Sensorimotor OCD

My Obsession, The Fear Of Farting

Going to therapy also helped me accept myself as the unique individual that I am.

My anxiety about farting started when I was at a birthday dinner for my friend Jocelyn, and I ripped out a small fart when I was eating mushroom ravioli. No one heard it, but I feared if someone did, I’d be laughed at. That event started my roller-coaster of anxiety about farting in high school.

The worst times that my fear of farting would come was when I was in class and my teacher would be lecturing. In my English Honors class in sophomore year, I remember feeling like I was underwater and that when the teacher spoke it reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher, Wonk, Wonk, Wonk. I wanted to do well in class, but it was difficult when my brain space was taken up by anxiety instead of listening to the teacher. The fear of farting was like a broken record that wouldn’t stop playing no matter how much I tried to destroy it.

I told my friends I feared farting-some understood while others looked at me as if I was freak. My friends who comforted me would tell me their experiences with farting or call me and say that they just farted in public. The sentiments were funny and made me forget about my anxiety temporarily. Despite the good words that my friends had, I felt isolated. Why was I the only one to have this irrational fear? It was getting to the point that I dreaded going to school because my fear of farting was taking over my life. I was getting headaches and would often massage my temples to decrease the soreness.

I begged my parents to go to therapy, but they didn’t want me to go. In the Asian culture, you keep your problems within the family. Seeing a therapist was seen as an embarrassment. I told my mom my anxiety, but since it was the same thing over and over again, she said I was needy and that she didn’t want to hear of it. Furthermore, she bought me over the counter medications that relieved gas problems, which decreased my anxiety for a little awhile until I realized it didn’t stop farting completely. My dad would tease me about my anxiety, which didn’t help at all. I felt more distressed and uncomfortable.

Finally, I went into therapy when I told the school counselor about my anxiety, and he called my parents to recommend them that I should attend. It was a relief when I went to therapy because it introduced me to anxiety decreasing exercises. One of these exercises included stiffening every little body part slowly until I stopped focusing on my anxiety. I still do that exercise when I feel an uncomfortable thought coming up. Going to therapy also helped me accept myself as the unique individual that I am.

 Sincerely yours,

Sammi

(Rants of an OCD Girl)

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4 Comments

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  • Reply B January 9, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Hi I feel the same I get so nervous in class or assembly’s and in exams because I am so scared of the thought of farting but the more I try to distract myself the worse it becomes I feel like being sick. I have spoke to my parents about it and we are going to get some help for it. In the mean time have you got any tips or tricks to help I would very much appreciate it.

    Thank you,
    B

    • Stuart Ralph
      Reply Stuart Ralph January 16, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Hi B,

      Glad you spoke to your parents about it.

      Here’s some info:

      Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the main therapy for OCD. There is a particular part of CBT that works for OCD which is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. A CBT therapist will be able to help you get better – contact one of the OCD charities to find a CBT therapist iocdf.org or ocdaction.org.uk.

      It’s worth doing some reading on OCD as it will help you understand it more and how to tackle it, I recommend the book “getting over ocd” by Dr Jon Abramowitz, or “Overcoming Harm OCD” by Jon Hershfield.

      There are also many good OCD support groups on Facebook that may help. Here’s a good one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/165363354166903/

      OCD and anxiety are very treatable, speak to a mental health professional and they will be able to help.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

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