Last updated on October 21, 2021  by 
Jaimie Eckert

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Helen* was deeply disturbed. She had been learning about scrupulosity recovery for several months and had vigorously applied herself to new methods. She had been learning concepts from Scripture that helped her feel comfortable with not responding to her intrusive thoughts. Her mood had lifted considerably, and she had become much more functional in daily life. But one day, a new fear entered her mind: what if all this improvement meant she simply didn’t care about God anymore? She wrote me a frantic email, telling me about how she felt anxious about getting better.

Helen’s SOS email wasn’t unusual.

In fact, I’ve found that it’s quite common for individuals recovering from scrupulosity to feel anxious about getting better.

Let’s look at a few typical reasons for this fear, and I’ll share some encouragement if this describes your current situation.

Reasons Why You May Feel Anxious About Getting Better

Recovering from a mental health disorder is typically seen as something “positive,” so it may seem strange that some people worry about improvement. Let’s begin by looking at a few reasons why this occurs.

Fears of Spiritual Loss or Apostasy

As we walk the road of scrupulosity recovery, we gradually learn how to stop obsessing about things God promised to take care of. Dr. Ian Osborne, who has inspired much of my work, calls this process “transferring responsibility to God.”

Recovering from scrupulosity is the gospel message in a microcosm.

It requires the best and finest theology to open the door to a profound level of spiritual trust.

learning to heal gracefully

As we leave behind our legalistic, self-powered attempts to save ourselves, we lean more and more heavily upon the mighty arm of our Savior.

And slowly, rest comes.

The kind of rest that allows us to switch off the computer and leave work without an elaborate prayer and confession ritual. The kind of rest that lets us ignore strange, passing thoughts as undeserving of our time. The kind of rest that grants us sleep at night without a two-hour overthinking session about false memories of something we might have done wrong in tenth grade.

We relax into this rest.

It becomes more and more normal.

Until one day, we wake up and wonder if this is too good to be true.

The chronic doubt of OCD hounds us at our heels once more, pressing us with the ever-present “what if” and “how do you know” questions.

What if this newfound rest isn’t recovery from OCD? How do I know it’s not a sign that I’m losing my salvation? What if it’s wrong for me to be freed from these struggles? How do I know I’m not walking away from true religion?

This is one of the biggest thought patterns at work when we feel anxious about getting better.

Thankfully, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s nothing more than OCD’s chronic doubt at work again. Let us remember the words of Scripture which say,

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

You’re not losing your spirituality. You’re not walking away from God. You’re simply in a different “season” of spirituality now. You’re learning to have faith in a way you never experienced before.

Attaching Too Much Importance to Feelings

Emotional reasoning, one of the biggest cognitive distortions in OCD’s hall of infamy, is another reason why some people struggle with feeling anxious about getting better.

Emotional reasoning tells us that “because I feel it, it must be true.”

Try telling that to an aerobatic pilot–those airplane pilots who perform stunt rolls, loops, and trick dives. They’ve learned to rely on their instruments, not on their feelings. Free falling in giant loops is sure to disrupt the normal “feeling” in their stomachs, yet, they have learned to pin reality on objective indicators that transcend feelings.

flying on fact not feeling

In our recovery journey with scrupulosity, we also learn to transcend our feelings by pinning reality on one grand, objective indicator: the divine Word of God.

  • If God’s Word declares that I am a child of God, beloved, a new creation–I must believe it, even if I feel constantly condemned and guilty.
  • If God’s Word says that no one can pluck me out of the Father’s hand–I must believe it, even if I suffer from constant obsessions that I might fall away.
  • If God’s Word tells me I’m helplessly dependent on God’s work in my life and I can never hope to save myself–I must believe it, and lay aside my self-powered attempts to “figure out” my problems through religious rumination.

Yes, faith versus emotional reasoning is something we work on in the scrupulosity recovery community.

While the whole cultural worldview of our generation tells us to “honor our feelings” and be true to our hearts, we remember the words of Jeremiah 17:9,

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9

If you’ve experienced trauma, it’s good to work through the broken emotions that come with a broken heart. But in the vast majority of scrupulosity cases I’ve dealt with, we aren’t talking about new, fresh, daily traumas.

We’re talking about fake news.

Our emotions scream things at us that have absolutely no basis in reality. And that’s a good foghorn to learn to ignore.

If this step is not addressed or mastered in our scrupulosity recovery journey, it can make us feel anxious about getting better. If emotional reasoning is still entrenched in our thought patterns, all it takes is one day of bad feelings, or weird feelings at a coincidental moment, and all we can think about is that something is wrong with us for getting better.

This might apply to you if you’ve been making slow, steady progress with your scrupulosity but are suddenly feeling uncomfortable with your progress and can’t explain why. Unlike our first category, which has clear spiritual anxieties about getting better, in this case you just have a vague feeling that something is “off.”

It’s like you don’t yet know how to enjoy spiritual and emotional freedom.

Spiritual Self-Worth Problems

A third and final reason why some people feel anxious about getting better is because of something I like to call “spiritual dysmorphia.”

You’ve heard of the term “dysmorphia” in other contexts, perhaps most commonly in reference to body dysmorphic disorder.

Dysmorphia refers to a deep psychological gap between what you see when you look in the mirror and what really exists. Those with body dysmorphia look in the mirror and see a hideous reflection, even though their loved ones see a beautiful person. Those of us with spiritual dysmorphia see ourselves as condemned, unworthy, and even hated by God–despite a very different reality.

People I’ve worked with who struggle with spiritual dysmorphia tend to have had past traumas or toxic relationships. They’ve learned a self-demeaning pattern for relating to others and apply this pattern, perhaps subconsciously, to the way they relate to God.

spiritual dysmorphia

Many people with codependent backgrounds believe that mistreatment in a relationship is normal and may struggle to navigate healthy relationships. In a similar way, spiritual dysmorphia normalizes spiritual condemnation the way victims come to accept abuse. At some level, they may know that this isn’t the way God works, but it takes a hefty and consistent effort to rewire the brain.

Because thankfully, it isn’t GOD hurling lightning bolts of shame and judgment at us.

It’s just our OCD.

The Bible says,

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:18-19, ESV

Our spiritual dysmorphia tells us that we are horrible and lost, but God’s Word tells us that all our sins are cast into the depths of the sea. We are beloved. Saved. Kept in the palm of His hand. THIS is truth, and we must believe this objective fact rather than our feelings.

So, bit by bit, we start forming appropriate, Biblical views of God’s character. The self-condemning thoughts start to come less frequently.

And then…

Do we rejoice in our newfound acceptance?

No, leave it to the OCD community to do things the hard way. Instead of rejoicing, we start panicking that something is wrong with us because we aren’t feeling so much shame and condemnation anymore.

(Write a comment at the end of this post if this is relatable!)

Spiritual dysmorphia is the mirror on the wall telling us we’re unlovable, hated by God, shameful, and lost. It’s the state of being brainwashed by our OCD to believe a lie about God and self. It is seeing ourselves falsely. We see ourselves as monsters, but we are truly children of God–beloved beyond measure.

Feeling anxious about getting better is just an evidence that we’ve had a tough life up till now, and we need more time to learn how to digest freedom and nontoxic love.

But irregardless of how much time you need, you’re going to be alright. You’re bent but not broken. This struggle is not permanent.

What to Do If You Feel Anxious About Getting Better

If you can relate to any of these reasons why you might feel anxious about getting better, the first step is to simply recognize that it’s normal.

I’ve had it.

Lots of people have had it.

It’s the fallacy that “wellness” is too good to be true. Certainly the wave will come crashing down on our heads at anytime, right? Won’t we wake up from this almost-recovered feeling and realize we did something terribly wrong?

Well, maybe not.

Maybe we feel anxious about getting better because “better” feels new and strange, and we don’t know how to process that yet.

Weirdly Goes Our Healing Journey

Remember the time Jesus healed a blind man but the guy seemed a bit confused during the process?

Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.

And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”

Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

Mark 8:22-25

Here’s the point: this man, while he was in the process of being healed, felt strange. Things weren’t quite right. He could kinda-sorta see, but the people looked like walking trees.

The healing process was going along…weirdly.

But Jesus wasn’t finished yet. He touched the man again, and then he was made fully well. He could see clearly.

Accepting the Weird Ups and Downs

Like the blind man, our healing journey will have ups and downs. We’ll feel great some days. Other days our entire perception will be “off,” like the man who saw men like walking trees.

We need to have faith in the touch of our Savior.

Jesus is with us.

anxious about getting better from OCD

He is putting His hands upon our wounded, overworked OCD brains.

He is touching us deep in our worry-weary souls.

Some days, you’ll feel like this whole healing process is too good to be true, and it’ll give you panic. You might feel unsettled that you aren’t freaking out about your religious rituals anymore, or you’ll worry because you don’t obsess about spirituality.

Does it mean there’s something wrong with your soul?

No, it means something is right with your soul. It’s receiving the healing touch of Jesus, and you’re learning to see again. Don’t be anxious about getting better. This part of the journey will pass.

Conclusion

Feeling anxious about getting better is incredibly common for people who are overcoming scrupulosity. Don’t let it make you falter.

At best, this fear is an annoying little barb in your side that will go away after awhile.

At its worst, though, this concern can make people turn back and embrace their compulsions, if only to gain that familiar feeling of toxic devotion.

Don’t do that.

Remember: God is not in the business of spiritual abuse. Not at all. So if you’re finally feeling free from spiritual abuse and terror, it means you’re moving closer to God, not away from Him. I know it can feel different and confusing, but now is the time to embrace a new vision of God, not return to a false image in which you’re alone in your room, worshipping OCD-masquerading-as-God.

Jesus came to give us healing. Now is the time to receive it with rejoicing.

By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24, ESV

As you struggle through this awkward stage of feeling worse about feeling better, take courage that this is just a stage. Press forward with unyielding faith that God’s divine hand is upon your life. He is leading you, and will never forsake you.

He’s with you.

Even when you’re feeling anxious about getting better!

Best wishes on the journey,

jaimie-eckert-signature

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  1. “This might apply to you if you’ve been making slow, steady progress with your scrupulosity but are suddenly feeling uncomfortable with your progress and can’t explain why. Unlike our first category, which has clear spiritual anxieties about getting better, in this case you just have a vague feeling that something is “off.”
    It’s like you don’t yet know how to enjoy spiritual and emotional freedom.”

    This is almost exactly how I’ve been feeling for a while now. This unexplained, heavy feeling that I’m so condemned, everything I do is wrong, everything I like and have is an idol. And while I don’t know for sure if these thoughts and feelings are true, they FEEL true. My relationship with God feels dry and deserted and scary and I feel like it is due to my attachment to things I like—coffee, writing, my hamster, stuff like that. I keep praying and asking God to help me see if they’re idols but i also have been told countless times that it’s okay to enjoy the gifts and small things that God gives us in life. Even my non-OCD friends and family have told me my thoughts about these things aren’t logical or true but they still feel so real.
    I feel like I won’t be happy until I let go of all these things. Like what if I’m idolizing them? It might be my OCD but I don’t know.
    I want to enjoy God’s freedom but how do you even do that??

  2. I can so relate to "spiritual dysmorphia". It's got elements of CPTSD and OCD. I wish someone would start a FB or other group for this specific issue.

  3. Grateful that I found this site. Every article I have read sounds exactly like me. A past busive relationship, a not good enough complex, and a constant desire to be perfect has caused almost unbearable turmoil. I accepted Christ as a teen, having grown up catholic until the age of 9, and having struggled with particular sins that He has helped me overcome. And yet I still fear Him, like one little slip will end it all for me. I have a child of my own now, and I desperately want her to have a relationship with God and I struggle to know how to do that (she's two). I enjoy looking for craft ideas on pinterest and it seems all I find are articles about how I might not be saved after all and here's the judgements from God and here's all the ways you won't go to Heaven. I know I am not perfect but I'm also driven to try, and a major spiritual attack a few weeks ago caused noticeable damage (my husband said I looked like I felt terrible). I know they are quoting scripture so it's hard to not feel like I'm screwed no matter what. A dear friend suggested I find scriptures I liked about God's love and I found several and am trying to memorize them, but the sense of what if and interpreting the worst possible meaning behind scripture keeps me up at night. I feel like if I get the interpretation wrong that's it for me. So much direction from Christian writers and bloggers about all these must do and must read and must teach and must must must is exhausting. I feel like every move I make is going to cost me my salvation and then I read something that makes me wonder if my saving was real or if I'm a pretend Christian or ….. im sure this isn't new to you. I dont want my child to grow up like this. Its horrible. It seems like all I get from most other Christians is judgment "because the Bible tells us to judge others sins" and rejection because im not Christian "enough". I can't win and I'm exhausted.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      So sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time lately. Perhaps I can make one suggestion that I tell many of my clients: when you’re struggling with religious OCD, beware of the internet. The internet is glutted with millions of people trying to get YOUR attention, and it’s no secret that your click is worth money. I’ve noticed that even in the religious domain, there is an immense amount of clickbait and sensationalism aimed at getting your clicks. “Do this one thing to make sure you aren’t going to hell,” “three signs you’re definitely saved,” and all kinds of nonsense. Unfortunately, since blogging has become a source of income, even the seemingly innocent mommy bloggers are hard-pressed to get clicks and so I’ve even seen this kind of sensationalism on devotional blogs. So it’s not just those crazy, shouting false prophets on TV that you have to beware of; you need to have a general wariness of any religious messages you get on the internet. (I prefer to keep my website ad-free so I don’t have any kind of pressure to get clicks or interactions, but not everyone publishes under that paradigm.) So, in general, beware of sensationalist religious messages you find on the internet. All of those “must must musts” that you’ve identified will kill you. Jesus kept it very simple; He said the whole body of “musts” can be summarized in two sayings: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. And since we can’t knuckle down and do that out of our own willpower, the only REAL thing Christians can do is fall on our knees before God and ask for His grace to purify our motives, our actions, and our thoughts, because we can’t do it for ourselves (we’ve tried, right?!)

      So to summarize my suggestions for you, I’d say first of all to try taking a detox from the internet for a while, and secondly to just keep things simple by returning to the refrain, “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” By simple, I mean keep it REAL simple. If you’re having a panic attack from reading Scripture, just go outside for a nature walk, look at God’s created works, and try to rest your mind in the beauty He has made. You do not need to have your mind wrought up to a high pitch every day trying to figure out your salvation.

      Hope this is helpful in some way. Feel free to be in touch going forward!

      Jaimie

  4. Help! I'm having a really bad time with my scrupulosity right now, I don't know if you can understand it or if I can explain it to you that well, but here goes. I'm having a really hard time understanding and reconciling the fact that I have to be GOD's slave and servant. I don't know, I'm just having a hard time with it and in all honesty, I'd rather not do it. And I know I'm actually getting very prideful and hateful against GOD and shouldn't be doing this, but I'm just all over the place and messed up. With my scrupulosity, I've always struggled with the concept of the Lordship of Christ, because to me it always felt like if GOD is the Lord of my life, then I will have to obey everything He tells me and that I cannot make any more free decisions on my own. I know that's not exactly true, but my scrupulous mind thinks like that. Because for a person with OCD, I don't know if you can relate, but you just really need to know what are the specifics and the clear-cut steps to be able to follow them. For example, when the Bible says I have to deny my self, "not I but Christ", follow GOD's will, not to live for myself anymore, "ye are not your own", etc., I really don't understand to how much and to what extent does that mean. Because I wonder does that mean that I can't watch secular television and movies and listen to music, that I can't choose who to marry and where to work, etc.? Does that mean that I can no longer make any decisions on my own anymore? How much and to what extent should I deny myself? Do I have any sort of "freedom"? I know I should really be humble and thankful to be GOD's redeemed child and beloved, and I truly should have no problem with being His slave. Especially I should keep in mind that Jesus was the true Slave for us by dying a wretched death on the cross for us, so I should have no problem with being His slave. But I don't know why I'm having these thoughts, these thoughts from satan, and I've been succumbing to them. I actually am as prideful as satan was when he was in heaven, and that's horrible. I don't know what to do.

    Something that may help you understand my situation and background is that I feel that I have a sort of inferiority complex and I don't have that good of a self-esteem, so coming from this background and approaching being a slave of GOD has been quite problematic for me. You have mentioned in some of your previous blog posts that GOD is not a harsh taskmaster, and that's true, but He's still my Master, so how much of my life should I and can I be allowed to live for my own "self interests", such as watching TV? What can I even do? I don't even know anymore and I'm so confused. Another thing stemming from my background of an inferiority complex is that I have this feeling that GOD gave me salvation as a "favor", you know what I mean? That's what the word "Grace" conjures up these days for me. Grace means getting something you didn't deserve, so whenever I hear that word these days, to me it feels like, I got saved but I didn't deserve it, didn't deserve it, didn't deserve it. That "didn't deserve" part is the thing that gets amplified and that angers me. And that also breaks my self-esteem. Are we as Christians even allowed to have self-esteem? And yeah, the word grace doesn't bring up positive feelings for me, but negative feelings.

    Also what does it mean to not be friends with the world? How much of my activities count for being worldly? I just don't get it anymore. And to be honest, I'm starting to get fed up with "religious stuff" and don't know what to do. I'm getting angry, prideful, blasphemous, etc. before GOD and that's not good. I really need help and some Biblical answers to set me straight. Can you please help me out Jaimie? You must think I'm the worst kind of person ever, and I am, but I also want to know how to be free and healed. Thanks!

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Let me start of by saying no, I don’t think you’re “the worst kind of person ever,” and I do believe there is hope and healing for you. You’re not alone in having these confused thoughts about how to submit to the Lordship of Christ–I’ve listened to a number of other people with religious OCD give the same line of thought. So please don’t feel alone or discouraged.

      I think the core issue we’re dealing with isn’t the Lordship of Christ, but your self-worth as a person. “Self-esteem” is a term I don’t typically use because of the secular connotations it can raise. I prefer to speak of “self-worth,” “self-respect,” and our God-given dignity, all of which stem from a proper understanding of ourselves as God’s offspring (Acts 17), His children (John 1), made in His image (Genesis 2), and being made just a little lower than the angels themselves (Psalm 8).

      Here’s the issue I see a lot in the scrupulosity community: we think that the opposite of pride is self-debasement. But it isn’t. Instead of grinding our faces in the dirt to cure ourselves of pride, a better course of action is to lift up Christ, allowing ourselves to rise out of our mud pit with Him. You see, there are two ways to stay humble: either by putting self down, or by lifting Christ up. The higher I lift Christ in my mind and heart, the more impossible it will be for me to usurp His place. This is the right way forward, because putting self down is an insult to Christ’s handiwork in creating us (Psalm 139). If I am God’s child and am made only a little lower than the angels, then it is right, and just, and correct for me to view myself with respect. I dare not insult myself, because that would be an insult of my Creator. When I praise God and nourish lofty views of Him, my own self-respect rises: I am not a weird, faulty creation of some random deity, I am the beautiful workmanship of God Himself.

      I think, cherishing these kinds of positive views will go far in helping you overcome your reserve about submitting to His Lordship. Why? Because when we see the role of “God’s child” as it should be, we will recognize a vast amount of dignity, freedom, and volition within that identity. After all, being a child of the Creator means I’m a mini-creator. Being the child of the Master means I’m a mini-master. I’ve been given dominion and authority and creativity. God gives principles for living a spiritually sound, ethical life, but in many ways He stands back to see what we will create with our lives. I am not of the school of thought that God micromanages our lives and picks out what color we should wear every day. Yes, He certainly intervenes and directs our lives in many ways, but not in every detail. We will not enjoy the “dominion” that has been given to us, though, until we construct correct understandings of our self-worth and relation to God as His children.

      I hope this gives you a bit of direction going forward. You’re asking good questions. Don’t let the questions become obsessive; if you get too wound up about them, put them on ice for a few days and come back later when you’re feeling calmer.

      Best wishes,

      Jaimie

  5. This is so spot on for me at the moment.
    I’m teary reading it because it’s exactly where I’m at. Thank God for you and the revelation he has given you Jaime.

  6. Excellent Jaime!
    I can really relate. Currently in my journey I have been focusing on just who scripture says I really am in Christ.
    This has allowed me to move forward with growing, This peace helps me transform as God intended. Knowing that we who have received Jesus are perfectly loved always, allows me to face and address my negative characteristics without disabling anxiety.

  7. Once again you nailed it Jamie! I go through my ERP, exercises, my CBT when intrusive thoughts pop up. It is a struggle not to engage. With your help I have made giant steps forward, but, the backwards steps still happen. It is still a battle. Now I notice my OCD brain starts to look for triggers on good days. My scrupulosity is trusting in The Father and legalism of people around me. So I'm walking stronger in Faith ty o the caring Father trying to walk away from the punishing God. Learning through scripture. Feeling great until a word or phrase or action pops up then the mistrust. With this article I realize hey I'm getting better, have patience, stop feeling and start trusting. What a journey so far I can't wait to see what God has planned for me. Thank you so much jamie

  8. Hi Jamie when I did not know this was common until I read this some days I have good days and some days I have bad days but I thank you so.much

  9. Thank you so much for this. This is what I’ve been feeling recently. I will have days where I pray and speak to God, yet I feel guilty at the end of the day because I hadn’t done it constantly, out of fear, through the day. I worry I forgot about God because I’m not obsessing. It’s still hard sometimes in daily life, I feel like I get “distracted” by things I need to do and I am literally supposed to pray constantly. I also feel guilty for having fun with my family, and with the fact that right now my life is pretty mellow with work and my husband. I feel like we can’t spend a weekend of rest together and instead we have to do things because life is short and we can’t waste what God has given us.
    Anyways, this has helped a lot, as well as the rest of your website.
    I have made a lot of leaps from where I was at months ago, having to get on medication and having panic attacks almost daily. Now I’m off of it and I’m having a lot of very good days. Except for the occasional bad ones. Thank you for sharing your information for free in these posts. I wasn’t able to get insurance to see a therapist and we didn’t have the money for it without insurance. I was in a very dark place and then discovered this. Pretty much this website alone started my recovery.
    Lots of love to you!!

    1. Hi, Meg!

      Your comment is so encouraging! I’m so glad that these resources have helped you, and I’m sure your story will be an encouragement to others who can’t afford to see a therapist. I am a firm believer that God Himself is our Master Psychologist. As I’ve mentioned throughout this website, I’m not a therapist, I’m just a Bible scholar–but if I can do something to point others to our Master Healer, He will do a beautiful work.

      I did want to speak to your comment about feeling guilty because you didn’t obsess about God during the day. Please remember that you’re in the process of learning a totally NEW WAY of relating to God. It’s a healthier way and it’s more Biblical, but it feels very different from what you’ve been used to. One thing you can do to ease this awkward process: Keep reminders close at hand to remember that what you’re doing is Biblical and right. For example, post little sticky notes around the house with your favorite Bible verses and affirmations about why you’re doing this. One of the phrases I teach in the Scrupulosity Academy is, “God’s not like that.” It’s a powerful affirmation to look at our unhealthy obsessions and contrast them to God’s true character. God’s not like that. He’s not the kind of God who wants us to relate to Him in anxiety. He’s not the kind of petty God who demands us to split hairs over minuscule things. Keep reminding yourself that it’s not God, it’s your OCD. Having some “theme verses” on sticky notes that remind you of this can be helpful to avoid the false guilt that arises when you start feeling better.

      All the best,

      Jaimie

  10. Thank you Jaimie for your works helped me to recover and getting better but now I feel the anxious about getting better troubling myself that why can't I get better, why I still struggle this right now

    Thank You for the article you show me how to deal with this new anxious why can't I get better, I ignore the feelings by the way.

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thank you for bringing up this important point. This article talks about anxiety about getting better, but you’re bringing up the very important (and very real) opposite, anxiety about not seeing improvement. This deserves another blog post. Maybe I will take your comment as inspiration for my next post, because it’s something I’ve heard many times as well.

      Anxiety about not improving or not getting better fast enough can be very discouraging. Several months ago, I hosted an online “graduation” ceremony for a number of my group coaching clients who had improved their symptoms considerably and were ready to fly solo. Each of the graduates shared a short personal testimony about God’s work in their lives and they described how much better they were feeling. Well, one of my clients joined us on Zoom for the first time that day, and it triggered her very badly. I was initially confused about why she would be triggered by success stories, which were meant to be an encouragement. But then it came out, exactly as you have described: she was terribly anxious because she felt like she wasn’t getting better.

      In actuality, she WAS getting better, but it was a long, slow process. And, I’ll be very honest here, the journey out of OCD doesn’t happen at the same speed for everyone. We need to be ok with that and stick with it for the long haul, even if we see people passing us on the racetrack. I remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, which is a common story for children in the United States. As the story goes, the tortoise and the hare started out on a footrace. The tortoise could only crawl along very slowly, but the hare hopped very quickly towards the finish line. Seeing that she was so far ahead, the hare took a break and stopped to relax…then she found some nice leaves to eat…then she lay down and took a nap. The tortoise, however, continued to crawl very slowly and steadily. He did not stop or look around. He did not care if he was far behind. Eventually, the tortoise crossed the finish line first, while the hare was still taking a nap. As children, we learned from this story the American proverb, “slow and steady wins the race.” I believe this is true for OCD recovery as well. It doesn’t matter and should not make us anxious when others improve faster than us. Our journey is unique and God is with us just as much as He is with others.

      I will try to make a more detailed post about this topic, but for now, let me just encourage you by saying that “slow and steady wins the race!”

      Jaimie

  11. I most certainly have had this! Actually currently. I was going to write this same concept down to ask Jamie the next time we spoke in our private coaching. I feel exactly as you described. I keep asking myself why I am not more upset as I was, or crying nearly as much. Thank you for addressing this Jamie!

    1. Hi, Lynn!
      Yes, I was inspired to write this blog post based on recent conversations/emails with a few people, including a few things you and I discussed. As you can see from the many comments, you’re not alone in this. It’s a common issue for many people–but by God’s grace, we can overcome!!
      Jaimie

  12. Jamie,

    Thank you. I admit I worry about healing mostly because I'm afraid (absurdly, I realize) that if the pain isn't always in the background I'll forget what it feels like and be unable to help other people like me. Thanks for showing me that I'm not the only one who feels this way. <3

    1. Aww, that’s tough but very sweet to be concerned about wanting to help others! I’ll admit that I use your reasoning to get me through the down days. A down day might feel bad in the moment, but it’s ok because it generates empathy for others in my heart. This is a helpful way to think my way through the spiral without engaging the obsessions themselves. However, I think it’s important to make sure this kind of thinking doesn’t prevent us from seeking full and complete healing. Sure, down days help to intensify my empathy for others, but I still have the right and God-given privilege to aim for full healing. And honestly, being cured from a mental health disorder like OCD is probably never going to eradicate our empathy. It’ll always be there. I think it would be impossible to forget what it’s like to have OCD!!!
      Jaimie

  13. Yes Jaimie I deal with this at times and here lately it’s like I feel off for getting better. I like how you said not to go back to the toxic stage again. I have been guilty of doing that and basing my feelings that at times I’m right with God and at times I’m not. It’s like I go back to make sure it bothers me. I heard this past weekend to trust in Him with your anxieties as His word says. I may think I am at times and then go back to trying again on my own without realizing it. Then it creates numbness for a little while. But when we trust in Him in the storm He always prevails. The Holy Spirit is what revealed that to me. Like you said above, God answers prays and He is healing our minds because he cares for us.

    1. YES, Paul, the numbness is really a “thing” for people with scrupulosity! Almost always, we interpret it to “mean something,” when in actuality it’s just a safety shutoff valve protecting our brains from overstimulation. Thanks for bringing this up, the numbness aspect can really be quite bothersome!
      Jaimie

  14. I haven't even finished reading the post yet and I'm laughing my head off – RELATABLE! Thank you for writing these blogs, and with such humor… It's comforting to know that I'm not crazy and other people have the same struggles (although I would never wish this on anyone!) God bless you

  15. Jaimie – Everything you write in this space and all the materials you create are such blessings! Grateful for all you do!

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