I’ve decided to be brutally honest about something that has been a large issue of mine, aside from “Um” . This particular hurtle has been a part of my life since I can remember. Separate from being an internal battle, it morphs into different outward “symptoms” that ebb and flow during the year.
I have OCD.
OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I need to preempt this with stating that I have not been “officially” diagnosed by a psychiatrist because quite frankly, I don’t need to be…I have it. And it has been my choice not to consult a physician because by the grace of God, He has given me what I need to “control” it.
My OCD has changed throughout my life. Most of the time it’s an internal struggle with things that I may obsessively think about, but it has manifested into outward triggers. When I was in the fourth and fifth grade, I had a severe issue with germs. I washed my hands compulsively, to the point that my hands were so dried out that my skin cracked and bled. I was so terrified that I was going to get a germ. Literally my day revolved around what I touched, which led to being obsessed with what I wore (least amount of skin exposed was best) and my goal was to touch as little as possible throughout the day. I would panic if I had to touch the bathroom handle to get out of the bathroom after I washed my hands. I didn’t like to share any of my things because I knew I would face a mountain of anxiety when the person would give it back to me. Sharing crayons…don’t ask me, please! Sharing pencils….forget it, just have it! I HATED when the teacher made us pass papers around because I knew I would have to handle the same papers everyone in my row just touched. There were times I had to choke back tears in class because my hands NEEDED to be cleaned from a fellow student coughing on me or brushing against me. I wasn’t able to concentrate or listen unless I went to wash off the germs. I would literally tremble in my seat, my skin would tingle in the spot I was worried about…it was utterly consuming. By the time I got home from school, I was physically and mentally drained. Tired from my anxiety driven hell on earth.
It was an exhausting existence, being so young and so scared of touching things! I mean it’s kinda an oxymoron… a child who can’t touch stuff without complete anxiety. It finally stopped when my hands physically hurt from the all the washing. My mom made me go to the doctor, and talking with the doctor about germs and our bodies’ immune systems helped me let go of some of the fear. I had to sleep with medicated lotion and socks on my hands for about a month. After that, I was able to cut back on the number of hand washes a day, and eventually it just went back to “normal”.
Needless to say, I was too young and naive to rely on God to help control my fears. It had to physically hurt my flesh before I could recognize that I was out of control. There have been other instances of my OCD really effecting my life outwardly. But as I’ve gotten older my help has been Christ. And my main prescription is that I pray CONSTANTLY throughout the day. When I begin to have obsessive thoughts, I lift them up to the Lord to handle. When I’m over-worried about a situation, I pray for peace and understanding that God’s will is taking place.
Dealing with OCD has been a struggle constantly present in my life, and when I’m stressed it has more prevalence in my day-to-day. But the grace this struggle is that my relationship with God is so much more intimate. I have been able to understand Christ in different ways, and have experienced the freedom of letting Him have the strength for me.
No matter what you struggle with, God’s hand is involved and rest assured there is a larger purpose for what you are facing. That’s the beautiful thing! Our struggles are avenues to lean more on the Lord and rely on His provision. The pruning that must take place in our hearts, minds, and faith is necessary to have a life that is fruitful.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2
It’s all about the struggle.
Please comment below how your struggle helped your relationship with Christ.