Another important thing to keep in mind is that if it feels like OCD, it IS OCD.
My name is Devin,
And I will never forget the day when it started and never relented. I was heading to class up at the university and had a strange, but distinct feeling of guilt for some reason. I thought to myself: “Ok… I don’t know why this is making me THIS bad, but whatever.” It persisted and persisted, and took all day to leave me.
As the years went on (that incident was about 7 yrs ago) I felt increasingly worse and worse about different things and never understood what was going on. In truth, it blindsided me and was a huge factor in me losing my faith at the time.
I had decided at the time that well if God was going to ‘make me’ feel this way, than forget Him. My loss of faith was more complicated than that, but this was a major factor in it. I constantly felt like if I wasn’t following each of the commandments right or perfectly, I was going to hell.
I would watch a show that had swear words or a questionable scene, and suddenly my mind would tell me I would be burning in an eternal pit of torment. I knew that maybe what I was watching wasn’t the best thing ever, but I didn’t understand why I was ‘made’ to feel so guilty about it!
To this day, I still feel horrible about doing things I shouldn’t, although now I know what’s going on in my mind, although it doesn’t make it any less horrible and tormenting. I am constantly checking Facebook posts to make sure I haven’t posted anything offensive, reviewing in my mind if I may have somehow offended someone. I am criticizing my wife when I feel like she does something I feel is dishonest and try to get her to repent of her ‘sins.’ After all, I want to save her too right?
I see women on TV shows and movies with more skin showing than my mind tells me they should have and wonder if I should be repenting of it or if my mind (for the billionth time) is making more out of it than is necessary. Where is the line that needs to be drawn? It is SO different than any other type of OCD because I can’t just tell myself: “Well, that MAY lead me to hell, but I’ll take the risk.” It doesn’t work that way. I am NOT willing to risk my eternal salvation; however, I also know that if I argue with my OCD, it fuels it. It feeds the vicious cycle.
To complicate matters even more, I have other forms as OCD such as intrusive sexual thoughts. And horrifically, they have popped up in the worst possible places, such as the temple (a holy place people of my religion go for spiritual purposes). Oh, how I berate myself for such unholy thoughts. I know logically it’s not my fault, but it doesn’t stop me.
I also get crazy thoughts like: “Oh well you were going 10 MPH over the speed limit. You need to go to the police station and confess that and get a ticket/license taken away so you properly repent.” Or I’ve sent emails to co-workers apologizing to them in case they have overheard me cursing at my desk. I feel I have to cover every possible, tiny little sin in order to be perfect.
It is pretty exhausting and frustrating because of the daily attacks and guilt/shame it produces. It’s also further frustrating because this type of OCD has really not been studied much at all; a lot of people (at least to my knowledge) don’t have this kind of OCD (Scrupulosity).
However, there is some hope to this article and for those out there struggling. About 2 years ago, I decided to go back to my faith. I decided to HAVE faith that God knew what he was doing. Through exposure, I was able to go back. I would play on my phone while listening to the talk (sermon) given out in the church foyer. I would read a scripture verse here and there. I think what really helped was my family always praying for me. The guy upstairs is what will really give you the most help; besides exposure, that is what I recommend for those who are dealing with this.
Just as I have to remind myself, just keep in mind that these thoughts are NOT YOURS. Part of your brain is misfiring and the logical part of your brain knows that but can’t argue with the misfiring. Talk to people about your doctrine and what REALLY is the truth and whether you really should be feeling as bad.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that if it feels like OCD, it IS OCD. This is something very valuable I have learned from a book.
Lastly, keep in mind that you just need to keep going. There ARE ways to beat this, to diminish this, and live with it. I am still figuring this out myself, but I have hope and faith it will be fine.