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Country Star Luke Combs Says OCD Feels Like a Heart Attack — Here's What 'Pure O' Feels Like for Others

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In an episode of  The Big Interview with Dan Rather on Wednesday, Luke Combs shared that he was diagnosed with purely obsessional obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), also known as Pure O OCD. Obsessions are typically intrusive and unwanted thoughts and can range from negative thoughts and worries to graphic or disturbing fears.

In the interview, the country singer said that when he has obsessive thoughts, he worries he is “about to have a heart attack or a stroke.” These types of obsessive thoughts are common in people with OCD. Coping with obsessions can include techniques to unhook from your obsessions. When Combs starts ruminating about an issue, he taught himself to reframe the obsessive thoughts.

“You have to teach yourself to become comfortable with the fact that you’ll never get an answer and that it is a super uncertain thing,” Combs said. “Arming yourself with the knowledge of exactly what’s going on is the most important thing, I’ve found.”

Obsessive thoughts, whether or not someone has Pure O like Combs, can be difficult to manage for people who live with OCD. Just as people with OCD have different types of obsessive thoughts, obsessive thoughts “feel” different to each of us. Some people might just have an emotional reaction, while others may have a physical reaction as well.

We asked members of The Mighty’s community who live with OCD to share what obsessive thoughts feel like to them. While obsessive thoughts can feel overwhelming if you have them, it may help to know that others experience the same emotional or physical reactions.

Here is what they had to say: 

  1. “Overwhelming because I don’t feel in control and then scared because I worry about every little thing being just right.” – Ruth
  2. “My every thought was uncontrollable, debilitating and damaging. It took over my life and stopped me from truly enjoying so many important moments in my life. One would drop off, another would replace it.” – Will
  3. “My obsessions are thoughts. Not actions. I obsess over the same thoughts constantly. And they’re very unpleasant thoughts.” – Bailey
  4. “For me, it’s about making things ‘safe’ and so the instinct is just being constantly alert for any potential danger. With OCD, though that can sound logical (wanting to stay safe), it’s so much further beyond that and turns every little thing into a risk, which makes life incredibly miserable when it’s bad.” – Milicent.
  5. “Like there is a constant bully in your head telling you if you don’t do what it’s telling you bad things will happen.” – Emily
  6. “For the most part, my obsessions feel like a nagging persistence in the back of my mind; an uncomfortable sensation that you just can’t shake.” – Katelyn
  7. “They are tiring.” – Brigit
  8. “Most often, my obsessive thoughts are worrying someone is going to die because I did something ‘wrong’ like using an unlucky fork. It makes my thoughts feel real and powerful and I usually get frozen as a result.” – Renée
  9. “Terrifying and chaotic.” – Nathan
  10. “My obsessive thoughts tend to revolve around not hearing back from people. I get very stressed out and feel out of breath.” – Julia
  11. “It’s a total messed up paradox of anxious confusion that is like a carousel that you’re strapped to. But if you get off, something bad might happen.” – Jenn
  12. “Like I’m a puppet. I’m not in control, and I can’t cut the strings.” – Robynn
  13. “It’s like being locked in a room and someone keeps playing the same song over and over again. You can try to ignore it, or block it out, but it only works temporarily.” – Jennifer

Are there any that would like to add? 

Image via Wikimedia Commons/David Bergman

Originally published: January 14, 2021
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