Five Is The Magic Number

Warning – This post talks about OCD in graphic detail and may cause victims/survivors to trigger.

When it comes to my faith I need constant reminders. It is so easy for me to stray ‘off message’ in all areas of my life. I make bad decisions and act selfishly, putting my own needs and interests before those of my loved ones. I am a poor judge of character and can easily fall into bad company. I am easily influenced and vulnerable to addictive behaviour and unhealthy relationships. Due to my low self-esteem my default setting is to crave attention and affirmation. No matter what the consequences. How did I come to be like this. Let me introduce you to my not so good friend, OCD.

I was formally diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) just over four years ago. I have had it, however, since I was a child. There are various strands of it. The type I have is called Pure OCD. I have intrusive, negative thoughts that enter my head and remain there in a constant loop. This is the ‘O’ in OCD. Thoughts like ‘You don’t love your family’, ‘You are a paedophile and a threat to children’ or ‘You are a homosexual and your marriage is a sham’.

These are just three examples of any number of obsessive thoughts that used to enter my head on a daily basis.  They led to increased levels of anxiety. I can only describe it as akin to a radio playing with the volume turned up repeating the same thought deafeningly over and over again. Imagine trying to hold a conversation or concentrate at work with that message screaming in your head every second of your waking day.

It inevitably leads to increased levels of anxiety. I can best describe it as a weight pressing down on my chest and legs. A growing sense of panic that threatens to overwhelm me like a tsunami of terror. This is where the ‘C’ in OCD comes in. In order to dispel the intrusive thought I develop a routine in my head that I am compelled to complete successfully in order to dispel the compulsive thinking.

So the voice is telling me I am a paedophile. This is,of course, ridiculous. My logical mind tells me that I obviously am not. I am a loving father and would never hurt a hair on any child’s head. Yet the voice insists that I would and the only way I can combat it is to develop an effective strategy which I can then deploy in order to defeat the thought.

This usually meant me coming up with five reasons why I was not what the intrusive thought suggested I was. Why five? Because five is my number. OCD thrives on numbers and repetitive actions. Every victim has them. Mine are five and three. It varies from person to person. 

Let’s act it out. The voice tells me that I am a paedophile, scum, the lowest of the low for the 574th time that day. And it’s not even lunchtime. I have spent all day preparing five reasons why I am not a child molestor. They must all be valid and approved in advance. I must then find a quiet place and focus on an object. Let’s say a picture on a wall. I will think out the five reasons in my head. ‘I am not a paedophile because….’. I’m not going to talk about the actual reasons I used in this post in case I trigger myself or other OCD victims reading this.

The five reasons I rhyme off must be word perfect. The slightest slip, hesitation or memory lapse and its back to the beginning. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200. I then have to choose a different object to focus on as the same one cannot be used twice. If I the phone rings I must start again. If somebody talks to me in mid routine I must start again. If I deviate in the slightest from my prepared script I must start again. Because that’s just the way it has to be.

When you are in the routine nothing else matters. I’m late for an important meeting. Doesn’t matter finish the routine. I’ve been in the bathroom for 20 minutes and people are starting to talk. Doesn’t matter finish the routine. I am coming across as disinterested or rude towards Fionnuala. Doesn’t matter Finish the routine. OCD is a selfish and spiteful mistress. It demands your total attention. Everything else is irrelevant until the routine is quashed.

It can takes hours, days even to finally run through the routine word perfectly in order to kill the obsessive thought once and for all. Until the next one trundles over the horizon, five minutes later. A different thought but equally brutal. OCD is a mental wrecking ball. It will relentlessly hammer you into submission. It knows no mercy or compassion. Every time you get back up off the canvas it knocks you down again. It wants to break you, destroy you, tear your soul into a million pieces. 

It is hard to put into words the accompanying mental anguish or the devastating impact that it can have on relationships with loved ones. It permeates every aspect of your reality. It knows no barriers. It is there, an ever present, whether you are at work or at home with your family. It demands your total, undivided attention. I would secure a temporary reprieve each time I successfully performed a routine but it would just laugh at me. I had won a battle. It would win the war.

Worry. Anxiety. Depression. OCD makes you feel worthless. I escaped it through sleep, alcohol and social media. But every morning I woke up it was there. Every time I sobered up it was there. Every night when I logged out it was there. The deepest slumber, the strongest drinks, the thousands of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. They mattered not a jot. It was always hungry for more and would not be satisfied until I was broken beyond repair.

And it almost succeeded. It almost stole my family, my job, my very life. Yet I survived thanks to medication, a loving family and the grace of God. I read so many blogs written by people who feel utterly defeated by the demons of mental health. My advice? Don’t ever give up hope. Talk to someone about it. Get help. Pray about it and ask God to take over because you cannot do it on your own anymore. But don’t give up. Because, no matter how dark it may seem, the light will come and it IS stronger. Good will always overcome evil. OCD can be defeated. 

Romans 12:21 – ‘Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.’

Are you an OCD victim/survivor? How have you fought it?

Or have you only limited knowledge of it? How has this post changed your thinking on OCD?

55 thoughts on “Five Is The Magic Number

Add yours

  1. Five /5/ it’s a number of the non-physical world, could be this named angelic or demonic /using Catholic terminology/. It means exactly spiritual emanation. The choice which one has ‘access’ to You is yours, Your inner words ‘Who I am’.

    If You will check the Scriptures You will find one – the lie behind the blinders.
    NEVER, once again Never our Creator is letting for the negative spiritual attacks. We are protecting all time, day and night. Our creator never asked us to be the ‘Spiritual Fighters – apostles/. He said: ”I am the only One” – it’s enough to follow this rule.

    The fear which has source into the Scriptures /especially New Testament/ is too often paralyzing the will of people. They believed that they are all time under attack, they believed that any dark spirit is stronger than the Creator.

    The Healing… Love… Harmony… this is always a will of Creator, just let Him. Let Him show to you who He really IS.

    Sometimes I have the feeling that the times of Crusade never passed, we are still terrorizing by invisible mystical forces NOT Present in real Spiritual World. God never created and is not creating the fakes.


  2. Thanks for sharing this post. It was inspiring! I’ve struggled with some things in my life and wondered if they could be signs of OCD… After reading this, it’s given me encouragement and more understanding about this condition. Thanks for being vulnerable. 🙂


      1. Thanks. 🙂

        So, I just wanted to follow up… Over the last couple years I’ve dealt with some intrusive, unwanted thoughts that I could never understand… When I shared my struggle with people I trusted, I was told to ignore them because they were so ludicrous and even some of my Christian friends just said I was undergoing spiritual attack and maybe just needed to repent or have more faith.

        I tried everything to get rid of them, but they kept coming back, haunting me… They scared me, I felt misunderstood and alone, and I thought I was going crazy! But after reading your blog, I’ve realized, I’m not going crazy and this thing that I’ve been tortured by, could actually be a psychological issue and that I could actually get treatment for! The thought of living without the awful, torturous thoughts, and the fear that they could one day consume me, was seeming so impossible that my mind always wandered to taking myself out of the picture as a way to silence them.

        So, since reading your blog, I’ve reached out to an OCD/Anxiety treatment center nearby and am nervous, but excited to go to my appointment in the next few weeks to get some answers and some help. So, thank you SO much for being so candid, authentic, and vulnerable. It has changed my thinking and may have changed my life!

        Blessings to you and your family!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is wonderful news and makes everything we do worthwhile. Please keep in touch and let me know how you progress. You are not alone and I am so pleased that you are getting help. Appropriate medication and counselling can make a massive difference. We will keep you in our prayers. If you need anymore advice or support then please let us know. ❤️🙏🏻😊

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t have full-blown OCD, but my therapist says I have OCD tendencies, so I completely understand the thing about numbers. For example, before filling the pets’ water bowls in the morning, I have to rinse them 5 times even though they’re already clean. I know this is mild compared to your experience, but I hope you continue to improve.


  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It was Divine timing. My son struggles with OCD, so when I dropped over here to see what you write about, this post was on top. I have passed it along and it has helped me better understand him.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ephesians 6:11-18

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

    15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

    18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


          1. I know we share a common experience outside of WordPress…but you know what the Lord is faithful to rebuild and restore what the devil steals and I gotta say that WordPress seems to be part of that restoration for me because it has been SOOOO POSITIVE! I look forward to getting a fresh cup of coffee and reading what my brothers and sisters write- because it’s all togive glory to God not themselves on here! I love it! And I love the people on here so much more real!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. As someone commented above, quoting Paul to the Ephesians: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    So very true. And we also, some of us, wrestle with terrible trials such as yours that I’m so glad you’re willing to share so others in the same situation won’t feel alone. Yes, there are caring Christian communities everywhere in this world to give emotional support.

    You have the answer: Stay focused on Christ and his Atonement. He is there for us to help us overcome the “rulers of darkness,” Satan and his followers, who are out to destroy us. Never stop fighting.

    I’m so glad you “liked” my current post so I could come over here and meet you and your beautiful wife. I’m now following your blog, and add my prayer to others’ prayers in your behalf.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What a powerful post. I only have very mild ocd but do find myself counting things all the time. I know that you see yourself through the glasses of past actions but take a new look and see yourself through Gospel glasses and see yourself following a ministry.


  8. Hello, I’m not a Christian as many here seem to be 🙂 But I am someone who also suffers from the symptoms you’ve been describing here, and I admire you for speaking out! Interestingly, the topic of intrusive thoughts has shifted with society’s attitudes: for example, in the 20th century, many feared that they were attracted to someone of another race, as that was seen as terrible back then. Now, many intrusive thoughts do revolve around thoughts of harming children; because as a society, we are fundamentally against this, and this probably is one of the most taboo topics within modern day society. The point is, people’s obsessions shift to suit the worst scenario of that particular era-and I think that says a lot about OCD.

    Many people also are concerned that they are “aroused” by the distressing thoughts they are experiencing. In reality, this “arousal” is not actual arousal, and is an automatic function of the brain when we think about sex-anything relating to sex. It happens before we are fully able to even process the thoughts. And it happens to everyone. But sufferers of OCD are far more concerned and focused on it, and thus resort to wondering what this says about them as a person. It’s called Groinal Response, and is often confused for arousal.

    I am pleased you decided to speak out! It’s not easy, but talking makes things better for other sufferers, too. Peace to you! 🙂


  9. Thank you for sharing your experience. I do not have OCD, and I never knew what anyone with the condition faced on a daily basis. Thank you for enlightening me. I liked your personification of mental illness, as a “mistress” (or any negative person). I think sometimes that’s the best way to describe it to others.


    1. I’m glad you got something from my post. I’m just trying to display God’s glory through my own brokenness. Yeah I got the idea of the ‘mistress’ from the early chapters of Proverbs. The way she (sin) lured young men down the paths of the dead. Proverbs 8:1 is my favourite verse. It was prophesied over me by Lacey Sturm, the singer and writer so I cling to it every day.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t have OCD nor do I know of anyone with it. I saw that you liked a post I had just published regarding a short story where the main character has OCD and now I know why. Thank you for liking, posting, and shedding light on the subject. –Wake38


  11. Thank you for sharing this post!! I also have OCD, and it is the SAME kind of intrusive thoughts, battering away at my wee brain, except mine are all kind of religious-based. Which sucks, being a Christian, as it has made following Jesus a lot more difficult at times :/ however, almost a year of medication and good help later, I am getting better, slowly but surely 🙂 I’m hoping that by posting some things about my experiences, I can also help other sufferers and encourage them!! I’m so so thankful I found your blog 🙂 I always like to think of my OCD thoughts as “the storm”- I feel trapped and scared, but imagine Jesus being near saying “Be still, stay calm!” and that is what’ll make it better- having faith that He will protect me!! Whereas giving into the fear just makes things more difficult. We’re gonna be okay!! Excited to read more from you in the future.


    1. Thank you Amber. I’m a Christian as well but have never religious based thoughts. That must be awful. I’ve just read some of your posts and we seem to have quite a bit in common. Looking forward to following your story. Remember that Jesus is the master over your storms. 🙏🏻😊

      Liked by 1 person

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