Through my website, I can see what search terms are bringing people to my blog, and this week, the number one search term was “OCD torture.” It breaks my heart. But I can completely understand and relate.
For those who are in the throes of such torture:
Welcome to my blog. I know what you’re going through– I was there myself, only about 5 years ago. And the torture was long-lasting for me– nearly 15 years of it. It’s crazy how we can even bear up, isn’t it? Sometimes I am amazed that I survived, was able to get through school, was able to keep my job. Every single day, I hurt so bad. Every single day, I had this feeling that something was wrong, something was off. I felt frantic. The weight of the world was on my shoulders, even from when I was young. Personally, my OCD attacked my Christian faith and made me doubt my salvation, and that doubt is like pure agony to one who loves Christ. So many evenings I spent weeping, almost keening, because I couldn’t handle the thoughts and doubts that were inhabiting my brain, burrowing into it as if they’d stay forever.
My OCD attacked whatever was most important to me. It made me think people were secretly against me, it made me think I shouldn’t tell my problems to my best friend, it made me think it was sinful to write (one of my life’s greatest loves), it made me think I was gay when I clearly was not, it made me think I was a sex offender, it made me think it was wrong to meet new people or to talk to anyone I didn’t know (not helpful when your job is recruiting!). It made me feel guilty if I brought home a STAPLE from work. It made me feel guilty and sinful all the time. And TERRIFIED too. It wasn’t always just a dull agony. Quite often it ramped into a shrill, turbulent nightmare. Overwhelming, engulfing terror would swallow me whole. And then sometimes, to hide itself, it would make me even doubt that I had OCD (tricky bastard!!).
Notice I say it made me feel this way. OCD, my disorder, made me feel this way. The guilt and terror were not from God. The thoughts and doubts weren’t my own. They were given to me, like the ugliest of gifts, from my disorder.
I remember reading blog post about the unpardonable sin, thinking that is me. I am in those shoes, and I will never be out of them. Guess what? I have been delivered from that ugly hold OCD had on me. I still have it. But I’m the boss; it’s not.
How? Cognitive-behavioral therapy, specifically exposure and response prevention therapy, which I’ve explained on my blog here. Now, after twelve weeks of CBT, I have been in control of my OCD for the last four years. It’s like another life. When I feel guilty now, it’s because I’ve done something wrong. When I doubt something, I don’t freak out– I seek out advice from family, friends, and the Holy Spirit. I know my soul belongs to God. I can look at OCD’s silly suggestions and see that they are ridiculous. I don’t have to entertain them. I can toss them aside like I never could before.
And my OCD knows it’s not in control anymore. To be honest, it doesn’t even fight me as much now that it knows it loses every single time. It knows I have the tools to toss it out the window, so it keeps pretty quiet around me.
Meanwhile, it is torturing you. I hate that. I want you to be free like I am. It is going to be a rough road, but there is help. Find a cognitive-behavioral therapist, buckle in, and do whatever you have to do to complete your therapy. And when you want to quit, you can post a comment on this blog, and I will be your cheerleader. Skip the traditional talk therapy. You need someone who knows how to do ERP.
Start today. It’s time for freedom.
Note for those without health insurance: If you can’t afford to see a cognitive-behavioral therapist, and if you’re ready to take back your life, you can try a self-guided CBT experience with an iPhone app like the one at http://www.liveOCDfree.com or by using a book like “Stop Obsessing!” by Edna Foa or “Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty” by Dr. Jonathan Grayson.