Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Am A PureO

Hi, my name is Nelly and I am a PureO. Now, you may be asking yourself what is this crazy red haired lady blabbing about now? I am blabbing about OCD. PureO is a loaded word and there have been some discussions on it's usage. Some don't like the word because they feel it confuses others and may make it harder for OCD treatment. I however, feel that it may actually open other's eyes to the fact that they may have been misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all because they are not aware that PureO exists. What is PureO? PureO is a word used by OCD sufferers that have  OCD but do not outwardly compulse. We compulse in our minds with mantras, prayers, or things we say to ourselves when the intrusive thoughts occur. It is purely obsessional, hence the name. We do not check, count, or touch things to relieve our anxiety.We talk to ourselves, in our minds over and over again just like if we were to outwardly compulse. This does not mean we have no rituals it just means that you wont see the ones most commonly associated with the notion of OCD. What is the difference between OCD and PureO?...Nothing. It is the same exact thing it just manifests slightly different to the outwards appearances. We all have the same anxiety and intrusive thoughts. It is treated the same way as regular OCD, because it is regular OCD. It just looks different from the outside perspective.

All people with OCD have debilitating Intrusive thoughts whether we compulse outwardly or not. We have the market cornered on intrusive thoughts. It's kinda our thing. It's just how we roll. Intrusive thoughts are terrifying, unwanted, and sickening thoughts or images that play in our minds over and over again. All OCD sufferers have had one, some, or all of these intrusive thoughts at one time or another. Some of the most common intrusive thoughts are as follows:

Hocd- homosexual OCD.....Unwanted thoughts and images that somehow you are homosexual even though you know you are not. It is reverse for homosexuals as the Hocd tells them they are straight. Anxiety ensues.

Pocd-pedophile OCD......Your mind tries to convince you that you are a pedophile or sexual deviant. This is terrifying because although you know you would never hurt a child or anyone for that matter the images and thoughts are so disturbing that you can become physically ill. You can start to degrade and hate yourself for such unwanted images and thoughts. The guilt and shame make you feel like a horrible person. You end up avoiding any situation where such intrusive thoughts may occur. Anxiety ensues.

Rocd-relationship OCD.......Your mind is trying to convince you that you do not love your partner, you are not attracted to them, or they do not love you, do not find you attractive, will leave you...ect. Anxiety ensues.
Images or thoughts that occur that we will somehow hurt others or ourselves. Anything held in our hands can turn into an intrusive thought of harming others, knives while preparing dinner, scissors while cutting out coupons, a sharpened crayon, driving in your car it really doesn't matter OCD can turn any situation or any utensil into an unwanted disturbing intrusive thought. Anxiety ensues.
Scary and upsetting thoughts that you or your loved one is sick with a terminal illness of some sort. You have coughed twice, you must have pneumonia. Then you go on to google the symptom for conformation only to find it is a rare type on pneumonia caused from inhaling sheep farts from Scandinavia. You become frightened because even though you have seen hide nor hair of a sheep nor have you ever been to Scandinavia google says that is what you have so it must be true. Anxiety ensues.
The fear that somehow you have poisoned yourself or loved ones or a sickness has befallen you from germs. You have poisoned the whole family because you didn't wash your hands long enough before preparing their meals. You have now contaminated their food and they will all catch Ebola and die. It could just be Salmonella but Ebola is far more likely since it lurks in every corner and crevice. Anxiety ensues.
The need to confess the inappropriate and devastating intrusive thoughts. You feel guilty and ashamed and need to be told you are not a bad, sick, evil person. You can be confessing over and over again for reassurance that you have not done anything wrong and that you are not bad.
And these are just examples of the common ones. Not sheep farts or Ebola but other contaminations and illnesses. Take your pick there are so many to choose from. Imagine how many more can be added to the list that are less common. Imagine how many horrid and mentally abusive intrusive thoughts and images can loop through your mind over and over again. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

 Research shows that OCD sufferers are not dangerous or sexual deviants. There is no statistical reading on this because the number is minuscule. It doesn't happen. We are actually extremely afraid of violence. We tend to be oversensitive people who can be hurt very easily whether it be verbally or otherwise. The real threat is not that we would carry out such things. The threat is that we will avoid situations that trigger the intrusive thoughts. We will avoid anything and everything until we are left completely alone. The word hermit springs to mind. And unfortunately some severe OCD sufferers have become hermits in order to keep the thoughts at bay.

Imagine what your life would be like if you tried to avoid all of these intrusive thoughts. What would your life be like? What could you do short of standing alone in your living room standing on one leg with both arms pointed at the ceiling to avoid having these debilitatingly horrid images and thoughts? So when I say OCD is debilitating I don't mean your ticked off because Jeff from two cubicles over touched your prized pen collection and didn't he see your cute I have OCD coffee cup as a warning. I mean you are unable to function without treatment. I mean that you are terrified to be around your loved ones or to get out of bed in the morning. So if your coffee cup, funny t-shirt, or witty OCD poster are supposed to represent the truthfulness about OCD then you're going to need a bigger mug. You're going to need a wider shirt with smaller print. You're going to need a larger poster and wall paper paste to hang it with.

OCD is not cleaning or organizing or touching things. Those are outward compulsions to try to relieve the anxiety produced by the intrusive thoughts and images. It is the shine, if you will, on the rotten apple. It is the appearance that all is structured in our brain but it isn't the case. Whether you are a PureO or have the OCD everyone is familiar with, it doesn't really matter. They are the same. We all struggling. We are all suffering. These things are hard to discuss and be open about. Mainly because it is painful. Mainly because to say it out loud verifies the fact that we have these thoughts. Mainly because we are terrified that we will be judged.

Hi, my name is Nelly and I am  PureO. I have OCD. I can't help what images go through my mind. They are unwanted and I do not choose to have them. I am not a bad person nor am I evil or wrong. I am a good person that is kind, caring, and considerate. I have a mental illness but I am learning to live with it. I am learning to accept myself even though I have issues. If you are in the same boat as me I hope that you will find the courage to educate others on what having OCD is like. Maybe you already have. Maybe you are considering it. We can not get better if we are not open about what OCD really is. We can not help others if we don't talk about how this affects us.


  1. Great article -- thought provoking, and insightful. I believe also that simple definitions or labels of diseases are not adequate to properly explain or even deal with, mental capacity to filter or even choose thoughts. That being said, I do believe that we can choose many things, including what we are exposed to -- and this can make a significant difference with any type of disability or weakness.

  2. Thank you Aaron. The problem with intrusive thoughts is that there really is no way to not be exposed because that would mean that the person would have to be completely alone at all times in a rubber room and even that is not fool proof. There is CBT therapy that can teach us how to ignore and deal with the intrusive thoughts.

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    2. Maybe, solutions outside of the normal expectations of conventional medicine might help -- obviously, I don't really know what it's like to suffer to this extreme. However, I do have some experience with other central nervous system disorders personally and have had to carefully choose what I do. Unfortunately, there isn't a simple cure that works for everyone -- and then again, the legal complications of non-medical people make it difficult to discern what might work best. Of course, this advice should be taken as my opinion, and that this discussion is for educational purposes only -- not intended to self-diagnose or treat any particular disease or condition.