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I used to have Pure O for sure, but now it has evolved


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Evolution of Pure-O through 45 years.

I am 57 years old now. When I was 12 I went from a happy child to my personal Hell. I was raised Baptist, confirmed my salvation in baptism at age 11. At age 12 I could not “know” if I was saved any more. I kept on accepting Christ over and over and over, but it never stuck.

Fast forward 20 years. OCD was hardly known at the time. I have been to Christian counselors, I have been through shock treatments (I don’t even know how many), I have been exorcised by well-meaning individuals (which, of course, made things worse). My children were sexually abused by a 12-year old babysitter, and you can imagine what was going through MY head…that I was an abuser, I was so careful changing diapers, etc. etc. The themes would change, usually religious or harm based or gay, or molesting children. I kept on going to pastors and counselors, many thought it was a faith issue as OCD was virtually unknown.

At age 33, a pastor suggested reading “The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing” and I realized the pure O stories were much like mine. I was put on Prozac, (Anafranil was not yet legal in the USA) and later anafranil. After about 8 weeks, the thoughts went into the background!

I had a pretty good remission for about 20 years. But now things are worse than ever.

The unique thing I don’t find in many documentations (except I take comfort in the Book, “ The Incessant Reruns of the Mind “), that I don’t feel high anxiety any more. My thoughts have evolved; however, to extreme rebellion against God, finding myself feeling like Satan himself, whose pride made him fall. I question EVERYTHING. Right now I am in the midst of a terrible cycle, prompted by hearing about the “unforgivable sin” on TV. However, unlike most, I don’t fear that. I just keep on feeling like I have now gone to the Dark Side….the dark side thoughts feel like me; like I want to go that way. And I am struggling to find reasons not to. So my OCD now is unrelenting thoughts about why God made us lower than Him, that we think the way we do because he has programmed us to; questioning EVERYTHING about God and humankind, love, not “knowing” much of anything anymore. I want to find answers, logical answers. To what is love. Is love really greater than anything else? What is truth? When the Bible says “the truth will set you free” does he mean words that are true or Jesus? These are just a few of the never-ending questions that cycle over and over and over and over. They are stronger in the morning. Sometimes, I wonder if my thoughts are because I have an evil spirit, although I won’t allow myself to really believe it (fearing what exorcism would make me feel like; how it would change my feelings). My former desires to be good and loving are gone. Feelings are not like normal people’s.

I have been on so many meds. I am now doing OCD counseling as well, telling myself my thoughts are not me and they are OCD (even though my thoughts have convinced me they really are me) and trying to just let them be there. Today I'm not doing so well. I’m wondering if anyone else has had any such evolution of their thoughts, i.e., I used to be filled with anxiety at the thoughts of going to Hell etc. and now I don’t have the anxiety, just have to “figure” EVERYTHING out. I question things like man/woman, of course we want things because God “programmed” us that way. Or frustration that, as an artist, I cannot create anything outside of the six senses…we are confined to that and I want to be omniscient. It is the worst in the morning. I’m taking some Xanax in the morning to help with the thoughts, but that tires me out more and I struggle with my energy level. We are going to try a small amount of Risperdal soon.

Has ANYONE had any progression of OCD similar to mine? I don’t hear too many stories like this. They are mostly the fear of doing bad things or sinning. My fear is gone, and it is now just totally pure ruminating in circles, feeling the desire to figure things out like a magnet drawing me to do it, even though I am aware that is a sign of OCD, and basically tell myself to do the right thing even though it doesn't feel like I want to? Of course, part of me has in the back of my mind I've committed the unforgivable sin since I don't feel that anxiety about it anymore.

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Hi Suzannitamn, and welcome to our community.

I am no expert on any of this, but I have an observation that may or may not mean anything.

You say you no longer experience anxiety or fear, is that because of the meds?

I wouldn't want you to go back to the anxiety and fear, but I would wonder if you could find some things that help relax you and give you peace. I'm not sure that "answers" do that, though I can relate to wanting answers to do that.

Do any activities, exchanges with people, times alone, types of physical exercise, times with nature, relax you or settle your mind?

Hope you are ok today.

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Hello, Suzannitamn.

I'm sorry you have been struggling so long from the effects of this. :(

You mentioned that for 20 years you felt better. Did anything happen in your life, that you can think of, that might have brought these symptoms to the surface again? Are you able to distract the thoughts when they surface and instead give your energy to something more calming? I agree with finding that it could be helpful to identify activities that you find soothing.

It's good that you are in therapy and trying to find a medication that will help. We are here to listen and support you, too, if expressing yourself helps.

Take care.

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Thank you for responding. My meds were increased about 10x for awhile but now are lower again. Most of my good 20 years? The last 7 or so were spent in Miami and Houston, I was very happy there especially because of the sunshine and warmth. I do note from journaling that I usually am better in the summer months (I now again reside in Minnesota :( because I got married again a few years ago) My job is at a desk so when I really get ruminating it is fairly easy to hide but still ruminate. Last summer I was fairly normal. I need to distract seriously distract, but the circling thoughts are questioning me even if I want to do that. They really tell me that I am not actually the person I used to be when I was happy...this is my true self.

Today I am just going to fight. I took xanax yesterday which didn't help much but makes me sleep so much I can hardly get to work. I have to just go on with all my feelings being backwards for now I guess.

Thanks again.

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I started Risperdal on Friday and I think that is helping some. Light therapy feels nice, but I don't notice any measurable difference. Art projects...ah if I had the time! Most of my day is at work, behind a computer, and unfortunately I don't have a lot of interaction...just making meeting appointments, secretarial stuff in a building without much natural light so that is often a place I end up ruminating more. I do best when I'm talking to someone, interacting directly, or on those lunch break days I teach Spanish to a small group just for the fun of it. I notice the most when I do that and we usually have some humor/laughter...for that period of time I feel so much better. Thanks for your concern.

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  • 4 weeks later...


I may have missed something, but do you see a therapist? OCD is called the disease of doubt, and it is what it says! I am sorry you have to go through this. In the past, I have seen a therapist who labeled me with OCD, as I ruminate endlessly. I know that pure O states that there is no compulsion, just the obsessive questioning, but I think (and I am not a therapist or doctor, just have had experience) that solving problems can be compulsive. I do get the "high" from solving a problem I may be working on if I can, but the problem is that it takes so long in between these highs, that I wonder if intermittently being reinforced to solve a problem makes the behavior ten times worse than if you always or never solved a problem, because you know the "high" is coming but you don't know when. This is something I thought about during one of my ruminations, BTW, lol, you ARE NOT alone!

The therapist that I am seeing now has noticed (we have noticed) that I have a part of me that doubts my every move and thought. I told him, maybe two months ago, that every time I told him something that a part of me felt like I was lying to him (when I absolutely wasn't), but that I was afraid to tell him, because I was afraid he would believe that part of me? I have a few parts that are dissociated from the rest of me, and this is like a parental introject or a part of me that invalidates myself constantly. I am not sure how much of my doubt is OCD vs. this devisive part of me? Just thought I'd mention this, though it may have no bearing in your situation.

You said, "Today I am going to fight." I have heard and found out that the best way to treat OCD is through mindfulness meditation, which takes daily practice. It's like if I asked you NOT to picture a white elephant, the mind generally pictures a white elephant. In the same way, if you tell yourself to stop thinking, it fuels the fire. It's hard to explain what mindfulness is, but basically it is just accepting your thoughts as they are, saying okay, that thought is telling me I am lying, noticing how you feel, and say, I feel anxious in response to that thought, and just completely accepting what is going on thought and feeling wise, and not fighting it. This is not such a great description, so if you look up Jon Kabat Zinn, he has some youtube meditation video clips I think, and he has some CDS or MP3 you can download, or just look up mindfulness. It feels weird at first, but I love it! I need to do this more often. Depending on where you live, there may be classes if you like to do things that way. I think mindfulness would really help you a lot!

Sometimes I don't feel anxiety, because I have such intense anxiety that I tend to numb myself to it.

I suffer from something at least similar to what you are saying, I love thinking about unsolvable problems??? Anyway, I hope in the least I have helped you feel that you are not alone. Please keep us posted!

Oh, and one more thing:) Has your doctor tested you for a Vitamin D deficiency? Buy the Vitamin D supplements, they won't work right away, it takes about a month or so to notice a difference, but you will. I have a diagnosed deficiency in Vitamin D and B12. I don't know if that has any correlation, and I'm not saying anymore because I don't want to think about it:) Best of Luck!

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