My OCD story...I don't know what to do...please help
I've told this story to so many people online I can almost write it verbatim, but each time I write it I hope it will help me get better. Here goes.
First off, I'm a gay 21-year-old male who lives in Los Angeles. I started having OCD symptoms around the time I was 11. I developed a handwashing cessation that I ended up having to go a therapist for. I would constantly be washing my hands until they became raw and chapped. It developed into a fear of germs, and I would be deathly afraid to touch handles of public doors, the garbage...I would even be afraid to eat food with my fingers. This lasted a few months and went away. Sadly, that was only mild compared to my later battle with OCD.
When I was about 16, I started having horrible thoughts and images that I couldn't control. I would have thoughts such as "I wish so-and-so were dead" or "I hate so-and-so" or "I'm glad so-and-so is dead." Soon I started having horrible thoughts about God. My family was never religious; there was a basic understanding that God existed but that was as far as it went. I sometimes had gone to church with friends, and one time I went they taught us in Sunday School to say "forgive me, Lord" whenever we sinned. Well, that's what I did, hundred of times a day. I would have blasphemous thoughts that I would pray for forgiveness for, but they would never leave.
When I was 17, I got the courage to talk to someone about my thoughts. This is girl happened to be a born-again Christian, and she thought she could save me. She brought me to her fiancee's brother, who was an ultra-holier-than-thou Christian (who later became my senior year English teacher). We all sat down in the living room of his house, with his wife in the corner and my friend next to me. He started preaching about Jesus Christ and told me some basic stuff about him. I told him that I always heard a voice in my head that said bad stuff and I couldn't stop it. He probably thought that I was possessed by a demon or something. He then proceeded to say that God was showing him things about me. He looked very deep in thought and it really scared me. He said he didn't want to embarrass me with them (I think he was picking up on the fact that I was gay.) He then told me that I must have been one of the "chosen ones," and that God had brought me to him, because there were no coincidences. He then said that all of my sins would be forgiven, except for ONE, and that was if I said that "God and Satan are one."
The moment he said that, it was seared into my brain. I left his house, emotionally traumatized. For years, that thought repeated in my head day in and day out. I thought that I was going to hell for committing an unpardonable sin. I researched the unforgivable sin in the Bible, the "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit," and soon I started having bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit, and I really thought I was going to burn. I dealt with this for about three years. It was horrible.
In March I found an OCD website that talked about all the symptoms that I had, and I figured out that I had OCD. The site said that I should just "let the thoughts be there." I did just that, and it was hard not to pray for forgiveness, but it got easier and before too long I saw light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I wasn't ruminating at all. I stopped believing in God and called myself an atheist. I also took up the habit of smoking pot (which I maybe should not have.) Life could not have been grander for me.
However, in August I went through an HIV scare, and it was very traumatic for me. I was so scared that I got down on my knees and prayed for help, and I "got it." When I was in a moment of desperation, my cell phone rang while I had it in my hand, and it was a friend of mine that I hadn't told that I was gay. I suddenly had the strength to tell her, and also that I was having an HIV scare. She had previously gone through the same thing before (which I knew), so she knew what I was going through. I ended up staying with her for awhile.
I found myself believing in God again, however soon my OCD reared up. I found myself thinking "Go away God" or "I don't want your help, God." Then I started having bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit again, and then I really went downhill. I wasn't sure if it was the OCD or if it was me having the thoughts. Then I really lost it when I remembered that one night a couple of years ago while ruminating the thought of "God and Satan are one" that I gritted my teeth and said it out loud. From then on I thought that I was damned. I was so depressed it was unbelievable. I felt to guilty.
All of that happened when I lived in Reno, Nevada; I moved to L.A. almost two months ago to live with some family. Things have sort of gotten better for me; my aunt and uncle are helping me with school and they have paid a lot of my debt for me, but I am still depressed. I am constantly worried that I might have committed the unpardonable sin, and I am always in anxiety and I have a fear of hell and of the end of the world. I look at what's been going on in the world and I fear that the Bible is right and that the world is coming to an end.
I am constantly trying to snap myself out of this, but it's impossible. The fear is always with me. In my right mind I do not even know if God exists, but my fear is always "what if the God of the Bible does exist and you're going to hell?" and "what if the Christian guy who put all of this in your head to begin with was right?" and "What if this is the prophetic end of the world?" I tell myself that the Christian guy was full of crap and that if God really was showing him things he would have showed him that my "voice" that I was hearing was actually OCD, but that doesn't help either. I told my family about all of it and they basically just say to get over it, but they don't understand. My Dad even tried to make me feel better by saying the dreaded phrase the Christian guy said never to say (he even said it 3 times) and said "well, I'm going to hell now, too." That didn't help either. They do all, however, think that the guy was crazy and that his teaching license should be revoked.
I went to group therapy, I've seen a psychiatrist, I've tried a couple of anti-depressants, no dice...I just wish I could go back to the way my life used to be. I was so happy and care-free, and then the HIV scare happened and then my unforgivable sin stuff happened again and now I am constantly ruled by fear and anxiety. It scares me to think that God actually does exist, let alone that he might be the God of the Bible and that I'm going to hell for committing that sin or because I have bad thoughts about him that I'm not sure are my fault or not.
So basically, here's what I'm going through today: a)I'm always obsessing over this man and what he did, and also about the unforgivable sin. I'm always thinking about it. b)I'm always disturbed by the thought that I may have committed this sin once or multiples of times. c) I'm always worried that the world is coming to an end (the tsunami and 9.0 earthquake didn't help.) and that I'm going to hell. d) I'm always in anxiety and fear, though I hide it well. I tell myself that what happened with my friend calling me when she did during my HIV scare was probably a coincidence, but the fear of God existing is a part of my anxiety on top of everything else. I would really love to rediscover my lost atheism and get back to normal. I think I have some sort of chemical imbalance that forbids me to do so.
I hope there is someone out there who's gone through some sort of situation similar to mine and can help. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much for reading. It feels good just to type it out.
Re: My OCD story...I don't know what to do...please help
First of all, good for you for writing that out. It has to feel good just to get it out there. I too use to suffer from this when I was young. When I would be praying the thought would come into my head that I was really praying to Satan or that I loved Satan or pretty much anything bad. I would get so frustrated I would start the prayers over again - I always had to be on my knees when I prayed or I thought they "were'nt right or didint count " Then when I started my prayer out Id say, God I am praying to you and only YOU and if any thoughts of the devil come in I dont mean it. That sort of helped but I obvoiusly was suffering from OCD- I too washed my hands until they were raw and chapped. I am a Christian. The thing that guy said to you is RIDICULOUS! I agree with you that he should have his licence or whatever revoked. It makes me SO MAD when people like that totally get Christianity all truned around and messed up and put rules and laws on it. Christianity is just believing that Jesus died for us and our sins and trying to live a life like Jesus did. To be a non-judgemental, accepting, loving person. And from what I hear from you you are doing a pretty good job. Listen, and I am just telling you this to help you out- I am not trying to preach to you or turn you into a Christian or anything like that- what you believe is totally your decision and your spirituallity and nobody should mess with that. God....loves you, he knows you better than anyone else, better than you know yourself......believe me he knows that those thoughts are not how you really feel. He is a loving, understanding God. And for that guy to pick at the fact that you are gay, ohhh man. It makes me so mad. Who cares if you are gay? It is just who you are and I am telling you Jesus loves you for who you are. It seemed like that guy was trying to "scare" you into Christianity and thats the worst way to ever try to bring soemone to Christ in my opinion. Not all Christians are like that. My OCD was so bad a month ago....so so bad. One day I woke up and I just drove to this Church I had never been to.....I didnt even really know what I was doing...but I just got there and got down on my knees and prayed for help. Everyday since then has been better. God has shown me so many things and led me to the right people for help. Just like that freind of yours who was able to help you through that time- that is awesome and Im glad you have freinds like that- that was not a coincidence, God was answering your prayer becuase you asked for help. I just want to let you know that those thoughts are part of a brain desease which is in no way your fault. God knows that. I believe in God and I would pray pray pray for the thoughts to go away --- they would calm down for a while then come back----but I know through a series of events that God let me to the pyschaitrist I am seeing now and god me the right help. I have been on Prozac for a month now and I feel so much better. If you have a disorder, like OCD, sometimes medication is the only thing that can help. Do you mind me asking what meds you have tried? Oh yeah, I also had a fear of going to hell for a while...and if heaven and hell exsisted and all of that stuff. I book that may help you - its called "life after life" my raymond moody it is about all of these people- different races, religions, ages, backgrounds- who went through near death experiences and all experienced similar things- and all of the stories were amazing and great they all felt peace and happiness and met a "being of light". I havent read the whole book but I guess what I am trying to say is- we cant prove what will happen after we die or when the end of the world will come. But we can trust that God is loving and has a great place prepared for us. He is forgiving and merciful- he understands your thoughts. I have horrible horrible thoughts all the time but I trust that God knows it is just the OCD- not me. If you really meant those thoughts(which I know you dont) then you wouldnt even be feeling guilty about them or obsessing over them. And to let you know- Ive been a Christian for a while and I have NEVER heard anyone say that if you say "God and Satan are one" you are going to hell. So ridiculous. That is not true and I dont think that man knows what he was talking about and I am truly sorry that you had that experience and that it scared you so much. I dont know if I helped any- but I hope I did. Just hang in there and my heart is with you. If you need anything- we are here. " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plams not to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give hope and a future, Then you will call upon me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heat." Jeremiah 29:1-13
Re: My OCD story...I don't know what to do...please help
Amazing, your story is the closest I seen to my own. My very first OCD thought (18yrs ago) was God was the devil and the devil was God. This really freak me out as I had alway considered myself a Christian. I even obsessed for years about the unforgiveable sin. Dont know if this will help you but I've never seen anywhere in the bible that gives an explanation of "blasphemy of the holy spirit". So personally I think the guy you saw may just been another OCD suffer.
A few years ago our family had a very traumatic experienced, not only did it turned me against God, but I felt he betrayed my family and I and I was furious at him. In my anger (Im also bipolar) I have done and said some pretty harsh nasty things to God, but this isnt a religious debate, we each have to make our own personal choice about God. I've never understood why Ive had these thoughts, but with everything that's happened I did lose my faith in God. I look at things like this now, I cant change what I've done and God's not answering me, so why worry he's going to send me where ever he wants to.
Maybe some day we'll understand. I really truely want to thank you for sharing your story in such detail. Im still amazed as to how close your story is to mine. My feeling is to follow your heart. If that leads you back to Christianity and you find comfort there, go for it. As I said earilier I think that guy you saw was just another OCD suffer. If God is truely loving, fair & just you'll be fine. Hope this was some help. Take Care, K