There are lesser-known forms of OCD (usually referred to as Pure O) which manifests itself in the form of repetitive unwanted and disturbing thoughts that goes against what you believe is morally correct. (Also known as intrusive thoughts, different from hearing voices).
Many of these are unwanted sexual and violent thoughts. These are distressing and often leaves the sufferer feeling guilty, ashamed, saddened, disgusted or frightened (or a combination of those feelings).
These are some examples of OCD types :
- Harm OCD : concerns you might want to hurt someone (or yourself)
- Pedophilia OCD : fear you might be attracted to children or harm them
- Religious OCD : concerns you might do/say something blasphemous, sin, or do something that goes against God
- Relationship OCD : constantly second-doubting the relationship, fearing you might cheat, fearing you don’t really love your partner…etc
- Responsibility OCD: fear you might accidentally endager someone, fear that an action you take/don’t take might result in harm…etc.
One might have “invisible” compulsions in form of avoidance (e.g. staying away from children, hiding knives), reaassurance seeking (e.g. taking “am I a psychopath” tests or asking people if they think you’re a good person), checking (e.g. searching for “evidence” or making sure you have done/haven’t done something) or rumination (though there are others, too). Some people experience false memories.
Ironically, these are among the people least likely to harm others because of all the precausions they take not to.
The reason you should know this, is because there are a lot of people out there suffering from OCD without knowing it. It can be terrifying to walk around with these thoughts. Just know there’s a whole community out there who are having the same thoughts and feelings, and there are ways to treat it.
An excerpt from this article on a woman’s personal experience with it (which might be a bit triggering for some, as it describes thoughts in details):
“Purely obsessional OCD is so-called because the compulsions are largely invisible, and not often acted out in the more obvious, better-known ways such as cleaning or hand washing. Pretty much everything about pure O is secretive. These are things you’re not even supposed to think about, let alone talk about. How would a teenage boy tell his parents that he thought about having sex with his sister, a thousand times a day? What if you were a mother and you kept having thoughts about drowning your baby in the bath? Or a gay man who kept having thoughts about vaginas when you made love to your husband? How would you begin to talk about it? You’d keep it secret for years; for your whole life, perhaps.”