HOCD stands for “homosexual obsessive-compulsive disorder,” and I think it’s about time I wrote about it on my blog.
HOCD is essentially when someone has intrusive thoughts and worries that he or she might be gay, even though they have been straight for years with no doubts … and even though they are attracted to the opposite sex and want to be with the opposite sex.
A better term would actually be “sexual orientation obsessive-compulsive disorder” because these worries sometimes torment gay people who suddenly wonder if they might be straight.
Just to be clear … this post is not about homosexuality and is not meant to spark debate about homosexuality. This post is about questioning whether you’re gay when you’re not (or vice versa), and that is a common thread amongst obsessive-compulsives, one I feel that most people would rather not discuss. People can argue till they are blue in the face about what to think about homosexuality, but there is only one way to look at a disorder that makes you question something that never needed to be questioned: that disorder is a liar.
Why don’t people want to talk about it more? I confess, I myself don’t, especially not in a platform like this blog. Because no one understands an obsessive-compulsive like another obsessive-compulsive, and it’s so hard to explain the internal riot occurring while going through any obsession. Many OCs are upfront about their obsessions with those they are closest to … then they (we) use those friends to solicit reassurance from. Do you think that was bad? Do you think I cleaned the dishes well enough and the kids won’t get sick? Do you think it was stealing when I took a paperclip home from work today? The friends tell us, No, it wasn’t bad; yes, you cleaned well; no, you’re not a thief.
But when an OC is struggling with HOCD, it’s very hard to ask friends, Do you think I really might be gay? We are less worried about their answer than about their secret judgments toward us after the question is asked.
I remember in 8th grade thinking that my friend looked pretty one day, and it set me off on a trail of questions and doubts: did that mean I was gay? Did that mean I liked her? Was attracted to her? I was the most boy-crazy girl that I knew, and inside my head, I was asking these questions.
Now that I am on the other side of cognitive-behavioral therapy, it is so unbelievably clear to me: If I liked only men and wanted to date only men, then I was not gay. But I can remember the questions: But do you only want to date men? It’s crafty, OCD is. It plays dirty. It makes us second- and triple- and quadrupal-guess ourselves. It’s all so exhausting.
I just wanted to write a post on it to explain what it is and to say that it is such a common obsession. I think the more we can see how it’s just the same old story with OCD, the more we can see clearly that we are not alone and that OCD is just that old liar who only has a small bag of tricks.