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.....


  1. I, too, am LDS, and a lot of my worries early on with the disease came from worrying if I was doing things perfectly enough to be acceptable in the eyes of God.

    Finally, I came to be able to tell myself that it was more about where my heart was, than the specifics of obeying each law to the letter, crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.

    I realized that God knows that we're all imperfect, and subject to the natural man. That's not to say we should give up in trying to overcome, but it does give me some leeway. As long as I'm trying, he knows my heart.

    Also, the Atonement covers mistakes. If we are willing to try, and then trust, I'm convinced that the dotted i's and crossed t's don't matter.

    That being said - I don't think that the LDS faith is the only one that can cause us OCD'ers grief. A lot of organized religion stands on protocol, rituals, and things that must be done. Probably good for most people who don't have a complex - that don't have to be 100% perfect.

    I hope you are able to give yourself some slack. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to not be perfect. Just keep doing your best.


  2. I can completely relate to this. My challenges with OCD are mostly gospel related. While it's not nice and I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I take some comfort in the fact that many people of other religions and even non-religious people suffer with obsessive/intrusive thoughts. Only because this shows me that it's not my faith or religion that's the problem, it's the condition.

    One example of my honesty/moral challenges is when I throw a paper towel towards a bin, if it misses and lands on the floor I think should I leave it there? I then think that there is no way God is going to help me or answer my prayers if I am such a thoughtless person as to not even want to pick up a paper towel and put it in the bin like a normal decent person. I then pick it up and put it in the bin, but it doesn't make me feel better. I then can't understand why God would want me to feel so bad. I must be a terrible person.

    This then becomes the analogy for who I am as a person, the uncaring, insensitive, thoughtless, unworthy person who could never find answers from a God who wants us to be perfect.

    I realise the almost crazy nature of this thought, yet the anxious, bad feeling is strong and therefore whether it's right or wrong, it is real and due to it's intensity can often be mistaken for some kind of prompting or warning.

    Surely God would never be so hard on anyone for something so minor. I'm trying hard to learn this.

    Thanks for your blog, it's nice to have someone else who understands.