It all seemed too weird, embarrassing, ridiculous to share with anyone but I am thankful to have the opportunity to share it here.
Someone recently reminded me that we all have our dark places, things that we are ashamed of. The following is a brief description of mine…
My story is connected to obsessive compulsive disorder. Specifically something called “harm ocd”. I discovered the name for it when I was 14 or 15, but the symptoms had been there for years. I can remember being a young child and having disturbing thoughts of harming myself or someone close to me. These thoughts would be accompanied by distressing images which caused extreme anxiety. Was i going crazy, losing my mind? Was I a danger to myself and others? Typically the thoughts would be about physically hurting/harming someone close to me (I did not want to hurt anyone, but feared that I would lose control and do so). I became afraid to be alone with others, to be around sharp objects/potential weapons, to babysit, etc. The avoidance did not work and the thoughts continued until I discovered a medication and therapy that worked for me (anafranil and ERP).
I also had fears of blurting out something obscene or ridiculous. I would get stuck thinking about something (once it was a joke I heard the priest tell at church) and the thoughts would repeat in my head over and over. I would be compelled to tell people about the thoughts regardless of how inane, trivial, or ridiculous they might be. That created or exacerbated my already existing social anxiety/discomfort and increased fears that I would embarrass or humiliate myself. I would then spend growing amounts of time trying to figure out how to make the thoughts go away (thought suppression, which doesn’t work) or how to explain them to people in a way that would not seem strange, all the while feeling extremely anxious. It all seemed too weird, embarrassing, ridiculous to share with anyone but I am thankful to have the opportunity to share it here.