Struggling with OCD

Okay, I seriously have had enough now. I have scrupulosity among other forms of OCD, and it just seems to never want to go away. I have to constantly deal with disgustingly sacreligious and uncharitable thoughts that seem to push themselves into my consciousness. I try hard to keep them away, but sometimes I slip and the thoughts, often posed as images in my mind, get through.

Today I have just had enough. I was looking at some pictures of some Dominicans, and the most vile, anti-charitable comment towards many men in the Dominicans, which would make me absolutely ashamed in the face of our Creator, got through into my mind. I quickly dismissed it as absolutely disgusting but now I feel terribly guilty, the feeling you get when you have betrayed God.

Ugh, I just want some peace.

I just posted on a thread regarding anxiety, I would suggest that you review that thread.

Long story short, scrupulosity is very common among those who are close to God. St. Therese of Liseux, among many others, had to deal with it. I recommend that you review the resources at Ligouri Missions’ Scrupulous Anonymous, especially the two sets of Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous.

In short, you need to learn to fight the scrupulosity by acting against it. For example, you may look at a picture or statue of a saint and have horrible or blasphemous thoughts come into your mind. You should continue to look at the statue until the thoughts subside. Or you may be waiting to go up for Communion when you get a horrible thought about Jesus. You should go up and receive Communion (if you’re otherwise disposed to do so). If you do this for a while, the scrupulosity should subside. Yes, it hurts. But you have no idea how much good you are doing for yourself and for the Church by enduring it. If you are already under care from a mental health professional, talk to them about including this as part of your therapy. If not, and if you know that you have a mental health condition like generalized anxiety or OCD, then visit a mental health professional, preferably a Catholic mental health professional.

If you don’t have a devotion to St. Dymphna, I suggest that you adopt one. Scrupulosity is both a spiritual and mental infirmity and she is patroness over both. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of what is spiritually behind scrupulosity, you should look at St. Ignatius’s work on the discernment of spirits and learn the Rules for Discernment.

Above all… do not give up. Fight on!

You must pray.

How many times in my life have I had problems lessen or go away through prayer and each time I wonder why I left prayer until last.

Will I ever learn?

Pray through St. Raphael the Archangel for help.

I heard Father Levis talking about this once on EWTN. Some people are bothered by nasty thoughts, especially at Mass, where they want to have the purest. He said(I’m paraphrasing, it’s been a while) it’s fairly common and you should just let the thought flow in one side and straight out. Don’t focus on it.

Thank you so much!

Thankyou, please pray for me and I will pray for you.

I know, this is just so hard, because I think I am mortally sinning by doing so. I think I am giving consent to the thoughts being there. I will take your advice though.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori: “When there exists in a scrupulous person the habitual will not to offend God, it is certain that he or she acts in doubt and there is no sin…

Repeat that bold part over and over again if it helps. Habits are hard things to break–especially when the enemy is trying to egg them on. But you CAN do it. You aren’t alone!

Thanks for all your support! Pray for me while I pray for you!

a note. Scruples does not per se = OCD though a person with OCD can also have such

(from previous posts of mine on the subject of thoughts)

Regarding thoughts

while Jesus makes it clear that one can sin in ones thoughts…just cause some lustful thought happens does not mean that one sinned…

(and one can have a sufficiently good reason to think about sexual matters…for instance studying moral theology…but care must be taken to avoid things that would be a problem…but that is another question)

What should we do with* unwanted* sexual thoughts or other bad thoughts…thoughts against God etc? Those pesky temptations that can come …even though we are not seeking them etc…

(there are of course some things we should avoid that cause them…and there can be sin if it is something one should reasonably avoid…but often they come uninvited)

First…Relax. Do not worry.

Now are they mortal sins?

For a mortal sin one needs a grave matter …full knowledge AND deliberate consent!!!

A. If you do not want the thought…it the thought displeases you: it can be a sign actually that you did not give consent or do not give full consent.

B. Even if you felt a temptation for the thought – and were drawn to it —but rejected it and maybe even turned to God : again a sign not full consent.

C. But what if one has a tempting thought --say of a sexual nature and even hesitated for a moment…but then rejected it for one did not want to sin? : it can be partial consent perhaps (and thus a venial sin)-- or it may be no sin at all but rather a strong temptation that drew you but then you saw what was happening and turned away.

D. A temptation can even be very strong or the thoughts very often – but this does NOT mean one has consented! so worry not…even it they go on for a long time…

remember --for it to be mortal there must be that deliberate consent!

What to do? on the spiritual side–relax first of all and remember the above.

Next – know that the more one fears the thoughts the more likely they are to come… or said another way --the more a person seeks to avoid the thoughts the more likely he will have a problem with them. (but do not worry about this either!)

for example: for the next 10 seconds try NOT to think of an apple.

tick tock …

tick tock…

Ok what did you think of? Most likely an apple.

So it is best to ignore them and just not consent and then turn your attention to some other good thing…for instance whatever you are doing. Simply do not consent and move on. and do not worry

another point – thoughts can just happen --they are the stuff with which we think…it is up to us to consent and take them further or not. and just because they are REAL VIVID and almost “think themselves” does not mean per se that one has given ANY consent.

they can be annoying…but need cause no actual harm …

(Now difficulties with thoughts can happen to anyone…and has for centuries…nothing new!..but I will note too that “some” have a condition known as OCD (I knew someone with this once…it was a painful experience)…and thus should seek further professional help to work at overcoming it and to live a more peaceful life…… Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers fame)

Another help…is the distinction between “first thoughts and emotions” (as Baur calls em) what they call the prima of the prima…“the first of the first” (as one of my Professors called em…he was a Dominican)…these are involuntary things that just come up…such are not sins. They can tempt one of course to sin…or one can then proceed to some sin…but they are the stuff of the mind and emotions which “happen to one” …and really the are opportunities for growing in virtue etc as well…

How to deal with these? First of relax…don’t scruple…don’t fear them…to try to swat them all as the come…just simply turn to other things…or the thing you are doing…or to God…(of course do not consent)…but if you are too defensive against them…they may get worse actually…and confuse you more…instead turn to God or again other good things…accept that hey…somethings wild thoughts will come to you…

(and these can happen to all of us by the way…)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit