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This two-part article was written exclusively for PsyWeb.com by Dwyerjc, a member of SupportGroups.com. In this article, Dwyerjc discusses how his HOCD started, the thoughts that troubled his mind, and the steps he has taken to overcome his anxiety.
Recently, things have changed and I feel a lot more calm, but these thoughts are still there and ever present. Some days are better than others.
I am still trying to find the best way to combat HOCD. I don't feel like being with a man is a desirable thing for me. I am afraid however, that I will never be able to commit to a woman again. I've lost faith in the idea of marriage. I want it, but feel it's all doomed. It seems as though left and right people are leaving their marriages to be with people of the same sex. This thought bothers me.
I also feel like there is so much being said about everyone being a little "queer,” and I struggle with that a lot as well. I really support trying to think outside the box and equality, but both these ideas appear so much in the media and have a dramatic and confusing effect on people like me. HOCD has made me believe it's not possible to be with a woman, that either she or I will turn gay at some point. It's an awful thing to live with. What good is a life lived in fear of what we cannot know?
Along with taking a small dose of anxiety medicine, Zoloft 50mg, something that helps me is just trying to live in uncertainty. I try to accept the unknown, much in the same way people have to live with the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not your spouse will cheat on you. You walk into uncertainty every time you enter a relationship. It is up to you to believe that love is real, however farcical the idea might seem. I try to accept and to live with uncertainty, with the idea that I am exposed to things beyond my control.
I’ve also forced myself to not always focus on the sexual side of things. For instance, I try to avoid looking at women and think about sex to compulsively test my heterosexuality. I do this because I know that before HOCD, I did not do this. I wil not treat a woman like an object because of this illness, that’s not who I really am. I feel that this disease has skewed my reality in every possible way. To combat this, I try to do things like I did before. In other words, I try to live my normal life and fight against the constant “checking” and questioning that OCD has exposed me to.
I hang out with women, not because it proves I’m not gay, but because I love women and love learning about how to better complement women. I hang out with men, not because I am proving I’m not attracted to them, but because my male friends are my family and gay or not, they will love me unconditionally and I will do the same for them. I know this is scary to say for some people with HOCD, but it’s part of trying to live life, to live in uncertainty.
I still talk very openly about supporting the LGBTQ community, but not to prove things to myself, but to fight for the rights of other human beings that need respect. This disease wants to shut you away from being a loving being in the world. Don’t let it. Ride this out and meet it head on. It will be scary, but trying to be “sure” of something will make your entire life miserable. Trying to always be in control will fill you with anxiety, and that is simply not worth it. Shake it out, love hard, live well.
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