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Possible Trigger Warning: Regarding OCD and Anxiety When Receiving Communion

Discussion in 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder' started by Justin Peter, Aug 1, 2021.

  1. Justin Peter

    Justin Peter New Member

    United States
    Hi. First, those who have OCD and difficulties in receiving communion may wish to skip this message as I don't want my own issues to add to anyone's existing anxieties or intrusive, unwanted thoughts.
    I need to preface this by saying that I have OCD and, while all OCD sufferers probably think that their disorder manifests itself in weird ways, I have never found anything quite like mine when I perform Internet searches.
    MY OCD sometimes manifests itself in the form of intrusive thoughts. Over the years this has become more manageable in that I’m not always feeling as much stress over them as I used to. In addition to being Catholic I also am blind which may or may not add a bit of relevance to my particular problem. My particular OCD also manifests itself in a type of scrupulosity when it comes to receiving communion. I always receive our Lord on the tongue. On some occasions I haven't always extended my tongue out far enough and the host isn't then placed right in my mouth. This happened yesterday when I panicked, didn't have my tongue out enough and the host wasn't fully placed in my mouth. With my mouth I struggled to move the host into my mouth when I then consumed it. However, I had this fear that a small piece of it may have broken off and fallen onto the floor. Since I can't see I moved my hand onto the floor feeling for anything that may have felt like particles or pieces from the host. I did not feel anything and I know that it is likely that the host did not break in any way. This particular priest who distributed communion knows of my anxieties and issues with this and I'd like to think that he made sure that no accidental breakage occurred but my OCD kicks in and I think of things like, what if he didn't check or notice? Should I have asked a parishioner to find the priest after Mass so I could ask him to check? What if a piece of the host fell somewhere else that I didn't feel with my hands? Did this happen and, if so, then sacrilege was committed. I was not unwilling to email Father about it after I got home and ask him to check but a part of me felt that it was not necessary to do it which maybe means that it's really OK. People who don't have OCD will no doubt find this to sound absolutely crazy but those who have or who understand OCD will understand how this can occur. This causes me anxiety whenever I receive communion and sometimes makes me afraid to receive which I realize is the absolute last thing I should be feeling. I can't receive in the hand as I'm terrified about small particles remaining on my hand and even more unintended sin being committed as a result. Again, this is a form of OCD that I have never been able to find more about when searching online and so I'm curious to know if others have experienced this and how you have dealt with it.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. BrAndreyu

    BrAndreyu Well-Known Member

    United States
    Ukr. Grk. Catholic
    I suffer from tremors as a result of my medications, so I always have the fear that when they hand me the Eucharist, that I'm going to jerk really hard and drop it when I'm trying to put it into my mouth. Granted this hasn't happened yet, but it's always on my mind when I go up to receive the sacrament. I'd honestly rather just have them put it directly into my mouth, but they don't really do that at the church I go to currently.

    At my old church, you had to open your mouth and they'd give it to you on a golden spoon but I had to stop going there because they stopped doing English masses outside of snowbird season. I also had a bit of paranoia about the golden spoon thing because of the possibilities of spreading an illness, which the official dogma is that illness cannot be spread that way, but I know better than to believe that.

    My tremors are a result of schizoaffective disorder which causes delusions and obsessive thoughts on my part a lot, so I sort of know what you're dealing with but my situation is a tad bit different. I do think that your OCD is causing you to obsess too much though, but hence the name of the condition.

    I'll pray for you tonight.
  3. Joy

    Joy Well-Known Member Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United Kingdom
  4. Mari17

    Mari17 Well-Known Member

    United States
    I have OCD, and I understand this! I'm not Catholic, so in my mind the fear of messing up communion doesn't hold quite as much weight, but I completely understand how OCD can take ANYTHING and make it into an issue. It sounds, though, like you have a good awareness of your OCD and know when it's demanding something unreasonable.

    A few things I'm wondering about:
    - Would your priest/religious tradition say that accidentally dropping the host or leaving crumbs in your hand is sacrilegious?
    - What has your priest, or other trusted mentor, advised you to do in this kind of situation (if you have asked)?
    - Are you receiving any professional treatment for your OCD?