The Proper Care and Feeding of Pure O

This blog is actually a what NOT to do blog because when it comes to managing my “Pure O” OCD, I’ve discovered that keeping my plate empty is definitely the better choice than filling it up with Pure O’s favorite menu items. It’s actually quite challenging to try and starve my Pure O and I’ll admit that there are times when its appetite becomes so insistent that I give in to its hunger pangs.

The really rotten thing about my Pure O is that each new obsessional theme is yet another opportunity for it to trick me into doing its bidding and before you know it, I’m stuck in the cycle of my OCD. At times, I feel like the most gullible human on the planet as I fall prey to its tactics yet again.

My Pure O is always insisting that if I just feed it one more bite that it will be completely satiated. This is such a lie and I hate that I fall for it!  What really happens is a bit like that old potato chip commercial where you are reminded that if you eat one chip you won’t be able to stop and you’ll end up eating the whole darn bag.  Yep, the moment I give into the cravings of my Pure O it always demands even more.

So, what does my Pure O like to eat?  I would have to say that most of its dietary preferences fall into one particular food category: Rumination.  Rumination basically means to bring something back up and chew on it again after you’ve already chewed and swallowed it.  How gross!  Well… that’s what it means if you happen to be a cow. In Pure O, however, mental rumination means that you bring up your obsessions over and over again and think about them very deeply and very carefully. It means that you mull them over and over and turn them over and over in your mind and examine them from every possible angle.

There are all kinds of “ruminating foods” which feed my Pure O.  Its favorite appetizer will usually be my trying to work out why I’m thinking about such a horrid obsession in the first place.  Then, when I’ve realized just how objectionable the obsession is, my Pure O orders up a salad filled with all sorts of mental arguments about why the obsession isn’t really true of me or can’t ever come true.  Then, shortly after that, it straps on the feed bag and really digs into the main course which consists of a mixture of the following items: Reassurance seeking, research, logical reasoning, countering and undoing statements.  This typically culminates in a frantic binge of all-out exhausting mental warfare.  And, the more I shovel into my Pure O’s mouth, the hungrier it gets.  Then, just when I think it can’t possibly swallow one more thing, it demands dessert served up in the form of avoidance.  I must avoid all the things which trigger the obsessional theme because the hunger pangs have become so incredibly painful.

It’s really scary to start taking menu items away from my Pure O – OCD.  It’s especially difficult once its swelled up into this huge, hungry beast because just as soon as I refuse tp feed it, it throws a tantrum which comes in the form of severe, gut-wrenching, “I can’t bear it one more second” –  ANXIETY!”

And yet, here’s the thing, just as soon as I get up the courage to put it on a gradual starvation diet, it begins to grow smaller and weaker.  This doesn’t happen overnight because just like most weight loss programs it’s better to shave off a few pounds gradually than to starve yourself.   The best thing to do is to work on the smaller snack items first, meaning tackle the smaller least distressing obsessional themes first and then work up to the hard ones.  The best diet plan for Pure O is most definitely Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy or ERP.  So if you haven’t yet learned about how to manage Pure O through ERP, it’s time to do so.   Go ahead and google it and then take that first step toward starving your Pure O.

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4 thoughts on “The Proper Care and Feeding of Pure O

  1. andrew y April 8, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Hi Mitzi,

    Thank you for your blog. I have not found another set of articles which I can relate to more than yours. After reading almost everything you have written on about Religion OCD, I am coming to be more convinced that I have this condition. Perhaps it is not to the extent of having panic attacks like you do, but every single waking moment is consumed with thoughts about doubts and my faith.

    When you speak of Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy as the cure to Pure O, how does that work practically speaking? I get exposed to my faith and God’s Word every day especially on Sundays.

    Also, can I get in contact with you somehow?

    Thank you.

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    • ocdmitzi77 April 9, 2016 / 11:50 am

      Hi Andrew. I’m thankful that God is using the blog to encourage you. By your description, it certainly sounds as if you have Pure O – OCD. There’s lots of good information available about ERP out there, but I have written quite extensively about how I applied ERP to my Religious obsessions in my book. It’s good that you aren’t avoiding church and the Bible even if this triggers the thoughts. A lot of people fall into that trap which only serves to validate the thoughts. Exposure for this form of OCD is done in an imaginal way which basically means exposing yourself to the possibility most dreaded outcome as if the thoughts might be true and sitting with the anxiety they stir up. It’s a bit like fighting fire with fire. Anyhow, if you are interested in some examples and analogies of how to do this, I give examples of how I achieved it in my book. The book is available as an E-book or print version through Amazon. I’ll put up the link and you can read a sample as well as the reviews and then decide if you’d like to purchase it. If you can relate to my blog, the book will most certainly resonate with you and I pray that God might use it to encourage you and to even provide some good direction toward managing your Pure O. God bless! Here’s the link: Link: http://amzn.com/1517678447

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      • andrew y April 10, 2016 / 2:48 am

        Thank you. I just bought your book a couple days ago and am going through it right now. My most dreaded thought is that I really am not a believer and God will condemn me to hell for eternity. I have had a certain amount of breakdowns because of this. “Hell is all I have to look forward to”. “Why did God even create me?”. I’m sure you are familiar with these thoughts. Asking your inner self if you really believe. Sometimes the answer comes back “yes”, then it quickly changes to “no” then you get freaked out as all hell because you can’t believe in the truth no matter how much you actually know that the Bible is God’s Word.

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  2. Lauren June 9, 2016 / 2:58 am

    Hi Mitzi,

    First of all, thanks so much for sharing your experience with OCD. I have OCD as well so I know how hard it is to talk about it. I read your book a few months ago and I’ve also been reading your blog posts and it has helped me so much. Just to know that another christian struggle with the same form of OCD as me, makes me feel less alone. It’s so terrible when this attacks the most important thing in your life, but we’re getting through this and it’s making us strong. Please continue to write blog posts when you can. I’m a writer also and I’m thinking of starting my own blog eventually.

    Best,

    Lauren

    Like

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