I do not think that most normal go around trying to stop thoughts all the time. Most people just think about whatever they want to, and aren’t resisting unwanted thoughts all the time. I asked a friend of mine if she had ever tried to stop a thought, and she said she had never tried to stop one thought in her entire life. She acknowledged that she worried about things sometimes, but these thoughts were not resisted as unwanted or alien intrusions.
I asked another friend whether she resisted or tried to stop her thoughts, and she told me that she never did. She said sometimes she gets unwanted memories or thinks about stuff she doesn’t really want to think about, but she doesn’t try to stop the thoughts.
Before I had OCD real bad, did I try to stop thoughts? Not much, but I did have obsessions from time to time.
The first one that I remember was when I was 12 years old. I was in Sunday school and they told us that God can hear every single one of your thoughts. Well, that set my mind off. Mind started saying, “Fuck God! Fuck you, God!” over and over. This went on for 10-15 minutes while I panicked and tried to stop the thoughts. They didn’t return that I am aware of.
The next one that I am aware of was about the garbage grinder. Not sure when it started, but I would get very strong urges to stick my hand down in the garbage grinder when it was going. That would be a catastrophe if I did that, so of course I never did it. For a while, I even stuck my hand in my back pocket while the grinder was going to keep from doing it.
I also had some gay thoughts, but those were obsessions and not real feelings.
They started around 1979. I would be sitting there talking to some guy, just him and me together, and all of sudden I would think, “I want to suck your cock!” That thought would just repeat over and over for 30 minutes to an hour. I would try to stop it, but I couldn’t. I seemed to able to carry on the conversations anyway, though it was annoying. I’ve always been heterosexual, so the thoughts didn’t make any kind of sense. They were not accompanied by any erotic feelings or anything like that.
One time I was interviewing a very famous rock star in a record company office in Hollywood when the gay thoughts started up. They went through the whole interview, but he was nice enough anyway. I still got good notes. He just died the other day.
One time when I heard about Hinckley, the guy who shot Reagan, and that he was in love with Jody Foster, my mind said, “I’m in love with Jody Foster!” I thought, “Whoa! Weird thought, man,” and I just dismissed it. I later mentioned this to my father and pointed out that just thinking something like that doesn’t mean you’re insane, but he just glowered at me and shook his head contemptuously. I guess he thought I was nuts.
Another time I was reading about the Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris case, a truly horrific case of serial murders that rocked Los Angeles in 1979 and 1980. They tortured one woman to death by stabbing her in the ear with an icepick. When I read that, I got an image of the stabbing with the icepick going into her ear repeatedly while she screamed. Every time the pick went in, my mind said, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”
It was extremely disturbing to have those thoughts, but they only lasted a short time, maybe less than a minute. I was panicking out and furiously trying to stop them the whole time. They didn’t come back, but for a long time afterwards, I was really worried about myself even for thinking that way for 30 seconds one time.
All of the above are more or less OCD symptoms, or obsessions. Science has proven that ~80% of humans have obsessions at one time or another, so in a sense they are normal. But I don’t think it’s normal to fight them for an hour or so at a time. On the other hand, if OCD symptoms are mild, only going on for maybe 3 hours or less out of a whole year, there’s not a whole lot to worry about.
There were other times when I just felt uncomfortable, but that didn’t feel like OCD. It just felt like a crappy feeling that I wanted to get away from.
For a while there, I was hanging around with people made me uncomfortable because they were ignorant and not that smart. At the time, I was in college. It was annoying to hang around with these people, who struck me as idiots, so I would get uncomfortable a lot of time when we were hanging out. They would come over to my place and put the latest retard Hollywood blockbuster on the VCR and sit there and laugh and cheer while I put my head in my hands.
Another time I was on a date with this 16 year old girl who was wildly in love with me. I was 20 at the time, but I used to screw all kinds of underage girls back in those days. I stopped when I was 21.
The first date was ok, but she was so stupid and idiotic teenage girl girlie that I was almost cringing. We had sex anyway, and it was lots of fun. She was horny as all get out. We planned a date for the next weekend, and that week, I was a wreck.
My friend was over visiting me at my place, and he asked me what was going on, and I said I had a date with girl, and I didn’t even like her. He was outraged. “You’re going out with a chick and you don’t even like her! You’re an asshole!” He shrieked. I felt horrible, like the worst person on Earth, crushed with guilt.
Well, the hottie was even hornier before the second date, so I figured, “Why not, let’s get laid. What the Hell man?” I went out with her, and I felt so uncomfortable, I was almost squirming the whole time.
We tried to have sex, but I had an impotence problem, which made me feel really awful. I relaxed more and an hour or so later, we tried it again, and this time it worked and we had wild sex. But I was still really uncomfortable with her. I am not sure if I was trying to get outside that feeling or what, but I was just stuck with it, and it didn’t feel good. I wanted to fake it with this chick, but my body was just saying, “No way, dude.”
I dropped her off at her place, and she said her parents were going out of town in a couple of weeks, and she wanted me to come over every time so we could fuck constantly. I was like, “Oh my God. No way can I do this.”
I saw her later, and I dumped her just like that. Her face melted right in front of me, and she burst into a vale of tears like a little girl, then she ran inside her house really fast, like a little girl once again. I stood there feeling like the worst scum on the face of the Earth, just devastated with guilt.
Later she told all her friends about me, and some of her teenage friends saw me one time. They came up to me and said, “We heard about what you did. You fucked her and dumped her! You’re an asshole!” I felt like a sack of worms once again.
Later I was with a friend at some park fair, and she was at a booth. I gingerly walked up to the booth, greeted her apologetically, and maybe bought something. She was pleasant enough. I walked away, and her two teenage girl friends were all over my ex girlfriend, swarming their lips in her ears the way girls do. She was apparently telling them, “Hey, I fucked that guy!” Her friends looked at me like I was a Fillet Mignon.
Another time we were on a bus going to Colorado. We had a keg on the bus and we were getting wasted. Most of us were totaled, and some of us were stoned on weed from a bong. The driver was laughing about the keg, but he was mad about the bong.
This girl was in the lap of this total idiot, and he was doing much about it. I looked at her and worked my magic. Her eyes saw me and went to Heaven. I reached my hand out and she reached out hers, and I pulled her away from the idiot. She was happy to be rescued, a damsel in distress.
We had a hot and wild messing around session for while, and we even had some weird kind of sex, or as much sex as you can have on a bus seat in a bus full of people. My friend came by and saw us messing around. He leaned over, the chick left me, and then he and her made out for a while, him leaning over her while she was in my lap. Weird and almost group sex but not quite.
I woke up the next morning with a hangover, and I looked at her and I thought, “Damn! She sure looked better last night when I was totaled!” She looked like Hell. I went back to a couple of seats where a couple other chicks, friends of mine, were sitting, squeezed in between them and smoked some weed.
Then I went back and felt more and more uncomfortable. I could not wait to get away from this chick. We stopped for breakfast, and she went off with her giggling friends in a whispering gaggle as her friends pointed at me. Some idiot “friend” of mine said accusatorily, “You blew it! You got involved too early in the trip!” I felt crushed. A couple I was friends with came up to me and basically said, “Good score!”
We went back on the bus, and I got more and more uncomfortable. I did not want to be with this chick! Finally, she read the writing and moved to another seat, and it was all over.
So sometimes we struggle with our feelings for this or that reason, but that isn’t the same thing as resisting an unwanted thought, feeling or urge that you get in OCD.
Qualitatively, it’s completely different. I can’t put it into words, but it’s like the two experiences are from different planets.
Bottom line is I just do not believe that normal folks go around struggling with unwanted thoughts, feelings and urges all the time. It’s just ridiculous.