Philani, 21, Durban, South Africa

I sleep with the lights on, and I fear that if I sleep I will wake up burning in hell.

philani-no-textSince last year, I’ve been going through many life challenges. I then made a decision to make myself closer to God. I ended up choosing to pray most of the time and I started to read the word of God. While I was reading the Bible, problems began.

As I was reading some of the verses from the Bible, I had so much fear to disrespect the word of God. I remember one of the verses that gave me a problem was when Jesus said: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

I became so worried that I was going to blaspheme the Holy Spirit with my mind. I thought I was going to forget about it, but it kept on bothering me. The worries became even stronger, and I couldn’t think of anything but: “what if I blaspheme the Holy Spirit with my mind – does this mean that I will have an eternal sin?”

So I ended up saying: “this is it – maybe I should just blaspheme the Holy Spirit with my mind; I would probably be relieved.” After I did it, my OCD became so bad, and I felt like God would never forgive. My mind continuously had more and more blasphemous thoughts against God, and I couldn’t control it any more. I couldn’t enjoy anything in life.

I kept on hoping that if I slept, maybe I would forget about these blasphemous thoughts, but they became more. Up till now I still find it difficult to control my mind. I live in extreme anxiety because I get thoughts like “God will punish me” or “I worship the devil”. I sleep with the lights on, and I fear that if I sleep I will wake up burning in hell. I don’t feel comfortable with doing anything. These thoughts leave me helpless and hopeless. I struggle to do the simplest things in life. I have low self-esteem. I usually refer to myself as ‘useless’.

This is not just it. This is what I go through every day and night, in summary:

  • I have difficulty concentrating.
  • I have difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep as long as I desire.
  • My lips are always dry and I bite my nails quite often.
  • I have upsetting thoughts against my will that I can’t control.
  • I experience depression and anxiety daily.
  • I experience recurring dreams every time I sleep.
  • I have difficulty listening.
  • I would say I’m anxious most of the time.
  • I experience a headache almost daily.
  • I see nude images in my mind when I close my eyes or during a prayer.
  • The list is quite endless…

This is more than just OCD. I still pray a lot just to feel better, and my God provides me with everything I need, even though I’m battling with my OCD. I normally whisper “devil is a liar” to myself to ease my pain.

The messages of other OCD sufferers have made a difference in my life. I feared to live, but they made me realise about this disease I wasn’t aware of which has affected me all these years. I feel so much better because I’ve learnt that I am not alone in this situation. Even though I feel hopeless, I’m now trying by all means to just live with my OCD and beat it.

Categories: The Wall

3 replies »

  1. Hi, Plilani, I’ll be writing a post regarding my experience with religious ocd any time sooner. You are not alone. Stay strong. God knows your heart and He knows what OCD is like more than we do, so don’t loose you hope.

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  2. One thing I’ve observed on my travels is that OCD and religion go together like bullets and guns. Some of my earliest OCD memories are me trying to pray and obscene words and images coming into my head. As you know, a very upsetting experience for a young boy who’s been pumped full of strong ideas about good ane evil, heaven and hell.
    I asked my mum why it was happening and she said it was just Satan trying to tempt me and to resist. I now do not believe any of that. I believe it was merely an unfortunate bizarre side effect of a defect in my caudate nucleus.

    I don’t believe in God any more either, but if I did I guess I’d try and look on it this way:
    If there is an omniscient god of the type described in the Abrahimic religions, then he will already know you have OCD because he created you with it. So he will already know what you mean, what you don’t mean, and will expect all of the doubts, bad thoghts etc to occur precisely as they do. So you don’t ever need to explain any of it to him or beg his fogiveness for OCD. If anything, God should be apologising to you!

    Are you sure it’s more than just OCD? Because it sounds exactly like OCD to me. I share or have shared many of your symptoms at one point or another my friend. I know it’s extremely hard, but please try to put the religious magical thinking aside – nothing good that way lies – and instead give yourself a chance that this could just be plain old OCD, and pursue it as such.

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