In my late teens, I started having religious OCD (scrupulosity OCD). I had intrusive thoughts that cursed God, Mother Mary and Jesus (OCD is an anxiety disorder; sufferers experience severe anxiety as the thoughts are completely opposite of their belief system and volitional will. Attempts to escape these thoughts only made them stronger. People with Scrupulosity OCD form debilitating compulsions such as repeating prayers until they have been uninterrupted by an intrusive thought).

My prayer life collapsed. Praying the rosary was exhausting and didn’t give me peace. A single Hail Mary prayer had to be replaced with two or three Hail Mary prayers, as the bad thoughts kept intruding in my prayers. I stopped praying the rosary after many futile attempts to stop my intrusive thoughts. I felt my prayers were pointless, or worse still, blasphemous. I became a laid-back Catholic, only going for Sunday Mass and Masses on days of Obligation. I didn’t go for confession regularly, as I was so ashamed of my sin that I didn’t dare confess it. I thought I would be thrown out of church. Even if I went for confession, I would confess my other sins except for that. Nobody knew my dark secret, not even my family, as I was too ashamed to tell anyone.

I felt I was a hypocrite and a horrible person. It didn’t cross my mind to leave the Church, as I grew up being a Catholic; it was part of my life. I thought God was very angry with me, and that I had sinned grievously. I thought I would be condemned to hell, because of my intrusive thoughts. I had nightmares of demons chasing me and I had a morbid fear of the dark.

I asked God to take away my brain and I wondered why He didn’t strike me down for having bad thoughts. Many times, I cried to God for help, but there was no answer. I ignored my spiritual life and worked for material happiness. I didn’t find happiness and quit my job after many years of enduring work that I disliked. In my search for job satisfaction, I found humility instead. In between lunch breaks, I would go to Sts Peter & Paul Church and just sit there and cry, or I’ll talk to St Peter and St Paul.

I finally surrendered to God, and told Him that I didn’t want to try anymore, since I couldn’t save myself.

I finally surrendered to God, and told Him that I didn’t want to try anymore, since I couldn’t save myself. I felt like I was a child asking her father to forgive her, but He was angry He didn’t care. In my desperation, I googled “blasphemous thoughts” and hit the jackpot. I found “scrupulosity OCD” and realised I wasn’t alone in this affliction. I cried tears of relief. By God’s providence, he led me to my new job and because of the Catholic environment there, I went for a Retreat and had my Conversion Experience (I couldn’t believe it when the Priest said my OCD isn’t a sin).

For the first time in my life, I felt the love of God. The joy of finding my Lord Jesus cannot be replaced by any earthly gift. Three months later, God graced me with a heavenly presence that took away my fear of the dark and ghost stories.

I will trust Him, in all, for all, in spite of all – This advice was given to me by a Priest during one confession. God hasn’t taken away this OCD from me, but I believe in His time and wisdom, He will. I am praying the rosary every day and visiting Jesus often in the Blessed Sacrament, I don’t let my intrusive thoughts disturb my peace. This is the peace that the world cannot give, the kingdom of God dwells in me.

I’m sharing my salvation story, because Jesus loves me and I want to help others who have this affliction. I’m not afraid of how people will think of me, for I know God loves me and His love is enough. It is in dying to myself that I find God.

Psalm 57 was introduced to me by a complete stranger in the adoration room, the night after I saw the heavenly presence (beautiful white wings).

“Have mercy on me, God, have mercy,
for in you my soul has taken refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.”

It was through the darkness that I found my light, Christ Jesus. Alleluia!

Lucy Tan
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