Scrupulosity OCD- Catholic: Hi, everyone! I... - My OCD Community

My OCD Community

4,687 members2,097 posts

Scrupulosity OCD- Catholic

hopeandcourage94 profile image

Hi, everyone! I am new here. I suffer from OCD that attacks my faith and specifically my relationship with God. I am in a loving relationship that we have discussed marriage and engagement, and I have been super excited about it!! I scroll through Facebook and see a video of 3 nuns doing the cup song, and I find the thought running through my head “Does God want me to be a nun?” My OCD has caused me to seek out reassurance in the forms of Google searching anything and everything to figure this out. I fear that, if I do not become a nun, God will hate me and never love me again. It’s a thought I have often when I do something, label it a mortal sin, and then scramble to find a parish offering confession.

My OCD comes like a thief in the night. I can perfectly at peace and in love, and then it’s shattered by a passing thought that I latch onto for hours, days, and even weeks at a time.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I have been avoiding therapy because I wanted to join the military, and I knew that any trace of emotional disturbance would be cause for exclusion from serving my country. I have since, made peace with the fact that this is not my calling.

I have been looking for some sort of peace with this debilitating mental condition. I have had some form of OCD since I was 10 years old.

I am going to see my beloved this weekend, and I am worried about this new thought that has come into my head. We have discussed so much and gone through some tough times together. I want my OCD to stop attacking the things I love most: I want to not have to choose between faith and love.

12 Replies

Thank you. I reached out yesterday to a therapist and received a call this morning to schedule an appointment. I’m honestly terrified, but I know I need to do this.

I would like to welcome you to the OCD Support Network.

We are in this together.

We offer hope and support to each other.

I hope you find the help you need for treatment.

hopeandcourage94 profile image
hopeandcourage94 in reply to

Thank you. I have been dealing with this silently for awhile. It’s a harrowing ordeal to go through this and finally realize you cannot do it alone anymore.

Hi hopeandcourage,

I'm not Catholic but I'm Christian and have had scrupulosity issues over the years. It sounds like you're pretty convinced that your anxieties about your life choices are rooted in OCD, but there's always that 'what if' question that makes it hard to be at peace.

I think one of the most important things is to realize that you will never have absolute certainty that you are doing what God wants. The answer is probably not on Google :) You can only make the best decisions you can, based on what you really believe and what you really discern is your purpose, and not based on your obsessive doubts. I suspect you could give in to the doubt, become a nun, and then there would be something else your OCD would question ("am I a good-enough nun?? What if I was meant to get married instead??").

When I began challenging my religious OCD obsessions, I often wondered if I was doing the right thing. What if God really did want me to follow my made-up rules and rituals, and it wasn't really OCD? I still don't know the answer 100%, but I've gotten peace by trusting that God is forgiving. At some point we have to choose SOME course of action, and the odds are we'll never be totally sure it's the right one. OCD will try to torture you over that uncertainty, but you don't have to pay attention to it.

Glad to see you contacted a therapist. I've done self-help therapy for decades but finally got a therapist to help me with some OCD issues that got worse last year. It's ultimately up to you to do the hard work, but the therapist will guide you and offer insight and encouragement. (Be sure they know how to deal with OCD!)

Also you might check out a book called "The Doubting Disease" by Joseph W. Ciarrocchi. The author was a psychologist and priest and the book has a lot of good insight into scrupulosity, including the dilemma of making choices when more than one option seems like the "right thing to do."

Finally, you said "I want my OCD to stop attacking the things I love most.." I've had OCD for over 30 years and in my experience it will always attack what I love most. The trick is learning to ignore it! I just mention this because I spent a lot of time thinking that success in therapy meant getting rid of the doubts and irrational compulsions, when in fact the real goal is learning to tolerate and be at peace with doubt. It is possible to do that and have a much more peaceful mental life and a fuller relationship with God. Good luck!

You’re absolutely right! You can probably imagine what my “Google Search” history looks like over the past year. Yikes.

It’s crazy how a mere scrolling through Facebook could have thrown me into my latest obsession. Not even a day ago, I was still stressed, but I was feeling good about where my life was going! I try to remember that God doesn’t use fear or anxiety to communicate, but peace. I follow those feelings of peace and joy whenever I can.

Thanks for your thoughts. Our God is a loving God. I hope I can quell my doubts to be able to listen to that part of my heart that KNOWS God can see me trying my absolute best.

molypo123 profile image
molypo123 in reply to MothFir

Wow great response! I’m a Christian too and I thought mine was more spiritual and I was demon possessed or something was wrong with me spiritually. Have you heard of Ted Witzig? He is a therapist and a Christian and his resources are super helpful. He mentions having faith because feelings are not always fact. OCD attacks whatever we value the most. We can’t know for certain. That’s the hardest part for me, but I will never find the 100% answer. So I need to have faith that God knows my heart.

Hi. I also encourage you to see therapy, but PLEASE be sure that they treat OCD. This is a specialty field. I am 67 years old and have had OCD since I was about 6. I have been to many therapists, but I am just now realizing within the past year that I have NEVER had the right therapy. Being here on this board and watching the webinars put on by the National OCD Foundation has really shown me this. WOW! I am now learning so much. I knew what i had but regular therapy just wasn't the answer!

I too have scrupulosity issues....raised in the Catholic faith until I got married and really learned who Jesus is. It changed my whole entire life. Now I have a realationship with God based (as you said) on peace. You are right....He IS a loving Father. I still fight OCD having intrusive thoughts, but now I'm recognizing them for what they are.

I still haven't gotten ERP therapy yet (the preferred treatment), but daily I turn over my fears to God and let Him handle them.

Please don't let your life go on without seeking the help that you need. God will make it all clear to you in time, but you do need to calm your mind with help. It's scarey, but you will make it through!!! Are you on meds?

Yes, I made it a point to say in my phone call yesterday, “I need someone who has experience treating people with OCD.” I mentioned that several times, so I hope that I can get some serious help!

And it’s crazy how a day can change some things. I’m here with my SO at his parent’s house, and we are doing great!

I had one episode this morning, but I’m hanging in there. Trying to live one moment at a time and turn everything over to Him. He knows what lies ahead of me. All I can do is trust and worry about today’s things.

I know I will always have OCD. Maybe I can make it become “dormant” in my life with this therapy, you know? I wish there was a magic cure. I listened to Jon Hershfield on theocdstories podcast today and he spoke eloquently on moral scrupulosity. I found this other link (above); it might be helpful with our religious scrupulosity. There are so many wonderful resources out there to help us! Keep hopeful.

I just wanted to say, that this same exact thing happened to me and still comes back now and then. I truly understand how hard this is and how it can feel like you have to choose between loving God and giving up everything you love. Facebook scrolls, Catholic discernment videos, all of these things that are helpful to most, can seem like something to avoid out of fear. But know, God works through the desires of our heart, He wants us to be joyful! And, I am so glad you are seeking therapy! That is wonderful! I had to too, because it became almost impossible to not let this fear ruin the beautiful relationship I am in! It can be so hard, especially for Catholics, because you can become so scrupulous and believe God will hate you if your not perfect. I do not know if this will help you, but what has helped me is talking to someone about it who is aware of my OCD (who is not my boyfriend : )) when doubts start to resurface and also, just remember that God is a God of love. He doesn’t hate us when we make mistakes, He loves the sinners and the saints, so even if you ever did make a mistake, He will love you still. So, even though it’s impossible, we don’t really ever have to be afraid of Him hating us. I wish I could say more to help, but I hope just knowing that you’re not the only one helps! And also, one thing that really really helped me, is whenever I have thoughts like this, I just say Jesus, I trust that you have me where you want me and the people you have placed in my life to guide me.

Try Jamie from Scrupulosity, she's helped me a lot.

You may also like...