I had relapses and I still do but the thoughts are so much weaker, they disappear over time faster.
My story could be a bit unique in it’s own way. I’m not a native speaker and I’m from Russia myself but I’ve been following the topic of OCD for year and a half to help myself. My sources for any kind of OCD knowledge had been purely in English because I find it has much a diverse information on Pure OCD and Russian sources happen to be quite limited on it. I’m 27 year old male, I’m a freelance worker and my story begins.
Growing up I did not really notice I might have a mental issue such as OCD, but looking back now, I could say it has been with me since I can remember myself. I had problems with high level of anxiety, but as I thought back then, it comes from the point of me being a very emotional person. But the Pure OCD revealed itself in its full power much later in my life, when I was the happiest I’d been.
It happened 2 years ago and to this day I still can’t believe I had to deal with it, even tho my Pure OCD did not go away fully (and never will), I learned how to manage it.
My story begins on summer 2015 when I met a woman that I fell in love with, as deeply as one can imagine and my strong feelings were mutual as she felt the same. But it’s not as easy as it sounds because we happened to live in different countries and we met online. She is from Germany and I am from Russia.
I don’t want you to think that I’m writing a love story here and not about OCD, but trust me, it’s more like an OCD story with love being a main part as an activating point of my Pure OCD that had been with me all my life but was not bothering me as much until I’ve got somebody I care about and not just myself.
Since we met, we’ve been inseparable as much as distance allows. That summer was my happiest time of my life, and when Pure OCD hit me deep, it felt like for these unbelievably happy moments I had to pay by dealing with it. By going into details of meeting this woman, which I will refer in this story as J., I want define how I was getting into the worst state of OCD I had ever experienced in my entire life, which was not limited only to emotional distress, due to overdose of positive and happy feelings.
But let’s keep the story in order.
The joy of meeting a person who shares the same interest, views on life, tastes in basically everything and that feels me like nobody else, gave me an emotional edge. The euphoria, and the state of not being able to eat and sleep more than a few hours, had been for a month, and even after when I regained the appetite and sleep, I still had the same feeling of the highest happiness for months. But besides that, our main problem was inability to meet each other in person as soon as possible, which was a dreadful feeling on top of all the positiveness, and took us an year until I could sort out papers and get a visa to come to her in Germany, temporary unfortunately.
I just want to say before hand, up to this day we’re still together and planning on getting married as soon as I can get papers allowing me to stay in country, so the whole struggle with OCD I had and still have, was never for nothing.
During these four months until OCD stroke me, and I think this is really important to note, I had exhausted myself emotionally and mentally due to the strong feeling of love. I know it might sound weird or I did not phrase it better, but even the happiest feeling can wear you down if it as strong as it was for me and goes straight for months.
We met in June and in October, a few days after my birthday, I had experienced my first OCD thought, that was unpleasant but not even as bad as the next ones were about to come over the course of next year.
I was laying in bed, dreaming and looking at her photo and suddenly I thought “I don’t love her”. Let me tell you, my love to her was and is sacred for me, the thought was a blasphemy. The moment I heard it really clear in my head, the moment I was about to lose my mind during next month. My head started to burn from inside, especially the temples. I could not fall asleep and the more I would try to do anything about it, the more power it would gain over me.
As of this time, I did not even know what is OCD or anything related to it, I’ve never read about it, I’ve never heard about it, it was never a part of my conscious life.
This illusion that OCD brought had changed a lot for me, I could not look at her photo out of shame and her words sounded different. The emotional stress was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced and the final point of it, I started to puke, which was the first time I puked out of stress.
Back in time, with tears in my eyes I was thinking I wish I never said that in my had or thought of it, how I thought my life will never be the same as before. It was a hell right after the heaven which was my love.
Next month was one of the hardest in my life, if not the most. But the way how much I loved her, I did everything in my power to act as normal as I can because we would have 6 hours of skype every day and it was our happiest time, especially hers since she did not have any mental issues. I could not ruin anything for her, and knowing she would understand if i was to talk about my issue, I still did not want her to worry, because we had enough of issue of our normal lives. Honestly, having this to myself made everything much difficult for me.
I was living with it and as a normal person who just happened to experience such a distress from thought my goal was to get rid of it. As from my experience now, I understand it was the worst thing to do, but I did not know better and my brain was in overheating mode 24/7. I tried to counter the thought with the opposite meaning, but the ruminating never ended and it lead me to the most horrible OCD thought I’ve ever had. As these two months passed of my first intrusive thought torture and it got just a bit better, but even “a bit” was an impossible achievement for me and felt much better, unfortunately back in time, my next thought was the nail in the coffin.
As always I was laying in bed, trying to sleep and I was resisting thoughts and the more I did, the brain started to go onto more horrible and complicated situations, one of them was a particular thought of hurting my lovely girlfriend and particularly killing. I’m the most peaceful guy, that cares so much, loves animals and helping my parents, who never hurt anybody and this thought just literally melted my brain for the six months. It would just echo in my head, in the first week it would take away sleep and desire to eat, and shame would eat me alive. I could never understand why this thought would come up but since It did, it would never go away.
On top of all of this, me and J. were planning our first meeting and she would come to my hometown Saint-Petersburg and it was putting a stress on me as well as to make everything perfect, booking a hotel for whole 2 weeks we would spend together finally. I must say it never happened, her visa got declined and it broke me inside, but after an year, we met finally in person for a week and it was the happiest stress free time, even with all OCD I’ve ever had. But I shall continue with OCD story.
Since the second thought, my life was ruined on emotional level and I had no idea what’s going on. The strong feeling of love to her was both the escape and an additional emotional weight. But I’ve never given up to her at that time what I was carrying such as Pure OCD, that would be much later into relationship because as I mentioned before, I care for her so much I can sacrifice myself and as of this time I thought, the best thing I could do is to not put my mental issues on her shoulders, as she has so much daily stuff to deal with, working almost every day.
It’s funny how life works, and how being in the moment regardless of its state, either positive or negative, you are so consumed with something that will not matter as much as it mattered back then like the horrible OCD thought.
I suffered, I was inbetween heaven and hell, but mostly hell as I had to live with the thought that was drilling my head, never going away, never going easier on me or going weaker as without knowing, I was making it stronger by resisting, by not knowing the nature of it, by being lost in it. It took me awhile until I found out what causes it, and how it’s called.
I was preparing for some celebration with my family and I went to shop while listening to radio. There was a topic about a person who believes in something that is wrong and no matter what happens, just because he believes it all his life, you can’t make him realize that it’s wrong, because then his world view would be ruined and the radio host called it cognitive-dissonance. My ear caught that word and it was something that changed my crippled with OCD life for something better, finally.
I came home and I started to google it, to what does cognitive dissonance apply? Because my horrible thoughts were cognitive dissonance to me as a person and in general, and they were making me so anxious and was the opposite of what I am, because I never wish anything bad upon anybody let a lot upon the person I love the most in my life.
And it happened… After all these month of living in a hell, I found the information and exact description what is torturing me. Pure OCD. I was not going insane, and I was not the worst person that ever lived. The research was not done over the night, it took me around a month to get onto good books and articles that gave me a chance of hope.
When I started to read and realize all what I had said above, It did not bring a peace to my mind swiftly. There was a third major spike to experience in next months which I would not even believe I would have, but i was on the right path.
I started to read. A lot. I was obsessed with reading about OCD as almost as I was obsessed with OCD itself which is good, I needed to take my mind off, as I was a shadow of former myself at this point.
Articles of Dr. Penzel was my first real progress in this unfair battle, he made so much sense to me that I could not believe I’m reading something that I’m going through myself. It was a relief, one big relief for me. I have to say, it was mostly in the start just the assurance that is not really helpful in the long run but gave me eventually energy to fight or to say better, surrender. Then I read more and discovered Dr. Steven Phillipson that enormously helped me through his articles. I don’t know if anybody will even read this story or it gets published, I just want to say thank you so much to both Dr. Penzel and Dr. Phillipson, they saved my life because I was not able to get a therapy in competent place regarding OCD and their works got me on my feet without falling further into the abyss that’s called Pure OCD (without knowing how to deal with it).
I learned how to accept thoughts and living with OCD, through mental and emotional pain, one step at time, but I did it. It was not easy and again, I did not learn it over night. There was a lot of mistakes while learning how to coop with these horrible thoughts. I had relapses and I still do but the thoughts are so much weaker, they disappear over time faster. I still get spikes, and even new ones, on a whole spectrum of Pure OCD topics and I know how to deal with them, they don’t affect my life anymore as they used to do, and I’m fine with them and I’m not afraid. OCD is a part of me which I learnt how to not get bothered by.
My advice is, don’t resist and accept, fear and shame are the primal resources that fuels your OCD and resisting and not accepting only refills it. Stop for a moment and think – is it worth running away from thoughts and suffering slowly all your life or take a stand and face your most horrible thoughts? I know how hard it is, and it feels impossible in the beginning but every single of you has the strength both mental and emotional and you can do it!
I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, those who managed to read my whole long story. And last but not least, thanks to theOCDStories.com for doing an amazing job of helping people. Thank you so much!
Forever yours, D.E.