I’ve been reading a record of my scrupulosity OCD.
I recently dug out journals that I kept when I was in high school. One covers the period from June 28, 1978 to Dec. 31, 1979. I used the other one more for poetry and stories. That one runs from Dec. 22, 1978 to July 4, 1981.
I was hoping to find some insight into how I was coping with OCD at the time, and what my ideas about life were.
Do you know the writing advice, “show, don’t tell”? It means it’s better to paint a picture of something, or give an illustration of something, rather than telling it.
Well, I didn’t write directly about any of my obsessions or compulsions, but I sure showed them.
On his Psychology Blog, Dr. Steven J. Seay recently wrote about scrupulosity. One of the compulsions that people with this manifestation of OCD may display is “Compulsive writing (e.g., Jesus loves me).”
I exhibited that on many of the pages of my journals. For example, different versions of “I love God” and “Praise God” intersperse entries describing my activities, sometimes for no obvious reason.
But what was most telling was evidence of my cycle of doubt and reassurance.
Part of my scrupulosity when I was young involved the idea of being “saved” in the fundamentalist Christian way. Sometimes I felt saved; sometimes I felt I wasn’t.
And, yes, my doubt and reassurance were based on feelings. I prayed until I felt right. I prayed until I felt saved. I felt fear, sadness and doom when I didn’t feel saved.
In my journals, on Jan. 4, 1979, I wrote, “From this day forth, my life belongs to God. Thanks, Lord!”
On March 4, 1979: “I just surrendered my life to God. Praise the Lord!”
On April 24, 1980: “Tonight God told me that I am saved, was saved May 2, 1975. No more doubts.”
Ah, but on April 27, 1980: “I committed myself to Christ tonight, and I KNOW I’m saved.”
I didn’t ever name my doubt in writing. I suspect it was because I thought I was the problem. I was a sinful person who just couldn’t give myself over to Jesus like I was supposed to. I had no knowledge or understanding of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I no longer have that kind of scrupulosity. I’ll write more about that part of my journey in future posts.
I learned about myself by reading my journals. It just wasn’t what I expected to learn.
Have you experienced this manifestation of OCD? Do you have old journals that offer a look at your past self?