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Dealing with religious OCD
#1
Dealing with religious OCD
Hey guys!

I was wondering are there any fellow atheist here that suffered from religious/pihlosophical/Pure-O OCD? If so, how did you recover from that? I'm on the downward spiral for the past few weeks and looking for some tips that would let me function better. Religious upbringing and my neurotic nature make all of this really confusing and scary for me. Thanks in advance! Smile
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#2
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
Can you explain what you mean by religious OCD?
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#3
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
You should try Luvox and Buspar. Buspar theorotecically works for ocd with the ssri
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#4
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
You should not tell people what medications to try.

Hey, Jake. I have Pure-O, but not religious themes. I've had a few terrifying intrusive thoughts along those lines, but nothing I ruminate over. Still, it's all the same no matter the theme.
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#5
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
So this will be a little lengthySmile Some background on my struggle with OCD.

By the age of 19, I stared having some really troubling thoughts. In the beginning it was about my relationship and feelings to my ex-girlfriend, then I was really scared of being homosexual, then got really dark and intrusive thoughts about wanting to harm others/becoming serial killer or becoming pedophile. I was diagnosed with OCD. My disease really changed my life to worse. I couldn't function normally. I turned into religion. Told every single "bad" thing I did/tought to my parents, confessed all of my sins and started to really believe in hope to get better. I became really invested, even went to exorcist because I thought that I was possessed. There was always some doubt in the back of my head but the religion thing was kind of working short-term. I was trying to distance myself from everything non-Catholic (music, movies and stuff) in fear they will trigger me somehow to do some of these bad things (or that it was devil trying to get me). It was really hard time for me. I was feeling like hey, maybe it's not all bad (non-Catholic stuff), but also at the same time I was feeling that I should avoid it. (Avoidance is one of the OCD trait.) I was constantly watching preachers/sermons to reassure myself.

After a year of dealing with OCD, I went to college and left my home. I was still dealing with OCD daily, was trying to avoid "bad" things, but most of the time I was playing video games to run away from the thoughts. At the same time I was still kind of religious, but my efforts weren't really effective in terms of helping me with OCD. One of my roommates was atheist and it was really bugging me (it was scary for me to imagine that he might be right - I was kind of thinking that it's God that standing between me and doing wrong things). I was questioning him (the roommate) all the time out of anxiety. This what is really hard for me. OCD is really tricky - it made you feel things that are contradictory to your views/morals. So my anxiety and doubts were not only my real doubts but also by-product of OCD - I was trying to be religious at the time. Around that time I started to go to therapy and taking medicine. My therapist helped me to look at my dark fears more rationally. I tried to look through that lens on my religion as well and after time, even though it was scary, I became to identify as atheist. I just wasn't trusting my thoughts and was only using logic and evidence.

As you may know, this transition is not really that easy. After converting there was a lot of anxiety due to finding moral compass and sense without deity, rethinking personal values and priorities. With little help of Matt Dillahunty and Sam Harris I made up my mind on some of these things and found some kind of peace (of course there was still the voice in the back of my head). However, I was still scared of atheism being true at that time, and OCD is legitimizing your fears, so it "helped" me to convert. After some time I just felt down-to-earth and really happy about the person I became. There is also part of being more socially acceptable - most of my friends weren't really religious, so when I was seeing them as "bad" or "lost" it was really fucking with my head.

And now comes the reason I wrote this unduly description of my struggle. After becoming atheist my doubts and fears switched from "liberals are right and also god is not real" to "conservatives are right and God is real and I'm just to morally lazy to follow him/deluding myself with this atheist thing". My inner conviction switched because my view of the world changed. It's really complicated for me, because I'm not sure how much of it is my real doubt and how much of it is OCD. Also now I'm not sure how much of my transformation is real then and how much of it is OCD. I'm not sure of anything, I only know that If I could choose I want there not to be any god and also I have inner conviction that I should believe in him and everything that comes from him is good. Last few days I was watching Atheist Experience, Matt and Sam almost all-day in search of reassurance and suppressing my fears. I'm trying to avoid theistic arguments (they trigger my fears) and fill my head with science and skeptic propositions, which really doesn't seem like a healthy thing to do, discussion should be won by arguments, not by avoiding counter points. But what should I do in my condition? I was even watching Matt's debate with Sye ten Bruggencate and find myself this inner agreeing with Sye, even tough I find it rationally wrong. I have fears that maybe is a God that direct my thoughts this way.

Sorry for the length, that's a lot off my chest. The most troubling for me is this inner conviction (that may come from OCD) and possibility of Catholicism being true (even feeling like it is in fact true! Sad ). My therapist is saying that we will never know the answer for these type of questions and I need to accept that it may be possible and let these thoughts go. However, if it is true, I will have to remodel my life once again, change my attitude to a lot of stuff and I don't want to do that! (I like what i bielieve, I even thing it's right, but what if reality is in fact diffrent?). I'm also scared to read/listen to some of Catholic stuff in fear they will change my mind or made my doubts even more scary. Churches, crosses and other cult elements are making me anxious. What to do?
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#6
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
Welcome to AF.

I'm not confident that watching atheist video's is the best way to address your OCD. I'd suggest that you watch/read things specifically about OCD (in addition to, not replacement of therapy) instead of things that feed your OCD thoughts/behavior. For instance, there are many Ted Talks that address OCD. 

Good Luck!

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#7
RE: Dealing with religious OCD
They call Ocd the doubting disease for a reason. I have it too. The themes will switch all the time, but the answer remains the same. Accepting uncertainty, foregoing seeking reassurance, exposure to your fears in a controlled manner, etc.
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