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Pure O - Single event or part of mind?
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Pure O - Single event or part of mind?

Hi

I have been suffering from what I know now to be pure-o OCD (a specific upsetting image based on a past event in my life towards people I love). By understanding the triggers and finally learning it had a name, which others suffered from solved the problem for me. For a long time I though I was some kind of sicko, which I know now is not true. Lasted on and off for around 8 yrs.

Looking back over my life (I am 30 now) I guess I have been rather an anxious person, and although I rarely if ever get depressed about life issues e.g job, money relationships etc..I found out if something upset me enough I would obsess about it…(i.e recently I had unprotected sex and after symptoms was convinced I had an STD and started obsessing about them etc – now solved, and no STD!). Over the last say 10 years there have only been say 2 or 3 other worries I have obsessed about (besides main one outlined about) which have come and gone in a matter of weeks, months.

Anyway, to the point! The other day I had a sort of mild anxiety attack thinking about last year and getting STD testing…hardly ever get them, maybe twice a year and don’t really bother me, but for some reason, in my mind I cross referenced this feeling, with the feeling I got when I used to have a pure-o attack. Because of this, I started to relentlessly worry that the pure-o had returned in some other form. Upon investigating my thoughts I found that I had simply over reacted to this “cross reference of emotion” and no, the main pure-o was not returning. However, this left me wanting to constantly go over and over the thought in my mind, albeit in mostly a positive way to resolve the issue…this left me slightly depressed – mainly because I know I should have not got depressed as surely I had solved the main  “pure-o” issue.

Questions

1. Although I have overcome the “main” pure-o problem, am I right in thinking it is the way you deal with an anxiety provoking issue which classifies if you are pure-o or not..? (i.e if you are pure-o you will tend to repeat and excessively dwell on an issue which upsets you in order to “solve” it regardless of what it is?)

2. I have noticed, putting the main pure-o issue aside, I have obsessed about the major problems in my life –  is this a trate of someone with pure-o..? Or can pure-o just be attributed to a single problem, and me obsessing about past problems which caused anxiety etc is just a normal worry response which then can lead to pure-o..?

3. Finally, The way I have come to think of the negative/worry part of my mind, is that I am an obsessive worrier, and although I have beaten this main pure-o issue of upsetting images, the very fact that I created this long term problem means I will always be slightly at risk from obsessive probs in the future..?

Thanks,
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Have you ever tried any medication or are you presently taking any medication for this?  Have you seen a therapist and been diagnosed with OCD?

I have OCD, anxiety, and mild depression.  The OCD part that I have is obsessing and worrying over things and not being able to let go of things in my mind.  I also have what I call 'flashes' of crazy thoughts that I would never act on.  And also of disturbing things that I thought I may have done in the past but now I realize that I didn't do anything.  I recently started on paxil (2 wks) and find that I don't obsessively worry anymore.  I do think about it and know that I don't like something but then just let it go.  I am quite pleased thus far.

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Avatar_m_tn
No I have never been diagnoised, and never seen anyone. I have solved the problems myself. However, I know that the OCD (obsessional only) is or has caused any anxiety/depression....as you will know, an obsessional thought or worry races around your mind, which causes you to get stressed, run down and eventually depressed.

I am obsessive not depressive in so much that an obsessive thought taken to extreams gets me down - I never have become depressed "for no reason" or depressed about life etc....it always has to be when I obsess about something...(i.e the filtering part of mind goes into overdrive)
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414333_tn?1226195093
  I have had OCD for 10 years and my main Obsession is Schizophrenia.... I worry about it so strongly that I feel like I am actually experiencing it, when I am not... And then I become hypervigilant and think I am hallucinating when I am not... Us Ocders seem to have pretty vast and broad imaginations, which work against... Oh gotta go think I am going Schizo again!!!! Ocd *****!!!!!!!!
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414333_tn?1226195093
"work against us"
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414333_tn?1226195093
  Sorry I wasn't trying to be negative, or offend anyone I just hate this disorder....
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Avatar_m_tn
"Anyway, to the point! The other day I had a sort of mild anxiety attack thinking about last year and getting STD testing…hardly ever get them, maybe twice a year and don’t really bother me, but for some reason, in my mind I cross referenced this feeling, with the feeling I got when I used to have a pure-o attack. Because of this, I started to relentlessly worry that the pure-o had returned in some other form. Upon investigating my thoughts I found that I had simply over reacted to this “cross reference of emotion” and no, the main pure-o was not returning. However, this left me wanting to constantly go over and over the thought in my mind, albeit in mostly a positive way to resolve the issue…this left me slightly depressed – mainly because I know I should have not got depressed as surely I had solved the main  “pure-o” issue."

The mere fact that you're turning this around in your head so much means that you did  not entirely solve your Pure-O issue. Worrying about whether the pure-O had returned actually put your right back in the rumination cycle. But, I do think you have some handle on the disorder.

"1. Although I have overcome the “main” pure-o problem, am I right in thinking it is the way you deal with an anxiety provoking issue which classifies if you are pure-o or not..? (i.e if you are pure-o you will tend to repeat and excessively dwell on an issue which upsets you in order to “solve” it regardless of what it is?) "

Yes, it can be described as a difference in the way in which you respond to an anxiety provoking issue. However, pure-o is not a permanent condition, and you CAN change your response pattern using Cognitive-Behavioral techniques.

"2. I have noticed, putting the main pure-o issue aside, I have obsessed about the major problems in my life –  is this a trate of someone with pure-o..? Or can pure-o just be attributed to a single problem, and me obsessing about past problems which caused anxiety etc is just a normal worry response which then can lead to pure-o..? "

Look. If you start to worry about whether your responses are pure-o or not, you're putting yourself in a cycle of uneccessary worry. Whenever you think you're obsessing or overworrying, respond the same way: "let" the thoughts be there, and do not give in to the urge to ruminate about the problem.

"3. Finally, The way I have come to think of the negative/worry part of my mind, is that I am an obsessive worrier, and although I have beaten this main pure-o issue of upsetting images, the very fact that I created this long term problem means I will always be slightly at risk from obsessive probs in the future..?"

There is always a risk, and I am sure there is an underlying predisposition which makes people more prone to pure-O. Before I had pure-O (some years back), I had had a strong tendancy towards hypochondriasis, and the pure-O episode was brought on by a particularly stressful life event.  

But, rest assured, it is a condition you can beat.

To me it sounds like although you may have dealt with the main image issue, your underlying responses to anxiety provoking stimuli are still the same. It sounds like you have some handle on the disorder, but you have yet to overcome it entirely (hence why you're still worrying). I would suggest a combination of Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, and, if you are inclined, Yoga and meditation (they work VERY well in combating OCD, as they reduce stress, promote relaxation, and the kind of equanimity you need to combat the disorder).

By Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, I do not necessarily mean that you need to see a therapist: if you are interested in techniques in dealing with pure-O, go to www.ocdonline.com, and do some research or, if you'd like, send an e-mail to Doctor Stephan Phillipson. He is one of the leading experts in OCD and pioneered treatments for pure-O.
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