Pure OCD also known as Pure O or Pure Obsessional OCD, consists of the presence of distressing, intrusive, and repetitive thoughts, images, or urges, without the overt compulsive behaviors or rituals that are commonly associated with traditional OCD, however a person with Pure OCD will most often engage in mental compulsion ie, rumination, repetition of numbers and or phrases and many other forms in other to get relief from the persistent anxiety.
- Intrusive Thoughts: Individuals with Pure O experience intrusive and distressing thoughts or mental images that are disturbing and frightening. These thoughts can be related to a wide range of topics. Here are some examples of the obsessions that an individual with Pure OCD can experience:
- Contamination Obsessions
- Fear of germs or dirt
- Worry about getting sick from touching contaminated objects or passing germs to their loved ones and they get sick.
- Need to excessively clean or wash to prevent contamination.
- Regularly experience a feeling of being dirty which is extremely distressing.
- Harm Obsessions
- Fear of causing harm to oneself or others.
- Intrusive thoughts of hurting someone, even though the person has no desire to do so.
- Checking and rechecking to ensure safety.
- Religious or Moral Obsessions
- Excessive fear of committing a sin or morally wrong act.
- Intrusive thoughts of blasphemy or immoral behavior.
- Engaging in rituals or prayers to seek forgiveness.
- Sexual Obsessions:
- Distressing sexual thoughts or images that are contrary to one’s values.
- Individuals with HOCD experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts or mental images
- related to homosexuality. These thoughts are distressing and may involve questions
- about their sexual orientation or fear that they might be attracted to the same sex.
- Fear of being a sexual deviant or engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior.
- Avoidance of sexual situations or compulsive behaviors to alleviate anxiety.
- Health Obsessions
- Constant worry about having a severe illness or medical condition.
- Frequent checking of one’s body for signs of illness.
- Seeking medical tests and reassurance from healthcare providers.
- Perfectionism Obsessions
- Fear of making mistakes or being imperfect.
- Excessive concern over details and a need for everything to be flawless.
- Spending excessive time on tasks due to the need for perfection.
- Relationship Obsessions
- Obsessive doubts about the authenticity of one’s feelings for a partner.
- Fear of harming a loved one or ruining a relationship.
- Seeking constant reassurance or performing compulsive acts to “prove” love or commitment.
- Existential Obsessions
- Prolonged contemplation of existential questions and the meaning of life.
- Persistent fear or obsession with death and the afterlife.
- Excessive rumination and anxiety about these topics.
- Just Right Obsessions
- An intense need for things to feel “just right” or “perfect.”
- Unbearable discomfort when something feels off or incomplete.
- Repeatedly adjusting or redoing tasks until they feel satisfactory.
- Mental Rituals: While individuals with Pure O/Pure OCD may not engage in outwardly visible compulsive behaviors like handwashing or checking, they often develop mental rituals to try to alleviate the distress caused by their obsessive thoughts. These mental rituals can involve excessive rumination, mental reviewing, or seeking reassurance from themselves or others.
- Avoidance: People with Pure Obsessional OCD may engage in avoidance behaviors to prevent triggering their intrusive thoughts. This could involve avoiding specific places, people, or situations that they associate with their obsessions.
- Hidden Suffering: Because the compulsions in Pure O are often mental and not outwardly visible, individuals with this type of OCD may suffer silently, and their condition may not be readily apparent to others.
- Rumination:Individuals with Pure O often engage in excessive rumination, which involves constantly replaying or analyzing their intrusive thoughts in their minds. They may try to analyze the meaning or significance of these thoughts, which only serves to increase anxiety and distress.
- Mental Reviewing:This compulsion involves repeatedly reviewing past actions or conversations to check for any potential mistakes, harm, or signs that they may have acted inappropriately. For example, someone with Pure O might mentally review a conversation they had to ensure they didn’t say anything offensive.
- Reassurance-Seeking:People with Pure O may seek reassurance from themselves or others to alleviate their anxiety. They might ask others for reassurance that they are not a threat to themselves or others, that they are not a bad person, or that their intrusive thoughts do not reflect their true desires.
- Mental Checking:Mental checking involves repeatedly checking one’s thoughts or feelings to ensure they align with their values or beliefs. For example, someone with Pure O might engage in mental checking to verify their sexual orientation or to confirm that they do not have harmful intentions.
5. Counting and Compulsive Prayer: Some individuals with Pure O may engage in mental counting or compulsive prayer as a way to neutralize their intrusive thoughts or seek reassurance. This can involve counting in a specific pattern or reciting prayers or mantras repeatedly to counteract distressing thoughts.
6. Thought Suppression:Trying to forcefully suppress or push away intrusive thoughts is another compulsion commonly seen in Pure O. Paradoxically, attempting to suppress these thoughts often leads to them becoming more frequent and distressing.
7. Mental Reversal:This compulsion involves trying to neutralize intrusive thoughts by mentally “canceling” or reversing them with positive or opposing thoughts. For example, someone might have an intrusive thought of harming a loved one and then try to counteract it with thoughts of love and care for that person.
It’s important to note that these mental compulsions, while aimed at reducing anxiety and distress, are counterproductive in the long run. They only serve to reinforce the cycle of obsessions and compulsions in Pure O.
In my own journey with OCD, I switched between a lot of rumination and mental checking as opposed to physical compulsions but over time I noticed that I began to check the internet and google symptoms frequently in order to get relief from the persistent anxiety.
As someone who suffered with OCD for 6 years, I have done many forms of treatment from CBT to ERP to hypnosis and while at the time I got some slight relief I found that once I was triggered I was back stuck in the loop of debilitating anxiety and fear that I could not find my way out of.
It was a long journey to get to where I am today being OCD free and fully healed and now helping people Heal from OCD globally.
Recovery is possible when we learn to Heal OCD, and we do this using many profound modalities.
- Kundalini yoga breath techniques that regulate the nervous system
- Trauma, Tension and Release exercises
- Releasing repressed emotions
- Fear releasing practises
- Inner child reconnection
While there is never a one fits all, there is a general set of practises that I guide people with and the results are amazing.
I highly recommend you listen to Adam’s Story who had suffered with Pure O for 6 years to now being at peace and is travelling around the world.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Pure O/ Pure OCD, Pure Obsessional OCD it is so important to seek help. I understand it can be daunting to speak with someone but understand I too was in that place and now thankfully I am in a place to offer you support and guidance on how you can heal OCD.