The Demon Part 2

In my previous blog post  https://afracturedfaithblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/the-demon/ I wrote about my lifelong struggle with mental health issues and, primarily. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It has been a harrowing journey at times. A daily war of attrition between my logical, rational thought processes and the inner voice, which I described as a demon, urging me to fully embrace the madness that is OCD. A deadly, seductive voice that every fibre of my being resisted. And yet so many times I have succumbed to its lies.

I hope that this follow-up post is more positive. I am a survivor, a pretty beat up survivor, but one nonetheless. I have a loving family and a secure income. 99% of the time I function perfectly well and keep the demon chained up in a corner in the deepest recesses of my psyche. But I can never grow complacent. For he is always watching, lurking; waiting for the tiniest mental scrap that he can pounce upon and manipulate until it spawns into an uncontrollable wrecking ball of poisonous negativity. 

Listed below are some coping mechanisms that I deploy to combat my ever present enemy. As a Christian they work for me. They might not work you. OCD is forever shifting, changing and evolving. It varies from one victim to the next and is as slippery as an eel and as elusive as smoke on a windy day. All I can do is talk about my experiences and pray that they emit a beacon of hope to at least one person out there who is adrift and unable to cope.

1. Get properly diagnosed.

For years I thought I was a freak, an oddball, a deviant. Who else would have the horrific, obscene thoughts that plagued my every waking hour? Perform ridiculous, convoluted routines countless times until I dropped to my knees in abject surrender? I was quite simply insane and a lost cause, doomed to endure this inner torment for the rest of my days.

That was until my wife, Fionnuala, conducted some online research and suggested I might have OCD. I was initially sceptical, as to me OCD revolved around cleaning routines and people who constantly washed their hands. I displayed neither of these obsessive behaviours. It was only when I began to delve deeper into the illness  that I realised I ticked so many of the relevant boxes that this is what it had to be.

The relief was immense. Just the knowledge that I was not a raving lunatic but instead had a recognised  illness that could be treated. As important was knowing that I was not alone but could now tap into the experiences of thousands of others who were walking the same road as me. Before I was miserable and isolated. Now I was part of a community where I could learn and share.

2. Talk to someone

For many years I hid the illness. I was ashamed of it, convinced that nobody would understand and I would be ostracised because of it. Added to that was how to put into words the maelstrom of disgusting thinking that polluted my mind every day. How do you explain to your wife that there is a voice in your head telling you that you are a threat to your kids? 

Fionnuala knew something was badly wrong. But little by little I began to confide in her, opening the lid on the thoughts that circled my conciousness like a bird of prey. To my amazement she didn’t turn her back but listened and stood by me. She has been a rock ever since. She might not understand it all but her love and empathy have dragged me through many a dark day. Talking helps. It lances the boil. It release the pressure. Talk to a loved one.

3. Seek help

When I was diagnosed I was prescribed 20mg of an anti-depressant which stimulates the release of serotonin, a chemical which acts as a neurotransmitter within the body. Persons with OCD are known to have reduced levels of serotonin in their systems. Regulating levels via prescribed medication can prove an effective tool in tbe battle that is raging within. It has worked for me. The screaming voice of OCD is now a faint whisper which I can normally contain and control.

Many other people diagnosed with the disorder have benefited from counselling. Cognitive Behavioural Theraphy (CBT) has proven to be especially effective; here the patient is gradually exposed to the thought or situation that is making them anxious. This gradual exposure to your unwanted thoughts teaches you other methods of overcoming them as opposed to falling back into repetitive rituals. Registered charities such as OCD Action and OCD-UK also offer incredible support networks.

4. My faith 

Not everyone who is reading this will be a Christian but my faith and belief that there is a supernatural higher power has been a great comfort to me these last four years. Sometimes when the obsessive thinking has become overwhelming I have prayed and handed it over to God. Nothing overwhelms him. On many occasions praying quietly or studying the Bible has given me the strength to carry on and face another day. 

This belief reassures me that there is a life beyond OCD. And that hope keeps me going through the dark times. The Bible is littered with stories of ordinary people who were used by God to achieve superhuman feats despite histories of depression and anxiety. Moses the original worry wart; David wallowing in despair when he wrote the Psalms; and Peter driven to the edge of madness when he denied Jesus three times. 

God used them. He pulled them out of their respective mental mires and infused them with a spiritual belief that allowed them to overcome their inner demons. And he can use me and you in exactly the same way today. All we have to do is admit our weaknesses, accept that we are powerless to conquer them and hand them over to him. And he will. For him, nothing is impossible.

Please let me know your thoughts about this post. I pray that it has been of some help to somebody. 

Psalm 40:2 – ‘He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on rock and gave me a firm place to stand.’

40 thoughts on “The Demon Part 2

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  1. Very interesting read. I too have a voice in my head. I fight every day against it, it telling what i can and cant eat what is good for me what is going to make me fat. It is the most destructive voice and do not know where or if my journey away from it will be successful or not? All i can do is fight. I totally empathise with your fight and hope you win through.
    Peace and Love

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi
    I feel your pain and I hear your pain but I also see God in you. As he dragged you from the pit so he dragged me. Today i am free its not easy but i know i am free. You too are free. Hold tight God loves you and we love you 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thank you for writing this. I cannot talk to other Christians in real life as they are few and only online. It is nice to be in touch with other people of my faith. The Lord is comforting when it comes to matters of the mind. God Bless You. Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful post – as is the previous one. My prayers to you as you navigate this disease. I have family members who also work daily to balance their lives with OCD as a partner. Thanks for visiting my blog. It has given me the opportunity to meet you. I will visit again. All my best to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. I hate that you had to go through this but I appreciate knowing that there are others out there who understand. I will be following your blog closely.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing your testimony (including your struggles with OCD) so openly and earnestly. I believe that your words have already helped (and will continue to help) more people than you may even realize! May God bless you as you continue to let Him use you to bless and give hope to others.

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  7. Thank you for your post. Thank you for your transparency. The road before is not determined by the road in the rear view mirror. You will have to meet each new day as the Lord Jesus grants with a renewed faith, trust and strength. The good news is that we are all on level ground when it comes to this challenge. I am reminded each morning “this is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it……..Morning by morning new mercies I see Great is you faithfullness, Lord…………I can do all things through Christ who is my strength” Draw encouragement from these words even write them on the bathrooom mirror! May the Lord Jesus keep you close, clean and safe!

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  8. I am in therapy for my OCD along with other diagnoses- we do some exposure therapy but we have some greater concerns to deal with and I have so many different OCD issues that it’s hard. I have intrusive thoughts like you, but also compulsive and obsessive things like germs etc. I am just beginning – well it’s been 7 months – of treatment and I really hope to be able to say I’m a survivor soon. But my PTSD really interferes with my OCD

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  9. This fits with what I posted about three enemies. Yours seems to be the flesh. There is no true healing. Instead, there is the power of God. This is similar to Paul’s thorn in the flesh. You are forced to admit your weakness and learn to lean on God daily for His strength. (not a bad place to be) You are also doing great to seek medical treatment and counseling. They in no way detract from relying on God (as some foolishly try to put on others). Though more of my struggles come from a worldly source, I can relate to your struggles and victories. Thankfully, we have a God who washes us clean when we fall and sets us back on the road to greater victories.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think I have OCD. But I do believe I have had intrusive thoughts. I’ve also spoken to family or friends who do. And I’m wondering if the media also has to do something with it? We’re constantly aimed with advertisements and all kinds of stimuli every day. Through the radios, television, while driving, and I do wonder if some things infiltrate in the mind because not everything is positive. Just a thought that came across as I read your blog. But by no means am I trying to say it’s a’ answer, or that I have an explanation for it let alone imagine your struggle. Your posts though, were extremely informative.

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    1. You could be right. Our minds are under constant onslaught in the 21st Century from a variety of outlets including the media. It’s important to have quiet time and to place ourselves in more positive environments. I am very easily influenced so I need to keep away from areas that are not good for me.

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      1. Yes, very true. Sometimes I also wonder if it’s not so much “influenced” but more attuned to decoding bad things but it turns into an intrusive thought. I mean, I don’t know. I’m glad that you didn’t think my idea was that far off or outrageous. And you’re right, quiet time is very important. Good day!

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          1. Do you mean Bible Summary? That will be Leviticus. The three law books shouldn’t be too much trouble for me, a lot of basic summarizing the topic of chapters. I am “planning” (may not do it, but I hope I do) working in advance for Psalms, getting all of the different topics it covers down.

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      1. My pleasure. 🙂 I know what you mean, I’ve been dealing with panic/anxiety disorder since I was a child but wasn’t diagnosed until age 32. I don’t talk about it much, as it triggers those feelings, and will avoid anything that trigger them 🙂 You did a good job here.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I appreciate your honesty. As I read this and the previous post, I recognized a similar voice in my life. Thankfully, it didn’t suck me in. I said, “no”, to it, maybe because I got bored with it quickly, or I was a rebel, or I don’t know why. I have family who struggle with OCD so I know that it is a real demon. Praise God for the victory you have experienced. I pray that you remain victorious. And if you don’t, God is always “there”. He is above and beyond and over all the demons that we face; the rock that we can stand on; the shelter that gives us comfort; and the rest from our struggles. Thank you for visiting and following my blog. I am now following you.

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  12. Reading this has made my day. I appreciate your honesty, I started blogging this year to keep a digital diary of my thoughts. I suffered a crisis of faith, post-natal depression, and now I’m learning to trust God again, one step at a time. Thank you for posting this.

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  13. Thank you for this, I understand far too well what you go through. AA and a lot of spirituality helps me get through tough times. Keep your faith and these wonderful posts coming as they do provide a resource for those in need. Thanks again!

    Bobby C. – Anonymous People

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