Question:

Hi,

I've been poking around the Internet. I was actually trying to find an OCD support group online but without any luck.

However, I was fascinated to read the postings and questions of the individual with OCD/Religious or scrupulosity because I have gone through every single thing that individual has gone through, but I am more or less in "remission," or semi-remission. I still suffer a lot of symptoms but haven't had to worry about the possibility of losing salvation or blaspheming God. You know, the unpardonable sin part. I can't even bring myself to fully mention right now. However, for a long time I was scared sick about those things. But I have become "well" in regard to that problem, though the problem rears its ugly head once in a while.

I also understand the constant begging for reassurance and over-dependence on people for it -- and the fact that it tends to drive other people absolutely insane, if you know what I mean. It occurs because people seem much more immediately available since you can't "see" God. Now I understand what a friend of mine was trying to say when he said to "practice the presence of God."

Obviously, it's probably not a good idea to ask you to give my e-mail address to the person because it might lead to an unhealthy dependence by him-her on me in my current strength (however temporary or permanent).

I would just so desperately want this person to know, however, "Friend - I know exactly what you are going through. I know everything you are going through. Because I have been through it all! Like me, your emotions scream at you so loudly that you cannot hear what the voice of reason is saying. And further, I want you to know, I inherited this exact same problem from my grandmother on my mom's side, and she feared the exact same things as you and I did or do. OCD has a strong link to genetic inheritance, just as most other mental illnesses do. Dear friend, what I say now will only reassure you for about five minutes if you are in the heat of OCD battle because that's what the "monster" of OCD does; that's how it attacks. As soon as you get peace, there is something that comes along and steals it. Your soul screams for absolute certainty, and it is hard to find in this world. God and His Word is, I think, the only absolute certainty. As an OCD sufferer, you will naturally take things in the Bible out of context, which is the major contributor to your religious anxiety. You read something out of context and immediately assume it is condemning you. You must remember that CONTEXT IS KING, to turn a phrase -- just an expression -- you're probably thinking because I capitalized "king" that I'm detracting from God's Kingship, but I'm not -- see, I do know how you think because I have struggled with the "monster" of OCD for decades, like my grandmother before me. Friend, I know you are hurting and I'm very sorry for it and I truly sympathize with you. I have been occasionally helped by prescription tranquilizers. Be very careful of SSRIs or anti-depressants, however, because some of the side effects can truly be dangerous - be certain you see a psychiatrist about medications and be sure he absolutely rules out Bipolar disorder as a secondary illness or some medications will make you considerably worse. However, being on medication for a time might bring your anxiety down to a level where you can actually start to think more rationally. By the way, I am not currently on any medication at all. I took them for a season, maybe I will have to take them again, but I don't know. But I wish so desperately for you to find peace. I really believe God is in control. I do not believe He is the kind of God who gives you salvation one minute and snatches it away the next. I do not believe the Bible teaches that God sets up His children for failure. I do not believe He saves His children knowing they will be damned later. It does not make sense for God to do this. He is an all-knowing, all powerful God, so it does not make sense for Him to change His mind. He does not look at someone and say, 'saved today, damned tomorrow.' So relax my friend, for as long as you can (and expect you will one day struggle again, but we all struggle in one way or another. It is important to consider the entire counsel of God. It is hard to do because some verses are confusing! For now, it might help for you to focus on the book of Romans for a few days, especially Romans chapter 8. I also love what the Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 7, that he found himself doing what he hated and found it really hard to do the righteous things he wanted to do.

I do, so desperately hope this letter is published where you can read it, my fellow OCD friend, in the hopes that you will be comforted with the same comfort that I believe God has given me. Be patient in affliction my friend. God loves you. He is not out to get you. He is out to seek you and find you. It sounds to me like He has already found you but that you keep forgetting that.

I hope you have a family member or dear friend in your life who will love you through your struggles.

Satan knows you have OCD and he will beat you over the head with it as often as possible, but he cannot steal the saved soul from God. God is the Creator and what He says is what is. I can tell you what your next thought is going to be right now: "Well, Satan can't steal the saved soul from God, but what if I was never really saved and just thought I was?" My friend, when will this questioning ever end? OCD is endless doubt. God knows you are miserable. He does not want His children to live in endless doubt. I bet one of your parents was a perfectionist and judging and you could never do anything right in that person's eyes. But God justifies those who believe Him and walk with Him. Just seek Him, my friend. Seek the relationship. Like the minister said, pray about true needs and pour out your heart to Him. Hey man, believe me, you won't feel as though He will answer you sometimes, but just make the decision to put everything in His hands. And don't beat yourself up if it takes you some time to learn how to do this.


Answer:

I purposely don't keep records of past questions, so I don't have a way of sending your note to the person, but I posted your note. Perhaps he, or others who suffer from scrupulosity, will benefit from your encouragement.

Thank you very much, Mr. Hamilton. I should have said something about the spiritual aspect of the struggle, but I wrote in the middle of the night and was, perhaps, not as thorough as I would have liked; plus my wife reminded me of some additional things. But I appreciate that you posted this and do hope it will be of comfort to someone.