Friday, 30 May 2014 0 comments

Being healed of OCD from a Mormon's perspective - a process and not an event

** having read this since posting it, it reads like a few scattered thoughts and is not as clear as i thought it would be. I am going to rework this a bit but will leave this up in the meantime as it is not terrible. **

In the scriptures when the Saviour healed physical conditions, it seems immediate and instant to us as we read. As soon as the Saviour declared it gone, sickness was removed entirely. In a number of instances he told those who reached out to him that they were ‘made whole’, which probably meant so much more than physical health.

If that is the case, then why won't the Saviour do that for me? I have often thought "Where is my instant help?"

A thought struck me one day........ I wonder if any of those who were healed would have called it 'a quick fix'. Maybe to suggest to them that it was a quick fix would have gotten a snort and an incredulous look. With all of their years of struggling and prayer and begging before meeting the Saviour finally, probably rules out the idea of a quick fix.

Maybe we need to re-evaluate those years they spent afflicted. Were they part of a longer healing process? Maybe the challenges they had were necessary, as they helped them to develop enough humility and faith, to be ready for the Master’s final touch when that time came?

Just like with physical injuries, sometimes an operation may be necessary. For a time it may make the pain worse. However, the operation, which cuts, breaks and maybe even removes part of us, can correctly be called ‘healing’ or ‘being healed’. The fact we could not get better had we not had that painful operation, makes it a necessary part of healing. Therefore, my feeling is that healing is much more likely a process than an event.

It's the same with OCD. Facing the obsessions and compulsions can hurt ALOT. It may feel like we are being broken and undergoing emotional surgery, and that's because we are. It is necessary though. Meet that obsessions and compulsions head on. Realise it is a necessary part of healing. To take it away from us, would rob us of the parts of the process that are necessary to the healing process.

Now for the super religious bit......

Looking at the Saviour’s suffering, some of which is outlined in Mosiah 14 and uses such words as being despised, rejected, afflicted, smitten, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed, stricken. The phrase that stands out to me is this one from the Doctrine and Covenants - The Saviour felt the “fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (D&C 76:107)

In suffering for every man, woman and child he dealt with unimaginable pain and sorrow not only for sin but for all other difficulties, weaknesses, sicknesses and infirmities. When we try to measure that we start doing what Elder Maxwell calls the ‘Awful arithmetic of the atonement’.

But this suffering that the Saviour endured, was a necessary part of a bigger healing process that would encompass every child of our Heavenly Father.

I assume that it reaches it’s peak when the Saviour in the garden of Gethsemane where He feels forsaken and left to alone for a period of time. I would not be surprised if there was a few thoughts that ran through his mind that we may sometimes have too -

“I wish this could be over faster.” Or “I don’t know how much more I can take?” or “If I just had a moment’s rest, that would help and then I’ll be able to continue.”

What was it that got Him through it? It must have been the knowledge and, where knowledge failed, a belief and hope, that this was for a bigger and more glorious purpose. The view that what was to be suffered and endured would ultimately be to a greater end. This didn't make the pain any easier. It still had to be felt and endured, but it gave hope.

The road is rough I said, dear Lord,
There's stones that hurt me so;
And he said, dear child I understand,
I walked it long ago.
But there is a cool green path I said,
Let me walk there for a time;
No child He gently answered me,
The green road does not climb.

My burden I said is far too great,
How can I bear it so?
My child said he, I remember it's weight,
I carried my cross you know.
But I said I wish there were friends who would make my way their own,
Oh yes, he said, Gethsemane, was hard to face alone.

And so I walked that stoney path
Content enough to know,
That where my master had not gone,
I would not need to go...

And strangely then, I found, my friends,
The burden grew less sore,
As I remembered long ago, He had
Walked that way before.....

We need to trust, that our Saviour knows perfectly from his suffering, what difficulties and pains (maybe OCD) left in our way will make us better one day.

The Saviour cares more about our growth than He does about our comfort.

So our fight with OCD challenges in life can be seen as part of a healing process, made possible by him and under his watchful care.

In the middle of tragedies and problems, this eternal perspective can be hard to see. Our constant challenge is to try to remember and apply these immortal principles of the atonement to our mortal situations.

There's a great quote by Jeffrey R Holland that is important to remember with OCD, especially religiosity or scrupulosity -

“Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side - signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn't love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours.”
― Jeffrey R. Holland, Created for Greater Things

Sometimes with OCD, and in life generally, we need to realise that there is no greater expression of faith in Jesus Christ than just getting up day after day hoping that things will work out while no immediate spiritual help is apparent.

This is not just wishful thinking or blind faith. It is a decision based on knowing fine well what you know, and also knowing fine well that there's lots of stuff you don't know. This is the test, the trial, the exercising of faith.

We must also understand that OCD is a medical condition that we must tackle from all angles. We must seek the professional help, which will most likely include medication, along with spiritual help.

We can sometimes feel that using medical help is a sign that our faith is weak, because if it was strong we'd rely wholly on the Saviour for a cure or a fix. WRONG!

The main part of our challenges in life, and no doubt with OCD, is about learning how we react to our challenges and what we learn from them. Our test is really not OCD at all, but how we are going to tackle the problem in front of us.

Seeing it in this light, surely a Saviour would want us to take whatever positive steps are available to us. I can't think of one good reason why the Saviour wouldn't want us to get all the help we can.

There is a time and a place for relying wholly on the Saviour. I do not believe that medical conditions is necessarily one of them. This may be down to how we actually interpret that idea, but I won't bore you with my analysis of what I think it means to 'rely wholly' on the Saviour.

The main idea of the word ’Grace’ is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. This is important. As we do what we can we will find grace. Grace is not to solve our problems completely, but to help us along the way.

Grace is often administered by intangible things. Feelings that comfort us, feelings of hope and thankfulness. Knowledge and insight we previously didn’t have; a sense of support or being led, or added strength when we feel at our weakest. These all come because of the atonement.

OCD clouds this because it has such a hold on our thoughts, feelings and emotions. This does not mean however that they don't come and it definitely doesn't mean we won't feel anything, ever. It may just be a bit harder while in an OCD haze. That's why medication and therapy helps. It clears that haze so we see more clearly.

I have some terrible days. I have some great days. Mostly, I have days where I am just getting on with stuff. The terrible days are becoming fewer and further apart because of this change in thought process outlined above.

I no longer expect an instant cure, but I am going through the process of healing. This is better than being healed instantly. I am learning. I understand others better. I am kinder to myself and feel a dependancy on the Lord to teach me about the process rather than deliver me from it.