Day147: I Know This to Be True

I have a disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. It manifests itself in many ways, and has actually changed the way it manifests itself throughout my life.

When I was in my twenties, I counted things, anything, everything. I counted bald heads in church. I counted stairs. I counted lines on the ceiling. I discovered that if whatever I was counting ended in an even number, then I was fine. But if said items ended in an odd number, then I felt distress. Sometimes severe distress.

Gradually, my counting problem evolved into counting things that could be counted in fours. Anything that was a square or a rectangle, I counted. Ceiling tiles. Floor tiles. The painted lines on the road. Digital clock numbers. It was maddening. I still do this from time to time when I am stressed.

By my mid thirties, my OCD had evolved into an obsession about door handles and the germs on them. I couldn't touch door handles in public. I panicked if women's bathrooms had hand dryers instead of paper towels because that meant I would have to touch the door handle with my clean hands.

But by my forties, my OCD manifested itself in the form of seriously fixated thoughts. The more out of control I felt about something, the worse my OCD became. An incredible sense of despair would overtake me until I became sick from the panic and anxiety. This panic and anxiety consumed me and left me feeling hopeless.

Truth is, this still happens to me from time to time, but I have discovered an exercise that helps me. When I have an obsessive thought, such as "Carol, this is never going to get better. It's always going to be this way, no matter what you do." I say, out loud, "No. That is not true. I know this to be true, "God created the universe. He made the sun and the moon and the stars. He came to earth in the form of a man. He died on the cross for me."

And I keep on repeating simple truths until I no longer have my obsessive thoughts.

The truth dispels the lies. The truth gives me a sense of peace. The Truth sets me free.

All that to say, I know this to be true. I have a hope that tells my brain to chill out. And I am thankful for the God who gives me that hope.

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