Sunday, May 8, 2011

OCD A to Z: D is for Doubt

OCD is sometimes known as the "Doubting Disease." This has been a key element in my struggle with OCD, the gnawing nature of doubt. Fred Penzel, OCD therapist, sums it up well:

OCD can make a sufferer doubt even the most basic things about themselves, others, or the world they live in. I have seen patients doubt their sexuality, their sanity, their perceptions, whether or not they are responsible for the safety of total strangers, the likelihood that that they will become murderers, etc. I have even seen patients have doubts about whether they were actually alive or not. Doubt is one of OCD's more maddening qualities. . . It is a doubt that cannot be quenched. It is doubt raised to the highest power. . . Even when an answer is found, it may only stick for several minutes, only to slip away as if it was never there. Only when sufferers recognize the futility of trying to resolve this doubt, can they begin to make progress.
I went with my husband to Easter church service. I don't usually go to church. My OCD doubting took a heavy toll on my spirit. I am at the point where I can go every once in awhile, and not have it cascade into intense doubt. One of the scripture passages was from the Gospel of John. You may have heard the expression "doubting Thomas" about the disciple who refused to believe Jesus had risen from the dead until he saw and touched the wounds himself. John 20:24-29

Listening to this passage, I wondered if Thomas' doubt was quenched by touching the nailmarks, or if the doubt kept returning, haunting him with questions about whether he actually felt his hand go into wound, or if he did trust that experience but agonized over whether his belief actually "counted" since he had to have physical proof first.


  1. You are most certainly correct. OCD is the Doubting Disease. I go through a lot of existential OCD.

  2. I first had OCD at 17 and at age 19 was ready to shoot myself to end my hellish existence. I managed to reduce it temporarily at age 21 to the point of forgetting it all together until last August at 25.5 years old. I was convinced I had some sort of depression. I luckily managed to pin point what was wrong with me through online searching. Bless this woman for helping those in need even though she seems to be cured of it herself.

  3. Pakistani--if I helped in any way, I am glad to be of service.