Ready to put the breaks on this emotional roller coaster... anyone have any advice?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 16, 2010 2:07 PM GMT
    Hi everyone,
    I dont have much experience with forums but i found this site today and i was hoping that someone out there might care to hear my story and maybe even be able to offer me some advice.
    I am 24 years old, and just recently (as in last week) got out of an 8 year relationship with a woman. I have always considered myself bisexual but lately it started to become increasingly clear to me that i think i am more attracted to men than to women. This realization didnt come over night, but it became solidified over about 8 months of the deepest depression i have ever experienced. I was raped repeatedly by two family members as a kid, and in my teens i think i coped with my sexual desired by being insanely promiscuous - thankfully i never caught any infection. I started dating this woman, on and off for 8 years, and a couple of times i cheated with men. Usually super drunk and not even in a way i can say i enjoyed, but i was something i felt i needed. Early this year I developed an OCD anxiety disorder which had the lovely habit of reminding me of every time when i was young that i had a sexual encounter which wasnt the safest with a man, and convinced myself that i must have caught HIV. I tested and tested and tested... to an insane degree. The tests gave me no relief.
    I started seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and with time the anxiety about hiv started to diminish and i realized the real problem plaguing me was that I felt like a fraud with this woman, and despite the fact that i loved her immensely, it was wrong for me to stay with her.
    So i broke it off. It was incredibly hard, and angry and sad and vicious at times, i mean after 8 years, how could it not be.
    This weekend i went out with some friends and talked to them about how i was feeling and my reasons for leaving and i felt very good actually, pretty empowered and ready to turn a new page in my life. I was incredibly depressed about the loss of my best friend and me causing her pain, but i felt an incredible relief. This relief seemed like happiness, but i was nonetheless depressed as hell. That night the booze flowed, flowed and flowed, and in my drunken saddened emotional state i decided to go home with a guy i met and we fooled around at his apartment. We kissed and fooled around, he wanted to have sex and i didnt, but i think i let him enter me for about a minute with a condom on, until i realized i didnt want it.
    Whatever, it was a strange night but nothing insane. Safe sex, with a stanger when i was incredibly depressed.
    3 days have passed and now i am completely in the grips of the anxiety OCD thoughts again, wondering if its possible i could have now, after everything i tried to do to get better and change my life, gotten myself sick. I texted the guy, "Ricky", asking him about his status and if he gets tested and...etc, about 4 times that day. coming off as a total psycho, and he kept telling me the same thing, im fine, i get tested, you dont have to worry, we didnt even have sex!, but it doesnt seem to be enough. rationally i know i didnt have unsafe sex, but my emotions are completely out of whack and im filled with dread again.
    My therapist thinks that if i treat this as an unsafe sexual experience and do the waiting, and testing, i will just be feeding into the OCD and reinforcing this notion that ive created in my mind that my gay desires are bad, and that sex with a man is bad and is to be feared. But i kind of have a feeling im going to want to get tested now... icon_neutral.gif

    I want to be a new person and be true to myself and live the live i should have been living a long time ago, but im afraid i wont ever be able to be with a man without having a total mental breakdown. ive spent so long thinking of that side of myself as bad, and needing to be squashed, that now im terrified of it. I dont want to have to be celibate the rest of my life. I want to love and be loved. I dont really know what to do here... Thanks for reading, sorry its kinda long :-/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 16, 2010 2:53 PM GMT
    If you are seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, and have received a confirmed diagnosis of OCD, then amateurs giving you advice here could actually be counter-productive and harmful. Even any psychotherapy professionals here would largely be constrained by their ethics from offering you anything that approaches being online treatment. Any advice given here must be very generalized & generic, in my view.

    As with any treatment, if you feel the person(s) you are seeing professionally about your issues are not helping you, you may wish to consider consulting with others. OCD can be quite serious and long-term, but successful approaches do exist. You admit yourself to an irrational fear of having HIV, which has no basis in fact in your case, assuming the HIV testing results and sexual history you have told us here about yourself are true.

    If your rejection of logical reality is that strong then you should continue under the care of professionals. It's good that you started your therapy early, which increases the likelihood for its success.

    "ive spent so long thinking of that side of myself as bad, and needing to be squashed..." Make sure your therapist knows about this feeling, and also about your childhood rape. It is a common reaction for rape victims, even adult women. It would seem counter-intuitive, because you are the one who's the victim here. But this is what rape victims often experience, and is a "normal" & recognized reaction to an abnormal circumstance. See what your therapist says, because they are ways to overcome it.

    Please keep us informed.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 16, 2010 5:18 PM GMT
    Thanks for your advice. I think you're right, im not really sure what i was looking for by posting this here, i guess i was just wondering if anyone had ever had similar experiences with anxiety associated with sex and how they may have overcome them. I am in therapy, and i have just started to take steps to change my life, so maybe till will tell. Sometimes i just feel very lost and scared, i guess. Well, today is not a good day, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better one. Thanks for the advice. icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 17, 2010 8:32 AM GMT
    I assume that you were posting here either looking for somebody who shares your type of experience or somebody who might have a “magic bullet” to help out. It could also be a way to continue obsessing over your most recent encounter. If you could find one person who would tell you that you need to worry it may justify your fears. I would think that Art_D is likely correct in your best course of action. Listen to your therapist and be honest and open about your past- you may also mention this post- it may be relevant and he may offer advise about the usefulness of the internet and forums. Most of the people here are fairly well grounded, but all it would take is one "kindred spirit" who obsess over the possibility of infection and you may find a negative reinforcement instead of help.

    Best of luck.
  • rndale

    Posts: 90

    Sep 19, 2010 4:02 AM GMT
    I have had a similar experience, I am a three time sexual assault victim.

    The first time I was 7 in the scouts, where I was raped by a fellow scout, as my friends watched and did nothing as I cried out for help. I spent the

    Second time was in college by my roommate, I moved into my car, then dropped out of college 2 classes away from graduation A.A degree.

    Third time was when I was in the Marines, I joined to try to find myself, my masculinity. One month in I was sent to MRP (medical rehabilitation platoon) 2 more months was given a ELS (entry level separation) for my hip. I was raped when I went to the bathroom one night, after my first heart attack, when I was at my weakest.

    My issue, is not knowing if I am gay or strait. I do know that I am a target for assault, because either they find me attractive or I am simply weak.

    The thing that has helped me deal with what has occurred, is Ancient Philosophy, and religion. That there is a reason for everything.

    The best thing for me was to establish your foundation about yourself.
    1. Ask yourself questions that define you
    2. Make a list start with what you know about yourself to be true and what you don't know.
    3. Seek help to try and answer the ones, that you don't know
    4. You are the only one that matters in this equation, what other people think is meaningless, only you and the truth.
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    Sep 19, 2010 7:26 AM GMT
    I'm sorry to hear.. I dont know much about your condition.. But I will say I hope the best for you and pray that everything will get better..
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    Sep 20, 2010 1:32 AM GMT
    Hi BurgeoningPhoenix (my that's quite a handle).

    First, come here *gives Burgeoning a giant hug*.

    Keep seeing that therapist! Reading about your history, neither one of us is surprised you're experiencing OCD. This kind of vigilant anxiety is an attempt at self-protection. Hey your brain's not perfect, no one's is, but it's doing its best to cope and look after you.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy is excellent stuff. Stay with it.

    -Doug and Bill

    PS you can always talk to us if you like as well. It helps.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Sep 20, 2010 1:54 AM GMT
    What kind of humanoid do you want there for you when you pull your pants down? Thats what you have to figure out.
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    Sep 20, 2010 4:47 AM GMT
    My question would be how much and how often are you drinking and are you on any medications to help control the OCD? Alcohol does several things, it kills inhibitions, it acts as a depressant and can exacerbate depression and anxiety symptoms, and if you take any medication your body will metabolize the alcohol first and the medicine will go straight through you (so to speak). Really I'm asking those questions and giving that information pretty blindly, but you may wish to talk with your therapist about the drunken escapades if it's more than an every once in a blue moon deal. That is if you haven't already.

    My best advice is to get right with what happened then to help you get right with what's happening now. Your true sexual orientation isn't about that, but the sexual confusion probably has a lot to do with it.

    Hope you feel better.
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Sep 20, 2010 4:59 AM GMT
    Your self-diagnosis is the best. Your shrink can help, and she did-- but she dressed up her diagnosis.

    You are deathly afraid of HIV. You associate HIV with homosexuality, as we all do, like it or not. Your fear of infection is so overwhelming that you repress your own sexuality.

    Accept that you don't have it, and be glad for that, and be careful. Enjoy your life.