Struggling with OCD and “Sinful Thoughts”

Struggling with OCD and Sinful ThoughtsI think I was about 14 when this particular compulsive thought decided to burrow its way into my head. We had some dear friends over from out of town, and though it was one of the most exciting events of the year for myself and my brothers, I suddenly found myself reeling from a curveball thrown at me by my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. One minute, I was running around the house laughing at the top of my lungs, and the next minute, curse words were suddenly coursing through my brain. Immediately, I felt shock and shame. I didn’t curse, but the words wouldn’t go away.

Even worse, phrases would work their way into my thoughts, phrases that cussed out other people, and even worse, God. Of course, this set off a whole new set of alarm bells when I considered the Bible verse, Matthew 12:31,

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

This whole inner battle became apparent within about 2 hours. By God’s grace, I was old enough to realize that these words were stemming from my disorders, and not from my heart. Although I was still largely attempting to ignore my tics, I was more open to accepting my struggle with anxiety and OCD by that time. I honestly didn’t know much about my disorders at that point, but I knew Unlikely Outcomes for Children with OCDthere was something inside of me that made me worry more than others, and although it filled me with shame, I was driven to go to my mother before I’d tormented myself for too long. The struggle was too close to childhood memories for me to wait very long.

My parents say I was anxious even as an infant. I was saying my first words by the time I was three or four months old, and as I grew, my language and observation skills grew quickly with me. According to my mother, I was one of those children who understood too much about the world around me from a young age. I was sensitive to arguments, news reports, and even changes in routine.

While this meant I was a quick learner and good helper to my mother, I wasn’t old enough to understand how to filter the information I received. With age comes life experience, those lessons we learn that teach us how to balance stimulation and information with  probability and likelihood. When children learn to take in more information than their brains know how to process, it can often mean anxiety. For children like me who have OCD or OCD tendencies, it means unlikely outcomes that have been conjured up by young minds are suddenly blown out of proportion, and no matter how unrealistic those outcomes are, they often cause cyclical fear that plays on “Repeat” in the child’s head.

Is This Normal for People with OCD?

Yes. This particular struggle is called an obsession. Beyond OCD’s article, “Helping a Child Who Has OCD,” describes obsessions as, “…involuntary intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that cause unbearable worry, fear or discomfort.” It then describes compulsions as the way people with OCD cope with the obsessions. (Although I must not that not everyone has an equal number of obsessions or compulsions; it’s on a spectrum.)

This particular obsession makes the individual feel alone and often in despair. There’s nothing quite like the terror of feeling that you’re bringing down damnation upon yourself without even knowing why you’re doing it, wishing you could stop. As alone as this obsession can make one feel, however, WebMD says that the, “fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts,” is a common trait in OCD. Not all people with OCD will have this obsession, but it occurs often enough to be of mention.

Worry Wise Kids article, “What happened to my child? Taking charge of “bad thought” OCD,”says a red flag that a child with OCD is struggling with these thoughts is when, despite his or her strong Not His Thoughts Not His Sinlove for God, he or she starts talking about, “hating God or making deals with the devil. And these thoughts are singular to children. I talked to a woman a while back who was convinced that she didn’t love God because she kept cursing the Holy Spirit in her mind, despite the fact that she was taking her faith very seriously and seeking to know God as well as she could.

I can tell you from personal experience that it’s torture. I don’t remember much time as a child that I didn’t love God. I grew up in a Christian family that loved and protected me, and I was taught from birth that Jesus loved me as well. I never questioned that until the disorders began to take form in my little mind. For nearly a year in elementary school, I feared constantly that I was too sinful for God to love because my OCD would make me think horrible thoughts about God that used bad words. I went to sleep for many nights, fearing I would die during the night and that God would send me to Hell for my crimes.

At the time, I was too young to know how to discriminate between the thoughts that were truly mine and those that were from my OCD. As with most obsessions, however, it eventually wore off. My parents continued to assure me of God’s love, and so did my Sunday school teachers (whether they knew it or not), and by and by, I began to realize that God really did love me, just like the Bible said. Then, during my teenage years, the cussing obsession started, and at first, I felt eight-years-old again. Helpless and horrible.

How I Fought Back

When the obsession hit the second time around, however, during my teenage years, I was old enough to understand (after my initial reaction of shock) that the thoughts weren’t ones I was choosing. So I went to my mother and hesitantly said,

“I keep thinking curse words in my head. I don’t want them, but they’re still there….” I didn’t know how to explain it from there, however. Blessedly, my mother was wise enough to recognize the symptoms of an obsession when she heard about them. Instead of being alarmed by them, she smiled gently and reassured me. She’d explained OCD to me when I was young, but now that I was older, it began to really make sense. I can’t tell you the feeling of freedom that ran through my veins that day. The two hours of torture it had taken me to tell her were more than enough for my taste.

It’s not always easy to differentiate between the thoughts that are my own and the thoughts that stem from the OCD. Part of my healing process from these obsessions was simply growing up. Learning that life goes on, and with it, still seeing that I loved God, was a powerful tool. Reading the Bible with help, learning that the people God loved in the Bible weren’t perfect either, that they were forgiven, helped me also to see. The more I learned about the attributes of God and the more I learned about OCD, the more I began to realize that He wasn’t going to punish me for the way my brain worked. After all, He’d created me; He knew more about what I was struggling with than I did.

How Not to Help Someone with OCD Fight “Bad Thoughts”

Everyone with OCD works differently. Where medication really helps some, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can really help others. For some people, it’s a combination of treatments. There are many ways, however, that can hurt more than help, and can be done with all the right intentions. In short, if someone with OCD comes to you for guidance, please don’t do these things:

  1. Acting shocked or horrified – The individual who struggles with these thoughts already feels terrible enough about them. It’s hard to walk around thinking you’re a depraved monster who spews out evil, or that you’re going to Hell for thoughts you don’t want and can’t control. If someone comes to you and shares this struggle, he is probably desperate for affirmation that he isn’t going to be damned for his struggles. Instead, he needs a calm voice and a gentle composure. He needs to know these thoughts are not his own.
  2. Telling him to just block the thoughts – This works about as well as telling someone with a cold not to sneeze. Instead, Worry Wise Kids has some good advice, “Let the thought come in and go out like any other thought- don’t try to stop it, don’t push the pause button, don’t try and force it out, play out the movie.” I can tell you that trying to block the thought only makes it worse, something akin to the idea of, “Don’t think about red elephants!”
  3. Telling him if he has enough faith it will go away – This is along the lines of the faith healers’ techniques, using the idea of “name it and claim it,” often touted by people like Joel Osteen. Telling him to just have more faith is doubly hurtful because it conveys that (1) he’s not trying hard enough, and (2) he is lacking in faith. Remember, OCD has nothing to do with spiritual beliefs. The strength of my faith does not determine how my brain works. If that were so, all the strong Christians would be perfectly clear-headed, regardless of age, and their bodies would be in Olympic shape. Obviously, this is not so.

What You Can Do

You don’t have to be an expert to comfort a friend who struggles with these “bad thoughts” from his or her OCD. In fact, if you’re not a licensed practitioner, it’s probably not a good idea to try and go too deep with the homemade therapy. There are ways you can help, however.

  • Be gentle and kind – Your friend or child will probably open up more when they have established that you’re a safe place.
  • Don’t push too hard – It’s one thing to speak when you’re approached, but it’s something else completely to push the subject. That will raise alarm bells in a head that’s constantly ringing with alarms in the first place.
  • Remind your loved one that the thoughts stem from the disorder, not from her – She will probably need this reassurance on more than one occasion. This is a common symptom, and it’s not unique to her. She is not cursing God, as the thoughts are unwanted, and God knows that.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact professionals – If you are a parent, don’t be afraid to ask your child’s pediatrician. If the individual is a friend, you can seek out local resources that are there specifically to help your friend. If your friend is unwilling to seek help, you can still call these professionals and ask about what you can do personally to help.
  • Don’t give up on them – Being around a person who constantly struggles with doubts and dark thoughts can be draining. The greatest love you can show your loved one is that you still love him, and that you don’t condemn him the way he condemns himself. Know that you won’t “fix” this person, but you can be one more soul who will always see him as a precious creation of God.
  • Pray for them – As I said before, you’re not going to “fix” this person. Even if you have to take a step back for personal reasons, even if you can’t be there for him or her physically, you can always pray to God to comfort the spirit of your loved one. In the end, He’s the only one who can equip and quiet the mind that’s hurting.

Psalm 31-7

Have you or a someone you love suffered from this symptom of OCD? Please share you thoughts, questions, and advice in the Comment Box below. And don’t forget, you can sign up for my newsletter for extra resources on neurological disorders, education, and spiritual encouragement. As always, thanks for reading!

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58 comments

  • Joshua on June 30, 2015 at 7:58 pm said:

    This article really hit the spot ive been struggling with for a while now. I don’t know if I suffer from OCD or not. But it feels like every time I pray awful thoughts will pop into my head. It doesn’t happen every time, but it happens often enough that I feel guilt as if it is my own will to say such things. I’m still struggling, but its good to know there are others like me. Stay strong and let the holy spirit dwell in you.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 1, 2015 at 3:19 am said:

      I’m sorry you’re struggling with these thoughts, but I hope you can be encouraged that you’re not alone by any means! I’ve had other friends who struggled with this as we grew up, and it’s actually more common than one would think. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the awful thoughts. I’ve noticed that sometimes certain actions we take can trigger these thoughts. I have to pray often that God will allow me joy in my talks with Him. It’s so easy to feel like I’m “doing it wrong.” I’m so thankful that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, and I have to remember that nothing I do on my own will be good enough…without God’s grace. Praise God for His grace and mercy in our attempts to love Him as He deserves! This thought brings my weary soul joy.

  • tobzz on October 12, 2015 at 2:58 pm said:

    Thanks for the post!It really helped me.What you have written in here is just like a carbon copy of my experiences.Till now i thought i was big sinner as i always cursed unnecessarily at unnecessary situations.I was thinking like these thoughts in my brain were my own thoughts and i tried my level best to suppress it whenever it came to my mind.But it never worked, especially when i was under stress.It again worsened the situation for me. Even-though i was good at studies ,these kinds of thoughts never allowed to perform well at exams.However,somehow i graduated and later on i decided to search if i am the only one around to have this issue.I have asked my parents,friends,relatives and even acquaintances.Some of them came with obvious answers like i need to pray more and think good.But i was unable to cope with it.
    But once, on reading this article, i feel great and relieved.Thanks once again for the post.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on October 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm said:

      I’m so sorry you’ve had such a struggle with this! And you’re definitely not the only one. I find it unfortunate that Christians so often misunderstand this problem. It truly feels like hell for those experiencing it, and they need encouragement and grace from their brothers and sisters-in-Christ rather than instruction. My next post is actually going to be on Martin Luther’s struggle with scrupulosity. It’s a little known fact that the great reformer struggled so greatly with OCD. I hope it can serve as an encouragement!

  • Brittany Odle on January 5, 2016 at 8:43 am said:

    hey brittany lol my names brittany too man i had many kinds of ocd germaphobia, numbers, lust, blasphemy, sexual thoughts about God, lust and than blasphemy its been a tough time. i have been dealing with blasphemy thoughts thoughts that are so wicked ugh for almost 2 years im hoping it just disapears for all of us. What i learned from God when He took it away for awhile is trust God. prayyyyy always God will never turn down a contrite heart. Ask Jesus to help you think true look at the verse phil 4:8. ask the Holy Spirit to calm your mind. let God be true and everyone a liar. i know its tough sometimes i just realize like 5 minutes ago just dont get fearful of the thought just ignore it the more your worried about it the stronger it will get. Let God fight our battles we cant do this let the Holy Spirit of God take control. Jesus loves us. We can do this. im so glad to find this. The worst time i get blasphemy is before going to bed its awful do yo have techniques in what to do? i do Pray. i do have exciting news i think im prego so i dont want no stress. what can i do to keep calm i know trust God and whenever i wantvtp read i dont know what to read i do loveeee psalms. sorry long post

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on January 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm said:

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! I was certainly concerned about my baby being affected by my tics when I was pregnant (I have a stomach muscle on in particular that concerned me.), but God gave me a healthy baby girl. I did, however, have to stop working when we had a scare that was illness and stress induced and I ended up in the hospital. The pregnancy went much more smoothly after that, thank God, and it was all worth it!

      And I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with your thoughts. You are so right though when you say God never turns down a contrite heart! And I have to remind myself sometimes that it’s the OCD talking, not me. I don’t know if you know this, but Martin Luther struggled with similar thoughts as well, particularly ones about God’s “behind” of all things. (I have an article on Luther’s struggles here if you’re interested in reading about it.) And yet, God revealed to him the greatness of His grace and mercy, and because his struggles pushed him to pursue a knowledge of God more and more, we have the gifts of his words and insights years later. I hope you can remember (as I must pray at times for myself) that our OCD isn’t us. Just because the words are in our head doesn’t mean we’re the ones sinning. God knows our plights, and He knows we struggle. When He looks at us, He sees the righteous robe of Christ, and we can find joy in that knowledge.

      Isaiah 61:10 – “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

  • Brittany Odle on January 13, 2016 at 2:29 am said:

    thats awesome you haf a girl ufh i wasnt prego waiting in Gods timing. but ill say this God delivered me totally yesterday by HIS HOLY WORD We have an AMAZING GOD the thoughts try to come but i have the WORD NOW YAYYY :) like today had a stress moment but God got me out of it i dont fear of being never forgiven God has me HE said focus on HEAVNLY THINGS. i would like to be friends brittany :) God has me make a website on my life with ocd and how HE delievered me :) did you take meds or not? how do you make website im on doodlekit the domain is jesussaves777.doodlekit.com

    the securiy codes hard ugh tried like 5 times hope it works finally. oh i dont get notified you writing me back on my post :(

  • Brittany Odle on March 18, 2016 at 8:12 am said:

    Brittany I read this article and you said something I am dealing with now :( please take out what you dealt with or others dealt with dont be too specific its dangerous for this idk brain thing. it can maybe trigger someone else :(

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on March 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm said:

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re dealing with such struggles right now. The reasons for my specifics, however, are to give others hope. OCD can make people feel isolated and hopeless, and by sharing my struggles with this, I want others to realize they’re not alone. If you read the comments before this, you can see that this is true. Most of all, we need to remind ourselves that the grace of God is the truth that brings us through these dark times. God’s grace and the truth of the Gospel is what has brought me out of spirals of anxiety many, many times before. Christ’s good news of salvation is the light that shines in the darkness.

  • A on April 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm said:

    I’m struggling with intrusive thoughts. My anxiety has gotten so bad that I’m experiencing cold chills and teeth chattering. I went to the doctor and they gave me a low dosage prescription for Zoloft. I’m trying to hang on I’m suppose to see a doctor in behavior health services soon. Nobody in my family knows about the intrusive thoughts I’ve been having. I know I’m not the thoughts and I know that I’m not going to do whatever awful thing OCD tries to come up with but the fear is still there. I also recently read an article on a christian site it was called: overcoming thoughts that make you feel crazy. It really triggered me and I don’t if I’m overreacting or not or if OCD is twisting things again. I keep praying to God about it but keeps popping up.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on April 17, 2016 at 4:49 am said:

      I can’t tell you how sorry I am to hear of your struggles. I know that for me, when my OCD kicks into gear, it can feel like I’m going in circles, faster and faster, and there’s no way to stop. Going to the doctor was a good decision, as that’s always the place I advise people to start. Have you tried the Zoloft yet? I haven’t been on medication for mine, but I heard from someone recently who said it helps them.

      I think the thing that can be so tiring about these thoughts is feeling like we have to keep them hidden. And it makes sense that the article triggered you. It’s odd how small things can set us off, isn’t it? As for overreacting, my guess is that it’s the OCD. OCD is described as a disorder that involves intrusive thoughts, which means they’re unwanted. It’s like locking your door, only to have your awful neighbor barge in against your will.

      While I still have my bouts with this now and then, what has helped me most personally has been to recognize when I am struggling with the OCD tendencies. It’s freeing to recognize that I’m not responsible for what my OCD puts in my head. I may have thoughts I don’t want, but God understands my plight. He’s the one who made me, so He understands. And more than understanding me, He loves me.

      When I struggle with my OCD thoughts, I sometimes imagine a little girl with a broken ankle. Her father doesn’t despise her because she can’t walk fast. Instead, he lifts her up and carries her, or gives her a better wheelchair or crutches. In the same way, I have to remind myself…repeatedly…that God doesn’t despise me because of my intrusive thoughts. He sent His Son to die for me, and He certainly won’t abandon me now. But it’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again, one that includes meditation on God’s word and lots of prayer. There’s not a quick fix, unfortunately, but you’re on the right path. Please let me know how progress, if you don’t mind. I would love to hear how this goes for you.

  • Kayla Brown on June 20, 2016 at 5:57 am said:

    I am so glad and this is such a relief to know others are going through the same thing. I had mild OCD when I was little but for the past few years I have struggled with this. I know it’s not what it my heart and has brought me to tears and had put a strain in my relationship with god. It’s also bad thoughtshape toward my mom and I know it’s not me. I LOVE my mom and if anything ever happened to her I dont think I’ll ever be able to handle it. It seems like those bad thoughts come with the people I love the most. It hurts. But you know what I’m done with it. I’m not going to take it anymore. I know I’ll be healed I just have to pray and then never look back or dwell on it. Are there any bible verses that help anyone else that may even I can pray over and read daily?

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 1, 2016 at 4:51 am said:

      Dear Kayla,

      I’m sorry this took me so long to reply to. I haven’t been getting the email notifications for some reason for comments. Anywho, I’d love to share some of the verses that have personally helped me. I’ve had to go to the Bible over and over again, and God has brought me relief so many times in His promises about His love for me. They don’t work like magic charms, immediately stopping all of my symptoms, but reading them over and over again has begun to teach me the truth that is becoming more and more a core part of who I am…a daughter of the most high God. If you ever want someone to talk to about this kind of anxiety, please feel free to email me! I love getting to know new people, and talking about all the wonderful ways God shows His love for us.

      Psalm 46:10-11: “Be still, and know that I am God.
      I will be exalted among the nations,
      I will be exalted in the earth!”
      11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
      the God of Jacob is our fortress.

      Joshua 1:9: “…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

      Romans 8:28-39: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

      “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
      we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
      37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

      2 Corinthians 12:7-12: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

      This last one may seem like a strange one to include, but it’s one of my favorite verses. I find it incredibly comforting that it’s not my fault that I struggle with anxiety. Rather, God uses us in our weaknesses to glorify Himself. People will often tell those who struggle with their anxiety that their anxiety is their fault for not having enough faith. My anxiety is a thorn, like Paul’s was, but God used Paul’s thorn to strengthen his faith and to glorify God. And if He did such for Paul, He can do so for me, too. I pray these help!

  • Zachariah on July 18, 2016 at 12:40 am said:

    Any body feel constantly like they want to speak the horrible deranged and twisted blasphemous thoughts againts the Holy Spirit 24/7……..Iv had this so long that now the fear is gone and it has evolved into me doing theses crazy weird verble compulsions which Iv done so long it’s like I can’t stop and for some weird statistic reason though knowing the compulsion feeds the thought it’s like I don’t won’t to stop or a cant because it’s been there so so long……my main thought is the f word againts the HS constantly…..it feels like I want to think it….Iv struggle for three years now…..I was raised a Christian and got truly saved in early 2009…….I’m a preacher as well…….I struggled with the unpardonable sin when I got saved but eventually the thoughts went a way…..the came off and on through out my walk with God……but o learned perfect love cast out all fear…..but now after three years of this……and I mean Iv had every single ungodly statistic thought againts every thing of God that u could imangen……..now I’m so addicted to thinking the f word…….like I preached this morning but every waking moment I’m wanting to think the thought…….it’s like the flesh wants to think it……and it’s like it’s all I want to think…..odd or whatever u may call this has brainwashed me and it feels like I want to think this way now……idk…..it makes me think I must not like the HS……..the thoughts cause no more worrie anymore…..I have and still do at times suffer horrible depression and oppression and DP AND DR………even now I want to think it idk y………why is it u think that I’m feel the want to think the f word againts the HS………I here it in first person most of the time it’s just crazy……

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 27, 2016 at 4:27 am said:

      I cannot tell you how much this post breaks my heart. Please know, however, that you’re not alone. Experiences like this are why I wrote this post. There are too many that go untold, and they can eat away at us if we try to hide them away under our shame.

      I’m not a health professional, so I’ll begin by saying this is something you may want to speak with your doctor about. I can identify to an extent because I’ve had similar periods in my life. They come and go with time, too. The hard thing about these thoughts though, is that they often become cyclical. That means that there’s a cycle that’s very hard to break, and gets harder the longer we feed it. It often goes something like this for people with OCD or OCD symptoms:

      1) We hear or think of a word that we consider in most circumstances, sinful.
      2) Our brains begin to play the word again and again on repeat.
      3) We fight the thought.
      4) Because we’re fighting it, the word gets more and more attention in our heads. The raised attention means the word plays more often. The more we fight it, the more we hear it.

      I cannot read hearts, but from what you’ve told me here, it seems like this is more an issue of biology than spiritual health. I cannot, from this vantage point, at least, see it as an issue of you hating the Holy Spirit. Martin Luther had similar struggles, although his involved mental images, such as imagining “God’s behind.” (I write about Luther’s struggle with OCD symptoms here.)

      During my struggles with these words, my personal comfort has been found in repeatedly reminding myself that God is a loving and merciful God, and He sees our struggles. He knows our hearts. If your heart is crying out to Him, then he hears. I’m not trying to preach at you in any way, but to encourage, because I go through similar cycles often. I must remind myself that just as God would not hold me responsible for a broken leg, he doesn’t hold me responsible for a physiological struggle created by imbalances in the brain, or certain genetic coding.

      How do I break the cycles? It takes time, and sometimes doesn’t go away completely. But like I said earlier, continuing to repent of these thoughts can bring them even more to the forefront of our minds. Instead, I find it more freeing by not accepting the words, but accepting my struggle. When these nasty thoughts pop up, I think to myself, “I struggle with OCD tendencies. This is the OCD, not me. God knows my heart. I am forgiven, loved and free.” Instead of giving the thoughts credence, I do my best to ignore them. And because they’re not taking up so much of my working mind, the cycle begins to break down.

      I hope this helps or encourages you in some way. Like I said, talking to your doctor may bring more information to light that you didn’t know existed. I pray you find peace, and that God reminds you of the unstoppable, unrelenting love He holds for us through Christ. I must pray for these things for myself often. The “cure” often isn’t fast or immediate, but God has moved to greatly in my heart and in my life for me to deny His responding love. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39.

      Nothing can separate us from the love of God, including neurological disorders or their symptoms.

  • Brittany Odle on August 8, 2016 at 6:22 pm said:

    See i ignore the thought but it comes back randomly oh man. I like we can relate to this horrible disorder man oh man. Jesus is with us. Brittany i like how you said God made us and knows how our minds work. Do you still deal with ocd Brittany?

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on August 28, 2016 at 3:18 am said:

      I do, actually. I’m able to better manage it now, thanks to understanding the disorder better, but it’s still there. In fact, I had a really morbid thought today at a stop sign. While I was asking forgiveness for it, I stopped and realized it was my OCD, and I thanked God that He’s teaching me to recognize the thoughts for what they are. The struggle continues, but I’m learning more and finding more peace a little bit at a time. And yes, the thoughts do come back! It’s that recognition that helps me more than anything.

  • Brittany on September 5, 2016 at 7:03 am said:

    Brittany i want to encourage you. God told me to think these trials are Blessings. :) we can help eachother :)

    Thank JESUS we go through these trials makes us stronger, depend on Him more and Love Him more. But be careful you dont forget HIM when its all calm. Thank Him for getting you through that trial and thank Him for getting you through everyone after that. Thank Him for what He did for You and thank Him for what Hes going to do. His times perfect. Think of these trials as a blessing not bad because if you think Blessings you will know God loves you, is there for you. If you think ugh i hate this, why me it will bring more negative God doesnt love or God left me. Praise Him through the storm for He wont leave us as orphans and praise Him out of the storm, He got You through it, Hes with us always. Dont forget Him He doesnt deserve that. I do ugh its not right. Lets encourage eachother to praise Him all the time. This is a relationship not a car wash were you ask Jesus to clean you and when He cleans you, you forget about Him, just like the lepers did when Jesus healed Him. One came back :(. Thank Jesus for what He did and will do, Worship Him for who He is, Give Him Glory for He deserves it. Do everything unto the Lord Jesus

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on September 22, 2016 at 4:24 am said:

      You are so right in that we often forget to thank God for the moments of peace as well. I actually think that my anxiety has taught me to treasure these moments more. There are moments when I realize I’m not worrying, and even that my tics aren’t bothering me. It’s been in some of those moments that I’ve found the sweetest peace I’d ever imagined. They’re beautiful gifts. I’m reading a book right now called, “The Call to Wonder” by R.C. Sproul Jr., and it’s been a welcomed message to my anxious heart. I highly recommend it for those who find themselves constantly anxious.

  • A.F on December 31, 2016 at 9:09 am said:

    I feel like I’m in the pit because of these thoughts. I feel so ashamed and fearful. I’m also struggling to make an appointment with the psychiatrist to get diagnosed. I made an appointment back in September it was so hard working up the guts to that (I even cried in between dialing and waiting for the receptionist). There weren’t any openings until November but I ended up having to cancel it. Now every time I think about it I just feel paralyzed. I’ve been praying to God for strength and for the desire to get help to outweigh any fears I might have. I wanted to (if nothing else) at least get diagnosed for my own peace of mind. I was hoping that with something official I would able explain what’s going on to my loved ones (my mom especially). I just never talked about these thoughts verbally or outside anxiety forum. I’m feeling so incredibly stuck, it’s like there’s a lifeboat in the distance but instead of getting on it I’m choosing to sink instead. I don’t know why I’m like that. This is eating up so much of my life.

    I’m scared that I’m going to chose to suffer in silence forever and that no in my family will ever know that I’m hurting. I really want my family’s understanding and comfort.

    I’ve been trying to ignore the thoughts but I keep responding to them. I ruminate a lot. It was really bad at one point because people would talk to me and I’d miss what they were saying because I was trying to figure out a thought. I’ve read a lot of articles on intrusive thoughts and OCD. I just want assurance from God all the fears regarding the thoughts have never been me and there never going to happen. I did read on one site that for certain intrusive thoughts people were choosing to trust God and take the “Whatever happens, happens” approach. But some of the intrusive thoughts I’m having are harm related and awful disgusting sexual thoughts and for those thoughts, the site recommended “That’s not me it’s OCD” but I started obsessing over the first one. I even had an intrusive thought that went like this “Who cares if you hurt someone just trust God”. It didn’t trigger anxiety but I got upset and frustrated. I hate it so much. I’ve been working really hard to separate myself from these thoughts. Sometimes I’ll even thank God these thoughts aren’t mine. I really hate the idea that I’m entertaining them or taking ownership. I even hate that fearful thought that pops in my head that God would want to take that first approach. I just worry a lot about believing the wrong things and becoming the monster OCD tries to depict me as. Everything I don’t want to be. I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed silently to God “Thank you, you love me unconditionally— but I don’t want hurt anybody or do those awful things.” I can’t seem to get any relief even when I tell myself God loves me unconditionally. I feel like I’m fighting with myself I really don’t want accept them or consider them mine even for a second.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on January 24, 2017 at 3:47 am said:

      First of all, I am so sorry you’re suffering like this. It’s one thing to read about it but it’s another to actually face the OCD. It’s kind of like reading about war and then going to fight as a soldier. Just please know that you’re not alone. Take comfort in knowing that you’ve been able to read so much about these ruminations and repetitive, intrusive thoughts because there are so many others who are struggling as well.

      Do you have a trusted family member or friend who could drive you to the appointment? He or she wouldn’t have to be in on the appointment, just someone who could keep you accountable and make sure you get there on time. I think this appointment is really important, and you’re right in wanting to go. You’re not a monster. You have a right to find respite just as much as anyone has the right to pursue cancer treatments or antibiotics for a painful ear infection. You are not the one who is responsible for this any more than someone with a broken bone.

      While there isn’t a secret or a magic pill that will just make all of this go away, there are steps that you can take that might be able to alleviate some of the pressure you’re feeling. I personally have to distract myself when the ruminations begin because they get so bad I have anxiety attacks (really painful ones). This might mean exercising with a different kind of music than you usually listen to, popping open a new book, or simply switching activities.

      I also have to use the Bible to combat these thoughts. And no, it’s not an instant fix, unfortunately. The lies our OCD tells us are often deeply embedded. But over the years, God’s truth becomes more and more apparent to me. There are some nights when I have to interrupt my normal Bible reading (I’m going through Matthew right now.) in order to find verses on grace. One of my favorites is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:3-6. Hun, you are hungering and thirsting for the truth of God. You are feeling beaten down and trodden upon by the sorrows that this broken world inflicts. God hears our cries, and He never abandons those who He calls. His answers aren’t always immediate. In fact, they often aren’t. But don’t stop hoping just because the night is dark. You are worth too much for that.

      I also listen to hymns quite a bit. Indelible Grace is one of my favorite groups, as well as Sovereign Grace and the Gettys. They speak truth into my heart when my heart is too tired to speak it myself.

      You are in a fight, but it’s not with yourself. It’s with the OCD symptoms. As you said that you read earlier, you are not OCD. You’re not OCD anymore than someone with a broken arm is a broken arm or someone with bronchitis is bronchitis. If anyone from your family struggles to understand this, feel free to have them contact me at BrittanyFichterWrites@gmail.com. I’d love to talk to them or you if you want to connect. Believe me, as a mother, I would want to know how best to help my daughter…even if the truth is hard. If your family loves you, they’ll want what’s best for you. As I said earlier, you are God’s creation…and you are worth it.

  • A.F on February 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm said:

    I went to my doctor’s appointment today, actually. My mom took me and waited in the car. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD and depression. But what she said really upset me. She asked me what took me so long to see someone and I said I had avoided coming because I didn’t want to be misunderstood or thought of as crazy. She said it was good that I came in because OCD can be dangerous because of the compulsive part of it. I confided in her about some of the sexual intrusive thoughts. First she said that a person could have a thought for years and years and never act on it. Then she basically implied that I (or any person with OCD) could act on a sexual intrusive thought to get relief from anxiety and then feel bad about it afterwards. I basically shut down after that. It felt like all the air was sucked out of the room I felt so sick. I rambled on about how I don’t want to do these things. I mentioned how everything I read had said the thoughts were meaningless (a person isn’t going to act on their worst fears). I said the thoughts went against my morals and I mentioned how one of the things that really comforted me was that people with these thoughts never act on them. She said, “Well, I never say never” and sent me on my way. I don’t think she even realized how bad she made feel. She also said I could get talk therapy. I cried all the way home. I was so distraught that I finally ended up confiding in my mother when we got home. She’s read up on OCD and she said not to listen to that psychiatrist and she told me she knows I would never do something like that.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on February 19, 2017 at 5:19 am said:

      I’m so sorry to hear how this psychiatrist made you feel, and I’m so glad to hear your mother has been so supportive. She’s right in affirming who she knows you are. OCD is a disorder of fear. The last thing you need is to have more fear fed to your already overactive imagination.

      Obviously, I’m not a medical professional. I do know, however, that I have moments when I need to cut fear out of my life by focusing one certain parts and ignoring others. I’ve had to tell my mom before that I can’t discuss a certain topic at that particular moment because it will push me to a place where my stress is too great. Thankfully, I have a great family, and my mom is more than willing to listen to what I need.

      Have you talked to another professional since then? It sounds like you’ve already gotten a start, believe it or not, with self-learning how to self-advocate. Being able to talk to family about these kinds of issues is the first (and possibly the hardest) part of conversation.

      I hope you can find support that is more fitted to you personally than the original psychiatrist. Please feel free to email me if you ever need to just talk to someone. I can’t give you professional counseling or anything, but I can be a listening ear. :-) You’re not alone.

  • Bob Jones on February 12, 2017 at 12:28 am said:

    Sometimes I get sick and tired of these thoughts and think true evil thoughts like “Screw this, it’s better to go to hell than have this.” I know this is wrong and I repent, but after a long time, I can’t differentiate between what’s intrusive and what’s not. What do I do?

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on February 19, 2017 at 5:50 am said:

      Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer for this. If you look at all the comments before this one, you’ll see that you’re not alone. Please know that your thoughts don’t define you. There’s a reason obsessive-compulsive disorder is a disorder. It makes life difficult for all who live with it. It changes the way we perceive the world around us, as well as the way we react to it.

      As for me, I use a variety of methods to help with the intrusive thoughts. First, I’ve learned through experience and research that the more I fight the thoughts, the more I’m bringing them to mind. By accepting the thoughts as part of my disorder and simply moving on, I don’t give them the attention they want. I pray. Talking to God, pressing my thoughts, particularly those of fear and distress glorifies Him and reminds me that He knows exactly what I’m struggling with. I turn on hymns to help drown out the critical voices, and I read the Bible to remind me that God sees it all.

      “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

      God doesn’t blame you for your OCD any more than He blames a broken arm on a child who fell out of a tree. Do we all need God’s forgiveness for our sins? Most definitely. But your OCD doesn’t push you any further out of God’s reach. It can’t. God’s knows exactly where you are, and His grace is great enough to draw you close. Learning this truth takes years. I’m still learning it and will be for the rest of my life. But I’m finding more peace the more I live and discover God’s goodness over and over again.

      I am curious, have you talked to a doctor or professional about your struggles? Even regular physicians should have a list of resources to help you begin on the right path. Please email me if you’re ever in need of someone to just listen.

  • Anonymous on February 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm said:

    A very helpful article indeed . It fully explained my condition . I used to hate myself for all these obsessions ,I was guilty . But then I read about OCD and your article has really shined a light into my soul.Now I am thinking aboutto stop hating myself .

  • Shaijuthomas on March 9, 2017 at 8:15 pm said:

    Surprised to read the struggle that i am going through since 4 years. Its again about bad words, but some how i was able too o ignore those thoughts, but the fear gripped me, will i fail? The happiness abd satisfaction after prayer would evade in seconds, due to this. The thought of unclean things would come to my mind at times, i had some kind of dreams like that, i thought God revealed the sins in my life thriugh that. Now i cant stop remembering those images. Fear of lustful thoughts torture me , this is an eye opening, thanks, God bless

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on March 20, 2017 at 2:41 am said:

      I’m so sorry you’re bearing this burden. Because I know . . . it’s such a burden. I’ve found that my struggles on this plain tend to be cyclical. They come and go. I can’t speak as a professional, but on a personal level, I can only say that it’s a struggle. But it’s not one that you have to go at alone. God sees everything we suffer, and Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” It’s important to remember that those of us who struggle with chronic anxiety and OCD/OCD tendencies have brains that are “wired” a little differently than everyone else. God doesn’t blame these differences on us any more than He would blame diabetes on someone suffering from that disease. We are told to take our burdens to God, and I find great joy in that. Saying, “God, I can’t do this myself,” brings me a freedom.

      “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
      you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
      17My sacrifice, O God, isb a broken spirit;
      a broken and contrite heart
      you, God, will not despise” – Psalm 51:16-17

      Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, and that God sees everything you’re suffering. Sometimes we have to move past our feelings and rely on what the Bible tells us because they don’t agree. And while my feelings tell me that these thoughts are my fault and that God hates me for them, the Bible tells me otherwise. The more I imprint them on my heart and fill my life with God’s truths, the more I slowly, slowly begin to see the light. It takes time, but don’t give up. You’re never alone.

  • Christina S on April 25, 2017 at 1:45 pm said:

    Hi Brittany,

    I know this is a delayed comment but I just wanted to say…thank you! Thank you for having the courage to write this post. I was diagnosed with religious and harm OCD in November 2016. For a whole year I suffered from these thoughts and I never had the courage to explain how bad these thoughts were to my family. Your experience sounds extremely similar to mine. I think as the year went by, I knew that something needed to be done. It was impeding my uni life, my work life, my social life and most of all my church life. For a long time, I was convinced that I was going to hell, that I was no longer worthy of God’s love and worst of all…there was no hope for me. I think losing hope is one of the scariest things anyone can ever experience. My parents are very simple but have an extremely strong faith and whenever I told them I got these bad thoughts that could never leave my mind, they would tell me to just have more faith in God and that by prayer the thoughts would go away. However, the prayers did not remain prayers, they became my compulsions and they acted as a means of temporarily making me feel cleansed. I would ask numerous times for God to forgive me. I eventually realized that there needed to be some sort of intervention. I spoke to my father of confession, who kindly and lovingly referred me to a psychologist he had heard positive feedback about. When I finally had an appointment in November, I could not express the relief when I found out how complex my brain is and how common this condition is. I don’t open up about this as there is still a lot of stigma about mental illness within my church community. Half a year later, I still struggle but I am a whole lot better.My faith in God is stronger than ever…I still struggle with some thoughts but I definitely feel an improvement in my mental wellbeing.

    I can’t thank you enough for this post, because it is so genuine and I finally don’t feel embarrassed about what I experience. I pray that we all continue to find God in these hardships.

    God bless!

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on May 11, 2017 at 1:08 am said:

      Dear Christina,

      I am so thankful you were able to make a connection. It can be so lonely feeling like you’re the only one. And even after you read the statistics, it can be hard when you don’t know who you can go to that will understand. I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling this way. It always grieves my heart to hear that others feel so alone.

      It’s a sad thing that so many people in the church don’t understand mental illness or mental health struggles. So many mean well, and they say what they do out of love, but that’s like lovingly telling someone with a broken arm just to have more faith and it will get better on its own. It’s not going to. In the same way, our struggles aren’t going to just “go away” if we have more faith. While I firmly believe God has used my struggles as instruments in strengthing my faith, I can fully attest that I wasn’t the one who fixed myself with faith instantaneously. It’s been a journey through which He’s opened my eyes and begun to build me up over time.

      If you ever feel lonely or just need to talk, please don’t hesitate to email me. I’m definitely not a professional or medical doctor, but I love to be a listening ear.

  • Gavin on May 1, 2017 at 9:29 am said:

    Very courageous article!

    I’ve struggled with this issue for over twenty years and the fight goes on; a constant compulsion to think things against God’s precious Holy Spirit is distressing but you are not alone. It gets easier as you learn to cope! Don’t ever give up.

    One thing that helped me – if i saw these thoughts written down on paper, and someone asked me to sign my name to them, I most certainly would not! I’d tear up the paper! If these thoughts represented your true heart, they would not distress you.

    You can make it – God is able to keep us from falling. Let the tics drive you into trusting Him over yourself.

    I see Christ now as more beautiful then ever. My struggles have driven me to wrestle with scripture and with my own sin and deepened my faith and love and affection for Jesus. I’ve developed an interest in apologetics, I volunteer in a Foodbank, serve the homeless, play in the worship team, meet with a small group at church, I’ve preached in prisons, I am married and we’ve just had a precious baby girl… Not bigging myself up, but letting you know that God is active in the life of someone who is suffering just as you are.

    Endure!

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on May 11, 2017 at 1:21 am said:

      Amen! (And congratulations on the baby! We’re expecting our second child…first boy, too!) I couldn’t agree more. I told someone a while back that if I could give my tics and anxiety back, I wouldn’t. My struggles have pushed me closer to God, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s also forced me to really understand my theology better to be prepared for when others tell me I can “believe” my disorders away. That kind of doctrine is wrong and damaging to so many people. Thanks for your comment! It’s an encouragement to me and others. I’m a firm believer that life with disorders like our can be joyful and so full of meaning because we are forced to find our peace in God…and after tasting the peace of Christ, I would want no other kind of peace.

  • Judy on May 10, 2017 at 4:15 am said:

    Reply
    Judy on May 10, 2017 at 4:10 am said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I’m glad to know i’m not the only one who has this cursing inside my head disorder, and sometime say bad things to God, feel so bad when I do it. That usually happens when I feel like I am not doing what God wants me to do. I keep thinking i am losing my mind. I study Gods word alot, and Love God. I feel like I am doing the best I can, also have social anxiety around people I don’t know, and in church, not good in socials. Never had close friends, just casual friends, I had alot of trauma in my life relationships and in my childhood.And did not feel ever accepted by my family. I know I made mistakes, and I chose the wrong men, cause of being so lonely. I know that’s why I am always depressed, Never had a career, but worked retail stores, and was slow in school.Never felt loved by my husband, he don’t show feelings, I can’t make it on my own, don’t make enough on social security. at age 66 now, and have to stay in a marriage just to keep from being alone. I won’t give up on God,I”m a believer in our Lord and savior, and I want to overcome for christ and be more like Jesus, I’m not sure how to do that since I am not good with people and no known Gifts or calling, or talents

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on May 11, 2017 at 1:44 am said:

      Dear Judy,

      First of all, I apologize for not getting to this earlier. This pregnancy has been somewhat difficult, so I’m not always on the ball with my social media.

      I am so, so sorry to hear you’re struggling so with anxiety and loneliness. I want to stop you, though, when you say you have no gifts or talents. You are a priceless soul created by God in His image. 1 Corinthians 12 says that each member of the body has a purpose, and that we are given gifts according to the Spirit as He wills. Notice even faith is listed as a gift. I have a friend who struggles greatly with physical pain, so one of her ways of serving the body is prayer. We call her one of our prayer warriors because she is so faithful to pray for those who need it. It’s a quiet gift, and one that she does in the privacy of her home, but just one of many examples of gifts that we often overlook. Please know that you have an incredible worth. 1 Corinthians 12 makes it clear that no member of the body is useless. We all have a purpose, even the ones who aren’t as “obvious.”

      “14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.”-1 Corinthians 12:14-20

      Have you ever gotten to talk to a Christian counselor? Perhaps your pastor could help you find one, particularly one that understands OCD. Trying to be faithful with OCD can feel like rolling pushing a boulder uphill, but the angst doesn’t have to last forever. There is hope for finding peace. Of course, that peace never comes overnight, and will continue to evolve and grow as we grow in Christ until we reach eternity, but I promise, it’s never hopeless.

      If you haven’t yet, I would consider talking to your doctor as well as your pastor. A Christian mental health professional, if you can get access to one, might really be able to help you understand your unique needs. Everyone’s mind is different, and issues of faith are every personal. I pray you can find a way to getting the communion and fellowship you need. I pray your husband realizes his need for Christ if he hasn’t and that he realizes your need for him. You are not alone. You are loved. Christ’s sacrifice sealed that for all of His children, that we are loved with a violent, raging, overwhelming fervor. Christ died and rose . . . for you. You were in His heart when he died and when He rose. You have a seat in His court if you have acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior and repented of your sins, unlike other religions where we are required to atone for our sins. We need to just repent and believe.

      Finally, you are worth finding relationships. Bring this up with your pastor and counselor as well. There are techniques that they can teach you to learn how to better connect with others so you don’t feel so alone. Nothing is overnight, but nothing is hopeless, either.

  • Diana on May 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm said:

    I wish I had read this article when I was a child. It describes exactly my struggles that practicaly exhausted me for many years. I never knew what my problem was. I thought that there’s a demon that possesses my mind. The fear of comminting the unforgable sin had consumed me for years. I fought mostly by myself because I was too ashamed to tell anyone. I bought books and listened sermons related to negative thoughts in christians, but none described excatly my situation. I really thought I was “unique”. I told my parents a couple of time and they prayed for me but it didn’t help immediately. It’s been a couple of years since I can live, let’s say, normal and I can wake up without horrible, undescribable thoughts in my mind. God had mercy on me. Though, when I am stressed or upset such thoughts still come up my mind, but only a few and rare. Recently, I was very angry at God, and negative thoughts blew my mind while trying to sleep. It scared me so much, cause I could not distinguish if they were because of the disorder or they were because of the anger and were my real thoughts. I am full of remorse what if I have actually cursed God in my mind

  • Amahle on July 11, 2017 at 5:27 am said:

    Thank you for this :) I often felt like I was the most sinful person in the world because of the constant evil thoughts I would have about God, but now I know that I’m not the only one struggling with this and that gives me relief and hope.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 24, 2017 at 2:59 am said:

      You are FAR from the only one who struggles with this. In fact, from what I’ve researched, struggles with obsessive-intrusive thoughts are quite commonly linked to faith. It’s one of the issues people with these thoughts struggle with the most as far as topics go. Remember, God knows exactly how your mind works. He made it. He also knows when things are off-kilter. This means that just as He wouldn’t punish His child for a broken arm, He’s not going to punish His child for mental struggles. Do we need to confess Christ and Christ crucified? Most definitely. But salvation doesn’t rest on our mental health, and I’m so grateful for that!

  • lb on July 22, 2017 at 5:35 pm said:

    what if i used to feel guilt for all of the terrible things i’ve thought about God but now when it happens i don’t feel guilty, just angry at myself

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 24, 2017 at 3:08 am said:

      I think both guilt and anger are normal responses to obsessive-intrusive thoughts. The important thing with both is to realize that you are not your obsessive thoughts. They do not define you, as much as they like to try and convince us that they do. One of the verses that has helped me move past these kinds of thoughts has been Romans 8:38-39.

      38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      Is reading this verse going to immediately take away such thoughts? No. But after years of reading it again and again and praying for God to show me His truth over my own (the one my rebellious thoughts like to feed me), I’m learning slowly but surely that since I am a child of God (I have repented of my sins and confessed Christ as my personal Savior from sin.), nothing (INCLUDING my obsessive-intrusive thoughts) can separate me from His love. He is too strong for that. And slowly, so slowly, I am beginning to find peace. I pray you can as well.

  • Alexia Gavino on July 27, 2017 at 4:06 am said:

    Hi im 17 i was wondering about OCD ive been strugling alot lately with thoughts that dont feel like my own im not sure if i have OCD can you name all the symptoms ?with all my bad repetative thoughts can i be forguven.i feel very alone and afraid that what if the thoughts i have are really my thoughts .my parents don’t know only my 8 year old sister .your article sounds like me thank you.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on July 30, 2017 at 8:05 pm said:

      Dear Alexia,

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling with these thoughts. Have you considered talking to your parents about this, or your doctor or possibly a counselor or trusted teacher from school? I’m not a mental health professional by any means, so what I say can’t be taken as professional advice, but I would strongly consider talking to one of those sources about your struggles. You shouldn’t have to do this alone. If it helps, maybe print out this blog post or a few of them and take them with you when you go to talk to someone. If they’re not familiar with OCD or intrusive thoughts like you’re describing, that might give them an idea of where to look. There’s nothing shameful about getting help for mental health struggles, any more so than going to a doctor for a broken arm.

      While I can’t name all of the symptoms off the top of my head, I can give you a few blog posts that I’ve written that sound a lot like what you’re dealing with. Here’s a website, too, with more statistical information for research purposes (again, something you could take to your parents or doctor to tell them more what you’re dealing with).

      http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/ocd.html?ref=search

      As far as bad thoughts in your head, if they’re truly intrusive thoughts, you have nothing to be ashamed of nor do you need to be forgiven. While I believe that we all sin, intrusive thoughts and sin are two very different things. Intrusive thoughts are there against your will, and they try to convince you that they’re real. But intrusive thoughts are not real, and they force words, thoughts, images, or scenes (like a Youtube clip) into your head against your will. That’s why they’re called “intrusive.” And intrusive neighbor comes to your house and walks in uninvited. These thoughts do the same. Getting the right kind of help (again, from a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor) can help you chase these unwanted thoughts away and know how to deal with them when they try to return.

      Know that you’re not alone. Again, I would advise that you seek help for what you’re struggling with. The sooner you get the kind of help you need, the sooner you can be free. I hope this helps!

  • Luke K on August 14, 2017 at 10:46 am said:

    Wooooooooooow I am so so so so relieved for this site. I have been struggling hard with all of this and thought I was a terrible terrible human. I constantly swear in my head and to God and can’t stop even though I read the bible am a Christian , love God with all my heart. When I read the blasphemy against the holy spirit in the Bible my mind started to do it and I would try and fight it and it would fight me back. I was convinced I was going to hell and prayed to God please please just kill me now and send me there . I don’t deserve God. I wanted to pretty much commit suicide. I’m so relieved I have found there are others out there experiencing this because I felt like I was a abomination to the human race and God and not worthy of anything . I felt like the only one. Thankyou so much for the time you have invested in making this site Brittany. I’m so grateful

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on September 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm said:

      Dear Luke,

      I’m so glad you’ve found this message a comfort, but I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling with these kinds of thoughts. They can be pure torture. I have to ask, have you talked to a medical or mental healthcare professional about your struggles? Suicidal thoughts are definitely nothing to be ignored. Trust me, there is no shame in asking for help. Just as no one would hesitate to go to the doctor for a burst appendix, no one should hesitate to ask for help when mental health struggles threaten him or her. God gave us doctors for a reason. In this broken, sinful world, God has gifted us with people who study the brain and have the ability to help our minds to work the way they should.

      As to the “unpardonable sin,” I’m going to share what I wrote to another individual who struggled with this concept. It’s a hard one for Christians with intrusive thoughts to understand. To be honest, I’ve struggled with it myself. But the answer lies in the context, something God has been teaching me through the years.

      I’ve learned that the “unforgivable sin” has more to do with our heart than our mental health. God wants us to believe the Holy Spirit’s message about Jesus, that He’s God and that He’s our Savior. In order to understand this verse, we need to really study the verse’s context.

      In Mark 3, the Pharisees are saying that Jesus isn’t God. They’re even going a step further then, and they’re saying that Jesus is possessed by a demon. Jesus is warning them not about hearing certain words in their heads, the kind of words you and I have heard in our heads over and over again, but about accusing the Holy Spirit of being a demon. So what Jesus is warning them about is their belief and the state of their heart. These men were despising God and rebelling, thinking themselves more Holy than Jesus and calling the Holy Spirit a demon. The problem was in their hearts, not their heads.

      Intrusive thoughts like ours aren’t about what we believe. As you said, you love Jesus. I love Jesus with my whole heart, and I believe that He came to save me from my sins. This is something that only God can change within us. If we have repented of our sins and believe that only Jesus can save us (Romans 10:9) (Mark 1:15), then we are Christians. We are God’s beloved, and we have been called out of the death of sin and raised up as God’s children. In fact, God not only forgives us of our sins, but Galatians 4:6 says the Holy Spirit teaches our hearts to cry out, “Abba, Father!” Abba means “Daddy” in Hebrew. So we’re not only forgiven, but we’re God’s beloved little children.

      Intrusive thoughts are just as bad as any sickness. They’re a sign not that our hearts are in the wrong place, but that our brains aren’t “wired” the right way, much like a computer. In short, this means that intrusive thoughts aren’t our faults. I’m sure you wouldn’t feel guilty going to the doctor to get help for a broken arm or for the flu. We’re no more responsible for these intrusive thoughts than we are for our injuries and sicknesses. God has given us doctors to help us with these kinds of problems. He understands. He knows that we can’t help when our bodies break down and need healing.

      I’ll leave you with this. Hebrews 4:15-16 says this:

      “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”

      Jesus understands. Jesus lived in this world which is broken with sin, and He felt the struggles we’re feeling. Only He is God, and He is perfect. Where we stumble, He is strong. Where we cry out, he hears. When we ask for mercy and grace, He gives it. No sickness of our minds or bodies can separate us from His love. Romans 8:31-39 says that we will suffer in this world, but NOTHING (including our own sicknesses…mental and physical) can separate us from God’s love. Read the Psalms, and you’ll find that there are so many others (including King David in Psalm 6) who cried out to God for help over and over again. God knows our hearts. God hears our cries. And God loves us just the same.

  • Seda on August 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm said:

    (Im 10) I think I have OCD cus five days ago I had no blasphemous thoughts and I loved Jesus but four days ago, I came across a website saying the unpardonable/unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the holy spirit and rejecting Christ, even since I learned that I’ve been thinking blasphemous thoughts and cursing saying bad things about the holy spirit and I said things that I did not mean and I was sorry and the past three days when I learned I didn’t commit the sin I felt something less I didn’t know if it was sorry or worry but I keep feeling like it’s sorry and it makes me feel like horrible and I continue having these thoughts but cursing calling the holy spirit stupid or something or the r word and I’m worried I tried putting all my faith but I don’t know how and I’m so confused how I accept Jesus as my lord and savior but I don’t feel like I’m putting my faith or trusting and I feel like I’m doomed and going to live a miserable life the rest of my life. Help…

  • Seda on August 15, 2017 at 11:03 am said:

    Also, I’ve feel like now when I can the holy spirit names I feel like I have something less and I don’t know if it’s sorry or worry and I don’t know if you’ll answer since this was made a while ago but I need answers because I’m 10 and I feel like I don’t care as much when I call it names that I’ve called it before and I feel like my “ocd” hasn’t effected me in a long time and I don’t know if I have OCD anymore or not but I feel like I can’t hear the holy spirit and I feel scared because I want God in my life but I feel like it’s go late.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on September 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm said:

      Hi, Seda.

      I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. My husband and I are expecting a baby, and getting ready for him has kept us busy. First of all, I’m so sorry you’re struggling with these kinds of thoughts. Have you talked to your parents about them? I struggled with similar thoughts when I was ten, and though I didn’t want to talk about them, my parents ended up helping me in amazing ways. I know it sounds hard, but you definitely shouldn’t keep these thoughts to yourself. That’s too much of a burden to bear, particularly at your age. I don’t know if you’ve been diagnosed with OCD (though it sounds that way from your comments), but what you’re struggling with does sound very familiar. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t diagnose anything, but these kinds of thoughts are very common in people with anxiety disorders and OCD. Again, if you haven’t already, I would talk to your parents and tell them exactly what you told me. Then, maybe ask your parents if they can help you make a list that you could show to your doctor. Doctors are meant to help us find help, and intrusive thoughts like this are no less of a problem than a broken leg or Strep Throat. And your doctor is there to help with them all.

      As far as the verse about cursing the Holy Spirit, I know that can seem like a huge problem. I struggled with it a lot at your age. But as I’ve grown older, and God has helped me to see what the Bible really means, I’ve learned that the “unforgivable sin” has more to do with our heart than our mental health. God wants us to believe the Holy Spirit’s message about Jesus, that He’s God and that He’s our Savior. In order to understand this verse, we need to really study the verses around it. This is called “context.”

      In Mark 3, the Pharisees are saying that Jesus isn’t God. They’re even going a step further then, and they’re saying that Jesus is possessed by a demon. Jesus is warning them not about hearing certain words in their heads, the kind of words you and I have heard in our heads over and over again, but about accusing the Holy Spirit of being a demon. So what Jesus is warning them about is their belief and the state of their heart. These men were despising God and rebelling, thinking themselves more Holy than Jesus and calling the Holy Spirit a demon. The problem was in their hearts, not their heads.

      Intrusive thoughts like ours aren’t about what we believe. As you said, you love Jesus. I love Jesus with my whole heart, and I believe that He came to save me from my sins. This is something that only God can change within us. If we have repented of our sins and believe that only Jesus can save us (Romans 10:9) (Mark 1:15), then we are Christians. We are God’s beloved, and we have been called out of the death of sin and raised up as God’s children. In fact, God not only forgives us of our sins, but Galatians 4:6 says the Holy Spirit teaches our hearts to cry out, “Abba, Father!” Abba means “Daddy” in Hebrew. So we’re not only forgiven, but we’re God’s beloved little children.

      Intrusive thoughts are just as bad as any sickness. They’re a sign not that our hearts are in the wrong place, but that our brains aren’t “wired” the right way, much like a computer. In short, this means that intrusive thoughts aren’t our faults. I’m sure you wouldn’t feel guilty going to the doctor to get help for a broken arm or for the flu. We’re no more responsible for these intrusive thoughts than we are for our injuries and sicknesses. God has given us doctors to help us with these kinds of problems. He understands. He knows that we can’t help when our bodies break down and need healing.

      I’ll leave you with this. Hebrews 4:15-16 says this:

      “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”

      Jesus understands. Jesus lived in this world which is broken with sin, and He felt the struggles we’re feeling. Only He is God, and He is perfect. Where we stumble, He is strong. Where we cry out, he hears. When we ask for mercy and grace, He gives it. No sickness of our minds or bodies can separate us from His love. Romans 8:31-39 says that we will suffer in this world, but NOTHING (including our own sicknesses…mental and physical) can separate us from God’s love. Read the Psalms, and you’ll find that there are so many others (including King David in Psalm 6) who cried out to God for help over and over again. God knows our hearts. God hears our cries. And God loves us just the same.

  • Keith L on August 16, 2017 at 2:00 am said:

    Hi. Just wanted to say I appreciate your site. I particularly like the above section on How NOT to help someone with OCD or bad thoughts. Very wise words particularly from someone so young. I am a decades long sufferer from anxiety, rumination and depression. I also have chronic insomnia which magnifies the effects of these symptoms. Medicine helps and at times I am relatively symptom free. Unfortunately I get very stressed and anxious in circumstances that most people would find trivial. Particularly performance anxiety even for simple tasks if being observed by someone. I do have one extraordinarily bit of good fortune that I sometimes can’t believe . I have a wonderful wife who has been by my side for coming up on 37 years. This connection has been a true blessing. ( I get nervous even saying that for fear that something may go wrong). I know in my heart that we were meant for each other. I read just recently that lack of connection is an umbrella that covers all mental health issues. It is so important to connect with someone else or a higher power or even a pet for your own well being.
    Anyway I was going through a tough time today and I googled Prayers for OCD and your page was close to the top by chance. So thanks again and you never know who will benefit from your presence on the web so please keep it up. Peace to you.

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on September 3, 2017 at 6:52 pm said:

      Dear Keith,

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I think this is a hard topic for many of us to broach because so few people understand it. And unfortunately, well-meaning friends are often the ones who can hurt us the most when they try to help. I used to wonder why God would allow me to struggle the way I have, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become thankful for the lessons I’ve learned through my struggles. They’ve taught me to empathize with people I probably never would have understood.

      It’s wonderful that you have such a supportive wife. My husband has been a source of great comfort for me. I knew even before we started officially courting that He was someone who helped me relax. It was, in fact, one of the things that was attractive about him…and still is. I have a type-A super intense personality, and he’s much more steady and low-key(which I need…lol). God gave me exactly who I needed, and I grow more thankful for my husband by the day.

      I’m curious, did you find what you were looking for when you did the Google search? I haven’t searched for that particular subject in a little while.

  • Arkaprava Das on August 24, 2017 at 11:05 pm said:

    I have the problem but I don’t know whether it is OCD or not.
    I am 21 now. But the problem was seen since last 3 years in me.
    I was very friendly and honest and enjoyful etc. in my childhood but was not smart enough and could not say ‘NO’ to anyone. And I felt in love with a girl . But the girl denied me. Because I did not give a little worth in my life inspite of giving a lot in my friendship with others. And after that incident I began to feel the loneliness and cry every day and night . I got insulted at everywhere from the very begining of my childhood. Everywhere I go everyone insulted my mom that your son is a perfect example of joker or a dumb one or a total bullshit. But it was 2014 and I turned to 19. Something dramatically changed in my life. I began to understand the WORLD.
    And thus I got isolated from everything. My awareness got increased. I began to focus on my life and on everything I want to achieve.
    But meanwhile me and my family got a wrong decision about my study.
    I wanted to go with IT (Information Technology) engineering but contrary to that I had to go with the Civil Engineering as per my family’s decision.
    So the year 2014 got passed. And I was so much lonely that I was sad as a recently rejected boyfriend though it was onesided, and with my study that I got isolated from my hostel friends too . And it did not matter at all to me . I was comfort with the loneliness as I felt that it was started developping a ‘DON’T CARE’ attitude and ‘BE SMART’ and ‘BE FOCUSSED AND AWARED’ skills into me and every good thing else because I wanted to be a good boy and wanted to be successful in my life and I wanted to be the ‘BEST’ in my life. So I began to get respect from others .
    From the middle of 2015 I got stressed about my career . And the weird problem started to happen.
    I got so much stress and I got the second lover.I proposed her. She was some kind of good student . Studies a lot.
    But none of them matters to me.
    Because I wanted that type of girl all the time.
    Everything was going fine until one of my room partner or friend tried to interfere in our relationship. And meanwhile the problem of depression or OCD or the unknown problem was started to begin . I began to start chattering or talking to myself in my mind.
    Started to do all the little things repitetively .
    Started to care and worry about every little things .
    I got sad and emotional whenever a small fight held between me and my gf.
    But after some time I realised that it was my gf who trapped me in his fake love.I had to broke up 9 times with her. And fight with my room partner regarding our relationship. And started hating that girl .
    I don’t like this type of girls .
    So got distracted from my goal all the times from then .
    But now I have no problem with my own life.
    I am way too far or much from having love and I hope that something better is waiting for me.
    But, here is the other problem and the problem got bigger than I have ever had.
    Everytime I get too much intrusive thoughts, too much unwanted thoughts, unexisted thoughts , unreal thoughts, sinful or bad or worst thoughts about GOD etc. everything related to mind. Except the suicidal thoughts like death. I am afraid of death until achiving success in my life.
    I know that I am not a coward. Cowards attempt to death.
    I have not loosen my hope.
    I have not given up.
    But everytime the intrusive thoughts are coming into my mind.
    The worst or sinful thoughts about GOD is coming into my mind.
    The thought like I am insulting GOD using slang languages.
    A bad image is popping up about the body’s sexual parts of GODS.
    I am caring about every little steps in my daily life.
    It seems to me that whenever I do anything, I am showing GODS bad signs.
    Everytime I got any thoughts in my mind then everytime the thoughts regarding GODS are interfering and the matter goes weird. It seems like I am then insulting the GODS .
    whenever the sinful thoughts are coming into my mind , I get distracted from my study and my life.
    I can not focus on my study or on my life. Can not concentrate on work.
    I feel irritated. As a child I was abused in a sexual way by my friends .
    I tried to get sexual with my younger sister and with my elder sister.
    But I after some time getting matured I began to understand that it is so much bad thing. And thus I hate those friends and have broken up friendship with them in my mind.
    But I am feeling so much guilty over the years and get upset very often.
    And because of this I can not focus or concentrate on my studies and works and goal.
    I get this thoughts repitetively .
    Sexual thoughts about GODs and my family is popping up into my mind. Whenever these thoughts come into my mind I lost in the past or in the related time to the incidents and I get distracted.
    I know that the intrusive thoughts , unwanted thoughts , sinful thoughts don’t exist , these are not real .
    But my mind is on doubt.
    I some time get too much angry with me because of this problem.
    Another is , whenever I think that I forgot everything I have learnt , then I began to feel it, whether it is related to the studies or to the life.
    It is another problem.
    When it happens to me no matter if I am with my family partners or with my best friend, I get apart from them , and go in a lonely place where I can sit and fight with the problems. And I get isolated.
    There are a lot more worst problems happening to me.

    I want to be a successful man in my life.
    I want to achive my goal.
    I want to be smart.
    I want to be focussed.
    I want to be concentrated .

    I really love my life.
    I really love myself.

    What was my sin ?
    Have I done anything wrong?

    I had gone to maintain my honesty,
    But tge world had give me an un-natural mental problem.

    I am really sad and upset.

    And everytime I got a solution , that works temporarily .
    So I want the parmanent solution to get rid of this problem.

    PLEASE HELP ME !

    • brittanyfichterwrites@gmail.com on September 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm said:

      Hi there,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling so much. It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate. I’m not a medical professional by any means, so I can’t identify your struggles as OCD related or not, but I definitely would recommend trying to find out if there’s a counselor or mental healthcare professional on your college campus that you can talk to. (I’m not sure if you’re still going to school, but I assume so.) When I was in college, we had services like this that were provided, particularly when suicidal thoughts were occuring. They can help you understand what kind of thoughts you’re really struggling with and what you need to do to learn how to manage them.

      As for a personal recommendation, I can say that my greatest help above everything is Jesus. I don’t know if you hold to a particular faith or not, but I’m a Christian, and I have found my most profound comforts in knowing that God loves me and has forgiven me of my sins. Knowing that I have been saved from my sins by someone who gave His life for me…by God, who is sympathetic to my weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16) and who loves me more than life, though I do not deserve it, brings me through the trials my mind imposes on me, as well as the daily struggle with sin that I keep. I take comfort in knowing that my goal in life is to bring Him praise. No degree or career or social approval will ever bring me meaning in my existence, but pursuing a higher knowledge of God, being drawn closer to Him daily, gives me purpose in life. Philippians 1:6 says that God has begun a good work in me, and He will not allow that work, that change of heart that makes me more like Him, to stop until I am in Heaven and it is completed. God has a plan for me, and though my mind, my OCD tendencies and intrusive thoughts tell me otherwise, I can rest in the promise of God’s word, knowing that the truth of the Bible is so much better than the false truth that I “feel” from day to day, as my feelings can change like the wind.

      Again, I’m sorry to hear of the intensity of your struggles. I hope you can find help and the peace of Christ. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one would hesitate to go to a doctor to get a cast put on a broken arm. At the same time, no one should have to bear the weight of such mental and spiritual struggles alone, either.

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