Imagine being on a boat in the open ocean and the weather begins to change. The waves become dangerously high and a storm develops. As this storm begins, you are alone; what would you do?
When scrupulosity OCD storms rage in your life, how do you respond when your thoughts and emotions become overwhelming? Your OCD mind will immediately provide advice to keep you safe. Will you trust its advice, or your faith?
When you are in the middle of an OCD storm, remember that the OCD mind is ‘talking’ on behalf of the obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD: a condition when you experience recurring unwanted and unpleasant thoughts, memories, images, ideas, feelings, sensations, and so on. As you try to get rid of those internal experiences because they don’t match the person you are or wish to become, you begin to obsess about them. The more you think about them and wish them to be gone, the more those internal experiences are present. You feel distraught and try to find ways to get rid of them by giving in to avoidant and safety behaviors (public or private compulsions). The relief from the tormenting distress is short-lived and the next time there is something (anything) that evokes the unwanted thoughts and feelings you’ll repeat the behaviors hoping to find permanent relief. It doesn’t happen because you’ll get triggered again only to get stuck in the OCD cycle.
Faith: The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: loyalty, fidelity, belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust.
AND, the obsessive-compulsive disorder is targeting your faith and religious beliefs. You recognize the challenge scrupulosity OCD brings and understand the solution. Yet, in the middle of a fierce storm, the default reaction takes over. Be patient. Learning how to respond to the OCD mind is a process.
Take a few moments to think about the sky. Though the weather is always changing, the sky is constant. Natural events like rain, snow, wind, fog, and thunder don’t hurt or change the sky. Those elements come and go and the sky makes room for them. During heavy storms, we may not see the sky, but we know it’s there. It’s always there.
What if you were like the sky during your challenging scrupulosity storms? Though the thoughts, images, memories, feelings, sensations, and urges may be scary, they cannot hurt you. They are natural events inside your body that come and go. You can make room for them when they are present just like the sky does with the natural events. And just like you cannot control the weather, you cannot control your internal experiences (e.g., thoughts and feelings); though the OCD mind may insist that you can!
Next time a scrupulosity storm is imminent, remember to acknowledge the OCD mind, (“I hear you. Yes, this is scary. Thanks, Mind.”) and choose to trust your faith. You can make room for the unwelcome natural internal events and willingly allow them to be present even though they are unpleasant.
Trust your faith and the love you have for the Creator. Remember, God knows your suffering and loves you no matter what the weather is like!