I’m not an expert, but to me scrupulosity is a manifestation, in the spiritual realm, of a personality that is prone to worry, anxiety, obsession (about good or bad things). Look it up on wikipedia, OCD is broader than just excessive hand washing. When I try to walk the Christian walk, not sinning is al lI think about, when I try to put God at a distance, his punishement is what occupies my mind. Confession: I can’t reconcile my psychological/mental health and the pits and pitch-black valleys I’ve been dragged into as a result, and God’s love. Add hell to the mix, and there is not much room left for joy, trust, happiness and serenity.
On the other hand, God is big, God is frighteningly powerful and jealous, hell is a supremely horrible state/place, maybe being worried about pleasing God is warranted. Ich weiss nicht.
I have OCD and before I was medicated, I had persistent “intrusive religious thoughts.” As a child, the people on staff at my protestant congregation repeatedly told me that Jesus was going to keep me single my whole life and that has resulted in being the most persistent of my own “intrusive religious thoughts.”
My intrusive religious thoughts alternate between that and scrupulosity. I would get angry at Jesus for forcing me to stay single and would say and do outright blasphemous things, like mocking a crucifix or, one time, even hacking it up with an axe. Then, I would get deeply fearful of God and damnation and be plagued by guilt for a while.
I first started on medication late of last year. Up until then, I used alcohol and illicit substances to deal with this and unfortunately, I didn’t cut this out immediately but kept using up until January of this year.
I’m still getting used to being sober and I can definitely tell the difference with the medication. I still have problems with the “Jesus wants to keep me single” crud but I think that’s only because it’s been part of my life for so long and getting rid that foul idea doesn’t come in an instance.
I personally believe that scrupulosity is a form of OCD. OCD, like stated in the above post is more than just repeated hand washing. It can take all forms and from what I know, scrupulosity and other intrusive thoughts, be they religious or otherwise, are one form of OCD.
I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist about it and maybe trying some kind of anti seizure meds (OCD is, after all, a kind of seizure). I use Depakote and it works really well for me.
I don’t think you have to have OCD to be overly scrupulous. A lot of new converts struggle with scruples when they become Catholic, partly, I think, because of a lack of understanding about the difference between mortal sin and venial sin. So everything becomes mortal sin. Also, when one is first beginning to take their walk with the Lord seriously, starting to do more than the minimums, even if they are a Cradle Catholic, they might not really know much more than someone who was just received into the Church, and again, scruples often present themselves. In those cases, it’s more a lack of knowledge that causes the problems rather than a personality defect. As they grow and learn their faith, the scruples become less.
If you think you struggle with scrupulosity, speak to your confessor. Make an appointment so you have plenty of time to sit and chat. Talk to him about your concerns. Many priests know how to help someone with scruples. And I would imagine those who don’t would know who to recommend to help you. If your confessor determines that you are, indeed, suffering from scruples, it’s very important that you do exactly what he recommends to you. In time, your scruples will lessen as you become more and more aware of God’s great love for you, his never-ending fountain of mercy and grace that is poured out on you and just how much he delights in you. He loves you so very, very much. So does Our Lady. Allow that fountain of love and mercy and grace to flood your heart. Fall in love with Jesus. As St. John of the Cross said, the lover is transformed into the Beloved. Let him be your Beloved and your scruples will begin to fade. And be patient with yourself. We are all a work in progress. You are loved just as you are
May God richly bless you!
Kris toiched on this but i recently read there are two types of scrupulosity: one is sort of permanent or at least long-lasting; the other is kind of like a phase during wgicg a person is adjusting to a new level of understanding about sin.
I also feel (but I’m only just learning about it so I may be wrong, that’s why I started this thread) being scrupulous should be considered a spiritual issue too. Not a mental condition.
I do not have OCD. Thanks for trying to help though you were just using your own experience to answer, but I mean what I say. I don’t have obsessive compulsive disorder. I have the disorder of sin. I’d like to learn how to get past it. If that sin is being scrupulous, recognizing that is step one in overcoming it.
I’m not a new convert, I’m a cradle Catholic but in a good way. I’ve always cared a lot about my faith and done my best to learn all about it. I can’t say that I’ve learned anything that would have triggered the scrupulousness. I just tend to be a perfectionist and am really bad about beating myself up emotionally over the little things and getting scared. I still need to learn even more like you said. Thanks for the kind words.
I just think the scrupulous description sounds a lot like me minus the OCD. I wanted to tell the priest that so he knows what I struggle with, but I’m not about to claim an affliction I don’t have especially when there are others who really have that affliction. It’d be wrong of me to do that to them.