At one time or another, all of us will experience pain that may linger –physical, financial, emotional, or mental. Is it fair? We know the answer. The problem is that when we are in the middle of turbulent waters we usually forget “the why.”
Before coming to earth, we were most likely excited about the journey. We were ready for the adventure. We were given the opportunity to choose. One third of our fellow spirits chose otherwise (Job 38:7, Isaiah 14:13, Luke 10:18, D&C 29:36). Satan presented his plan and Heavenly Father did not agree as it would be pointless to follow it. (Moses 4:1)
Jesus Christ knew what was needed, and so the rest of us agreed to experience whatever mortal life would offer, in order to learn and grow. We were willing to experience mortality so we could progress as spiritual beings and return back better individuals than when we started (Moses 1:39). We often forget that we are spiritual beings having a mortal experience.
When the mortal challenge is scrupulosity OCD
When you experience excessive anxiety related to your faith and religion, it can be extra painful. For example, we (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) are taught to pray always (2 Nephi 32:9) and everywhere (Alma 17:28). Yet, if you struggle with scrupulosity OCD, the scrupulous mind may insist that “You’ve got to repeat your prayers because you got distracted, and God doesn’t listen to imperfect prayers.”
In your religion’s environment, your devotion may be misunderstood. Your family, friends, and church leaders may interpret your scrupulosity OCD as spiritual dedication. Your obsessions (e.g., worry thoughts) and compulsions (unhelpful public or private behaviors) to find relief from your affliction may go unnoticed. You may become disheartened, “Why is my faith and religion causing such distress?” You may not realize this affliction is OCD. It becomes an emotional slippery slope and you begin to suffer in silence.
You are not alone!
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, OCD affects 2.2. million adults, or one percent of the population in the United States. Many organizations like the ADAA and the International OCD Foundation among others are aware of your suffering and continue to find ways to provide information, skills and most importantly, hope.
The gospel of Jesus Christ and your faith can be your main resource. In addition, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) the behavioral part of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, can also provide the vehicle towards flexibility and meaning despite the uncertainty you may experience every day.
Consider your answers here:
- What matters more to me other than the content of the thoughts my scrupulous mind provides?
- Are the behaviors I’m doing creating short or long-lasting results for me?
- What am I willing to do to live meaningfully despite the “choppy waters” in my life?
You can ACT in Faith!