The Ray of Hope: A Teenagers Fight Against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


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Behavior that often has detrimental effects on the family system, leaving everyone involved searching for answers. The peer support offered in this book begins to fill a void in this journey. Acknowledging and validating how parents feel can begin to address the isolating feelings sufferers and families often experience. Guidance for how to begin processing these feelings is crucial to the overall recovery of the child and the family system. OCD can be a debilitating condition, but is also treatable. Treatment is a journey, from finding an OCD specialist, assessment work, completion of treatment and maintaining gains post treatment.

Along this journey, having the support of others who have walked that same path can be a difference maker. With the help of this resource, these isolating feelings can be processed more effectively. The authors have worked carefully to address these areas in a way that only an affected family can. As a clinician, I can implement a treatment plan, but my ability to provide such intimate details to the true effects of this condition is limited.

I thank the authors for filling this void. Sadness Nothing is more personal than our family, our children. When we watch our children struggle with OCD, we must face an array of worries, issues and feelings and learn to cope with them in a healthy manner for the entire family.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Publications

This is not an easy task. Sadness and grieving are one part of this journey. Sadness may wash in at the time of an OCD diagnosis and a co-morbid diagnosis. Often OCD is not alone. It coexists with ADHD, depression, eating issues, oppositional defiant disorder, etc. You jump in with passion and great energy. Sometimes we can burn ourselves out.

You may be the type of individual who needs to digest all of this information by researching and then quietly sorting out this critical point in time. People react differently. For example, I need to jump in and put forth a lot of energy trying new doctors, therapists and techniques. I need a good cry or to talk things out. I need to isolate, back down and take some time for myself to process and think. You need to come out and participate in your life!

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder in Children

Often, others may approach parenting a child with OCD differently than we do. This can cause layers of problems and divisions. You may feel sad at various milestones. You may feel sadness at the pressure you fell for how things should be or could be. You may be sad that support networks you thought would be there are not family, friends, neighbors, church, schools, etc.

You may feel sadness for not parenting the way you think you should be or the way you visualized you would be. You feel sad watching your family dynamics change and often feel the sensation of spiraling out of control. You want the best for your children want your children to be hap-pier, healthier and more whole than you are or were as a child. You want your child to be accepted and to feel accepting of themselves and you want to make everything all right. It is our nature, our instincts as parents to try and make everything okay.

Joy Joy can be lost in extreme hardships and situations that feel over-whelming. Yet, joy and humor and so important. To be able to feel a sense of happiness and to laugh at situations in our life, even the most absurd situations can bring humor. Joy need to be worked on. Joy card at end of book. The developmental milestones that other children pass through so quickly may be delayed or non-existent for our children. The cognitive, emotional, and social skills are often delayed or at times seem non-existent.

The difficult thing about milestones is that there are so many pivotal points, countless moments, from birth to young adult. There are so many firsts. Some examples of Plan B might be babysit-ting while the parent is home; hosting a get together at your house; looking for unique mentors. We may feel like we walk on eggshells all of the time. Maybe you are a polished professional, a real planner.

Maybe you like things placed neatly in a box. This life of predictable behaviors of our children causes anxiety and can be a real stretch. Our own body and personality may change. We may isolate and look burdened, or seem like we have lost our zest. Others may handle it by moving to extremes with their workouts, hobbies, researching and advocating.

We all handle stress differently. It is energy draining trying to fix, predict and be one step ahead of all situations. OCD is unpredictable and the rules can change. Remember you are human! Content Content is being here and now in the moment. Like joy or peace, we are able to be healthy in spirit and attitude in our current situation.

Place this card where you will be reminded to be present. If you are drawing with your child or shopping, be present. Enjoy the time you have and be really present in that. Notice the joys and abilities of your child. Tired Often, we are exhausted physical and emotionally. When raising children with OCD, we need extra rest and down time because our job is that much more! There are more of many things all day!

Recharge your energy and find some peace. Try a sign on your door see enclosed card. An incentive for your child to separate might be effective. If this is not possible at home, find a recharge place such as the library, a coffee shop or somewhere outside. So watch a movie, meditate, pray or read. This time should be just yours. Have someone capable take over the family routines, even if it means hiring someone for an hour. Take care of yourself and recharge!

OCD parents need to recharge! Peace Peace is personal. It is time to feel relaxed, calm and nurtured. The way we envisioned or framed our lives needs to change. We can reframe, while acknowledging hardships do exist. Because tough times bring strength, we need to be our own spin doctors.. Hardships do not have to define who we are or how we function as a family. My suitcase is full! Do you shut down, panic, feel rage and anger? It takes a lot of energy to muster support and ask for it. The truth is as parents of children with OCD, we have more choices and decisions than many other parents, big choices, life altering decisions school strategies, therapies, medicines, etc.

It can seem unfair that these decisions are placed on our tray so often our children are so young and lack the tools they need to cope. We also have other responsibilities — family, community, volunteering, etc. Balance needs to be practiced. Keep on that balance beam, but it takes focus and concentration. We need to learn how to balance on the beam and be grounded in mind, body and spirit. One misstep, one more shirt jammed into an already full suitcase can set us off.

Rest if needed. Hire a sitter, look for respite. Maybe find a cheerleader in the audience of your life that helps you up and applauds your accomplishments. No one really wants to be a victim and we have to be careful to not settle for that. We can shut down or like a jack-in-the-box retreat in the box. Sometimes we need to retreat. We need to take time off or away. Sometimes a call to a friend or family member who understands is a lifeline.

Support Take a chance. Find that lifeline. Sometimes we need to just get out of the house the box and pull up our energy to get to a support group or a grocery store, or out with a group of peers. Often our sharing can help another parent who is struggling. WE never know who else struggles behind closed doors. Just like road work, there are detours in raising our unique children. There are doctors, diagnoses, options or resources, support, insurance costs, lack of development, education, social and emotional growth, etc.

Always seek out information because information is always changing. Our culture discusses mental health much more openly now and television programs are showing OCD for what it is. This is hopeful for educating others and advocating for our children. Medicines, science and technology are also evolving. This is all hopeful. Keep researching and you will become a more effective advocate for your child and have the ability to ask vital questions of the insurance and healthcare industries.

Judgment The truth is that as parents we already judge ourselves harshly. You may feel judged in social settings, with family, friends, school, church, etc. Remember, others do not know the whole story. We can be judged or our children are judged for behaviors that are not a true reflection of the entire story. The behaviors are often part of the disorder. Hold your head up high! You are doing your best with this situation. We all probably have more in common than not. Forgiveness Family, friends and acquaintances lack the understanding or in-formation about OCD and our situation, but we can educate our family and friends if they want to learn.

When we hold on to grudges, it is toxic and makes us victims to anger and resentment, maybe even jealousy. Family members may also feel broken dreams for us and our children. Use a strong shoulder. Ask for help and accept help. Sometimes we feel stronger than other times. Parents helping other parents can bring support, encouragement and understanding to one another. By sharing our personal stories, taking chances and turning out for support groups, we allow our load to be lighter and realize no one escapes this life without some baggage.

Thoughts The following thoughts are good information to share with extended family members and close friends. Thought 1. Often OCD is a disorder that manifests itself in the home of the sufferer. At school, in social settings, youth groups, etc. Home becomes a safe haven to let your guards down and decompress. It would be safer to have emotional outbursts and letdowns at home. Often the obsessions and compulsions are centered I the home. Some examples include: contaminated rooms, furniture, garage, yard, bathrooms, thresholds, and family members.

Often certain sinks are used for hand washing. Checking doors, locks or light switches are also common for OCD sufferers. Seeking reassurance from and repeating questions to certain family members in the household setting are also ways that an OCD sufferer tries to reduce anxiety. Can be a battlefield of OCD symptoms and the family experience can be I turmoil due to the disorder. It is hard to explain every symptom or to explain OCD to others. It is part of an isolation family members can feel.

Thought 2 It is expensive to treat OCD. Many insurance companies or plans do not cover the costs. Out of pocket cost can range in the hundreds of dollars per hour to see a competent provider of OCD. While insurance may cover some of the costs, it is often a fraction of the total out of pocket expense, and dealing with the paperwork and phone calls with insurance providers is time consuming. It would be nice for parents to receive counseling as well, to discuss the family situation, feelings, education, parenting strategies, etc.

It would also be a benefit for siblings. Unfortunately, the cost of treatment often prohibits this option. Setting up treatment for the sufferer is the first priority and often all the expense a family can afford. Thought 3 When you suffer from a physical illness you know when urgent medical help is needed. A picture is worth a thousand words! With mental health disorders there are really no images to see when the brain is in a highly exasperated state. We wish for a picture, something tangible instead of descriptions of behaviors to go on.

It is often hard to know when medical help is needed and where, what type, if it is safe, and the affordability. Is urgent medical help needed now? It can be extreme, lasting minutes or longer. It is exhausting. Do you go to the emergency room? What happens when the episode declines and calmness, or regret, or exhaustion comes over our children? It is hard to know what to do. Is it vital we go today, tomorrow? When and what if it happens again? Do you have a crisis plan? It takes enormous energy just to get through a crisis.

It is exhausting, calling for help. Commuting, screenings, and various questions arise. It is scary and it creates stress for everyone in the family including the sufferer. I have one encounter in particular that I keep replaying about a time I was delayed at an airport and met a man from my hometown. We hung-out and talked until the plane finally took off. I look at people on the street and wonder if they believe in God. I even look up to see whether or not celebrities are atheists. I just want to be able to live for God without these thoughts popping into my head.

By its definition, faith comes without certainty. Conversely, OCD demands certainty. I also encourage you to connect with a therapist who understands Scrupulosity so you may discuss ERP. Thanks for the comment. The situation you wrote about has several elements that should be addressed within the context of therapy with a trained therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT. To address one concern, it is wise to accept that, despite being married, we will at times be attracted to people who are not our spouse.

Despite this attraction, we actively decide if we are going to take steps to pursue the attraction. Feeling guilty about flirting with and nearly kissing a man other than your husband may not be just OCD, and may be the emotional consequence of acting outside your desired character and convictions. These are some issues to work out in therapy.

I can only answer your questions in part. In fact, many people suffer from the same anxiety about their faith. I argue that doubt and struggle within your faith journey is normal and should be embraced as a learning and building phase. This might be OCD. I cannot tell you for sure that this is OCD for sure or in full, especially given my previous comment about the prevalence of doubt within faith. Having a history of OCD would lead me to think it could be OCD related, in which case you would be wise to initially treat it as it is OCD and work through it with a therapist. I cannot, nor can anyone, give you certainty that you will lose your faith, or retain it your whole life.

This question is very human, but also extremely OCD driven. One goal of Exposure and Response Prevention for treatment is to accept the uncertainty in life, which for you may be accepting the possibility that you may lose part of your faith, have it transition into another manifestation of faith, or lose it entirely.

Comparing yourself to others through mindreading wont help your faith, but rather, will make it increasingly anxiety based, rather than a genuine striving toward the divine. This sounds like your brick house metaphor. Attempting to block a thought like this tends to increase their presence in your thoughts, not decrease them, and no amount of mental toughness can help reduce the occurrence of these thoughts.

It freely allows the thoughts to come in or leave at their leisure. ACT suggests allowing them to come in freely, and go just the same way, because they are just thoughts and not important! Again, we may not like these thoughts, but you can allow them to exist. Im a catholic christian but go to catholic hcruches. I have been having evil blasphemous thoughts and its really freaking me out. I started like 2 weeks ago when I was reading the bible and I found out that blasphemy against the holy spirit shall not Never be forgiven.

And I got really scared and worried. Also been crying to god. I also thought that I spoken bad about the holy spirit. Sometimes think that god is angry at me or hate me. But I know I did not blasphemy. Thank you for your help. Without knowing any more, or attempting to speculate or provide unfounded reassurances, I highly recommend you seek the help of a psychotherapist who specializes in treating OCD and understands religious Scrupulosity, as well as a confessor or priest you trust who knows about OCD and Scrupulosity. Discuss your concerns and follow their directions.

An online group, Scrupulous Anonymous, is a great place to read more about scrupulous issues from a uniquely Catholic perspective. If you would like to conference about this issue, or Scrupulosity in general, you may contact us through our website in order to set up an appointment. If you cannot find a priest or pastor who understands Scrupulosity, one of our therapists can also consult with them in order to help you through this time.

Thank you for the comment. Hi, I have posted on this site before and after doing some research i thought of a few questions that I cannot seem to get clear answers on.

A Suitcase of Feelings – Raising Children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – OCD Wisconsin

I am very much attacked by intrusive religious thoughts that RARELY leave me alone, every time I hear, read or see something religious my mind goes crazy and thoughts like, god isnt real, or god isnt good, what i just saw is a lie, thoughts that exalt the devil and thoughts about following the devil, the list goes on and on. So my first question is 1. If the thoughts quiet down and seemingly leave me alone for a while, is that a good sign that Im learning how to cope with my religious O. It has gotten to the point where the thoughts are not as bothersome as the used to be, they are still bothersome during the attacks, but not as bad, so is it a good sign im getting used to them as horrible as that sounds.

And finally, is this something that can ever go away or will these thoughts and strange fantasies always haunt me? Thank you so much for reading this long entry, and a response would be so helpful! Thanks again for your comment. On to your questions.


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Throughout your life, OCD will ebb and flow at unpredictable and sometimes inconvenient times. It can be a sign you are getting a handle on using some treatment tools, but it can also mean you are in an relatively easy phase of the cycle. Remember, OCD is a pattern of thinking based in a brain chemical imbalance, so it will most likely be with you for life in various permutations, but you can learn to live a full life with it and despite of it. Since you cannot fully control what thoughts are or are not in your head, a goal of treatment is to learn to tolerate these unwanted thoughts without needing to rid yourself of them entirely.

Rather than putting a qualitative good vs. What you describe in your comments is consistent with religious Scrupulosity, and I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with CBT. Hey me again. Know I feel really weird. Yesterday I was praying to the wonderful god.

And I stopped and made a pause on that prayer. Then all of a sudden I thought something wrong about the holy spirit. Then I got really scared and thought that I said something wrong. I continued prayer. I got really mad at god and jesus. Yelling and screaming at him. Then I felt really sad and started crying. That I might committed the unforgivable sin. I felt so left out and felt that the holy spirit departed from me. And that it was to late for me.

Today in the morning I was praying and again I thought I said something wrong. So I got scared, I started praying really fast and repenting a lot and fast. Because I was scared to lose repentance. It was werid because I felt like did wanted to go to church , but at the sometime I didnt. I was really in to what the priest said and I was really down for reading verses on the bible. Help me please. Is it the same OCD? Hi, I first want to say I definitely dont feel so alone after reading this article, and that is very comforting. I wanted to as you a question, would getting repeated horrible thoughts about past religious figures be considered an OCD.

Also the thing is that I dont want try the therapy method. So what else could I try. I am sick and tired of all this and I just want to live a peaceful life where I can observe my religion peacefully. Hi my name is Timmy. I just want to thank God for sites like this. I always make sure I rebuke bad thoughts in the name of Jesus but this action makes it much more powerful. Lately, I have been paying less attention to those blasphemous thoughts. But whenever they crop up and I am not worried about it , I am often scared, hoping that I have not committed the unforgiven sin.

I love God and I often bow down to him and proclaim that he is Lord over everyone. This OCD stuff has driven me to mental torture…. My life is in a huge mess right now.

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I need your prayers ….. I seriously hope that I have not prepared my place in hell….. However, what you write is consistent with your pattern of doubt, which is a hallmark of OCD. To be direct, your emphasis on the importance of feeling right, good, or motivated to pursue religious behavior is overvalued. This is similarly echoed in your church attendance and your fear following anger at God. Simply put, our feelings regularly change, and this change is sometimes inconsistent, inconvenient, and unwelcome. The trick with OCD, and faith , is to accept the fluctuations of our feelings as part of the natural ebb and flow of our emotions, not as the fruit of the spirit, a lack of faith, or the clear result of sin known or unknown.

I also want to give you the permission to be mad at God. That said, I again encourage you to seek the guidance of a trusted confessor or priest who can answer some of these questions. First, remember that Scrupulosity is just a word for a specific set of symptoms in OCD. MBCBT would help you to tolerate the discomfort of the unwanted thoughts without intentionally trying to reject them. But ultimately, avoiding and resisting fear and anxiety will only feed the monster. I truly want you to begin living the life you want to have, spiritual and otherwise, but that can only happen if you are alive.

To emphasize my previous suggestion, seeking treatment with a therapist who understands OCD and Scrupulosity will help you get a hold of these thoughts. It sounds like you have a basic understanding of how to approach these thoughts, but working with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD can help you further refine how to approach them, while also keeping an eye on your suicidal thinking.

So, for several reasons, I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking professional therapy. This passage is notoriously ambiguous and is a common area of focus with the religiously scrupulous. Remember that not all our thoughts are important, worth our attention, or reflect our honest personal sentiment. Lastly, we are capable of blasphemy, but not all blasphemy is unforgivable. I only have one of the obsessions listed in this article. I frequently have high anxiety over whether or not I am going to die and go to hell.

It seems to only flare up at night. I basically ignore my faith until I have a bout of anxiety. You ask a great question that deserves some background before it can be answered. OCD in general can be described as a pattern of obsessive thoughts that cause significant distress, for which the sufferer engages in behaviors to reduce the anxiety caused by those obsessions. The subtype title Scrupulosity, HOCD, etc is just a shorthand method of communicating the general symptoms, but it is not a separate diagnosis.

The typical religious experience can include anxiety, and a religious response to anxiety is often prayer. We need to be cautious to avoid pathologizing a normal range of anxiety and prayer, or other religious coping mechanisms. But your report that your worry is inconsistent suggests that it may be just a fleeting over-attention to religious adherence. Given your previous diagnosis of OCD, it is possible to engage in the same OCD cycle with your religious faith as you do with your other obsessions. With the lack of detail or assessment, I would be unable to definitively answer your question.

But the fact that you sought out this article and decided to comment suggests your distress is significant to you. If you are not currently seeing a therapist, please consider talking about these concerns with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT. Thank you for your comment, and good luck. Thank you for this article, my husband has been diagnosed with OCD but suffers very little with obsessive behaviors most people associate with OCD, such as washing hands and rituals.

It is painful to see someone you love feeling so hopeless, now I know that he is not alone in his feelings, thank you. Thank you for your comments. We are glad to hear that the article has helped you. We encourage you to have your husband read the article, and to have a discussion with him about seeking treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT. You may also want to click here to read our article on cognitive therapy for Scrupulosity. Take care. Is there a organization of priests who know how to treat scrupulosity. Also I have comorbid ptsd.

The severe ocd. For many years know I have had feeling that my bad thoughts can actually make things happen. Say for instance If a thought pops up that I want a plane to crash, it seems like quite often, it happens. Can thoughts and feelings make these things happen? As you can imagine, the guilt I feel afterwards is horrible. Thoughts that you may somehow be responsible for something bad occurring are quite common in OCD and are considered to be a symptom of what is colloquially described as Harm OCD.

Thoughts cannot make things happen — they are just thoughts. You can click here to read more about Thought-Action Fusion. Thank you for posting this article. This article has given me more insight on what I have been experiencing most of my life and I now feel less alone. Ever since I was old enough to say my first bad word, I suffered from horrible intrusive thoughts, thoughts of calling God and all that things holy bad things and bad names, it was to a point I feared I was cursing at God or cursing his name.

I have battled immensely with theses thoughts and prayed and just became exhausted. It has affected my faith and my relationship with God for many years. I even often wondered and feared that I was possessed because I could not help but to think that was the only thing that made sense as to why I was having these horrible thoughts. I am 29 now and dealt with these unwanted thoughts and feelings most of my life.

There have been times were I have had control over theses unwanted thoughts and feelings and they would go away for awhile and then come back. I recently got into a relationship with someone who is like me Catholic. I have been single for a very long time up until I recently met and got with this person.

These unwanted thoughts and feelings have not only put a strain on my relationship with God but with others. I fear that by being with this person I am not fulfilling in Gods will and that I am going against Him and His will along with the Holy Spirit. I fear that I am focusing too much on what I what and not what He wants for me.

Because of this I have had a lot of unwanted thoughts and a lot of feelings of fear and guilt. I fear that the only way to get Gods approval is to leave my partner. He is a very good man and so far being with him has been one of my best relationships and he certainly does not deserve all of this. He thankfully has been patient and I have been able to talk to him about all this but the fear and guilt still exist.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice! My name is John. I am however, Taking steps towards treating my OCD. I always take my medicine and listen to my doctors. I guess I just have a question maybe you can answer Kevin. As a child I felt like I had to rush my life and do all the things I wanted to before Jesus comes. This resulted in my resentment of God and rebellion when I turned A few years later I started speaking to my father again and going to church every Sunday.

I Love God and pray every morning to him and for my family. I want to move in with my boyfriend this year but I know that I will be living in sin and my father will know about it. I am afraid I will make a mistake and also that I can never do what I truly want to do because I have to do what God wants. I am unaware of an organization consisting of priests treating Scrupulosity. I would encourage you to visit the website of Scrupulous Anonymous , which may have some resources that can link you to priests who understand Scrupulosity.

Please understand that a priest is not trained to threat the psychological components of OCD, much less understand the treatment of PTSD. If you are seeking treatment for Scrupulosity, I would recommend you seek a professional therapist who is trained in the treatment of OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT and has an understanding of, or is willing to learn about, Scrupulosity. Knowing you have a history of religiously based obsessions, you may benefit from treating this no differently than you would any other OCD obsession. Treatment for OCD ultimately aims to help the sufferer habituate to the feeling of fear.

Until that time, breaking up with your boyfriend based on the feeling of fear would be a compulsion, not a decision based on rational, objective, values-based consideration. Please consider processing this with your therapist. You may also want to consider working with a therapist who uses a specific type of CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT , which is designed to help people live their lives rooted in values and meaning, not fear and avoidance.

Good luck, and thank you for the comment. Great question. Yes, it is quite common for OCD to manipulate the way you interpret the meaning of thoughts and experiences. This is a process we call Cognitive Distortion. Our second article in this Scrupulosity series illustrates how to challenge these distortions by developing more rational and evidence based thinking. I encourage you click here to read that article , as it may help answer your question in more detail.

From that point I have overcome, became a Christian and yet other thoughts have come at times. I had issues with relationship rightness. Now I have the compounded issue that I told God I would do something. With all that said I am the Pastor of a flourishing church, I do very much in the way of evangelizing my community, with the results that people are sitting in church due to my direct contact with them on the streets. I have street preached before and feel the other ways I am doing it are more effective.

Despite all that I feel so depressed at times, guilty and confused. Feel as though God were far from me and I am not good because I have not preached on the corner I grew up on, thus I am prideful and ashamed of God. Some have even seen me preach at church. How can I call myself a Pastor???? This has led to serious depression at times. Sometimes it seems to break a week or so.

I read your conflicting statement that you feel guilty about not following through on this promise to preach on that specific corner, yet you realize that other forms of preaching are more effective for you. You will need to humbly and painfully accept that your goodness is not based on where you preach, no matter what you said to God. It will be worth talking with a trained therapist who can help you unpack your OCD-distorted view of God in order to work toward a relationship with God that is not based on obligation and shame, but forgiveness and trust.

Best of luck.

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Your pain and discomfort are very evident in your comment. I understand your desire to do right by people in your life. However I cannot dissuade you enough from marrying your boyfriend solely on the basis that you want to make your father and God happy. You are an adult with free will and can choose to marry him if you want. Marrying him to please others could lead to further resentment against your father, and potentially against your now boyfriend.

Like everyone else, you are going to make choices and mistakes in life. But the best you can do is make decisions based on the best of what you know about yourself and what makes the most sense for you, not what makes the most sense for others. And those choices will have many possible consequences, both good and bad. If you are not already in therapy, I would recommend you seek the guidance of a trained therapist who can help you through this difficult decision, and to help you process the feelings you have about your father.

I wish you the best of luck. I have thoughts of being possessed. I rather not fear them but do anyway. For example, prayer for spiritual guidance is a normal part of faith, but praying compulsively and repetitively in an effort to reduce anxiety related to unwanted thoughts is a symptom of OCD. I started off with with intrusive thoughts about blasphomy a few years back. I sought treatment and was able to come to the conclusion that the thoughts I was having were not inline with my feelings and did not mean I was going to hell.

I was good after that but now I am struggling again. I had the random thought what if I heard an evil voice. From there it was like I imagined a voice saying negitive things and that made me question weather I actually was. The crazy part is I know that Im not and I know it is in my head or intrusive thoughts but they can be very random. Have you ever had anyone with these symtoms? In this inline with Scrupulosity Ocd? This thought is likely a part of OCD if: a you do compulsive behaviors in an effort to alleviate any anxiety related the thoughts; b if you attempt to nullify or answer the question; or c if you seek reassurance about the thought.

Good luck! My current anxiety is off the charts right now. I can barely make to work, let alone function normally. Is my OCD getting worse, or am I really on the path to hell? How do I distinguish between if my OCD is destroying me or if I truly am headed to eternal damnation? Unfortunately, it causes disproportionate anguish in those concerned with it. That said, no one, including priests, pastors, or therapists, will be able to confirm if you are on the path to Heaven or Hell.

If finances are of concern, you should consider starting with some books on OCD and begin working through them. Ciarrocchi, or Understanding Scrupulosity by Thomas Santa. Thanks for the comment, and good luck. Sometimes I worry that I have the wrong faith and that a different god of a different religion will test my non-existent faith by making my worst fear come true.

FYI, my worries revolve around demon possession and whether I can cause that to happen to my son. Great question, and thank you for the comment. With or without OCD, people of faith very often have fears that their faith will be tested by God in a way that would be excessively challenging, cumbersome, or even painful. That said, the nature of the fear and the perceived appropriate response may be distorted and exaggerated by OCD.

Best of luck in the process. This seems to help the most as it gets me out of the house and acts as a good distraction, as well as clearing my head. Thank you for checking in. Keep pushing forward with your self care, and hopefully you can connect with your therapist on a more consistent basis soon.

Best of luck! My mane is iris and I think I may have this.. I had intrusive thoughts and have sinned against God.. All my mind do what s think of the horror of my thoughts … Since then all I do is try to go online for help.. Thank you for your comment, and good luck in your recovery. I am agnostic leaning toward atheism. And on and on. It helps to share, as doing so helps disarm the disorder.

Anxiety convinces you that a particular outcome will happen despite your logic, beliefs, and lack of evidence. But anxiety never cares about reason. If you are looking to get a handle on these thoughts, please consider starting some counseling with a qualified therapist who specializes in OCD treatment. This was a great read. My OCD is all about prayer, making sure I pronounce every word and letter of my prayer properly otherwise I have to start again but not before apologising to God for my mistake. I almost always cry every day about it because I get panic attacks and anxiety from it.

I also get panic attacks when someone around me swears or does something un christian like around me, including songs, movies, tweets, Facebook posts you name it. This is the first time I publicly post about my OCD and it was just because your article was great. Thank you for being so bold to share! Being open about these thoughts is really a great first step toward your recovery.

So, keep sharing with your therapist. In regards to your panic attacks, remember that we are not in control of what others do, no matter who they are, and we are not responsible for their actions. Reminding yourself of this can provide enough grounding for you to hold back on compulsive, unnecessary prayer, and ultimately help you to live a faith of enjoyment rather than obligation and fear. I have to also say thank you for this article. I left a physically and emotionally abusive husband almost 30 years ago. We were Mormons, and I am glad you included the fact that scrupulosity crosses all faiths.

For seven years, I never had a normal life. My partner spent hours praying in his room—sometimes up to seven or eight hours. In the last year of our marriage, he came down on Thanksgiving day at 4 oclock in the afternoon. Christmas day—he would get up, open the small gifts we had, and then go back upstairs and pray for another seven hours. It was impossible for him to keep a job. I felt like I could not expose what was going on…. It was like be married to an alcoholic. I lived a nightmare. Thanks for this article—now I can clearly see what was wrong with him.


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  • Thank you for the kind words. And yes, Scrupulosity can affect people of any faith or no faith. Keep pushing forward, and thank you again.

    Hi I need help and advice. I have been studying the brain and hope to go into neurology someday. My brother has this thing that if he moves past line he is blaspheming the holy spirit and he has obsessive thoughts that wont go away. He stand for hours immobilized by his fear of moving past the line and in doing so blaspheming the holy spirit. It was not as bad at first but now its hard to get him to do anything. My mom has the same thing but she got over it. The thing my brother is dealing with is causing a relapse. Who should I contact because I know its more likely he will listen to someone who is a specialist in this area.

    You can first direct your brother to this article and the rest of our series on Scrupulosity, and encourage him to see if anything in the articles resonates with him. That can be a good start to getting him into treatment or at least talking about these issues with a professional. Thank you Kevin R. The OCD has an ebb and flow to it.

    It seems as if stress makes it come back on stronger. I sometimes wonder if abuse is the cause of a certain percentage of those with OCD. I also think this is why I have had trouble with feeling unforgivable. Anyway, have you ever heard of something like this? She also would stress that drinking coffee was bad even though she drank it herself and sometimes she would give me coffee in my milk and I felt conflicted.

    I could go on.. Thanks for any response. The research on OCD has yet to identify why a person has a particular obsession or focus of their obsessional thinking. While some can point to a specific event that initially triggered an anxious or fear response, others can make no such connection. Research suggests that OCD sufferers are predisposed to having obsessional thinking regardless of their upbringing or experiences. I have treated clients who, like you, have had troubling childhoods, and subsequently have obsessions focused on themes related to their childhood struggles.

    Bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit come to my mind and I get so scared and worried that I might commit the unpardonable sin. All of us know that the unpardonable sin is when we say that the works of the Holy Spirit come from the devil or when we resist and try to get the Holy Spirit away from us when he tries to get us close to Jesus, right?

    Thank You. These passages offer little detail, and no follow up definition in any of the subsequent gospels or letters. Then I was in the ER with a copy of the bible in the room, so I had to hide it behind some paperwork, as just looking at gave me anxiety that I was going to hell for thoughts that were not mine. Last night I had another dream that God told me that all is fine, that God is NOT done with me yet, and has plans for me. Blasphemy is not accepting Jesus as savior and forgiveness, not words or thoughts you have, I found peace.

    Great comment! Our mind will, whether we like it or not, and whether we agree with it or not, give us an unlimited range of thoughts that we cannot control. We must, however, acknowledge and accept that some of these thoughts may run counter to our expressed desires and values, but we are not held responsible by God or man for them. When it comes to recovering from OCD, what you do with these unwanted thoughts is what counts, which is why not doing compulsions and avoidant behaviors is the key to progress.

    Keep it up! Hi, my name is Elisabeth and I am now just stumbling upon this website. I did not think, until recently, that my OCD way of thinking took religion way too far and kept me in chains. Guilt and shame are bullies that drive us into a dark corner within ourselves, while also drawing us away from that which we genuinely need — relationships with others. Healing happens when you can talk freely about that which is fueling this guilt and shame in a non-judgmental environment.

    Thank you for the comment, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey. God Bless us. I would be happy to help, but the first and most important thing you can do for yourself right now is to reach out to a qualified OCD therapist that you can begin working with regularly.

    Hey everyone! I attended a Catholic school and the Religion teacher once said that making a deal with the devil was a terrible sin. I started doing ERP with a cognitive psychologist last year and she encouraged me to actually SAY those thoughts aloud, so following her advice and as a way of exposing myself I put the thoughts into words, I said I sold my soul to the devil in exchange for something. Of course nothing strange ever happened, nor did I get anything of what I was asking for. But I started doubting whether that was the right way of exposing myself or not.

    Because to me, saying those scary thoughts aloud meant doing what I did not want to do, just like it would feel for someone with sexual OCD to carry out their thoughts. Do you think that was the way to go for someone with this type of OCD? You ask a really good question that is frequently asked by those with Scrupulosity. Unfortunately some exposures may feel insensitive or outright offensive.

    This is subjective to the clinician and the client. I cannot make a judgement on the work offered by your previous therapist as I was not present in your treatment, nor do I know your attitude toward this exposure at the time. That said, all exposures are up for negotiation. You should, however, be challenging ALL grey areas of doubt with your therapist, possibly with the participation of a spiritual leader if you have one. If in doubt, discuss the rationale of exposures with your therapist who should be open and flexible, especially with faith.

    It is only the equivalent of someone saying that they want to act on that sexual obsession. Saying and doing are NOT the same thing. For someone with your obsession, the equivalent of acting in a sexual manner that is inconsistent with their true beliefs would be to actually sell your soul to the devil. We frequently assign clients with sexual and religious obsessions to say the things that they fear usually because they are compulsively avoiding even saying these things for fear that doing so would make them come true , but we do not ask people to do any behaviors that are inconsistent with their beliefs.

    My obsessive thoughts are about Christian lessons on wives. My husband often says you know you are right, why do you pay them heed? A lot of which really angers me. Yet I worry because as long as I resent and carry anger towards God, hell is where I would go anyway. I hope someone knows a way to help me stop this. First and foremost, OCD is driven by indulging in the compulsive search for certainty.

    People who read the Bible, especially those with OCD, must accept a level of uncertainty. You must accept that you may never find a full and complete answer that satisfies your doubt. On a smaller note, there is nothing that says you cannot be angry with God. Re-read the Psalms and Lamentations.

    They are full of writing that expresses anger and heartbreak with God. This point is better unpacked with a knowledgeable and trustworthy therapist who specializes in spiritual integration. Either way, speaking with a therapist who also understands OCD can help you get a better handle on this. Hi,I have ocd scrupulous for ten years now. Seeing this article just kind of made me feel better and I want to say thank you. Unfortunately, OCD tends to be a life long pattern of thinking that has patterns of ebb and flow.

    The good news is that it can be effectively managed with treatment and persistent discipline in aftercare. Despite effective treatment, anxiety and OCD will still fluctuate in intensity, but may not be nearly as disruptive or last as long as previous spikes. I encourage you to approach this current bout of anxiety with the same tools and techniques you learned and used during your earlier time in therapy.

    I just want this to stop and end. And I feel guilty and ashamed and like a huge sinner the whole time! Scrupulous thoughts are painful, especially since they feel so real and convincing. OCD is founded upon half truths and emotional deception. Hiding and maintaining your compulsions do nothing but feed the anxiety and magnify that sense of shame.

    Crucial to the recovery process is putting a halt to any and all compulsive behavior, including asking for reassurance, excessive confession, excessive prayer, scriptural research, or repetitive ritualistic behaviors. Challenging the distorted cognitions with rational thoughts is also a very important step in the treatment process.

    If you have not done so already, please see the second installment of this series in which we discuss cognitive distortions and their effect on the OCD cycle. A better alternative is for you to accept that you are in a complicated state of being both, and neither, which places you in the same boat as every other person on Earth.

    I highly encourage you to begin working with a qualified therapist who can help you work through some of these thoughts and help you to accept yourself as you are while challenging the irrational lies of OCD. I can identify with what Kristen wrote. I grew up in a Catholic family and attended mass and Sunday school. When I was ten, I began experiencing blasphemous thoughts and seeing disturbing graphic images every time I prayed, whether it was at church, outside or at home. I begged God to free me and made all kinds of promises on the condition that I would be healed.

    I also forced myself to repeat the same prayers, make the sign of the cross or read Bible passages over and again until I was able to get through them without interruption. I was terrified by my experience and, as a child, never thought that my problem might have a mental origin. In my case, the thoughts faded out gradually when I turned sixteen and, for the most part, have not returned. Thanks to the writer of this website and all the contributors who have showed me for the first time that I was not alone in this.

    I am pleased and encouraged that our series of articles on Scrupulosity has been well received by you and other readers, and that the comments have been a place for people to find further motivation and guidance toward their recovery. Best of luck on your own journey. What kind of treatment do you suggest for me? For more specific details on their direct application to Scrupulosity, please continue reading this series. Without more detail I am unable to provide any further specifics for what your treatment would include, but that should be worked out in collaboration with a qualified therapist.

    Thanks for the article. I have had to get daily reassurance of my salvation from peers and mentors or repeatedly think through these conversations until I could talk to someone and would vacillate between strict discipline and anxiously avoiding daily devotions. The whole thing is pretty distressing and distracting, yet I am also hesitant to think it might be OCD.

    On the other hand, I am concerned that if these patterns continue I will not be able to live a very productive or contented life. What are your thoughts? Does this sound like scrupulosity? Doubt, reassurance seeking, and avoidance are mainstays of OCD. And though I cannot provide a diagnosis via this blog, you were drawn to a blog about OCD and identified with it enough to comment.

    At the very least, it would be worth talking with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD about what you are going through so they can point you in the right direction. You can even take this article in with you to discuss it with them. Both may help you gain a greater understanding of your repetitive patterns and avoidant behaviors so that you can confidently pursue a productive and meaningful life. I have had thoughts of suicide because of the despair these thoughts have caused me. I have reached out for help so many times and gotten no response or the people who rarely do respond do not know about OCD or intrusive thoughts and cannot help me.

    The only Hell there is is not being with God. The core of your comment seems to be that you cannot gain sufficient confirmation that Jesus loves you. Scrupulosity is a pattern of thinking that promotes doubt, discredits affirming information, and hyperbolically focuses on minimal, obscure, or out-of-context information.

    Very common fears tend to be centered around one not being saved, unforgivably blasphemous, or disproportionately sinful, and a myriad combinations of these. I also suggest that you contact your local LGBT organization, as they may offer free support groups that can help you address your fears with others in a similar position. I have had scrupulosity since I almost killed myself before because I thought the only way I could stop being an awful person is if I die. I told my mom to stop protecting me because I deserve to die. Last night I realized that I might go to Hell, and I have been really upset all day.

    I have different obsessions. Sometimes I obsess over a specific sin, or going to Hell, or a specific Bible verse. Your story is heartbreaking, and OCD aside, know that nobody deserves to die because of thoughts or feelings. I implore you to speak with your mother to discuss meeting with a therapist to begin addressing suicidal thoughts and any depression driving this belief that you are an awful person.

    An assessment with an OCD specialist will help to accurately diagnose OCD and begin effectively treating these thoughts, if clinically indicated. Also, if you at any time feel genuinely suicidal, please go to your local emergency room immediately. Read through the second and third installments of this series and try to come up with any evidence you can that goes against the thoughts.

    You may not feel better immediately, but feeling better starts with thinking more accurately about who you are, and treating unwanted thoughts as what they are— simply thoughts, not facts. Hello, over the past couple of days I have been experiencing extreme religious OCD. I wish I could go back to the way I use to live without any questions. If you can help me control these thoughts I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the comment Jack. Scrupulosity is nothing more than a religious or moral spin on OCD and should be treated no differently than any other type of OCD you current have.

    Unfortunately, you cannot go back in time, however you can move forward with your current thoughts and doubts under the assumption they are OCD and therefore do not require any further action, attention, or compulsion. If you have not done so already, talk with your therapist about these thoughts and begin applying the techniques you already know and use to these new religious thoughts. I have always been hesitant to search for this.

    For me this started at 17, I am almost 23 now; i was always terrified.

    OCD: The War Inside

    Still am sometimes. It was not until this year that i looked up my problem on the internet. And i interpretated that as dont go to the world internet or anything of it therapy which i still believe. But for the first time this summer i saw a Christian Councellor and she is looking up scupoulosity for me.


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    I suffer from intrusive thoughts, fear of blasphemy and hurting people in what you could call sexual ways that are literally not plausible and i could not do, but i still see. And I have hated it. But I feel my eyes are a projector and i am allowing the evil image to be played through them. And i cringe and shake my head to reject them and again try to prove that i am. I fear that if i drop my guard or dont reject them right away, i might end up agreeing with them, or that Jesus or God will count them against me. While it may make you feel better and more self-confident in the short-term, shaking your head no and keeping your guard up to reject the thoughts is a compulsive behavior that maintains the presence and strength of the OCD.

    Have faith that God knows who you truly are, then resist making an effort to prove something that you, in your heart of hearts, believe is untrue. We are unlikely to do that which we are most afraid, so the best thing you can do is accept that you are having the thought and move on. I grew up to believe that God punishes and avenges every sin. I spent my childhood attempting not to sin and doing penance e.

    This image of God is harmful. Yet, although I can argue against it e. God is too good to be such a sadist , it keeps hold of me. However, since a few years, I have refused to do penance compulsively and refused to believe out of fear. A few days ago, for the first time in my life, I committed a wilful act of insult against God.

    Now, I feel that I have no way to reconcile the blasphemy, other than compulsive penance, to which I do not want to revert. Can you recommend books on: a recovering from harmful religious views, b relations between OCD and fundamentalism, c the acute conflict over blasphemy. Thanks for the comment Samuel. Now that you have acknowledged a history of compulsive, distorted, and self-tortuous thoughts and behaviors, do not continue them simply because your anxiety suggests you should. Rather, acknowledge the thought, pursue the typical penance that anyone in your religious tradition would seek following this perceived insult against God, and resist the urge to follow through with any excessive prayer, act of penance, apology, or self punishment for this infraction.

    We all make mistakes, and religions typically have a reasonable method of seeking atonement without outrageous and continual self punishment. Can the causes of scrupolosity be as a result of bullying that occurred during school? I wonder if that can lead to developing scrupolosity? The exact causes of OCD are unknown. Bullying is unlikely to be the sole contributor to OCD the great majority of people who have been bullied do not develop OCD , but it could play a part in the timing and content of its expression.

    Symptoms can also be influenced by other issues, such as primary depression, parental attachment, and social skills, to name a few. When I started to practice mindfulness in an attempt to calm my obsessive mind and also after reading the power of now by Tolle, I started to panic and fear about the sense of self and illusions and whether reality was real itself.

    Now all of this new age stuff which has roots in Buddhism has scared me and my obsessions have started to centre around that. It basically just keeps going because recognising the thoughts as just thoughts is basically what really started to make me obsess about that!!

    To me this kind of almost fits in here but not really… Any thoughts? You are giving excessive attention to the thought about existence, thoughts, and reality, which ultimately can never be answered with any tangible and objective satisfaction despite compulsive efforts to seek understanding and certainty. One of the main objectives of Mindfulness-Based CBT is to accept the moment as it is, without exception, while recognizing that we may never find answers to our big life questions. Consequently, we move forward in life as best we can while resisting the urge to waste time in fruitless compulsive searches.

    I always get unwanted intrusive thoughts and I have been trying to do a lot of research on it, but everyone that has it is older. I always have the worst thoughts and they just repeat over and over and it drives me insane!!! It has gotten really bad and I have a very hard time focusing at school. If you ask my family, I am the most religious one because I am so afraid.

    If you feel safe telling your parents, I encourage you to share your fears with them. You mentioned your dad may be more understanding, if not having personal experience with this! Consider printing out this article and giving it to your dad, then talking with him about what parts of the article sound like what you are going through. More often than not, parents care about the happiness and wellbeing of their children, and I bet your parents want you to be happy and healthy too. You may also want to contact a local therapist who understands OCD and Scrupulosity to discuss your concerns with them, and to talk about how they can help.

    I have been trying it on my own with limited success but I cant afford a therapist so I keep trying. The funny thing is Im not really very religious but my fear of going to hell is very strong. I have just gotten so tired of it ruining my life Im at the end of my rope but still trying. Furthermore, this fear overrides any sense of logic. There are plenty of great books out there that outline ERP and can help you develop a self-guided treatment.

    I think i have this seriously… Because i have unwanted thoughts 5 months, because i was thinking any thoughts that i cannot wanted to be. And i was afraid to talk i almost never talk and now i cannot listen to pop music and rock music. Well back to the question i have totally got this thoughts and i have totally got and Ocd? And in January and Until now in March it is completely blasphemous thoughts or i cannot control my blasohemous thoughts. The more we fight our thoughts away, the more they fight to stay, and the more attention we give them, the stronger they become.

    Then, gently redirect your attention and energy toward those things you genuinely value. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to find an OCD therapist with whom you can discuss these thoughts and begin challenging their meaning. I think ive been suffering this OCD but im still 13 years old. I love my religion catholic and I really dont want to abandon this. I really love Jesus but my mind dont. I wish those thoughts Go awaaay. I keep on fighting and forcing myself that I really love God. I tried to make my faith stronger but still, I cant because of my mind.

    Ive been suffering anxiety disorder right now and its been 1 year I think and it just getting worst and worst now but i took up medication and I got a lot better but my OCD religion is still present. It seems like this is a battle between my heart and my mind. I really miss God and I dont want to be an atheist or something. I want to be loyal to my religion.

    I want my mind to believe in Him. Thank you for reading and please tell me that this is really OCD and not me. One common compulsion related to religious Scrupulosity is avoidance, combined with mentally trying to convince your self that you never really believed in the first place.

    For the person who genuinely believes in God, this is an avoidance, and is antithetical to recovery from OCD. Religious faith is not devoid of doubt, nor is the absence of doubt a sign that one is truly faithful. Rather, we acknowledge the content of our doubt as possible, while also acknowledging that when anxiety is low we return to our religious practices and continue moving forward in our relationship with God. Resist the urge that you must feel confident and certain about God at all times! A competent OCD therapist should be able to help you further challenge these thoughts and tolerate the bouts of anxiety and uncertainty, and I encourage you to seek out a professional if possible.

    I know that I have had OCD in the past but until recently my medication seemed to take care of that. It seems now that I force blasphemous things into my mind, or at least feel the need to. I feel the need for my good thoughts to be followed up by a bad, almost opposite thought. I am driving myself away from everything that I care about for what?

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