Have you ever been buried in shame?
Feeling you deserve the pain
You’ve been going through
Believing the lies are true
Obsessing over past mistakes
Thinking you don’t deserve grace
Thinking you’re the only one
Has this only just begun?
We all struggle with shame
You are not always to blame
No matter how you feel
God’s grace and love are real
I think we all struggle with shame, but it can be very common for people who have OCD. Especially if your OCD theme is religious, moral, violent, or sexual. I struggled with extreme shame. I didn’t want my intrusive thoughts, but I thought, why would I have them if I don’t want them? This a very common symptom of OCD. Even after I was diagnosed with OCD I thought I should be able control my thoughts. OCD is very misunderstood. Intrusive thoughts are very misunderstood. I thought I should just be able to pray my intrusive thoughts away. I do believe God could heal me of my OCD if He wanted to, but He has chosen not to. This is okay. I don’t need to be ashamed of having a disorder. Medication and therapy have helped me immensely. If I had never gotten the diagnosis of OCD I’m not sure I would still be here today.
OCD can also cause me to obsess over my past mistakes. Oh no, I said that one mean thing to that person my senior year of high school. Maybe I secretly am a bad person. Maybe I’m just faking it. Maybe I don’t have OCD. I was diagnosed, but maybe they got it wrong. OCD is the doubting disease. Even after people are diagnosed, they are constantly questioning themselves. Did I offend that person? Is this person mad at me? What if these aren’t intrusive thoughts? What if I secretly want these thoughts? Of course, one of the main parts of therapy for OCD is being comfortable with uncertainty. This is very hard. People have intrusive thoughts about their worst fear. You want to be certain you won’t act on them. But, asking for reassurance or self-reassuring is a compulsion; it makes it worse in the long run. This is why it can be so difficult having OCD. Also, it is extremely misunderstood so it can be hard for people to share their intrusive thoughts. It is hard for people anyway, but especially if they’re worried people will confirm their worst fear: that they actually are a horrible person.
“Shame is robbing us of living in the freedom and fullness of life that Christ purchased for us.”- Mom Set Free Bible Study by Jeannie Cunnion
It took me awhile, but I’m learning to have a lot less shame about my OCD. Of course, I still feel shame from time to time, but I’m pretty sure everyone does. It is so encouraging to me that God loves me no matter what. God doesn’t care that I have OCD. God has forgiven the mistakes from my past that I will sometimes dwell on. God cares about my heart. I keep trying to grow closer to God and be honest with Him about what I’m feeling. When I was first diagnosed with OCD I asked God, “Why won’t you heal me? I know You can if You want to so why don’t You?” I was still feeling shame, but also anger and sadness. I was extremely suicidal. It was such a difficult time in my life. I didn’t understand why God would let me go through such a hard time, but I think it was so I could help others. I’ve always loved helping people, but I’ve never been very comfortable sharing my struggles (who is, right?). Because I struggled with OCD for ten years before I was diagnosed, I am trying to help others be more aware. There are many different types of OCD: Moral/Religious OCD, Harm OCD, Relationship OCD, Pedophilia OCD, Sexual Orientation OCD, are some of the main themes that people are uncomfortable telling other people (including psychological professionals) about. Contamination OCD is the theme people normally think of, but Contamination OCD does not mean “liking cleaning” or “being organized” or “being tidy”. Contamination OCD is extreme fear of germs; that you will get yourself or someone else sick; that you accidentally gave someone food poisoning, etc. OCD is a debilitating disorder. Please think before you use this disorder- or any disorder- as a joke.
Are you struggling with shame? Do you struggle with a mood disorder? Do you struggle with a physical disorder? Are you struggling with an addiction? Are you struggling with low self-esteem? Do you feel ashamed of things you have done? Do you feel shame because of things people have done to you? Whatever the reason, you don’t need to feel shame. If you are struggling don’t be afraid to ask for help. Please find a therapist if you need one. If you need someone to talk to, I am here. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, don’t be afraid to get help. If you think it’s the only way to stop the pain, it’s not. Medication, therapy, and a good support system can help so much. Always remember you are loved. You are loved no matter what.
“This freedom purchased by the highest price. This grace outweighing all my shame.”- God So Good by Life.Church Worship