Obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD) : This is  how it begins
6 mins read

Obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD) : This is how it begins

Contributed by 

Dr Arif Maghribi Khan


Author can be mailed at


 Mr Patrick (name changed ) had a pretty good childhood. His parents were loving and “normal,” like most “good parents.” Nevertheless, Mr Patrick’s father used to be very particular about certain aspects.

One day Mr Patrick was walking barefooted around his father’s room, then he jumped into that bed. His father immediately “pulled his ear,” by telling him that his feet were dirty and that he must not jump into a clean bed.

Moreover, Mr Patrick’s dad was very particular about the ceremony of “washing hands” before eating and after touching anything that could have germs…

“Did you wash your hands?” was the ongoing question from his father.
Mr Patrick learned about germs and the need to wash his hands after touching anything “dirty” for otherwise, to forget about it could be very contagious to others and potentially harmful for himself.

The seed for fear was created and for feeling guilty as well. You wonder how is it possible for a human being to live when there are so many germs around us and inside us as well…

Mr Patrick’s father was afraid that someone could break into his car. He used to double-check that his car was locked. He double-checked that the door in his house was locked and that there was no light on inside or outside the house, to save electricity and his electric bill.

“Why is this light on?” was one of his recurrent questions… Mr Patrick’s dad was a perfectionist as well, specially with his son

What a great dad!

He is always looking to save some money and concerned about cleanliness and security in his house…

As Mr Patrick became older, he developed the same insecurities and guilt since he was a highly “moral” person. Mr Patrick felt guilt if he didn’t comply to what his father had taught him.

Mr Patrick developed OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

Mr Patrick had some thoughts which provoked fear in him. Patrick needed to repeat his activities to make sure that everything was well done even though he was aware of doing the task “right.” Guilt was the feeling. Something “bad” could happen, someone could get a disease, or lose a belonging due to not checking enough.

The same obsessive behavior was latent in his religious practices. Mr Patrick needed to pray to God 10 times every day so his sins could be absolved. Patrick felt that God, the father; could punish him if he did not follow his prescribed routine. Patrick called that fear of being punished as “love to God.” Hell was waiting there for him unless he became a perfect “saint.” This fear was in him already. Patrick needed to do things “perfect.” Nothing but perfection. Otherwise, he could feel anxious, worried, fearful…

This fear of making “mistakes” was obvious in his life. Patrick wanted to change. He realized that this fear was just a ghost from the past, and he wanted to stop those repetitive actions, but he couldn’t. “From now on… I will not repeat my checking or any compulsive activities” he would promise himself. But he failed… then he felt guilty… then he asked God for forgiveness which in turn meant to pray 10 times. Patrick asked the priest how to liberate himself from this mental disease. The priest told him. “You just have to have will power and ask God to help you.” “Just fight against that. Don’t let that dominate you.”

Patrick learned to fight for everything. Patrick learned to oppose, to reject. After a long while of seeing his own “failure” and after asking so many times for forgiveness, Patrick decided to change his approach into a different way.
It was a great realization. Patrick learned about not going into the opposites, the extreme polarities of things. The world teaches us to oppose things, to reject. It is the fight of “evil against good.” When we apply that teaching in ourselves to improve a habit, this only means to suffer mentally or physically the effects of that inner fight. Patrick decided to use the “middle way” instead. How is that? Whenever Patrick felt that need to repeat things, he would stop and say to himself: “ This tendency to repeat things is not mine. It belongs to my father. Let things be as they are.” Then he would sit down and to pacify the feelings in his body, he would eat a candy and calm his martyred inner child’s mind: “Things will be alright. Enjoy this candy instead.” Then the feelings subdue. Patrick used the same energy but channelized in a different way. There was no need to use “will power” to stop things but just to be aware. Patrick learned that there was no need to reject or to fight against himself, but just to recognize that what he had learned many years ago was to feel guilty and that this feeling has made him feel that he does not deserve good things in life, but rather to be fearful by not doing things “right.”
Spirituality is more than praying or asking for things. It is primarily about that inner discovery, that inner change through our own observation. There is a LOT to see in ourselves.
Someone who feels guilty and who is unable to perceive that guilt will not be able to live life to the fullest no matter what religious practice this person engages in or how “saintly” his life seems to be. Guilt, fear and OCD will be there despite any external practice. Observation and openness by no rejecting or opposing things may be the greatest “spiritual tools” to experiment in life. Free of charge… so guilty free.

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