Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Beech Tree

Sometimes in our struggles we can become more than a little disgruntled. We look at ourselves and feel dissatisfied. Our weaknesses glare out at us and can cause our focus to become distorted. As we zero in on our weaknesses we begin to believe the self talk that we feed ourselves. This self talk, a tape loop that brings us down, can affect how we feel about ourselves, others and our circumstances. Now, we are imperfect. This is OK. We are fallen individuals. We cannot expect to be fully effective in all things. In so many areas our talents and abilities are still developing. This is all part of the plan of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite this we can be down on ourselves for these areas of incomplete growth, bemoaning our lack of capacity. In nature a beech tree has to grow from a seedling to a fully grown tree. The intermediate stages are all part of the natural cycle of growth. No-one would look at a little beech tree and dismiss it as a failure because it was not fully grown. Considering this, we all too quickly dismiss ourselves because we are incomplete. We are at intermediate stages of growth. We are not failures because our capacities are not fully grown. Invcomplete growth or weakness is not to be shunned. Alma 12:27, "... then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Monday, 22 October 2012

Being Mormon Does Not Cause Anxiety and OCD

I joined the Church early in my adult life.

As the years progressed it is worth noting that much of my obsessional thinking relates to particular components of the Gospel.

For example at tithing settlement time I often sweat over whether my tithe is accurate despite having worked things out and paid my offerings. My mind gets into a spin and questions such as "have I done all I can to check that I have not missed anything?" begin to prey on my mind. I worry about my status before the Lord.

Now let me be clear. I had OCD prior to joining the Church. I struggled with anxiety as a pre-teen and throughout my teenage years. Join joining the church DID NOT cause my mental health issues. My mind (illness) tends to go for vulnerable areas. I used to worry about health now it relates to honesty (or whatever other Gospel related issue).

I am glad that the Church gives tools to cope. I urge anyone who is struggling not to lie down to anxiety and/or OCD. Go and see your Bishop or Branch President and discuss access to an LDS family services counsellor.

Healing can come. Life is to be endured at times but enjoyment is not off-limits. Do not fall in to the trap of thinking that turning your back on Church will make things better.

I am glad I can write about these things. I am a sufferer but do not wish to throw in the towel and concede.

Until next time.....

Friday, 19 October 2012

OCD Examples

A number of years ago I thought I had contracted an incurable disease. I would wait for symptoms to show up and assume that any little physiological issue was as a result of my (imagined) terminal condition. I even spoke to my doctor who told me all was well. I was a healthy individual with nothing to worry about.

My OCD has not been focused on health since then.

Years later at work I noticed that many of my colleagues were leaving between three and five minutes before the end of our shift. This caused me immense worry. If I left even a minute early, then I was not bring honest. I felt I was cheating my employer and would not not be worthy in the eyes.of the Lord.

Since then I have found my OCD has morphed many times. Recently I find leaving work is difficult as I check that electrical appliances are switched off and windows are closed. This is not part of my job but I have thoughts of my workplace catching fire and me being responsible.

These are examples of my illness over the years. It is tormenting. Stress and fatigue make it worse.

I want to write some of my experiences down to help others know that they ate not alone. There ate others experiencing the same issues that they are facing.

As a church member it is easy for me to get locked in unhealthily to messages about worthiness and pure thoughts which can cause some anxiety and OCD patterns. This is not the Church's fault but my faulty interpretation system kicking in. Ultimately it is good to be a Mormon as the Church teaches about Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that He is the healer. That I am still struggling indicates that the timing is not yet right for my healing to be made complete. I have come a long way though and want to keep the blog going to give others a ray of light that they can too.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Anxieties and Spiritual Promptings

One of the things that i truly appreciate, at times, is the reality that God communicates with man. As i clumsily walk through life making a mess and getting into all sorts of jams it becomes clear that life can be unmanageable. Circumstances can overwhelm us and we can find ourselves with problems on our hands that we simply cannot solve. At such times it seems a little easier to get on my knees and ask God for help. The pride barrier is a little easier to overcome when we are under particular stresses, especially when we can see no way out. I can look back and reflect on times where God has delivered me from bondage and eased my load. There is no question that he has been the architect with the plan to free me from my problems. Problems, however, persist and the process continues as life moves forward. As God communicates with me, there is a calmness and clarity that can come with these promptings. Inspiration from God is sweet. Joseph Smith made reference to inspiration as, "intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon". On the other hand, while in the grip of OCD, there can be invasive thoughts. Ideas and notions that seem to pop into mind. These can be powerful and gripping. Whereas Jospeh Smith referred to, "sudden strokes of ideas" these unwelcome obsessional thoughts are often accompanied by an unsettling feeling. Obsessive thoughts might relate to checking (Did i turn the stove off?), rumination over past events, imagining events or motivations that never occurred etc. Sometimes a thought may reoccur making us wonder whether or not it is a message from God. We may feel bad or worried about something and attach greater significance to it. We must always remember that God loves us and that His messages are for our benefit and that His Spirit uplifts and edifies. All of us need to repent and put things right in our lives and on a daily basis but we must not confuse negative anxious thinking with messages from our loving Heavenly Father. If you are a sufferer of OCD I suggest that contact with qualified professionals can help to sort out our disordered thinking. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Bishop can refer you to LDS Family Services Counsellors. These trained professionals are in a place where they can understand both the Gospel and mental health issues that can blight our attempts to live it. Our obsessional thoughts and fears are not creations of God.