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OCD and looking for signs

Discussion in 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder' started by Andrew742, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Andrew742

    Andrew742 New Member

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    Hi, I was wondering if I could have some advice or guidance. I was diagnosed with OCD in high-school, and I'm now 36. It is primarily related to my fear of the unforgiveable sin. Specifically, years ago I thought that certain acts were unforgiveable, but I did them anyway because I was angry. After that, I began to believe that God wanted me to do certain other things (rituals) or else he'd damn me for good.

    Part of me understands that this is spectacularly unlikely (though I find it difficult to say that it's impossible that God might be that way simply because there's a lot in the Bible that makes me feel God can be unpredictable and scarey sometimes), but...

    The main problem is that, when I was developing these rituals, I couldn't shake the idea that God might, just MIGHT, want me to do these things. So, I ended up asking God for signs, like "OK, God, if you want me to do these rituals, please make it so that the license plate of the next car I see ends in a 6" and so on. Sometimes these signs came up negative (e.g., the license plate didn't end in a 6), but sometimes they came up positive (e.g., they did end in a 6).

    These signs seemed to come up positive far more often than they should have randomly. I often think of times when I asked and immediately saw some sort of positive sign like that. My therapist tells me that it's just my mind playing tricks on me, in that the positive signs only seem more vivid than the negative signs due to my OCD. However, I remember asking for these signs and being so strongly convinced that they had come up too often to be brushed aside. Therefore, I feel God wants me to continue my rituals even though I acknowledge that God wouldn't often ask anyone to do these things.

    This has been going on for years now. Often I wish I could see back into the past to actually determine whether or not the signs were really true or not, but that isn't going to happen, so I feel trapped by the signs I asked for (and apparently got) years ago. More realistically, I keep hoping that I'll have some moment of revelation that shows me how all the signs I asked for didn't actually occur, but it hasn't happened yet.

    I go to a therapist, but he concentrates on the idea that I need to accept that feeling of uncertainty I have about it, but it isn't just a feeling I have, it's an actual memory of signs, so I cannot (or will not) actually dismiss it like that.

    Anyway, thanks for reading this!
     
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  2. Mari17

    Mari17 Active Member

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    Looking for signs like this is VERY common with OCD. Your therapist's advice sounds on target for dealing with OCD. Is he an OCD specialist?
     
  3. Brotherly Spirit

    Brotherly Spirit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think O.C.D. is like looking at clouds. Sometimes you see this and other times that, different people see different things. It's similar to interpreting the Bible having a certain perspective in mind. God is supernatural but we should be cautious not being superstitious, I'm not saying don't believe in miracles and signs. What I mean is not everything is God speaking to you, if you're looking to hear Him it's best to focus your attention to the Lord.

    This is coming to the Jesus who listened to God in word and spirit, he knew scriptures and understood the prophecies. His fulfillment involved living what he believed, that is practicing what he preached, and he shared it with others who either supported or opposed his teaching. The major advice which isn't easy is to not rely on your own knowledge and understanding. But check what you believe with scripture and fellowship, then test it's fruit putting it into practice.
     
  4. Subaru17

    Subaru17 New Member

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    Hi Andrew,

    I am sorry to hear that you are going through this. I completely understand what you are going through and as someone who has had about every OCD/Scrupulosity symptom out there I can say that I am definitely going through something much the same.

    I have been struggling with similar looking/asking for signs, betting certain things will happen or not etc for many years. Like you I also have told my therapist that i cannot forget the "positive" answers even though they greatly outweigh the negative. My asking for signs OCD has affected many things in my life and is definitely the most difficult one I have encountered yet.

    The only advice i can give is to listen to your therapist and to resist if at all possible asking God for any more signs related to this issue. When dealing with a mental/health issue it can be troublesome to try to treat without addressing the mental/health aspect of it first.

    I have found for myself that asking for signs has caused more harm than good, as 50 "negative or no" answers will soon be forgotten in the face of 1 "positive or yes" answers. I have told God i wouldnt ask for any more signs and found myself asking anyway, giving in to the OCD. For me it usually happens like this

    -Think of issue or anxiety causing question relating to Gods will for me
    - Have anxiety
    - Have either pop-up/compulsive thought asking for sign if this is Gods will
    -Feel more anxious
    - either "accept" asking for sign or try to resist
    -thing I asked for either happens or doesn't
    -if It happens...tailspin... 1 in 100
    -if it doesn't happen, temporary relief, followed by doubt that it was real/legit followed by guilt

    on and on and on.

    can be as simple as saying " if this baseball player hits the ball to centerfield" or as complex as " this person will contact me" etc etc.

    Also will shift with things happening and then me wondering " did I ask for this as a sign"?
    And then doubting my memory etc.

    I wish I could be more help, I really understand and sympathize with this complex issue. All i can say is to try as hard as possible to resist the compulsion that is to ask for a sign...and is just a symptom of your OCD condition. The more false positives you have... the harder it will be to beat. I wish I had treated mine earlier.

    reach out anytime.

    I will say that medication I have found has helped me to resist asking for signs and has helped me to be okay with these positives from my past that still can bother me years later

    I believe it is because it takes away the "dread" feeling that precedes the anxiety/obsession that then turns into me asking for signs.

    You can do this, sending prayers your way
     
  5. Subaru17

    Subaru17 New Member

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    Also thank you for the post, It has helped me understand my own condition and my struggle. As i haven't really ever heard or seen someone who had the same symptom in the same way as me.
     
  6. Andrew742

    Andrew742 New Member

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    Thanks guys, I do think that helps. It's hard, because I always remember how convinced I felt when I got "signs" in the past, and it makes me feel like I always feel like I should ask for one last sign to confirm all the previous signs I've asked for. But, you're right that that's a road with no end. I just hope that God will give me peace and confidence in him to go forward without asking for signs.
     
  7. steelcityd

    steelcityd New Member

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    Hey bro,

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing. I definitely have struggled for some time with searching for signs, checking, rituals, etc. In short, I've got a classic case of pure-O that has "guided" many decisions I've made in my life. It's not been until much more recently that I've gotten myself into therapy and started to face the reality of having OCD. Having said that, it can be really tough because of both the feelings (anxiety, uncertainty, dread, impending doom, ect.) and the ambiguous nature of my thoughts. My current OCD theme centers on "God's will", which in my opinion, makes it more difficult to relabel and call OCD at times. I'm so thankful for message boards such as this one that help me realize I'm not the only one struggling with these types of obsessions and compulsions... God bless.
     
  8. steelcityd

    steelcityd New Member

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    Hey Subaru,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I've struggled for some time with a very similar OCD theme related to "God's will" for my life. It makes it very difficult to just be content with where I'm at on a daily basis. It really helps to read other's experiences and know that I'm not the only one struggling with these types of obsessions. I know my OCD would have me believe otherwise! God bless.
     
  9. Swae

    Swae New Member

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    Years ago I was once told that the mere fact you are concerned with committing the unforgivable sin means that you never did it. If you did it you wouldn't care. This was told to me by my Christian counselor.
     
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