Do I have HOCD or am I in denial?

Ask A Therapist OnlineDo I have HOCD or am I in denial?
Hannah asked 5 years ago

I’ve been dealing with HOCD (Homosexuality Obsessive Cognitive Disorder). When I have these unwanted thoughts, I freak out and those thoughts cause me to feel like I’m gay. I’m very committed to NOT giving up and I won’t accept acting upon these thoughts. My feelings are up and down on this. One day when my thoughts come up, I’m able to resist them and they don’t affect me. But then the next day, I feel completely useless and I start freaking and start to cry. I still have LOTS of feelings for boys. I really wanna grow up, have a crush on a guy, marry a guy, and have a boyfriend but I’m scared that in the future I won’t have these feelings and I’ll give up. I’m also a CHRISTIAN and 13 years old who is in the 8th grade. I don’t want comments telling me to accept this cause that’s what I DON’T want. I want comments that encourage me to fight this and never give up. Please and thank you.

1 Answers
Insight Psychological Staff answered 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing your questions and concerns. I’m sorry to hear you are struggling.

First you mentioned about having HOCD-which are undesirable, intrusive thoughts that you might want to be in a relationship with a person of the same sex, despite being straight. From your paragraph, I understand that you identify as a female with a desire to have a boyfriend. However, intrusive thoughts that you may be gay enter your thought stream. These intrusive thoughts also cause distress. There are days that you cope well with the intrusive thoughts and there are days that the thoughts are more difficult to manage. I’m curious to hear on the better days:

  • What do you do to cope?
  • How can you use these skills to bridge through the less positive days?

It is also important to note that thoughts are just thoughts, it does not directly translate to action. Thoughts and actions are separate things. Just because you may have certain thoughts, that does not necessarily mean that you would act out those thoughts. With these intrusive thoughts, I wonder how do you tolerate the distress? What are some self-soothing activities you engage in? Mindfulness practices can be used to tolerate distress. Mindfulness is a form of awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours with non-judgement.

You noted that you don’t want to be in a same-sex relationship because you are Christian. It sounds like being Christian is important to you. I’m also curious about what sorts of rules you live by? How does your religion view individuals within the LGBTQ community? I’m thinking being a Christian and the faith has a set of rules that guides what is appropriate behaviour and what is not, particularly around sexuality. In addition, how do you personally view individuals within this community?

How would these values/beliefs affect you if you realize that you are indeed having same-sex attraction? Sexuality can be fluid and it exists on continual spectrums. Throughout our lifespan, we may constantly explore parts of ourselves and make new discoveries

As mentioned, thoughts and actions are separate things. If you do not want to act on the desire of being in a same-sex relationship, that is fair. If you are afraid of the HOCD thoughts, that is fair. What may be worth considering is how you want to cope with the thoughts. How do you tolerate distress/anxiety? Who is in your support network to help to work towards your goals? How can you be gentle with yourself through your discoveries? Meeting with a psychologist can be a resourceful option to work through some of these difficult thought processes.