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.

Then, this obsession got its butt kicked by HOCD, then TOCD, then Harm OCD, and ROCD.

I am 20 years old now, and sometimes I get a mixture of obsessions at the same time but I have gotten better. I still have my setbacks, but I just started therapy this year. It took me 2 years of suffering to actually speak up and tell my parents that I needed it.  I practice mindfulness, and feeling present again is my greatest achievement. I wasn’t able to live my life properly, I was reacting and fighting silently with my mind 24/7.

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. In the words of my therapist, “Whatever you’ve done, or whatever you’ve felt and thought, do not mark a destiny” those words hit home. Do not feel guilty, work on what you know you are. Have trust in yourself.

Thank you to all the OCD community, because I wouldn’t have been able to take courage without reading any of your stories.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Will October 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Lorena,

    Try not to pray compulsively. If you pray and it doesn’t feel right, that is the ‘OCD itch.’ Don’t scratch it. It will be difficult for you to tell when you are praying normally or when it is your OCD influencing it. But as you feel the itch it is OCD!

    The more you pray compulsively or seek reassurance from a priest the more the doubt will thrive. The Exorcist was a terrifying movie but to put it into perspective watch one of the many comedy horror movies: Scary Movie for instance.

    You are obviously a good person and because religion is so close to your heart, OCD is picking it. If there is a God he will understand what you are going through.

    I am sure you will get better but don’t ever smoke marijuana as it makes OCD worse – trust me. If Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) doesn’t help Sertraline (Zoloft) was a life changer for me.

    Take care and get well soon,

    WJ

    • Reply Lorena January 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Will,

      I really appreciate your kind words. I haven’t struggled with religious OCD for some months now, the thing I’m fighting now is the HOCD. But I know and hope that I will make it through 🙂 I still get instrusive thoughts while praying, but I just ignore them.
      There’s a popular phrase in Mexico that says “God won’t let you go through what you can’t handle”, and while all of us are working on handling it, we will make it!
      This month makes it a year of therapy, and I have learned to control better my reaction to the thoughts but I still have my moments each day.

      I hope you keep on doing great, and thank you again for all your suggestions.
      – Lorena

  • Reply Anna February 21, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Dear Lorena,

    I know sometimes it sounds cheezy but I will say it – you are not alone.

    I’ve been fighting “bad thoughts” since my childhood. I realised just couple years ago (I’m 27) while surfing my symptoms online that I may indeed have this type of..hmm how to say it.. condition?

    I never talked to anyone because of fear that I may be lunatic and especially – that I’ve been posesed by a Satan himself. That was my only logical conclusion. I was a kid which had thoughts about cursing Jesus, saints, calling Mary a prostitute (even in the moment when reciving the sacrament of Confirmation, fun times) and it exhausted me… I would pray and pray, for hours, to please God to forgive me and to keep my family alive – because I thought they would be muredered because of the Satan in my soul, sort of a punishment for me.

    My mother was going crazy, she would enter my room and start to yell – STOP IT!! Again with your prayers! YOU NEED TO STOP!! You will go crazy with this! – and I would be on my knees, embaressed, try to make up some lies about looking for something on the floor.

    It is so sad to think that child would spend so many hours of its young life in pray, always in pray. Till it doesn’t feel “good”.

    But they didnt know that’s basically how I kept them alive! (ha-ha, oh..)

    Another thing – when my aunt told me she’s pregnant I instantly had a bad thought “I wish the baby dies”. And what do you know,she had a miscarriagge a month later. No matter the fact that she had five more and that the doctor told her that she has medical problems in conciving a child – I was sure it was me.

    I had the blood of the unbor child on my hands. I kill people just with a thought.

    It took me years to admit to myself that it wasn’t me and it couldn’t be me.

    But the question is – why do you have these thoughts in the first place? Is it normal? But how can it be normal to have such dark wishes that seems to come from the deepest of your being? How to say “oh well, it’s ok” when its so stressing?

    This is just a piece of my story- I had lots of other episodes, to name a few – trying not to step on the line when walking (this one is so usual, even with people who don’t have ocd but I would go back thousand times on spot I stepped till I “fix” it, opening doors with elbows (bacterias), washing hands every hour (same), fear of number 6 (I would skip it on my math class, for real I would count: four, five, seven..), fear that I will hurt someone etc.

    The hardest episodes came after my dad was in hospital two years ago (he’s fine now, thank God), but I guess it was too much emotional stress on me. I started worrying that Im losing my mind and that somehow I will wake up one day and kill myself beacuse I will not be concius what’s happening. Fear of commiting suicide? (I lived with roomate that had a suicide story in her family so I guess thats how it started). Who has those?

    What if I’m gay? I had a drnk night with my friend, we fall asleep in my bed, nothing happened but I had a thought – wait a minute…..If I feel uncomfortable sleeping so close to her does it meeaaan……!!!

    And here you go, new one.

    But the hardest one, the one that kills me slowly right now is ROCD. I dont think about suicide anymore , Mary as a prostitute, being gay… Im consumed by thoughts about my relationship. I never had those.

    Am I really in love? Am I just settling? How to know if this is love? I need to feel something when he kisses me. Ok Lets see. Omg I didnt felt a thing! Am I to afraid to leave? Should I leave? But why? I love him, I really do! But maybe he’s not the one? If he’s not the one than I will never have a happy, fulfiled life with him? I will die like this? Will I regret? Why it has to be like this?If I have these thoughts than it must mean its true!

    What if there’s no ROCD after all? Its just bunch of letters we use to hide behind and say – oh Its my ocd… This is not real…

    But it feeel so reeal!

    Welcome to my life today. Sometimes I have days where I feel great, dont feel disconected and obsessed with thoughts. Those days still keep me going.

    I wrote an essay here but I wish it helps someone. At least with that feeling of loneliness.

    Sometimes I even think googling is my new compulsion.

    Well. Im on this page. Surely not because I have a good day.

    Sending you love,

    Anna

    • Stuart Ralph
      Reply Stuart Ralph February 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story Anna 🙂

      With a good therapist and time it is beatable. All the best in your recovery!

    • Reply Lorena March 8, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Hi Anna,
      We have had the same obsessive thoughts, and the same thinking patterns. I’ve dealt with ROCD too, in fact, I’m dealing with it right now. And all the things you wrote, the things that you think are exactly my thoughts.
      My mom’s the same, too, she used to tell me to just get over it, but thanks to my therapist, she understands me better. My mom also has anxiety, she constatly worries about health issues so now I know where I got it lol.
      As you said your worse time was around your father at the hospital, keep noticing if your thoughts get stronger whenever something stressful is happening to you. A fight with you SO, school issues, family issues.. anything can trigger them, but the first step is to acknowledge it!! Your brain is trying to cover the real suffering with the obsessive thoughts, the thoughts are just some defense mechanism. Keep holding on those good days, those are the ones that count the most. Be present. It’s hard but it is posible.
      God bless you!
      – Lorena

  • Reply Anna March 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you for your nice comments on my essay 😉 Wishing you all the best :*
    Keep going, we are not alone (definitly)
    Anna

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