secretsofthedisabled said: The inability to talk about your problems can be a symptom of OCD? Can you define what the context of this is? Like, why can't you talk about your problems?
Hi secretsofthedisabled, thanks for the question. I’m going to include a lot of general information about OCD in this answer, so I’ve bolded the part which relates to your question :)
Well, I make all the memes from experiences I had, and that one was about a particular experience that I had, along with other OCD sufferers I have read about or spoken to.
OCD is characterised by repetitive, intrusive thoughts, which are usually very distressing and inappropriate, and out of character for the person suffering from them (ego-dystonic - the person will know that the thoughts are wrong, but have no control over them). The thoughts are often ‘themed’ on socially taboo topics — for example, inappropriate thoughts about sex are VERY common. Simply, OCD is a faulty distress response in the brain, — imagine a false alarm triggering in the brain, setting off a string of disturbing, intrusive, ego-dystonic thoughts and mental images, and that describes what an OCD attack can be like. The thoughts have no meaning in themselves, and no OCD sufferer has ever been known to turn an intrusive thought or urge into action: for example, an OCD sufferer may obsess that they will hurt someone, but they will never do so.
People with OCD know exactly how irrational their thoughts are; in many cases they are the kindest and most compassionate of people, who often suffer great distress as a result of their thoughts. The thoughts will continue to have a negative impact if the sufferer dwells (ruminates) on them.
OCD is often associated with compulsive behaviours such as frequent handwashing, which are carried out to ward the thoughts away. But some OCD sufferers have no outward compulsions, and instead suffer the repetitive thoughts, as well as coming to compulsively rely on coping methods and rituals, such as counting or daydreaming.
Basically, it’s difficult for some OCD sufferers to talk, because OCD obsessions can concern topics that are difficult to discuss with close relatives and friends. These can include believing that a partner has been unfaithful to you, or that you may be unfaithful to them; or that you may hurt someone close to you, say something inappropriate or even hurt them physically. OCD thoughts can also concern well-known social taboos, like incest for example. The OCD sufferer will become very anxious, feeling that these are the worst acts anyone can do. The culture of tabloids, sensationalism and insensitively judging others’ sexual behaviour can feed into OCD, informing the brain’s subconscious judgement of what is good and bad, what it should be afraid of — which will then affect the OCD thoughts. As an example: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/3799319/Incest-pairs-mother-What-have-they-done.html
Articles like this sensationalise taboo behaviour and make it OTHER — rather than exploring it sensitively and making it a part of human experience. That makes OCD sufferers feel even more isolated, unable to talk.
But there is always hope. My own OCD-based fear of taboos started to slip away when I attended a philosophy class in college. We sometimes discussed taboos like incest, or otherwise bizarre sexual behaviour, in class — and we always discussed in a sensitive and impartial way. Reading or learning about taboo behaviour, people’s motivations for it, their emotions and the history of such behaviour, can be a way of defusing the OCD thoughts. OCD thoughts are NOT rational. They are all about triggering the anxiety response. Once you can look impartially at something, you can stop being afraid of it.
But it’s still hard to talk about these problems, because society has made it extremely difficult to discuss them impartially and be open about them. The meme obviously wasn’t confirming that as a good thing, it was pointing out that sometimes it can be VERY hard for a sufferer to talk, even someone as impartial as a therapist.
On the plus side, understanding of OCD is growing in the world of psychology, and there are a lot of excellent therapists who take an impartial view of OCD and will help you recover. There are also sites like OCDfree on tumblr, and OCDtribe.com, where it’s possibly to talk to other sufferers and get help.
I hope that answered your question. :)