were no known incidents of child sexual abuse in my old school. They never acted like they were molested, either.

I no longer have obsessions about little children. I spend all my time around people my age (grade 11) or older, so I can tell that I'm not a pedophile. But I KNOW that by having those obsessions back then, I had a higher chance of doing something wrong! And I can't live not knowing 110% about whether I did something wrong or not! I know one of the boys' older sisters, so I emailed her about this. No response.

I'm feeling terrible. At that time, I never knew that being attracted to little children was wrong, mostly because I was really naive, sexually. (Although I don't think I had any sexual thoughts about little kids.) But now, my life is completely consumed by anxiety and guilt. I'm literally one day away from committing suicide. If I'm innocent, I would still keep obsessing over this, and my life would never improve. If I'm guilty, then good riddance!

I even contacted my old school about my fears, who then contacted my high school and the police. (This is about a different fear concerning child molestation, involving the kindergartens I used to lunch-monitor in grade 7.) The police assured me that there was no actual, hard, physical evidence, not even in my explicit memories, that said that I did such a heinous thing. But I'm dying from the worrying.

Can anyone offer any advice? Has anyone gone through something similar to this? If I can't prove whether I'm guilty or innocent in a week, I'm seriously considering suicide. Like I said, good riddance.

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Meh. I'd have said that having those obsessions (complete with the guilt of same) made you less likely to have harmed anyone, then or now.

"If I'm innocent, I would still keep obsessing over this, and my life would never improve."

Wow, that's loaded. "Never"? What if you got help for your OCD, wouldn't you stop obsessing? It's a little early to write off a whole life before you've given treatment its fair chance.

You say there's no evidence that you did anything wrong. That's also true of every single person who has never molested a child, so why is it so hard to accept that you didn't, either? How would those other people "prove" they didn't molest? There's a reason that the law considers us innocent until proven guilty; the trick is to think of yourself the same way.

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I played tackle football throughout my childhood, and could not count the number of other male butts I've had the occasion to touch in the process. All that that proves is that everyone has one.

Spell it with me, if you would, please: O ... C ... D ...

You will "prove" nothing either way by obsessing, except possibly about how well you can obsess. Please treat the obsession, and then you can worry, okay?

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You have a good point. Through this entire ordeal, I knew that the thoughts I had had many characteristics of typical OCD thoughts. But I couldn't help but treat them like real thoughts. Even now, I can't.

But, when I was younger, I was clueless about sexual topics. I didn't know how dangerous it was to have "relationships" with kids, and that molestation and inappropriate touching could do so much damage to others. Didn't that make me more likely to do bad things? The OCD might have helped keep me obsessed about kids!

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Maybe by yourself, all alone with these thoughts, you would always have trouble deciding which were yours and which were intrusive.

That's a big reason to find yourself a trustworthy person who can help you sort through it all. Keeping it all to yourself gives the thoughts more strength and robs you of any source of outside support, any objective way of testing reality.

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You said the cops couldn't find any evidence of wrongdoing. I wonder what more proof there could possibly be. The problem, then, is not finding more evidence, but dealing with your thoughts in a realistic manner. If you have OCD you will need help to do this. A good therapist can help you sort out thoughts that you couldn't sort out on your own. You've already gotten a mound of evidence and there is far greater weight on the side that you did nothing wrong yet you continue to blame yourself. That is the sign that likely no amount of evidence will satisfy you; your mind will always find some further detail to say "yeah but what about this?"

So you can keep going down this path, which is already dangerously close to killing you, or you can try something else. What have you got to lose by getting help? Worst case is it doesn't work and you're back where you are now, but the best case is you get better and look back on this decision as the best you ever made. It seems pretty clear that given what you've written if you don't learn to challenge and correct your cognitive distortions then the suffering will continue and you have already stated you don't want to live like that.

FWIW I have been diagnosed with mild OCD and have intrusive thoughts about suicide. I have learned through CBT how to sort out which thoughts are realistic versus which are distorted. It's a lot of work and practice to get to that point but it's very relieving to successfully challenge an anxiety provoking thought and find that things really aren't as bad as I made them out to be.

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Thanks. I'm currently doing CBT, but what I am wondering is: are the therapists biased for you? Are therapists required to deduce, and tell you, that you did in fact molest somebody or do something heinous if they see evidence about it? Because my therapist seems to be very gentle, and very on-my-side. I've never heard of one that actually tells you that you committed a crime.

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Your therapist may be biased in your favor, but could just as easily be biased against you. The best ones IMHO would be neutral. If they see evidence of child abuse though, I think they are required to report it. At least that is the case in both states that I have lived in. I expect that my therapist would tell me if she thought I committed a crime.

I think it is most likely your therapist seems to be on your side because the evidence, when viewed objectively, suggests you did nothing wrong. The police said as much and they are definitely not going to be on your side if they think a crime happened. You could ask your therapist directly about this. My guess is that s/he would tell you similar things to the points Malign already made above. Namely that you will need to treat the obsessiveness before you can effectively evaluate whether you did anything wrong.

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"I've never heard of one that actually tells you that you committed a crime."

In part, this is probably because it's a lot more common to worry about crimes one didn't commit than it is to commit crimes one isn't aware of.

You know, a lot of people seem to believe that a therapist tells you what you want to hear. I don't see how that would make a person healthier, though: we spend an hour a week, maybe, with the therapist, and the rest of the week off in the real world. We would pretty soon see they were lying, if they were ... Instead, the therapists I've met have been scrupulously honest with me; the whole point is to create a climate of trust, after all.

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Thanks a lot for the responses.

And yesterday night, I managed to calm down, and think about my problems realistically. Here's what I found:

-I certainly didn't grab anybody's penis, since back then, I didn't even try physically injuring the kids (and you know how much it hurts to have your penis grabbed).

-If I did touch somebody's butt inappropriately, I would have had to bend down reallll low, because I'm a really tall guy, and 2nd graders are short.

-If any of the kids fell down and were in a position where I could have easily violated them, I wouldn't have. I remember how, when I was lunch monitoring the kindergartens, I was also careful in making sure they were physically alright. If they did fall down, I would ask if they were okay, and help them back up by holding their hand and bringing them up.

And lastly, I know the sister of one of the kids, and I got in contact with her and asked if she could ask her brother if I did anything. She asked all three boys, and she said that none of them said that I touched them.

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