Monday, 15 April 2013

Positivity - Have you had your plus sign today?

So a lot of my posts so far have been about how rubbish OCD feels and trying to understand and expose my thinking to other possibilities.

I would be missing out on the whole experience if I only posted when things were negative.

This last week has been unbelievably good.

I have been feeling better than I have for a long time. When I would normally look back and think of the times I felt great I would long for that feeling again. Well, this last week I got my wish.

Don’t get me wrong, every day I still wake up and think “How do I feel today?”, a definite check or test that normally ignites the OCD fire, but I have been able to embrace the fact that life is not black and white. I have felt the nuances and ambiguity of life and even enjoyed it. Hope has come into my heart and mind. I can identify that which I feel is right and wrong. I have been able to perform the task in hand and not be overwhelmed with other thoughts, anxiety and the urge to compulsively check the internet and what’s in my head etc.

So if you are suffering from OCD and are reading this you really want to know what has happened to bring about this change. Good question. I have some thoughts on this.

Last weekend was General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Firstly, In preparation I did something I haven’t done so well for a while. I decided that I was going to make a conscious effort to say a prayer every morning and every evening (quite difficult to do when you have religious OCD). However, I wasn’t going to attach any pressure to it. I was thinking of just doing it, being sincere in what I pray about and then trying my best to let it just be. Sometimes I think we can expect too much too soon from prayers, or get too angry or frustrated about what we are expressing or we can get too complacent. I was going to just let my prayer be what it was with no expectation or further concern about it's results. I figured that the fact I am saying the prayer and showing commitment by doing it consistently that this alone was enough expression of faith and hope for some guidance.

Seondly, during the time I spent watching General conference I listened intently. I found that there were answers to lots of the things I’d prayed about and expressed frustration about. There were too many things answered and too many questions cleared up that it was a testament to me this was not coincidental. I really felt that I was calmed and made more peaceful because I was willing to commit to prayer and committed to listen for answers. This is not some mystical or magical process, but I had the sense of reality in interpreting the events that transpired as ‘real’ and true. I won’t go into all the questions or things I had in mind, but trust me when I say some were random and so unique to me that no generic church talk would have answered them. I believe in the reality that God can teach me through others words.

Secondly I decided that during last week I would immerse myself in the scriptures. I do read the scriptures for teaching classes on a Sunday and I do read from other sources on the internet or books, but this was a different mindset. I was going to just use the scriptures as my source and nothing else. So every day I read the scriptures first and foremost. In doing this my feelings about life’s purpose and my understanding of faith were clear and uncluttered. I really felt that I was learning more from just reading the scripture alone than from adding to them all kinds of other source material. More than that, but I was being soothed as I read whatever it was I was looking at. This week I was learning about the Law of Consecration. Maybe the principles in that were things I needed to be reminded of, who knows.

That’s all I’ve done and I honestly believe it has made the world of difference. Nothing else has changed. I am not on new medication. I am not working differently. I have the same amount of pressure and problems, but something changed. These were the only three things that changed, prayer, conference and scripture focused study.

This might seem like a very specific solution to my specific religiosity OCD, I guess this could sound like a type of exposure therapy for religious OCD, but I don’t think that this is something that works solely for me and my situation. I’d love to hear from other people if they have had similar experiences.

I'm a bit annoyed with the fact that such simple things have made such a difference. I feel like I should have known and been in a place to do this before. Maybe that is being a bit hard on myself. Maybe I needed to get to this point by working through so much other stuff first. I should just be glad that the persistance to work through my OCD challenges have paid off, at least in part.

I don’t for a minute think that my challenge with OCD is over or that I have just ‘cured’ myself. I do however think that God gives answers to those who show some commitment and a willingness to listen for answers, while not letting other ‘stuff’ cloud your determination to getting the answer from the most important source.

Prayer and studying scripture has been the best medication I've found to date. It has been the difference between a positive experience and a negative one. They are like happy pills.

Try it. I'm convinced it works.


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