The only word that comes close to describing what I went through is “torture.” The intense, overwhelming anxiety that choked me saw me become my monster. I had no peace, and I was a believer in Jesus. In the beginning, the only relief came from accepting OCD and working to appease the anxiety.
The first night I attempted to quench the fear of contamination, I curled into a fetal position on my bed, clutching my sheet. I gasped for air as I wept, begging God to give me strength. I fell asleep only after the crying wearied me, and the anxiety knocked me out.
The next morning, the sun lost its warmth. The wind no longer invigorated me, and the clouds ceased to inspire me to dream.
At age 14, I gave up on hope.
How long, Lord?
The people I trusted most mocked and betrayed me. Rejected, I believed God couldn’t reach me. After so many instances of crying alone, I decided to hate because the tears were of no use to me. The anxiety wasn’t relieved.
I read the scriptures, but soon avoided 1 John 4:7-19. Convicted, how could I say I loved God when I hated my family? So, whenever I willingly sinned, my soul was tormented for disobeying God.
I had no control over anything in my life, and couldn’t find a place of refuge. No one bothered to ask me if I was okay. So, I carried my hurt, suffocated by the anxiety.
From the depths of my bowels, I cried out, asking:
How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your Face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
The waters engulfed me
The anxiety overcame me, and for nine years I did whatever the demon of torment whispered into my ears. I washed my hands until it appeared I had no skin and developed new, irrational behaviors.
Listening to how others spoke of OCD, I determined to hide my pain, refusing help. There was laughter and jokes, but no sympathy. OCD became my identity when I accepted it as a trial and believed I’d wander the earth alone.
However, I asked God:
Will the sight of the ocean cause me to smile again?
Can the sand between my toes tickle my soul once more?
If I listen to the song of the birds beneath the tamarind trees, will I discover joy again?
I couldn’t hear back from God, and the calm sea became a raging ocean, one I couldn’t silence. Since I didn’t know about the power of His relentless, amazing, jealous love, I continued down a path of despair.
It almost ended my life.
The arms of my beloved
When I had accepted suicide as the only option, Jesus met me. Holy Spirit led me to watch ISN as Eddie James was singing, “As the deer panteth for the water.”
I recalled my love for Jesus and lifted my hands, only to experience Him hugging me. The thirst for death left, but the sadness of living with OCD didn’t. I still wasn’t happy waking up in the morning or living life.
The battle intensified, but no matter how many times I fell, the Lord continually picked me up during these years (Micah 7:8; Proverbs 24:16).
A call to sing
In 2019, after a year of experiencing Him, Jesus convicted me of my sin. Addressing the OCD, He said to me:
“I am strong enough to set you free. Will you let Me?”
I had to relinquish all the lies I believed, as Jesus’ truth entered my whole being (John 8:32). I could understand and believe in the power of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice when the lies had been uprooted by the word of God (Galatians 5:1).
His death and life set me free.
So, if you’re in bondage, I invite you to sing and wait on God with me.
Today, because of God’s faithfulness, we can finish Psalm 13 together in victory:
But I trust in Your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for He has been good to me.
(Psalm 13: 5-6)