Author Topic: Diversity of Being / OCD  (Read 697 times)


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Diversity of Being / OCD
« on: December 10, 2019, 01:00:50 PM »
Salam everyone!

I want to share something with you all and perhaps lead that into questions about existence, judgement, God, etc.

I have been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and with co-morbid depression. Life, in short, is tough. My OCD is not the usual one you hear through media, i.e I don't have the usual contamination OCD. Instead, I have other kinds of obsessions. OCD, if you don't know already, is a very debilitating disease and can be a life long struggle, as you have such a mind and personality. Moreover, it's not that simple as TV presents it to be: perfecting, cleaning things, etc. Instead, OCD is about obsessive fears that give you debilitating anxiety and the more you try to get rid of them, the further entrenched they become.

Years back I developed religious OCD. When I got it, I had a sudden intrusive thought "how do I know Quran is the word of God and Bible is not". A "normal" person would either ignore this thought or think "ok, I'll check it out." A person with OCD, like myself, freaks out. This freaking out is not a normal "scary" sensation --- it's as though the world comes to a stop and your heart and head are on fire. I remember freaking out and my mind breaking into a thousand blasphemous thoughts. Suddenly, the cycle started and I began getting intrusive thoughts about God, prophets, Quran, satan, morality, etc. One would think that this is in one's control. Nope, this fear and obsession cycle is involuntary. The more you fear, the more intense the cycle becomes. As my obsessions grew, my compulsions to read Quran, offer prayers, etc grew. But whenever I would do that blasphemous thoughts and urges would come to mind and I was convinced that I was either a really bad person or the devil had possessed me or that God had forsaken me for having such thoughts. Of course, as a teenager, I didn't know this was just a mental disorder I was going through. I was very hurt and could not share with my family, fearing that they will kill me for being an apostate (haha!). Of course, I was also mad at God for putting me through this --- but then my mind convinced me that I must have done something really wrong to deserve all this. Mind you, it doesn't help to read hadiths when you're going through religious OCD. We all know some hadiths are pure vile and vulgar and your doubts about God and Islam increase all the more. It took me couple of years to come out of this cycle and I discovered the Quran Alone path during this, and it really helped. I realized that I was thinking irrationally about God and religion, and my mind was just creating stupid narratives. I got out of my OCD cycle after some gruesome, trying struggle.

While I did get out of religious OCD, I got onto philosophical OCD: the obsession with philosophical questions about world, religion, morality, and other things. Problem with OCD people is that they can't settle with uncertainty. So, no matter what philosophical question you answer, your OCD mind cannot accept it as the final answer: "what if there's more to it?" It keeps you in that anxiety of missing out on important answers, even though you may very well have the answer in your hand. You might think this is just "research," but it's a painful, fearful, anxiety ridden research. Day in, day out you are on your toes. Your mind is always wound up, always thinking, always keeping you uncomfortable and guilty, and pushing you to believe that you are unsafe if you don't get the answer. Now imagine having philosophical OCD for 10 years and not knowing it and staying in the misery of doubt!

This year, though, my OCD morphed into several other obsessive fears. The first began with irrationally worrying about my child's health, and attached to it was philosophical OCD: What if she dies? What if she gets really sick? What if she dies and then what will the purpose of life be? Why do kids die? Why is the world set up like that? Why is death set up? These are "normal" questions, but with OCD it is a 24/7 obsession. You wake up in the middle of the night 10 times crying, checking up on your child, reading about such philosophical questions, hoping your heart will get happy. Nope. It never gets happy. It wants more certainty. It wants more safety. The more you offer it, the more it needs. It's an addiction. You can check your child's heartbeat a hundred times and the mind will tell you to do it one more time to be safe. All happiness is sucked out. Ok, you prayed to God for health, but "Hey!!! Others do it and still lose their kids. Who is God? Where is God? Go find him." It's a trap!

I am over health anxiety now --- I have accepted mortality of my child and the suffering it will bring --- but I have other obsessions to replace it. For instance, how can I be sure that I am a good person; what if I develop schizophrenia; I don't think I love my child enough; how do I know I am heterosexual for sure; what if I am secretly a pedophile; what if I harm my child? (More commonly, these fears are called Harm OCD, Sexual OCD, Scrupulosity OCD, Relationship OCD).

Problem with OCD is that the anxiety and fear is so high that these problems seem VERY real. For instance, a person who has health anxiety can get "fake" feelings of heart attack or other symptoms of whatever you fear (fake rash, etc). For a person who is afraid they are homosexual feel false attraction to same gendered people and lose sensations for the opposite ones. When I developed this, I lost all attraction towards my husband and started experiencing false attraction/sensations towards women. All day long the mind would come up with images and urges of homosexual love. For a person who has harm OCD, they get fake (but felt as real) feelings of anger and urges to hurt. With pedophile OCD, you develop yet again false attraction and fake urges towards kids. If you don't believe me, go check it out!!!! Initially, all of this happens with heart-wrenching anxiety, as though your insides are on fire. Later, as you get used to it, anxiety leave, but urges, sensations, thoughts are there. It's freaking real. Anxiety mimics anything you fear when you are in the OCD cycle. When the fear popped up that I do not love my daughter, immediately my emotions stopped and now it's been couple of months my mind gives me angry emotions and no "loving" feelings towards here. It convinces you that it's real and you need to resolve all of it. But if you work on resolution, it worsens.

The solution to all this, you all must wonder: Well, you accept the uncertainty that you may be either of your fears. But this acceptance is not easy. Moving towards your fear gives you anxiety and panic attacks. It makes you suicidal because your mind creates such fear that you cannot even bear to approach that fear. For instance, I had to stop praying because I was SO afraid of blasphemous thoughts. I began avoiding my child because I would get false attraction/anger --- and any time I approach her, my mind goes crazy with thoughts, images, urges, etc. For months I couldn't talk to my female friends and even sisters and mother because the anxiety was SO much and the body created false feelings of attraction. With schizophrenia OCD, you begin to see things. Anxiety is a mean bitch, basically; it will mimic anything and everything. In short, it is miserable.

Don't say this is OCD; how can the person not know? OCD is also called doubting disease. You doubt everything. No proof is enough. You even doubt you have OCD.

In doing recovery and therapy, I have done "exposures". Exposure is basically exposing yourself to your fears and accepting that you could be your fears and not doing any compulsions to relieve your anxiety. It is holding a child, experiencing the attraction, and going with your day, all the while not questioning whether the attraction is real or not. Maybe it is real, maybe it is not. Once the mind sees that the fear is down and your belief has changed about the fear, the obsessions cease. Problem with OCD people is that they keep "checking" if their thought is gone, and the more you check the mind creates more of those thoughts. It is a very twisted disease. It is debilitating to the extent people do not leave their houses and even kill themselves --- mostly because the diagnosis is so rare and difficult. It took me 10 years to get the diagnosis.

Anyway, point is that during these exposures I have learnt so much about diversity of human existence and personalities, and how grey "good" and "bad" is. For instance, as I exposed myself to the fear of schizophrenia, I learnt a lot about other mental illnesses and how much people struggle with brain chemistry. As I approached harm OCD, I had to read up on and watch documentaries on psychopathy, crime scenes, etc, and how some people are just wired differently and their choices are very limited. Pedophilia OCD is in fact a very common OCD in new parents and it has taught me a lot about how people are born with the brain chemistry of not feeling maternal or paternal towards kids --- instead, their brain creates sexual thoughts. Take note that child abusers/molestors are not necessarily pedophiles. In fact, pedophilia is not rare; many people amongst us are non-offending pedophiles. They know their desire, but do not act upon it. Similarly, I was exposed a lot to personality disorders and how each person is wired differently.

The question then is what is "normal" even? I think very differently from people who are non OCD. And yet people who have different brains think differently compared to me. How do you judge morality then? Needless to say this is giving me new obsessions about figuring out how judgement works and what even is God?! If you ask me, I am grateful to have a fully functional body, but my mind and thinking patterns are very faulty. I have chronic anxiety and I stay in loops of fear and it's very depressing. My body is in a constant state of alarm --- constantly pumping adrenaline and asking me to resolve doubts about everything. In such a state your emotions are out of control. You are frustrated all the time and on the edge. It seems your heart will come out into your mouth. It's not the way to live! There is constant depression and a question to God: "why are we going through this?" There are times you want to give up and not fight through this. I cannot even begin to explain how miserable and debilitating OCD is --- just imagine yourself as a primitive man standing in front of a lion every moment of your life. The flight or fight sensations that he would have gotten are our every day reality. Every moment of the day OCD-ers experience obsessive thoughts and chronic panic and anxiety, no matter how irrational the fear is. This also gives us depersonalization --- a sensation where our mind and body separate as defense mechanism and it seems you have lost sense of your identity and personality and your body is alien to you.

Anyway, my point about all this is to raise awareness. If you or anyone you know is going through irrational fears and is in a loop of "figuring out" it's probably OCD. Seek help! Also, existence is SO diverse. I think I have stopped believing in a judgement that is as simple as "good" or "bad." Humans are not that simple. Right now my family might think I am a "bad" person to be not as attentive to them and to be so sullen, but do they know my daily struggle? Nope! Do I know the struggle of a person with low empathy? I cannot. Do I know what a person pre-disposed to fury and anger experiences? No! Each person has their baggage of personality, brain chemistry, and struggles, and we can never truly know what good and bad they can perform with their predispositions. The world is not so simple. God cannot be that simple to create humanity this way and then put them through such trials and then say "you should still have been good; off you go to get burned."

This journey has really shaken me to the core. I see the world so differently now --- we are way too diverse to be compartmentalized.

good logic

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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 02:30:09 AM »
Peace Rahma..
Your name gives me hope. Rahma indicates mercy. I hope you find  mercy.
I like your advice of "Seek help" to those who are suffering OCD or any illness. I agree we should seek help instead of suffering alone.
It reminds me of these people of the past who sought help:

And, before that, Noah called and we responded to him. We saved him and his family from the great disaster.
وَنوحًا إِذ نادىٰ مِن قَبلُ فَاستَجَبنا لَهُ فَنَجَّينٰهُ وَأَهلَهُ مِنَ الكَربِ العَظيمِ

And Job implored his Lord: "Adversity has befallen me, and, of all the merciful ones, You are the Most Merciful."
وَأَيّوبَ إِذ نادىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنّى مَسَّنِىَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرحَمُ الرّٰحِمينَ
We responded to him, relieved his adversity, and restored his family for him, even twice as much. That was a mercy from us, and a reminder for the Abideen
فَاستَجَبنا لَهُ فَكَشَفنا ما بِهِ مِن ضُرٍّ وَءاتَينٰهُ أَهلَهُ وَمِثلَهُم مَعَهُم رَحمَةً مِن عِندِنا وَذِكرىٰ لِلعٰبِدينَ

And Zachariah implored his Lord: "My Lord, do not keep me without an heir, though You are the best inheritor."
وَزَكَرِيّا إِذ نادىٰ رَبَّهُ رَبِّ لا تَذَرنى فَردًا وَأَنتَ خَيرُ الوٰرِثينَ
We* responded to him and granted him John; we fixed his wife for him. That is because they used to hasten to work righteousness, and implored us in situations of joy, as well as fear. To us, they were reverent.
فَاستَجَبنا لَهُ وَوَهَبنا لَهُ يَحيىٰ وَأَصلَحنا لَهُ زَوجَهُ إِنَّهُم كانوا يُسٰرِعونَ فِى الخَيرٰتِ وَيَدعونَنا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا وَكانوا لَنا خٰشِعينَ

....May the Lord bless you and heal your suffering. May the Lord relieve your fears.

38:65″ Say:? I warn you; There is no other god beside GOD, the One, the Supreme.?


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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2019, 11:11:38 PM »
Peace Rahma

I don't know what OCD is and never exposed through it let alone feel it myself.

Based on your story, it seems that you are experiencing FEAR about anything?
Fear of not knowing, fear of any possibility on anything for that matter..
And always in the loop to obtain an unobtainable goal of feeling secure?

The best way to handle that is of course to ignore such fearful thoughts.

I know the above is easier said than done, especially for you.

But the step by step approach is first to learn, by yourself on what is FEAR ?
Where did it came from?
Who or what generate it?
What is it's function and purpose?
Only after you know what fear is you can then start to know how to control and manage it.

I (or anybody else) can tell you the answer to the above questions.
But..... if it's coming from outside and not from within you it will beat the purpose.
Because it's coming from outside then it will generate more fear, how do I know that he can be trusted? what if he tells lies? etc.. etc.. etc..
As such this is a journey that need to be started by yourselves.
And I believe you will prevail as I've seen many other does..

You need to gain full understanding of something before you can control that thing.

Salam / Peace


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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2019, 01:41:35 PM »
This obsessive compulsive disorder seems like what would be the result of a lifetime of one giving in to their impulses. I might be wrong or oversimplifying it, but in general, giving in to impulses leaves the person very weak as a being.

One of the important parts about "living" is existing as a person, a being, not as something dragged by external things in all directions,or a slave tied to a moving cart.

At all times, we are enticed to give up on our self-controm and orderliness, enticed to give up on our decisions and our principles. For what ? Self-fulfillment. These emotional rollercoasters are nothing but a way to fool ourselves into thinking that we are alive by "feeling alive".

Consider making your mind still, spend more and more time with a still mind and start reflecting. Never do that while being emotionally agitated.

As far as exercising our being, the following is a great advice for anyone trying to exercise their will. "How does one become stronger? By deciding slowly; and by holding firmly to the decision once it is made. Everything else follows of itself."

good logic

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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2019, 04:27:51 AM »
Brother Cerberus.

Over the past few years I learned some very simple tasks that helped my well being .
The most important was to Get busy doing things for other people. This occupies my mind with positive thoughts that pushed out the negative ones in the short term at least.

I also realised slowly that I do not need to prove anything to anyone else, I needed to prove to me that  I am serious about changing myself for the better.
 I still struggle to be honest with myself  about what I am doing, but it is hard and ongoing.
May the Lord help us succed.
GOD bless you.

38:65″ Say:? I warn you; There is no other god beside GOD, the One, the Supreme.?


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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2019, 06:53:12 AM »
//Years back I developed religious OCD. When I got it, I had a sudden intrusive thought "how do I know Quran is the word of God and Bible is not". A "normal" person would either ignore this thought or think "ok, I'll check it out."//

It is absolutely behaviour of a rational mind and of a critical reader. Blindly believing a book or believing by testimony of others is rather irrational attitude.


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Re: Diversity of Being / OCD
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 02:34:48 AM »
That religious OCD is very common we can say happened to everyone at one point of their life.

From last few months a sudden UTURN type thinking generated in me when i think like this..

A person believes in NO god start believing in God.
A person believes in God start disbelieving in God.
I must say my OCD is not bout different type of (images) about religion/god but on its core.

How do we know there is GOD? / how do we know there is no GOD?
We set our believes in God either due to a Book or idol or some insightful person of past.

Thats how most of christians/muslims/jews/hindus believe in supernatural.

When a human switch his understanding to inquiring mode instead of blind believing mode things start getting change within a human thinkings.

Although its a really difficult type of situation to handle for the limited brains. Often ends up making a human being in depression/anaxiety mode like other OCDs.