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  #1  
Old Jun 17, '12, 5:14 pm
Karate_Warrior Karate_Warrior is offline
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Exclamation severe ocd-based scrupulosity

Hello everyone!

First off, if this is in the wrong section, feel free to move it to whatever one it's supposed to be in.

I'm new to the forums and just trying to get some advice/ideas. I have clinical depression and ocd that's manifesting itself as severe scrupulosity. When I say severe, I mean *severe*. I'd estimate I spend 90% of my conscious attention on it, practically from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I'm worried that practically any imperfection at all in thought, word, or action (or in lack of doing these things) is a mortal sin. I preface practically everything I do or look at with sub-vocalizing (saying inside my head) "I'm not intending to sin" again and again. I spend hours each day obsessing about whether or not I'm still in a state of grace. I have certain phrases (like "Jesus I trust in you") that I will occasionally get into a really bad ocd attack and rapidly repeat time and time and time again. Any thoughts or images that pop into my mind are analyzed and usually interpreted as mortal sins. Most emotions (including feeling depressed) are also perceived as mortal sins. I have a constant running monologue/dialogue in my mind about this that goes on and on and on and on and on.

As for decisions, even minor decisions are a paralyzing moral dilemma (fearing pretty much every action or inaction is a mortal sin) (pretty much on the scale of "what child would you save if there were two children on railroad tracks on your left and right and the trains were coming and you could only save one?) that I have to struggle against so many times each day.

I am resolved to fight and beat this. I am on medication for depression/ocd and I'm trying to sort out thinking errors and such. Basically, I understand my perception of reality is severely warped by this, and I'm reaching out to you to all for help in brainstorming. My own mind is unreliable here, so external ideas are very welcome.

So, thank you all!

P.S. just to let you know, I'm an 18 year old man
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  #2  
Old Jun 17, '12, 5:53 pm
1ke 1ke is online now
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

You need professional therapy for your depression and your OCD and you need to be under the care of a priest or spiritual director trained in scrupulosity. Please talk to your priest as soon as possible.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #3  
Old Jun 17, '12, 5:59 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

In terms of OCD per se --I will note that we on the forum can not give medical etc advice on treating things like OCD--one needs to see a professional http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=134056

Contact perhaps: http://www.catholictherapists.com (I saw this advertised and saved it for it seemed a good resource)

As to scruples -- (I will note first for readers that scruples per se do not = OCD though one with OCD can certainly struggle with them).

Scruples or those who are even of higher degrees of scrupulosity take venial sin to be mortal...or non sins to be sins....or are plagued by doubts...unreasonable fears/anxieties about sins..seeing them or fearing them where they need not...etc etc

The french call it the doubting disease (though it is not a disease) for one has lot of problems knowing one knows...thus with "doubt" (or more often rather "apparent doubt")

One combats scruples with a good regular confessor....

by forming ones conscience...(with such as the Catechism etc)

and with the confessors guidance acting against ones scruples.

A kind of "obedience" to a confessor is key (except of course if it where to be some manifest sin --like he tells you to murder his secretary)

Not only via his direction but via him giving you general principles given often historically by confessors to deal with scruples

by prayer.....

by trust and joy in living the Christian life....(not necessarily "emotional" by the way)

With the help of your confessor:

Contra scruplos agendum est, et fixo operis pede certandum

(Act contrary to scruples and with a firm foot overcome them)

Overcoming ones scruples..ones fears with a "firm foot". Learning to act against them under the guidance of your confessor. Dismiss them. Not argue with them. (for example the regular confessor says..."unless you are certain you have committed a mortal sin..go to communion"...and you feel the fear and the doubts and the worries at the time of communion "but perhaps I committed one...?" you tell yourself "I am not certain of any mortal sins and my confessor told me to go" and you act against your fears and go to Communion! or ones confessor says regarding old past sins "only confess old sins if you are certain it was a mortal sin and certain you have not confessed it should be"...(such is often the advice for those who are scrupulous)" one does just that...) etc

(in a way one needs be "scrupulous" about attending to ones scruples...)

When scruples arise --turn to God and let them pass by.

Scruples are to be treated like a barking dog or a hissing goose..one does not stop to argue with a barking dog or a hissing goose does one? (image borrowed from a 15th cent. Carthusian).

They are to be...."dismissed"....

And again a regular confessor is very important here..in even coming to know what ones scruples are...and then what to dismiss... It is he who can particularly guide a person with these difficulties.
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Last edited by Bookcat; Jun 17, '12 at 6:11 pm.
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  #4  
Old Jun 17, '12, 6:18 pm
erine erine is offline
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

Also, pray and consecrate the problem to St. Phillip Neri and St Therese of Liseux. The former had a great sense of humor and zero tolerance for scruples, and the latter struggled with and overcame them with God's grace. They both helped me with this issue which has severely lessened for me.
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  #5  
Old Jun 17, '12, 6:32 pm
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Trishie Trishie is offline
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

My prayers that God will help you find peace,
and that you will experience your life with Him as based in love not fear.
In these sites regarding scrupulosity, you will see that no one is suggesting that anyone suffering thus is guilty of the sins they fear they have committed.
I hope you can come to know that God knows how very sincerely and deeply you don't want to sin, and in His mercy and goodness He will protect you from grave sin.

http://www.catholicculture.org/cultu...fm?recnum=3739

http://www.catholicspiritualdirectio...upulosity.html

http://www.catholicireland.net/spiri...f-scrupulosity
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JESUS who died once for all persons
who gives Yourself wholly in Communion to billions throughout time
please pray in me for every person
as if each person is the only loved one.
JESUS please welcome each person with love, healing, and great joy!
Thank You JESUS


Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1-12)
though JESUS protested it was not yet time for miracles
you successfully interceded with Him for a family's temporal need
please now intercede with your divine Son
for each person's temporal and spiritual needs.
Thank you Mother


JESUS please grant our prayer for this person


Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

Last edited by Trishie; Jun 17, '12 at 6:44 pm.
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  #6  
Old Jun 17, '12, 6:55 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

This can be good to read from Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers senior apologist fame:

http://jimmyakin.com/2005/04/a_crown_of_thor.html

(I will note in posting the above that we on the forum can not give medical etc advice on treating things like OCD--one needs to see a professional http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=134056. So it is important to see a doctor etc to address such in your case...and not launch your own treatment..but I see your doing that in the thread. I note the above link for he gets into the morality of the thoughts....)
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  #7  
Old Jun 17, '12, 7:20 pm
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EmeraldWings EmeraldWings is offline
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karate_Warrior View Post
Hello everyone!

First off, if this is in the wrong section, feel free to move it to whatever one it's supposed to be in.

I'm new to the forums and just trying to get some advice/ideas. I have clinical depression and ocd that's manifesting itself as severe scrupulosity. When I say severe, I mean *severe*. I'd estimate I spend 90% of my conscious attention on it, practically from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I'm worried that practically any imperfection at all in thought, word, or action (or in lack of doing these things) is a mortal sin. I preface practically everything I do or look at with sub-vocalizing (saying inside my head) "I'm not intending to sin" again and again. I spend hours each day obsessing about whether or not I'm still in a state of grace. I have certain phrases (like "Jesus I trust in you") that I will occasionally get into a really bad ocd attack and rapidly repeat time and time and time again. Any thoughts or images that pop into my mind are analyzed and usually interpreted as mortal sins. Most emotions (including feeling depressed) are also perceived as mortal sins. I have a constant running monologue/dialogue in my mind about this that goes on and on and on and on and on.

As for decisions, even minor decisions are a paralyzing moral dilemma (fearing pretty much every action or inaction is a mortal sin) (pretty much on the scale of "what child would you save if there were two children on railroad tracks on your left and right and the trains were coming and you could only save one?) that I have to struggle against so many times each day.

I am resolved to fight and beat this. I am on medication for depression/ocd and I'm trying to sort out thinking errors and such. Basically, I understand my perception of reality is severely warped by this, and I'm reaching out to you to all for help in brainstorming. My own mind is unreliable here, so external ideas are very welcome.

So, thank you all!

P.S. just to let you know, I'm an 18 year old man
Like everyone else said, first thing you need to do is get a good spiritual director, and stick with him, do not seek advice/counseling from more than one spiritual director, that is important for someone who is scrupulous.
and if possible, i would recommend a spiritual director from the FSSP, if you have one near by, or if you can talk by phone? you can find their locations here - http://www.fssp.org/en/coordonnees.htm

and just one book recommendation to help you, because it has helped others who struggle with scrupulosity very much - http://archive.org/details/theheartofthegos00donnuoft
that is free to read online, but if you prefer an actual book i'm sure you can find one on bookfinders.com or something.

and on top of getting a good spiritual director, which is very important for you, it's also good to have other sources of spiritual guidance in your life on a daily basis, so just a few things you might find helpful -
http://www.audiosancto.org/
http://www.keepthefaith.org/
http://www.fultonsheen.com/Fulton-Sheen-MP3.cfm

alright, hope this helps, i will keep you in my prayers, take care.
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And no matter how He answers, He's saying, "Yes, I do."
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  #8  
Old Jun 18, '12, 9:27 am
HonoraDominum HonoraDominum is offline
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Join Date: August 2, 2011
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Default Re: severe ocd-based scrupulosity

I find in my own struggles with melancholia that my only relief is to beg God for the grace to accept His love for me. I understand the struggles - some mornings it takes everything I have to make it to Mass at all, let alone to Mass on time. When the pain of depression or the terror of anxiety is at its peak, sometimes it takes every effort to simply be able to be in the presence of others without breaking down. It's so hard to see past the moment, to remember that this too shall pass.

As others have mentioned, severe depression should be clinically treated. However, in case that is not practical or financially feasable right now, here are some suggestions:

Read Light and Peace by Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani (Read online or buy at Amazon.com)

This book calmed my overactive scruples like no other has. The book combines the wisdom of St. Frances de Sales and other saints to help bring light to those of us who find ourselves falling over and over again to those evil thoughts in our head that simply won't go away. The chapters on prayer, confession, scruples, and sadness should be particularly pertinent to your situation.

Develop a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is all about the love of God for us, and the wounds he has for the ingratitude towards that love. When I am particularly despondent, dwelling on the love of the Sacred Heart for me gives me the perspective I need about the situations I'm in that are making me sad. I realize that the pain and loneliness I am facing is nothing compared to the perfect love of Christ towards me, and that his heart aches like mine as his is a human heart as well. Spend time praying in front of the tabernacle and dwelling on His love for you, even if all you could do is sit in your sadness with him. The purpose is to be with him, and to keep him company for his happiness. In thinking of the happiness of Christ, and His perfect love, it will take you out of your own pain and will help you find comfort in resting in His adorable heart.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have confidence in thee, confidence in everything!

Study the positives of your temperament
Take a temperament test online to find out your temperament. Here's a link to a couple:
http://personality-testing.info/tests/4T.php
http://www.writing.com/main/quiz/ite...mperament-Test

Then read this book about the temperaments - THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS by REV. CONRAD HOCK

I imagine if you're inclined to depression that you are a Melancholic like me. Understanding the positives and negatives of your temperament will help you to appreciate your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Here's a description of melancholic strengths according to the book:

Quote:
IV BRIGHT SIDE OF THE MELANCHOLIC TEMPERAMENT
1. The melancholic practices with ease and joy interior prayer. His serious view of life, his love of solitude, and his inclination to reflection are a great help to him in acquiring the interior life of prayer. He has, as it were, a natural inclination to piety. Meditating on the perishable things of this world he thinks of the eternal; sojourning on earth he is attracted to Heaven. Many saints were of a melancholic temperament. This temperament causes difficulties at prayer, since the melancholic person easily loses courage in trials and sufferings and consequently lacks confidence in God, in his prayers, and can be very much distracted by pusillanimous and sad thoughts.

2. In communication with God the melancholic finds a deep and indescribable peace.

He, better than anyone else, understands the words of St. Augustine: “Thee, O Lord, have created us for yourself, and our heart finds no rest, until it rests in Thee.” His heart, so capable of strong affections and lofty sentiments, finds perfect peace in communion with God. This peace of heart he also feels in his sufferings, if he only preserves his confidence in God and his love for the Crucified.

3. The melancholic is often a great benefactor to his fellow men. He guides others to God, is a good counselor in difficulties, and a prudent, trustworthy, and well-meaning superior. He has great sympathy with his fellow men and a keen desire to help them. If the confidence in God supports the melancholic and encourages him to action, he is willing to make great sacrifices for his neighbor and is strong and unshakable in the battle for ideals. Schubert, in his Psychology, says of the melancholic nature: “It has been the prevailing mental disposition of the most sublime poets, artists, of the most profound thinkers, the greatest inventors, legislators, and especially of those spiritual giants who at their time made known to their nations the entrance to a higher and blissful world of the Divine, to which they themselves were carried by an insatiable longing.”
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