gay with ocd…does that mean you’re fabulously organized?

So, in reading some comments on an earlier blog (which, forgive me, I did not even know existed for a few weeks after they were posted), I noticed someone had asked me to talk about being gay with OCD…That was in February. I’ve been pondering the connection in my life and if there even is one since then. While this will not in any way be a definitive or exhaustive answer and certainly not representative of all or even some lesbian OCD’s, inquiring minds wanted to know…

I have had OCD since I was a small child. The counting and ordering have been around since at least the age of 4 or 5, and I can remember being absolutely panicked when certain routines were interrupted–more so than just your random little kid. It got progressively worse for a while, and there were times when it waned. During times of crisis, it could be nearly unbearable, but either my family was incredibly inattentive or just didn’t care because no one ever really noticed. They did love that they never had to tell me to do my homework or clean my room…

Around the age of 11 or 12, I realized that I was looking at girls the way I was “supposed” to be looking at guys. Being raised in the extremely religious Deep South, this lead to what is so far the worst period of my OCD–the near six year stretch of scrupulosity and intensification of my other symptoms as well. (In case you are unfamiliar with the term, scrupulosity is basically religion-specific OCD.) And of course, as an aside, this was also the worst stretch of my depression, complete with a couple of half-assed suicide attempts. Some would say that it wasn’t scrupulosity but just hyper-piety. But I can tell you that there is a very distinct difference between the two…and I had scrupulosity. I spent most of my teen years poring over my youth bible and absorbing evangelical and pentecostal hate speech like oxygen. I made time schedules down to the minute–when to pray, shower, read the bible, eat, do homework, you name it. TV was whittled down to some very specific times and shows. In retrospect, I can see that all of this was to make sure that I didn’t have time to think about girls in any way whatsoever. I drove one of my closest friends, who was already out, absolutely nuts trying to save his soul from what I was sure was the eternal damnation we were going to share. I cannot tell you how many times I was saved. (I call it being the terminally redeemed) Each time I would feel so much better and cleaner, if that makes sense, but then I would begin having the “bad thoughts“ again, and I would need another booster shot of the holy spirit so to speak…but around 17, I thankfully finally accepted that I am gay and there’s nothing wrong with that. The scrupulosity faded away, and I became Pagan. Then I just had the regular OCD with which to contend.

So, what the hell is the point of all that? To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure. Denying my sexuality to myself and everyone else helped cause one of the worst times of my life, but that isn’t unusual and not specific to gay people with OCD. What impact does the one have on the other now? I am constantly aware of what compulsions I am doing in public, because I don’t want to look crazy (although I’m sure the very panicked look in my eyes when I suppress the compulsions makes me look really sane). And I think that in that is some desire to make my little lesbian life look as normal as possible. The public at large think we are some sort of strange race sent down from another planet with no resemblance to them or their lives at all. In my mind, it’s like, if I can somehow convince them that gay peoples’ lives are just like theirs, maybe we’ll gain an ally or two. Obvious crazy people actions will not assist in this. This is not an entirely reasonable thought though much more sane than many of my theories. It probably makes some symptoms of my OCD worse to concentrate so hard on concealing them, and looks very much like the hiding-the-lesbian-inside thing from earlier.

I am still working through the connections between my OCD and my gayness. This was likely not very coherent, but not much of what rattles freeform in my brain is. I would be very interested in hearing other gay OCD’s talk about the connection in their lives. so, please, if any of you are reading this, feel free to comment or email me…my inquiring mind would love to know…

Republished with permission from
The Askew Police: Tales From an Obsessive Compulsive Feminist Pagan Lesbian. Original article can be found at http://obsessivecompulsivedawn.blogspot.com/2009/04/gay-with-ocddoes-that-mean-youre.html

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