OCD and the Holy Spirit


#1

Hi everyone,

I hope someone can help. I have OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), mostly confined to the Obsessive part of it, where I think obsessive thoughts. I have this very disturbing thought about what if I accidentally blaspheme the Holy Spirit or do it in my mind or something. I get really worried about this sometimes. It causes me much anguish. Sometimes it’s like my mind is playing tricks. It’s like if something is shocking or scary, my mind try to make me think it. It’s hard to explain. It’s like it so forbidden, that mind tries to keep going to it. HELP!!


#2

I don’t really think that there is a way to “accidentially” blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Blasphamy is a deliberate act taken, and for someone with OCD, their thoughts are not deliberate (as far as the obessions go). Since there is no intention, I don’t see any blasphamy.


#3

Thanks, I just hate it cause it’s so distressing. I guess it’s like they say don’t think of a gray elephant, but then that’s all you can think of. and for me I keep thinking of not saying something bad, then it’s almost like my mind is daring me to. and it’s just weird.

any other advice would be appreciated.


#4

I have OCD and know what you mean. I’ve had the same problem.
I have three things you could try.

First, what has helped me a great deal is martial arts.
There you learn self mastery not only of your body, but of your mind.:slight_smile:

Second, if you’re not a high energy sporty person, when you start to think these things you could try to meditate on another part of your faith, challenge yourself, come up with faith related questions that you can look into. It’s also a great way to further your faith.:smiley:

And third, the rosary is the most powerful prayer there is.
I highly recommend it.:thumbsup:


#5

I am in the same boat as phil8888 I think. It is indeed quite troublesome and scary.


#6

Peace!

I know exactly what you’re talking about. I don’t know exactly what Catholics teach about this, but I’ve run across a couple of considerations which I’ve found reassuring:

  1. Nobody in heaven WANTS to keep you out!! There is real mercy, and there is the kind of real justice which sees into your heart, as well as your head. Try to remember how much you love the Holy Spirit.

  2. One opinion was that, if you’re even worried about grieving the Holy Spirit and fearful of losing your salvation, then you’re not in the state of spiritual decay or death where you’d even want to deliberately grieve the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes I just try to confront the worst case scenario head-on: “So, okay, all hope is lost for me. But I still love God, I still want to please Him, so I’ll just keep moving forward anyway.”

PEACE to you!
:thumbsup:


#7

I struggle with the very same things you do and a lot of other people do too, and having started to discover during prayer the root of my own obsessive thoughts, maybe what I’ve learned can help you.

I’m definitely not a medical professional though, so please only take this based off of my own personal experiences with OCD and anxiety.

Firstly, these thoughts aren’t sinful; if you clearly desired the content of those thoughts and willfully encouraged them, they would be; but obviously as they’re causing you anguish and upset every time they appear they aren’t (even when it feels like it is). Remember, you can’t accidentally sin - it has to be a clear and willful act, which this isn’t, so don’t worry. :smiley:

Onto some root causes, the main thing seems to be anxiety and worry, and also control. As OCD is an anxiety disorder, the driving force behind it is fear - usually the fear of losing control of a situation. All the little OCD rituals and obsessive thoughts are your brain’s way of attempting to take control of a situation (if I do this action, this won’t happen e.t.c.) that is impossible to control; such as controlling every thought that enters a person’s head.

The greater the fear the worse it gets, such as worrying about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. As its an incredibly serious matter but yet to an anxious mind it could happen by accident at any moment (even though it won’t), the fear of the unknown makes your mind fabricate it and make up something to ‘ground’ itself on, as if making it real takes away the unknown (like always imagining and worrying about the worst possible outcome to a situation, to make the possibility of it happening less scary).

An example could be someone concerned about their kids being hurt or attacked could have a fleeting thought about themselves injuring their own children on purpose; most people would dismiss a thought like that as ridiculous and have no more problems with it, but someone who has that difficulty with anxiety and latching onto thoughts even when you don’t want to will end up reinforcing the thought every time they have an emotional reaction to it - the more strongly you react to it the more firmly it’ll appear, like your grey elephant example.

Rest assured, although the thoughts themselves are horrible you aren’t to blame for them and God knows that; the more you allow yourself to trust Him more and more and put yourself under His control the easier things will be. There will be bad periods and good periods, but I promise you it gets easier with time. The best thing to do would be to pray more about it and do your best to stay relaxed and detached from whatever horrible thoughts may appear; its also helpful to continue to remind yourself that as you’re not consenting to any of it you aren’t being held accountable for it. :slight_smile: I’ll be praying for you also.


#8

What if prayer, especially the rosary, and church stuff seems to make it worse?

The fear of this happening will cause it to worsen?

Is there anything, besides prayer, that can help with the control of OCD?


#9

OCD can soemtimes be similar to scrupulosity, which st. alphonsus liguori struggled with. it can take on various forms. I suffer from it, but I have learned to control it much better.

we are in this together. first of all it is important to know you should not try to “win” or beat the ocd, you can’t. no matter how terrible your thoughts are, you have to let them happen. often we struggle against them, you have to let them come.

my gf gave me some great advice adn that is to say “Let whatever happens happen, and I trust in God”. This is very powerful. I read some great articles on an ocd website. There wasa a lady who was afraid she hit someone while driving. Instaed of spending hours worrying about it, the psychology said she should say “I hope I hit half the people in the city on my way to work, and I hope I get the rest on my way back”. You sort of have to overcompensate for it. Instead of having a fear reaction, you should go completely the other way. Don’t worry, you will not turn into a terrible person.

The main thing is not to fight it. If thoughts come in your head, you can’t bash them out. You have to say “hi thought, you are there, that’s ok”

also, another tip is instead of spending time trying to counteract OCD, instead say, today only from 7pm to 7:30pm am I going to deal with this. if something comes up, make a note (maybe) to remember it for later.

remmeber you cannot win. you will never feel satisfied. at some point you just have to stop. you will feel like there is just one more thing you have to say, think or do, and you’ll be tempted to “finish it off”, but don’t. stay away. just run away. first it will seem impossible, but just commit to not going back and about 5 or 6 minutes later, it will be better.


#10

I also have OCD with obsessive thoughts. Sometimess I try to pray the rosary and get distracted. Have you spoken to a doctor about this? You may need some anxiety medication. I have one I take three times a day, and another taken as needed, up to three times a day. It usually takes a while to kick in, but knowing that it will is a help.


#11

That is a difficult one, I know. ((((Emily2009))))

If it is affecting your spiritual/religious life, have you considered doing a combination of seeing a good psychologist and a good spiritual director? You could tell them upfront that you have OCD, that it is affecting your spiritual life, and you need both of them to help you handle this so that you can have a fulfilling spiritual life. Just make sure you see a psychologist who will respect your faith, and a spiritual director who knows what OCD is :slight_smile:


#12

Wow, I did not know Alphonsus Liguori sufffered from OCD. I know St Therese of Lisieux had it, and Ignatius of Loyola.

Does anyone know of any other saints who had that?

How can I read about Alphonsus Liguori having OCD and what he did about it and went through? How did you find that out?

Thanks! :slight_smile: I am curious now!:smiley:


#13

There’s three things that are required for one to commit a mortal sin and those are:

1). A gravely sinful matter (thought, deed)
2.) Sufficient consideration of it
3.) Full consent of the will

The second point makes it pretty dang hard for you to “accidently” commit a mortal sin, much less blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.


#14

I heard Liguori had scrupulosity, which is the religious equivalent of OCD. I will try to find more information for you. I am involved with Liguori Circle, a group where young adults talk about Catholic issues.


#15

I found an awesome resource for people suffering from this.

Please go to mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity.htm

It tells you what to do if you are being scrupulous.


#16

I have this, too. I can’t really say it is under control, either. It is just something I live with. I don’t have the rituals but I do have the fears and anxieties and thoughts I can’t shake out of my mind.

Mine are mostly fears for my children’s saftey, but I am occassionally a hypochondriac too. They are just terrible thoughts of, “I KNOW something bad will happen, and I KNOW I have a disease” that cannot be shaken by reason.


#17

Thanks! I really appreciate that! :tiphat:


#18

On post 15, I gave some information about scrupulosity from Liguori Press


#19

That was a good one. I bookmarked it. Thank you!


#20

Well I’ve had a bit of experience talking to a person with OCD on the internet, and let me tell you, it wasnt pretty :slight_smile:

Unfortunatly someone with severe OCD (I don’t know what your situation is) is really not going to be convinced by people over the internet but anyway here goes:

You cannot “accidently” blaspheme against the Holy Spirit because according to Catholic theology a sin requires intent… You obviously don’t want to sin against the Holy Spirit, you obviously would never do so on purpose, therefore you are not in danger of sinning against the HS period…

If your problems persist, then I suggest you consult a medical professional :wink:

Good luck


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