Catholics with OCD or intrusive thoughts

Hello eveyone, I just wanted to start a chat for Catholics who have OCD or intrusive thoughts/ images. I find it though because my OCD centers around my faith and the doctors and therapists that I see do not believe everything the church teaches. This is a place of support and for people to share their experiences. God bless you all :pray::heart:

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I don’t have OCD, but I completely understand about the intrusive thoughts, not a bad idea.

Always turn to prayer IMMEDIATELY when these instances happen. “God I don’t want or need these thoughts. Help me to ignore them and turn totally to you”

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I can’t do it all the time because these thoughts come in and out of my head most of the day. God does help me in dealing with this.

Thanks for opening this topic. I used to suffer really hard from OCD but it became better.
This website is really helpful for christians with OCD: https://ocdandchristianity.com
I especially recommend the video and the ten strategies which you can find on this website under therapy for OCD.

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Stop fighting with OCD thoughts. Acknowledge them and accept that God allows them.
Fighting with them gives them a power over you they do not deserve.

And find a good priest who can counsel you personally. I found a couple of such priests and they are good counselors in the spiritual life.

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Thank you guys for the advice. You have made me more hopeful. Jesus is working through you. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi, thank you for starting this topic. I was just coming on to start a topic on How Do You Discern…the difference between opressive thoughts , like spiritual attack, and depression/anxiety/ptsd or OCD?

I’ve always thought it a wonderful suggestion to seek advice from a spiritual director. some people live in rural areas and/or attend a “secular” Catholic parish and there are none available.

What is a “secular” Catholic parish?

HomeschoolDad…hi.

by a “secular” parish I mean one that is worldly…
who is led by the spirit of the world rather than by the Holy Spirit.

thanks for posting this link!

I struggled for a few years with bad compulsions and intrusive thoughts. Things like having to say a hail mary just right or it didn’t ‘count’, or worse was offensive to God. Or having to say a certain number of prayers. Or having to be in the right bodily position. Or a combination of all three. It was bad. I had this horrible conviction that if I didn’t do these things God would punish me or my family with bad things.

I was lucky though; with therapy, reading, and confession I was able to overcome it over the course of a couple of years. Not everyone is able to do it that quickly. I have an immense amount of sympathy for those with anxiety based disorders.

This helped me too.

https://catholicexchange.com/are-you-scrupulous

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I’ll be praying for you.

Don’t feel bad. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t feel broken. Don’t feel ‘less than’. It can and has happened to many people, and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

God Bless you.

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I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD, I think i have it btw. I am very obsessive and I have intrusive thoughts too.

Having suffered for almost 3 years with intrusive thoughts OCD, I can totally relate. I am not able to get to a therapist for many reasons, but priests in the past have made that recommendation. I fear if I go to a therapist, they won’t take my faith seriously and that’s where it gets tricky. I’m hopefully going to find a spiritual director soon, even though I know priests can be quite tied up.

For people who also have scrupulosity like myself, it’s best that we follow a separate set of commandments which can be found here: Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous (Hopefully that link works, sorry I’m new here).

I want to say that it’s best to trust in the love and mercy of God. I have often felt like if I make one wrong judgement call, that He will practically strike me down with a bolt of lightning and say “You failed” and I will be sent to hell (no joke). Luckily that has not happened. :rofl: Our Lord is not a tyrant king.

This condition is hard and brutal, many saints have suffered from it as well. I can say that even though we have such a hard time with our faith and wanting to follow the rules to perfection, that it’s not entirely bad. We have somewhat been gifted by God to understand the value of our faith (obviously taking it too far at times) but there are people who are so lukewarm it pains me greatly. Jesus wants us to be happy, but He also wants us to make sacrifices to show how much we care. He put us on this earth for a reason and each person has a different trial.

I encourage all of you to talk to a priest in confession about the kind of situations that stress you out the most. I have a hard time doing so and sometimes I just want to make a quick confession and leave, but that starts the pattern all over again. Try to make a weekly confession with the same priest and tell him your highs, lows, and what you are confused by. Some priests out there really understand OCD so it’s better to find one of them. I’ve been gifted with several.

My intrusive thoughts are probably the hardest thing to deal with because the thoughts will prod at me and the only way to relieve myself from their torment is to think of the exact thought that I’m NOT trying to think of in the first place. I never understood that at first, but I’m finally able to explain why I sin, or why I think I sin so much. Maybe other have this same issue?

Busy yourself with something, that’s the biggest thing that I find helps. Busy yourself with something religious too, satan looks for idle minds to prey on. Pray multiple rosaries in a day if you have the time. I like to do 1-3 rosaries a day. Mary can help anyone. Persevere, don’t let your failures get you down. Our greatest strength is that we get up each time to try again.

May the peace of the Lord be with you. I have so much more to say on this topic but I don’t want to be long winded. :sweat_smile: Hopefully some of my advice will make it to those who need it and for those who need a bit more confidence. We’re all in this together and no one is alone. God bless!

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I used to suffer from this quite a bit. I have had OCD for most of my life and this was just one way it manifested. I did some reading on it and came to understand that it wasn’t my fault if these thoughts came to me. After all, I didn’t seek them out. Once I understood that these were images planted as temptations or just as something to upset my equilibrium I was able to take away their hold over me. Once in a while, I still get an unwanted idea or image and I can usually pivot my mind elsewhere. I don’t know if that’s any help, but it’s at least one less thing I have had to struggle with.

Id suggest trying cognitive or cognitive behavioral therapy with a well trained psychologist in addition to speaking with a priest.

Priests are great sounding boards for when something is potentially sinful and you need to clarify it, but they are untrained in actually fixing the thoughts from happening.

Trust me, I had generalized anxiety disorder, where I constantly worried about pretty much everything! I kept asking reassurance seeking questions and would drive myself nuts fretting away.

I ended up having several consults with a psychologist, moving forward with a social work therapist in my insurance network, and also getting some anti anxiety pills to help regulate my seratonin.

I’m much better myself and would highly recommend it!

When it comes down to it, God is an omnipotent, ever present, all knowing being that created the entire known universe.

If you’re heartfelt in your prayers, then the nitty gritty details of “are my hands folded the right way” or “are my knees square on the kneeler” are completely irrelevant and not important enough to worry about… otherwise God would be our Auditor as opposed to our Father!

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Oh man, the ten commandments for the scrupulous was a life saver for me. I think I hit 8/10 at one point.

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Please seek a psychiatrist. Psychiatric therapy has been helpful for many with OCD.

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