OCD, Medication, and Trust in God


#1

I want to seek some advice/opinions about this question.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which affects my life in two main ways: 1. Washing: clothes, hands, and worrying about ‘contamination’, and 2. Spirituality: scrupulosity: lack of trust in God, obsessive and intrusive bad thoughts which canuse lots of anxiety and obsessing about mortal sin and this especially concerning the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession.

I’ve read some books about scrupulosity and found them helpful, but not the cure. One was UNDERSTANDING SCRUPULOSITY, by Fr Thomas Santa. I’m also trying to find a regular confessor whom I can trust. I’m currently seeing a therapist as well.

But anyway, my concern is this: having been on medications for anxiety in the past, I know that although they help mood and reduce anxiety, ultimately they don’t work for me, since the don’t address the underlying problem, which for me is ultimately lack of trust in God: in this ability to heal me, in His grace to uphold me, so that I don’t need to do all the OCD things that I feel compelled to do.

I was hoping to get better by Grace alone, but last week, I was feeling quite desperate, and so I began taking an anti-depressant, one that is used for OCD and anxiety. Now my concern is that, by taking medication, I’m removing the opportunity for God to heal me by His grace alone, and I’ve chosen like an easy option, just take a pill and your problems diminish, instead of taking up the cross and following the Lord.

I feel that I really should not take the medication, yet last week I was feeling bad, my OCD was very bad, I was very anxious. But now I’m thinking that you really should go cold turkey, and wait for the Lord, pick up your cross, etc… Only trouble is, I’ve taking about 7 or 8 tablets, over the course of 7 or 8 days, I’m not sure it is safe to stop now, I may have to check with a chemist or doctor.

But I guess my main question is, is it a lack of faith to take this medication, when ultimately, the issue is a lack of trust and faith in God, and an unwillingness to take up one’s cross? At least that is how it seems to me.


#2

I’m sad to hear that you are having such a bad time. God gave the scientists and doctors the means to help people. It is not a sin to ask for help. All of us need help and care and we are commanded by our Lord to “Love one another.” The doctors are there to help you. Take their advice and feel better. I hope that this will bring you some relief and you can live your life to the full. We are not all saints and martyrs. We have our own charisms. Take the treatment and see what it feels like to have these terrible symptoms allieviated. Go with the flow and ask God to help you. He loved you before you were born and wants you to be happy and serve Him.

:signofcross:


#3

Thank you St Lucy. It just feels like I’m trusting in medication for my healing, and not God. Yet I know that that is not *quite *true, since there is a deeper wound inside me which medication can’t heal, and only God can… Yet I still have the feeling that I’m cutting off God’s opportunity to heal me directly, so that His work of healing is in some way diminished, and when I am better (whenever that is), I will not be able to give all the credit and Glory to God, but some of it will go to the medication, and what is left, will go to God, when in my view, this is not how it should be.


#4

bobolink,

God is in complete control and nothing happens without His will. The Medicine is there because he granted wisdom and knowledge to the doctors and pharmacists that created it. If you give credit to God and take it in faith that it is His answer to your prayer the glory is His.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit whispers, you really have to listen,


#5

Thanks BC. I think the medicine is working, because today, I was thinking to myself, *’‘You are less anxious today. You SHOULD be anxious!!!’’ *Which is quite insightful!


#6

Bobolink, I’m glad your medicine is working. Keep taking it!!

God can work in our lives through ordinary or extraordinary means. Most often, He seems to choose the ordinary means, which, in your case, would be the care of your physician and your prescription medicine. For you to ask God to work in another way is asking for a miracle, which could be seen as a bit presumptuous, especially when the ordinary means of help is so readily available.

It reminds me of one of my favorite sermon illustrations:

A man’s house was being threatened by a flood, and he prayed to God to save him. When the water was at the level of the front porch, an officer in a boat invited him to jump in. The man said, “No, God is going to save me.” When the water was at the second floor level, another officer in a boat offered a lift. “No, God is going to save me.” Finally, as the water forced the man onto his roof, a helicopter buzzed down to him and dropped a rope for him to grab. “Oh, no thank you, God is going to save me,” said the man. As the helicopter flew away, the man was swept away and drowned. When he reached the pearly gates, he asked God, “Why didn’t You save me??” And God said, “I sent two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

You have prayed, and God has sent you a doctor and medicine that works. Use them!

Betsy


#7

You know, I’ve heard that rescue analogy before and it had occurred to me that perhaps my situation was similar. I was also reminded of the scripture verse when the Lord criticised the Pharisees for placing heavy burdens on people but not lifting a finger to help ease them. So I guess that this medication might be a kind of help.

I noticed though today, that whenever unwanted intrusive (usually violent or impure) thoughts come into my mind, I wasn’t as ‘panicked’ about them as I was before and it scared me. Most of the time previously I was continuously battling them and very tense. I’m still trying to banish them, it’s just the anxiety around them seems to have decreased. I’m not sure if that is entirely a good thing…

The really sad thing is, my OCD infects my spiritual life, and past sins and memories (I had a pornography addiction) torment my mind pretty much all my waking hours. My only respite is sleep. This is hard to bear, yet it was self-inflicted in my sinfulness and gross ignorance in choosing to commit sin. It’s like my mind is a house and there are lots of televisions on in different rooms with programmes I really don’t want to watch, and I try, seemingly in vain to dash around the house turning them off and trying to banish them with prayer. If anyone has any advice on this, I’d like to hear it. A past sinful life is hard enough to deal with, but to have it constantly recalled by OCD is quite a cross, but perhaps that is my cross.


#8

I take antidepressants for depression. It is not a sin or lack of faith to do so. Asking for help and knowing that the medicines will work for you, and going to see the doctors IS God’s way of showing you his love for you. Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and therapists are doing God’s will by helping those in need. Anxiety and depression along with OCD are medical problems that need treatments with medication and talk therapy.
I hope you are able to talk to your therapist and continue your recovery.
God Bless.:slight_smile:


#9

It’s an excellent thing, a first step to recovery. Eventually, the thoughts won’t come to mind at all. Realize that they do not come from you willingly, and just let them pass through your mind and move on. The more you fight, the longer you’ll have to deal with the thoughts.

The really sad thing is, my OCD infects my spiritual life, and past sins and memories (I had a pornography addiction) torment my mind pretty much all my waking hours. My only respite is sleep. This is hard to bear, yet **it was self-inflicted **in my sinfulness and gross ignorance in choosing to commit sin. It’s like my mind is a house and there are lots of televisions on in different rooms with programmes I really don’t want to watch, and I try, seemingly in vain to dash around the house turning them off and trying to banish them with prayer. If anyone has any advice on this, I’d like to hear it. A past sinful life is hard enough to deal with, but to have it constantly recalled by OCD is quite a cross, but perhaps that is my cross.

This is a disease; it is NOT self-inflicted. Had you never sinned before, you would still have intrusive thoughts. Stop running around the house. Just sit down, close your eyes and wait for a power failure. It will come. The thoughts are not your fault. The less you pay attention to them, the sooner they’ll go away, especially if you continue to take your medicine. Did you, as a child, have a sibling or a playmate who liked to get your goat? The more you reacted, the more you would be tormented. Ignoring the taunts led your tormentor to lose interest, right? Take a lesson from that - just let the thoughts pass through without paying much attention and let your meds do the work.

Betsy


#10

Thanks for your advice Betsy and Mary. May God bless you.


#11

Bobo,

You do not say where in the country you are from. I am in Cincinnati. If you are anywhere
near me I can point you in the right direction for help as I have the same
mental health issues and have been getting treatment for several years now.
I see a psychiatrist for meds, a therapist for counseling and my priest for the
scruplosity which is of course the religious form of OCD.
May I also recommend anything by St Alphonsus Lingouri who is the patron saint of this problem. Lingouri publications sends out amonthly newsleter called Scruplosity Anonymous ( Sorry if a lot of what I am writing is mispelled!) It is a great tool to ease your mind and answer your questions once a month and it’s free. Just look it up on the internet.
Only someone in the religious comunity who has dealt with this issue in some form or
understands it can really help you so ask that question when you seek out a spiritual director which I highly recommed. It’s as simple as calling up your parish priest and asking if you can just come in and talk with him for a little bit. Then go and see this same person every time these religious worries come up. Take his advice as if God Himself spoke it to you.
Did you know St Terese, the Little Flower , is another saint who suffered from this? There are many. You are NOT alone.
OCD is painful, insidious and destructive. You must seek out and accept and kinds of help. This is God’s will for us. It is humbling to say the least. Remember, God loves you and your sins, once forgiven remain forgiven. Jesus said so.


#12

I’m actually not living in the USA - I live in the UK!

I’ve been given the name of a good priest so I will follow that up. He may well agree to be my spiritual director.

Many thanks for your kind advice MT.


closed #13

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