My Dirty Little Secret

How my battle with OCD turned into an advocacy project of felt willys, boobies and bumholes.

Written by Absolute Felter

My Dirty Little Secret

01 Absolute Felter has struggled with OCD since the age of 12, with their main theme centering on sexually intrusive thoughts.

02 After struggling for many years, they visited their GP, received an OCD diagnosis, and had a therapist recommend art as an outlet.

03 Since then, Absolute Felter has been creating felting projects about intrusive thoughts as a tool for advocacy and recovery.

The making of ABSOLUTE FELTER came from a dirty little secret. A secret that I planned to keep forever. A secret I was so intensely ashamed of that it crippled me with anxiety for years, and no one ever knew. Until now.


From the age of 12, I’ve had what I now know to be Pure OCD. 

OCD is often interpreted as someone experiencing mental obsessions and physical compulsions. You might have heard of Contamination OCD, where your obsessive thoughts centre around germs and decontaminating things. You might have a fear of getting sick or causing your loved ones to die, so you perform compulsions to keep everyone safe.

Pure OCD on the other hand is sneaky, because the obsessions and compulsions all happen inside your head. It's super easy to hide, and no one would ever bat an eye that something was wrong with you. Yet inside, you’re drowning.

Pure O has a number of subtypes. Some people have obsessive thoughts about harming children, which in turn makes them fully believe they’re a paedophile. They will avoid giving their kids baths or changing their nappies, and get their partner to do it instead. They might avoid walking past primary schools, opting to take the longer route to work. 

Others have obsessive thoughts about harming people. They might hide knives during dinner time in case they stab their mum, or decide not to drive in case they get the overpowering urge to mow down a gaggle of grannies. 

My OCD centres around sexually intrusive thoughts, which on really bad days are horribly intense, graphic, sexual thoughts about everything and anything. They play on a loop from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. And the vivid pornographic movies that loop in your head can include anyone — close friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, people on the TV. No one is safe. One of them might even be lucky enough to be your obsession for a few days, weeks, or even months. To say it’s confusing is an understatement.

You have these thoughts so often that you end up questioning everything about yourself, and ruminate endlessly on what they mean. They gaslight you into thinking you’re a pervert and sick in the head. They convince you that people can read your mind, and that your unwanted intrusive thoughts are actually fantasies that you secretly love.

If you have Sexual Orientation OCD, which I also struggle with, you become obsessed and absolutely terrified about your sexuality. A gay person could question if they’re straight, or a straight person could question if they’re gay. This subtype is just a bizarre and hurtful thing to have OCD about, especially when you’re such a staunch supporter of the LGBT+ community, and being whoever the fuck you want to be. 

So what do you do? You avoid everything.

From small things like treating yourself to a bikini wax or innocently changing in front of friends, to bigger things like avoiding romantic relationships. And if you do choose to be with someone, you obsess and pick apart their flaws to the point of getting the absolute ick and dropping them like a sack of shit. Sometimes, you choose to avoid being with anyone because it feels like the safest option. It's easier to push people away than to pull them close, and you end up hating yourself a little bit more each time you do it. 

My intrusive thoughts eventually took a turn, and started to seep into every aspect of my life. Not just sexual thoughts, but a fear that I was bad at everything — being a daughter, sister, aunty, friend, partner, employee. It obliterated my self esteem. 

It’s incredible how long you can torture yourself until you crack, which I did. During the first lockdown, I was going through a bad bout of OCD, frantically seeking answers to my obsessive thoughts. I ended up buying Rose Cartwright’s book “Pure” and it changed my life. I related to everything she said and was so relieved. I felt like a born-again Christian finding God. Joyous tears were shed – and yet, I did absolutely nothing about it and plodded on for another year. 

Fast forward to last November, I ended up having a tasty breakdown that ended with me finally confessing to a GP that I thought I had OCD. This led to antidepressants, a referral to a psychologist, an official diagnosis of OCD with ADD tendencies, and some CBT therapy to boot. This is where my felting journey began: A creative exercise where I draw or paint something each day that would take my mind off the intrusive thoughts.

Now, here we are. Eight months after making my first felt, I’m a million miles away from the person I was a year ago. Felting for the masses… and it's bloody lovely. 

I will always have OCD. It's something that will never leave me, and that’s a fact I really struggled to grasp with when I first got help. The realisation that there isn’t a magic pill that can switch my intrusive thoughts off forever. That my OCD will always make me doubt where I sit on the ever changing spectrum of sexuality. That I might never have answers to my obsessive thoughts. 

But who fucking cares! I’m learning to appreciate what I have. Because without my OCD, I would have never started Absolute Felter, and more importantly, people would have never known the pleasure of seeing such an array of felt willys, boobies and bumholes. 

There was a point where I was so ill that I tried to share my experiences on a private OCD forum online, and deleted them because I was convinced and terrified that people I knew had tapped my wifi and were reading what I was writing. So to be able to share my story in such a public way without any fear is an absolute belter of a feeling. 

You can find Absolute Felter on Instagram here.

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