Dear Lover: I'm sorry (an open letter from someone who experiences ROCD)
Disclaimer: This letter does not "belong to anyone", moreover, it is a ficticious letter I created to empathize toward what you may be feeling with your ROCD. It was created from the stories I hear from my clients, and the feeling and thoughts that I used to feel when I used to have ROCD. This letter is meant to bring about comfort and support to help you recognize that you are not alone and to also give you support toward the obsessions and fears you may have in your relationship.
You will probably be extremely surprised when you read this letter.
You probably have no idea what goes through my mind as I obsess about our relationship, our love and how I feel toward you on an everyday basis.
I wish so much that I could explain it all to you, and that you could understand...
If I ever feel distant, or far away... I'm sorry. There is a reason...
If it seems as though I don't want to physically be near you... It's just that when I touch you, I feel scared or repulsed. I sometimes just get so anxious, annoyed, frustrated and sad when I am near you.
If it seems as though I don't want to talk to you on the phone... I wish I could talk to you and feel happy and okay, but all I do is check to see how I feel toward you and get disappointed when I feel scared or anxious.
It seems as though I'm avoiding you... you are a trigger for me, which is the last thing I want. I'm not avoiding you. I'm avoiding the feelings I feel when I'm with you because they feel uncomfortable.
It seems as though I don't want to see movies with you... It's just that every time I see a couple together, I compare myself to them so much to the point where I can't sleep for days. I know it sounds silly, and it's just a movie, but I get triggered from those movies.
It seems as though I don't want to hang out with your friends... I really do want to hang out and meet them, but I'm scared that if I were to see a guy who was attractive, I would fall in love with them, and I don't want that to happen.
It seems as though I don't want to have sex... I want to be close and experience sex, but it's the most intimate thing to me, and that intimacy scares the shit out of me.
It seems as though I don't want to listen to music together, it's just the lyrics make me think that it's a sign I need to break up with you, or they talk about falling in love and that makes me spiral.
It seems as though I keep pushing off plans like anniversary celebrations, or anniversary dinners... I really want to celebrate, but those anniversaries and dinners make me feel like I need to be and feel a certain way and so they trigger me.
It seem as though I hesitate when you tell me you love me... I love you, too. I think? But, oh no... here I go obsessing and checking again.
If it seems as though I'm not being open. In honesty, I can't stop thinking about my feelings for you... I just want the feelings to be certain so I don't have to leave.
But, here's what I'm learning...
- I'm learning that the anxiety I experience occasionally makes me feel distant from you. Because my mind associates you as something fearful. The anxiety makes me feel as though you are a stranger. The distance really doesn't have to do with you, you are not doing anything wrong. The distance has to do with the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts I experience inside myself. I know this feeling will pass. I'm learning to sit with it for now. I'm learning that these feelings are okay and that they aren't permanent.
- I know that sometimes I might not want to talk to you on the phone... sometimes I might want my alone time, and I'm learning that that's okay. If I'm feeling anxious at the moment, then it will be harder to talk to you on the phone. Not because of YOU, but because I feel anxious when we chat. I tell myself that it's okay to feel anxious. I'm anxious because I don't like these feelings, not because I don't like you.
- I'm learning that there are things called triggers. Triggers are events and/or things that basically set off anxiety or uncomfortable feelings. They cause me to obsess (if I let them). I'm learning that triggers can't hurt me, I can't spin out of control and do something irrational or break-up with you. I am able to make decisions and I am able to make choices. Instead of avoiding triggers, I am learning to go into it. I am learning to breathe knowing that it won't be a trigger forever.
- I'm learning that every relationship has it's difficult times. Just because I see a couple looking happy or in love, doesn't mean they're actually happy. More than that... I now know that so much of in love feelings are based in Honeywood feelings. I'm learning to know that I don't have to be like the couple of tv because it's actually... unrealistic!
- I'm learning that it's okay to think someone is attractive, hot or even sexy! People are attractive, people are sexy and hot. Our brains literally are scanning our environment constantly for comfort. It doesn't mean I will act upon it. I have that power and choice.
- I'm learning to be patient with myself. It is hard to be intimate when you're feeling anxious. I'm learning to first give myself all the intimacy I crave.
- I'm learning that music is just like the idea of honeywood . Most romance songs that are popular based in the honeywood phase of love. It's a song! It doesn't mean it's sung to me, or that it's sung about me. I know it's a trigger and I will breathe through it.
- I'm learning that anniversaries don't have to be a certain way. If I feel anxious, sad, upset during an anniversary, that doesn't mean I need to leave you. It doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong or we're not supposed to be together. I'm also learning that there are so many societal expectations around anniversaries - especially about sex, and I don't have to fit that mold!
- I'm learning that I have free-will. The choice is all up to me. I have the power to stay if I want to and no one can take that from me. Feelings will come and go, but what I decide is up to me, and that is the greatest form of love!