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Question

 

Gramps,

I have an Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and a few phobias. All have to do with fear. If Satan makes us fear, are my mental illnesses just a creation of Satan’s? Did I get these because I’m not worthy enough? I thought fear is what kept us alive and my brain just got messed up a bit in that area. Am I expected to pray away my mental illnesses? Are they a result of sin?

Ino

 

Answer

 

Ino,

I’m sorry that you have the challenge of living with anxiety, OCD and phobias.  These ailments can stem from different causes including genetics, and trauma.  Having them is not, I repeat not, a sign of your worthiness.  No, you cannot pray away a mental illness, no more than you could pray away cancer.  No, they are not a result of sin.  They are a result of living in a fallen world where we have imperfect bodies and traumatic experiences.

The answer may be a combination of the Atonement, therapy and medication.   If you were in a serious car accident, you would likely have Priesthood blessings, but you would also have doctors, medication and rehabilitative therapy.  Mental disorders are no different.  I encourage you to go to LDS.org, and search for anxiety and OCD, there has been much shared on these topics.   One article in particular, shared the experiences of a few people who struggle and how they are coping.  One young man with Bipolar disorder shared this:

“I learned that medication and therapy would help alleviate my symptoms, but I still had a hard time accepting the fact that this would be a lifelong challenge.  In therapy, learning to recognize the signs preceding the manic cycle and the depressive cycle of my disorder became my first goal. Then I focused on learning to manage my symptoms. Gratefully, since my therapist and I were both Latter-day Saints, the spiritual dimension became part of my treatment. Using the doctrines of the Atonement, we deeply explored Jesus Christ’s role in bearing our burdens and binding up our wounds. I came to understand as never before that the Savior was a partner in my healing process.”  Light In Darkness

This article also shares a story from a young woman who struggles with OCD.  I think you would enjoy it.

The Lord loves you Ino, and because of the Atonement, He truly can understand what you are feeling and strengthen you in your afflictions.  Turn to him, but also use the resources, like therapy and possibly medication that are available.  Look forward to the glorious day of Resurrection when your body will be perfected. Until then don’t blame yourself.

Gramps

 

 

 

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