There was a long line of various religious folk at the hostess desk, but fortunately I had a reservation. We were seated next to a man in a floor length black robe and a gold cross about 8 inches long, and people kept coming up to him to reverently say hello.
I went through several years of struggling with scrupulosity centered around Catholic theology, for instance, contraception being a sin. Of course the irony is that I am not Catholic. My first boyfriend was Catholic, and later I worked at a Catholic college, and being introduced some of the central Catholic issues set off a cascade of anxiety. This is the bizarre thing about having OCD--I can latch onto a thought, and wrestle with it hoping to make it go away because it disturbs me, but which has no connection to my actual beliefs. The thoughts that I feared were "What if contraception is wrong? What if I am going to hell? What if I am supposed to be Catholic?" And this is what makes dealing with scrupulosity incredibly hard--there will be people who do believe I should convert to Catholicism, who wouldn't interpret my anxiety as OCD, and this compounds the anxiety.
So there I was yesterday, enveloped in a conference about Catholic theology of the body, and I did ok. I was uncomfortable, but I focused on my friend, who is going through a hard time right now. I didn't go home and look up the conference, or research the agenda, or the supposed immorality of contraception, or sites that say a marriage without children is a sin, or read conservative Catholic websites like I used to do. At the worst of my scrupulousness, I was subscribing to a mailing list about natural family planning, trying to figure out if there was any way I was redeemable.
Yesterday I was even able to laugh at the over-the-top exposure material. Today I am feeling tired and unsteady, but I know for me the act of faith is choosing what I believe. Yes, that is exactly what will rile some people up--and I am learning to live with that.
Although I am not Catholic, ironically I did find Scrupulous Anonymous to have some helpful articles:
Scrupulous Anonymous: Newsletter by Liguori Publications
The Scrupe Blog is moderated by a Lutheran Minister and often has quotes from religious folk who suffered from tormenting thoughts:
The Scrupe Blog
The first book I read on scrupulosity was psychologist's William Van Ornum's A Thousand Frightening Fantasies: Understanding and Healing Scrupulosity. The author did a survey of sufferers, and I realized I wasn't alone.
I heard Ian Osborn speak at one of the IOCDF Conference's and his talk about scrupulosity was very interesting.