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Religious OCD

Religious OCD

In The Midst

There is hope in the midst of brokenness

I try to resist, but the longer I last without giving in, the stronger the urge gets. As it has been throughout my life, my mind is relentless, perpetually bombarding me with thoughts, ideas, obsessions: darkness.

I try to let go but…

“Pack for next month’s trip… now”

“Work on your essay… now.”

“Exercise… now.”

Obsessive-compulsive disorder has been a reality for me as long as I can remember; every moment of every day filled with intrusion after intrusion, accusing me, threatening me, forcing fathomless anxiety upon my hopeless frame.

Waging war is one thing when the enemy is visible, defined, external. But when the enemy is inside?

One’s own mind is a formidable foe.

A feathery thought to the average person bears a weight of bricks in my mind. The only way to rid myself of the pressing anxiety it brings is to give in and do whatever it urges me to.

Resistance seems futile.

OCD first manifested in earnest in regards to self-image. As I began the turbulent years of high-school, mental whispers of inadequacy about my weight became more and more frequent.

“Face people head-on; don’t let them see your elephantine profile.”

“If you eat that chocolate bar, you’ll never be married.”

 “Do you think any girl could love you?”

I give in to the whispers, losing seventy pounds in the span of six months. Counting calories takes over. My parents try to intervene, telling me to simply stop my destructive habits. But they don’t see the battle being waged within, just the outer workings of it.

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Religious OCD

Learning in recovery from OCD

You may feel like your life will never go back to normal & that you will be stuck like this forever, but there is hope even in the storm.

I have been struggling with OCD since I was 16. It started with a bad thought about the bible. I never had a thought like that before, and I was basically traumatized. It felt like the world was turned upside-down, & all I could think about was that bad thought I had. I always grew up in a Christian family. We didn’t always go to church, read the bible, & we are definitely not perfect, but my parents did the best they can to teach us about Jesus & to go to church, pray, & read the holy bible. I remember crying & praying to God for forgiveness in my room for hours. Even though I prayed & asked for forgiveness, I didn’t fell like I was forgiven. I began to obsess over the thought & the more I tried to avoid having the thoughts, the worse they became. I started to think that I was this bad person & I continually ask god for forgiveness. It only grew worse from there. I began to avoid cursing (in music & language), and going to church triggered the bad thoughts.

I’ve talked to my parents & my pastor about it, but I wasn’t completely honest with them about the nature of my thoughts. I was afraid that I would be judged, especially by my parents. I thought I was alone & I felt like as a Christian I wasn’t suppose to have bad thoughts about God & Jesus. I quickly became depressed, & it felt like everyday was constantly not trying to think those thoughts again. I started having thoughts about harming babies, & just thinking bad things towards family, friends, & even strangers. I was always the person who wanted to make people happy, & do good things to make this world a better place.

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Harm OCD, Relationship OCD, Religious OCD

The OCD Nightmare

What I’ve learned from therapy is that I shouldn’t feel guilty for having these thoughts or feelings, because they do not define me.

My name is Lorena and I have been fighting OCD for 2 years and a half. I was 18 years old when my “first” intrusive thought made its appearance. I put “first” because it turned into an obsession, but since I began therapy I know everyone has intrusive thoughts here and there, but, us OCD sufferers, take them seriously.

My first obsession came after I had a nightmare, as soon as I woke up my body was filled with anxiety and my mind with a fear of being possessed by the devil. You see, “The Exorcist” wasn’t exactly one of my favorite movies.. and the OCD sure had a great time replaying countless of all the exorcism scenes I’ve seen. I went to talk to a priest who reassured me that it was nothing of that nature, but the thought still didn’t leave. I lived with this obsession for almost a year. I felt horrible because I would always pray, and if my prayer didn’t feel right or if I didn’t feel God’s presence I was doomed. I had to pray again.. It had to feel right. Continue Reading

Harm OCD, Religious OCD

Glimpses of a life without OCD

My name is Eric Ray Kupers. I’m 44 years old and live in Oakland, California with my husband and our 3 dogs, Doodle, Bubbles, and Abe. I’ve had OCD since I was a child. And even though I have been in therapy with a steady stream of therapists for over 30 years, both my parents are therapists, and I’ve done extensive experimenting in countless personal growth modalities I wasn’t diagnosed with OCD until I was 19, and didn’t find out about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) until my early 30’s.

The pain of OCD has at times felt unbearable, and I’ve tried just about every kind of therapy and spiritual practice I could find. And yet, through it all, I’ve managed to build a life that I love.  I’m in a deeply fulfilling long-term relationship, and am a dance/theater/music artist, a tenured professor of dance at Cal State University East Bay, the director of a professional, experimental performance company, and part of a community of soulful artists and loving friends & family.

OCD has been so deeply interwoven into my life and my sense of myself, that it seems I can’t really write my OCD story without writing my whole life story. I started working on my entry for The OCD Stories website, and am already on page 10, and not even out of my teens! So, I decided to share a summary of my OCD journey. I seem to have a lot to say, as now my summary has also gotten quite long.  My sense of this is that I’ve kept my OCD a shameful secret for so long, that as I start to share my story more publicly, it’s like a dam is breaking down and layers upon layers of experiences are flooding forth. So, please feel free to read or not read as much as you’d like. I’m going to continue writing the full story, and will make it available for anyone that’s interested, as soon as it gets a little farther along. Maybe it will become a whole book one day!

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Intrusive Thoughts, OCD, Religious OCD

Learning to live

There is a lot of advice I could tell people who have OCD, but the main two pieces of advice are; you are never alone and there is hope.

I merely existed until I was 16 years old. Life for me was a string of anxieties and avoidance, making it impossible to live the life I wanted. The worst bringer of these anxieties was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

At 15 years old, my general anxiety was declining and my depression had disappeared. I was becoming who I wanted to be in life. Then life brought me something new.

Intrusive thoughts and images of harm raced through my head constantly. In an attempt to escape, I would mentally repeat phrases until the thoughts went away. That didn’t last long. I turned to pinching myself and banging my head against a wall, yelling and screaming. Anything to get the horrible images out of my head.

I thought I had schizophrenia, if anything. That was the only solution I had to the voices in my head. No one told me OCD was about intrusive thoughts! No one told me OCD was anything more than a cleaning disorder. Not knowing what these thoughts were, I didn’t tell anyone what was going on. I had so much guilt. I didn’t fear that I would act on the thoughts, but the guilt I had for thinking them was immense.

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Intrusive Thoughts, OCD, Religious OCD

The Intruder

I hope people can relate to it and realise they’re not alone.

20 months ago I was diagnosed with OCD. It was something I could always relate to. Growing up, every time I saw a documentary on TV about OCD it all seemed uncomfortably familiar. I remember seeing a man who couldn’t go to bed until he had arranged the pots on his fireplace in a way he felt comfortable with. He was in agony. I could relate to him but because my OCD wasn’t the stereotypical type of OCD the public are familiar with, I too, never saw my condition as being OCD. I’ve always been tense and sensitive. Never a confrontational kid and always, generally, well behaved at home and at school. I never have liked to rock the boat so whenever things came up in my life which did just that my fight or flight response, I now know, never worked properly for me. I bottled it up and carried it round with me. I was quiet and shut down. People often have referred to me a the ‘quiet one’ or ‘sensible one’ amongst my group of friends which to the outsider it must look like that. However, I did recently hear a quote which said that sometimes the quietest people have the loudest minds. I can relate to that as well. There have been times I can feel myself slipping into my head and becoming anti-social. I dont want it to happen. I want to project myself and show my true self, but sometimes I get lost in thought.

My first real involvement with OCD was when I was 10. Around that time me and friends were making prank calls, sending pizzas to people’s houses, silly stuff, harmless really but no doubt annoying to the people we were doing it to. Then one day I made a prank phone call to the 999 operator. This came back to haunt me, as later that day the operator called back and spoke to my Mother who was furious. “What if someone who was in a burning house couldn’t get through to the operator because of you” or something along those lines were said. Also, I was told my Grandpa, who was my best mate growing up and who died when I was 6 (and also a phone operator for the fire brigade!!!) would’ve been ashamed of me.

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Religious OCD

Fighting The OCD Devil

I couldn’t even brush my teeth without hearing these things

Hello everyone, my name is Todd and I am a grad student at Clemson University. This is my story of my experience with Religious OCD (Scrupulosity). Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Topics and advice that come up in the video:

  • Blasphemous thoughts
  • Worry of becoming schizophrenic
  • What is OCD
  • Compulsions as a way to combat intrusive thoughts

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Harm OCD, OCD, Relationship OCD, Religious OCD

Living With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I always knew I was different. I was a sensitive child. Some of my first memories consist of coming home from school and thinking about my day and all of the things I had done badly, incorrectly, or the ways in which I had failed to be the daughter my parents would love. As a result, every day without fail I would get a huge knot in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. The only way I figured out to make it stop was to accost my father as he came in the door from work and to blurt out to him all the things I had done during the day that were wrong, and then to ask for his forgiveness. I was 5. The pattern lasted for years.

I remember being a pre-teen. My mind was full of thoughts, most of which I was sure would damn me to hell. I prayed. I repeated my prayer each night, in the same order, the same number of times. My prayer saved me. My prayer protected my family from imminent harm.

My mother got sick. She went to the hospital and I was a mess. All I could think of was to write down all the things that happened each day and to recite them back to my mother when I was allowed to talk to her in the evenings. I remember with clarity writing “my brother threw a dirty sock at me.” I knew my lists were trivial and that my mother didn’t know what to do with my confessions but the pattern continued.

I didn’t like my parents. My father was a strict disciplinarian. Each second of my life was controlled. I was a puppet in my parent’s puppet show. I longed for control and eventually found it by cutting. By my teen years the battle in my head was raging on. I could not voice the things in my head for fear of rejection or condemnation, so to make my mental pain subside I would find razor blades or anything sharp and would cut to make the pain physical. Physical pain was much more feasible to me.

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Harm OCD, Religious OCD

Harm OCD, Religious OCD & Recovery From Them: Haley’s OCD Story

There are so many benefits of having OCD

Haley, has bravely shared her story in video format. We found it very inspiring and educational, we hope you do too.

In Haley’s story such topics and advice that come up:

  • Haley struggled with OCD since she was 5 years old
  • OCD affects Haley’s ability to write
  • Counting compulsions to stop harm obsessions
  • Religious OCD – compulsive and structured prayers
  • OCD has been dynamic for Haley. It changes guises.
  • Having a mother who suffered from OCD
  • The helpfulness of living in a household free of mental health stigma
  • The importance of getting help sooner
  • Through therapy and medication, Haley is considerably better and on the road to recovery
  • Haley is focused on breaking the patterns of OCD
  • Not relying on medication solely. To use medication if needed but still putting forth the necessary work in therapy.
  • There are silver linings to having suffered from OCD. Look for them.

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