Pure O OCD: The home of horrid thoughts
In the OCD community Pure O is often talked about because it is a misnomer. Pure O stands for Pure Obsession, which seems to suggest there are no compulsions present. That is not true. Real Pure O OCD does involve compulsions but the rituals are mental, hidden and inward. Other people can’t see someone ruminating away like crazy, so the compulsions are not outwardly obvious. But they do exist.
Pure O OCD also has another, darker characteristic to it. Pure O is the home of horrid thoughts. Pure O is a type of OCD that covers several themes that involve disgusting, revolting, horrible thoughts.
I was a Pure O sufferer for about 35 years. Although I had a couple of themes to deal with that didn’t fit in the Pure O category of intrusive thoughts, most of my OCD thoughts could be classed as Pure O.
Pure O intrusive thoughts can be like having a Stephen King movie running in your head. Pure O intrusive thoughts include:
- Fears that your sexual orientation is changing or has changed.
- Fears that you have or will sexually abuse a child or children.
- Images of child sexual abuse.
- Images of naked children or children involved in sexual acts.
- Thoughts and images of stabbing people around you.
- Fears that you will lose control and go berserk around family members or in public.
- Thoughts of pulling a police officer’s gun from his holster and shooting the officer or someone else.
- Thoughts of running over someone with your car.
- Thoughts of tripping people or pushing someone in front of a car or bus.
- Thoughts of pushing people off train platforms.
- Thoughts and images of rape.
- Murderous thoughts involving family members, friends or people in public.
- Thoughts of torture, abuse, maiming, defiling, hitting, punching, kicking.
Often intrusive Pure O thoughts come along with violent, graphic images that are extremely difficult to ignore.
Some Pure O sufferers are easily triggered by graphic or horror movies and or even by watching the nightly news with its emphasis on death and murder.
Pure O is basically treated the same way as other OCD themes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the treatment of choice, with or without medications. The therapist should work with the sufferer to realize that the thoughts are just thoughts and not intentions. Exposure and Response Prevention can be helpful in overcoming Pure O intrusive thoughts.