Have you ever heard of Religious OCD or known anyone who has had it? I had not before a day ago, and apparently I have been suffering with this affliction since youth! We’re talking 30 odd years here folks. 30 years!
I know, I know, sometimes there are people who read about a disorder and are convinced they have it. I know those people and they are tiresome. But, this is a case of missed diagnosis (not misdiagnosis, as Religious OCD is just a subset of OCD).
I found a great article about Religious OCD, when I was looking up the biblical standpoint on OCD in general. It shed a ton of light on issues that I had since being young and made things kinda *click*.
I’m not going to detail every single symptom or issue, but the big tells for me, were that I did have issues with compulsively praying when I was young because I didn’t think I did it right. Specifically, the prayer for salvation. For several years in fact, I would say it over and over, convinced, I did not in fact say it right, and I was not saved, and I was going to go to hell because I got it wrong. My other prayers had to be said in a specific order, as was taught in my school, or I had to start over, because then I felt like God wasn’t going to listen to me. I never told anyone these things, because…why would I?
The thing I’ve repeatedly told to my mental health care people? I know for a fact I have mentioned that I felt like God sent a hurricane to destroy my house when I was a teen because I was a bad person. Are you telling me that did not make anyone think to ask questions?
Where Do I Turn?
My current therapist did try to help with a moral issue not too long ago. I recognized it as bad advice and went to my Pastor (for the first time in many years to trust one! 🥳).
The issue I was struggling with was hatred and unforgiveness for someone from my past. My therapist seemed to think it was ok to hate her, after all she was my friend and betrayed me. The thing is, the hatred built over a year and a half and only intensified. (In OCD fashion?)
I did go to my Pastor about those feelings, because in all honesty, they had been bothering me for awhile. That whole topic deserves a post of it’s own, and I will…because I was stuck in hatred and now I’m not.
The thing is…I am scared. I have told my Pastor just yesterday about my revelation. But what can he do? I don’t think religious OCD / Scrupulousity seems to be very well known about…even though web searches say it’s a common form of OCD. In all honesty, how many people have heard of it without some kind of experience with it? I’m just very curious, because it feels you hear about every “weird” thing, and I guess I’m redirecting my anger about not recognizing the problem years sooner and being able to get help, years sooner.
I am just in tears, heart broken. Is it my fault for not being more open with therapists? Is it doctor’s faults for not asking the right questions or doing the right tests? Both likely, but I’m still really sad. So sad.
OCD + Bipolar = winning combination.
I believe, from your words, that you may be too hard on yourself.
In my personal experience, battling the relationship with God has been exhausting. I’m beginning to realize that all of my battles are only thoughts. Unhealthy thoughts. What helped me to stay focused is knowing that the unknown exists. I don’t know if God is what/who I believe it/Him to be, and that’s okay! He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. My thoughts want me to see it outside of these facts, according to the Bible. So Christianity these days–possible since the days of Jesus–have conditioned me to work out my inability to appease and please God with GREAT FEAR AND TREMBLING! Is a God of love really so mean? I don’t think so. If Jesus did die for all sins–past, present and future–then we are saved.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped me, but so did the understanding of my mind and the tricks it plays.
THE UNOBSERVED MIND CREATES THE UNHAPPINESS, meaning not knowing the inner workings of how we think and approach everything that goes through our heads will result in despair.