Friday, 15 November 2013

Reassurance pt 2

My last post on reassurance as a compulsion for OCD sufferers might have sounded like a lot of the things we need in life, like talking to friends, family, finding information and generally seeking feedback, need to be stopped.

However, this is not really what I was wanting to say. We all need reassurance from time to time whether we suffer OCD or not. We all need to talk things through and offload or seek a better understanding of things in order to be reasonable people.

I guess the real challenge with reassurance is deciding whether the need for reassurance is a natural human response in the circumstance, or whether it is a compulsion that you are using to scratch the OCD itch?

Knowing what type of things I seek reassurance on, due to OCD, I can see at least one or two places to stop seeking reassurance. I have stopped seeking reassurance on worthiness issues, which as we all know can be a big question for everyone in the LDS church. We discuss it a lot and we value the idea that we are ‘worthy’, however with any real thought you can quickly realise that none of us are really ‘worthy’, so it’s a bit of a nonsense worrying too much about it. We just need to do what we know to be right, and keep trying.

I simply made a decision that I would never go and discuss or seek to confess anything to a Bishop or a Stake President again. That thought might strike the fear into some members, and some may see that as an act of defiance or pride, but the context is very different in the instance of OCD.

An OCD sufferer who deals with scrupulosity or religiosity are generally not the type of people who go around doing stuff that needs confession to the Bishop. Normally sufferers are already so hyper-sensitive to doing anything wrong that they will be

1) confessing stuff they have already confessed
2) imagined wrongs which never happened, but because I’m thinking of them maybe they did
3) thinking a bad thought that you believe says something devastating about your character, and the list could go on.

This is not a normal thought process. This is the obsessive thought. The compulsion is to have a Bishop or someone in authority tell you it’s ok. Nothing else will do.

In these instances you have to refuse to confess to a priesthood leader. This is not pride, this is forcing yourself to see sense.

Of course, serious transgressions that may occur in the future need confession as part of the repentance process, but it’s just a part of the process, not the ultimate and most important detail.

I have learnt something about faith and forgiveness in this process. The faith comes from believing that the Saviour will forgive me for the small things I do as I recognise them and essentially move on trying to do better. He doesn’t need or want us to be so crippled with anxiety and guilt that we can’t manage to be better because we are so swallowed up in a sense of our own guilt. Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ that he will make right the wrongs that we can’t, and then we move on with life.

I have found the best form of ‘confession’ or ‘reassurance’ comes from writing down my thoughts and questions. The process of writing them down is getting them out just as effectively as telling someone. It also has the added benefit of ordering and structuring your thoughts. It also relieves anxiety as you are engaged in the process of writing, things become clearer.

Full blown anxiety is never a good state in which to make decisions, unless it’s RUN FOR YOUR LIFE A BIG GRIZZLY BEAR IS GOING TO EAT YOU!!!

While small amounts of anxiousness, stress or fear may help motivate us in certain circumstances, when it becomes sheer panic and debilitating we are no longer being rational.

So my advice, stop the reassurance from others, write it down instead. It keeps your stuff personal, but still creates the release and the opportunity to re-evaluate and reassure yourself.


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