Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Question

I suffer from religious obessions and depression….. I have no family support and very little friends……I feel lonely alot……I try to work and keep going…..but it is very hard….when I just feel like giving up……I love God, but then have all these unwanted thoughts about and towards him and all these sick thoughts about Satan……and I have alot of self destructive thoughts towards myself but also directed toward God…..its a long story……is there any help for me…..I have tried all kinds of medications and counseling off and on my whole life…..I am 40 now……I feel doomed….and I am super scared…..I hate myself for having or letting such thoughts come into my mind……..do you have any suggestions??????

Answer

First, please know that the symptoms you describe are not your fault–so to the degree that you can stop blaming yourself, please do. (I know that’s hard, since guilt and self-blame are among the crueler symptoms of depression, and OCD can just turn up the heat and make those thought patterns more intense.)

Second, you mention having been treated by therapists and doctors, but it sounds like you haven’t found the right combination yet. Symptoms like yours can generally be alleviated, but sometimes it takes some “detective work” on the part of the physician, and a lot of perserverance with the right therapist–and all therapists are different. You may have to do some exploring to find both a doctor and a therapist you feel comfortable with, respected by, with the right combination of credentials and experience to effectively treat your illness. (Ask what their track record is in treating situations like yours. How much do they know specifically about your particular illness? What is their philosophy about hard-to-treat cases like yours, and what do they think the prognosis is? And then notice their response to your questions. If they are warm, forthcoming, and optimistic without promising too much, you may be onto something. If they are defensive or evasive or less than respectful, move on.)

As for the religious preoccupations, please remember that God suffers with us. He doesn’t set us up to suffer and then abandon us, although it feels that way sometimes. And he can take any amount of anger you can dish out. My experience with illnesses like yours is that they often present a situation in which we are forced to sort out where the “God presence” is (which is loving and always directed toward our ultimate good, although sometimes not “cozy”), and the voice of the illness which tells us lies about ourselves. It may not feel like it some days, but your illness is just part of who who are–it is not all of who you are.

Blessings,

Daphne Stevens

Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and life coach who provides consultation by email and telephone as well as in person. She also offers workshops and speaking engagements to a variety of groups. For more information, please call 1-877-471-0527, or email her at [email protected]

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