Heal Me or Kill Me | Overcoming OCD with God
A few years ago, I was asked to write a short article for a local church magazine which was released from Picayune, Mississippi. Within weeks, God stirred my heart to write the entire story. After approximately six months, the book Heal Me or Kill Me: My Road to Freedom From OCD was complete. With personal journal entries coupled with raw confessions, this books tells the story of overcoming OCD with God.
Looking back, my battle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) began at the age of five. Anytime I walked on a sidewalk, I would tell myself, “Do not step on a crack or your mom will die.” I thought I was playing an innocent game. There was no way for me to know then that the intense anxiety that accompanied this odd “game” was a mere prelude to what was to come.
By the time I was in middle school, the thoughts and behaviors were all-consuming. If I touched something with my right hand, then I had to touch the same item in the same way with my left hand. Emotional equilibrium restored, right? Wrong. There was now a “set” that needed to be balanced. I had touched an item first with my right hand and then with my left. So this right-left sequence needed to be copied. I would proceed to touch the item in a left-right sequence. However, the rabbit hole was endless. Now there was a right-left-left-right sequence that needed to be counterbalanced. You get the idea. There was no satisfying the beast within.
By the time I was in high school, I prayed everyday “Heal me or kill me.” I meant this prayer. As a Christian, I had heard all of my life that Jesus Christ was powerful. At the same time, because I believed that God had granted me life, I did not believe that I had cosmic permission to commit suicide. So, I felt it permissible from a Biblical perspective to ask God to take my life if He was not going to heal me of my OCD. I was only interested in one of those two options.
I could not handle the mental and emotional suffering that seemed to plague every minute task. However, I can joyfully declare that today, at 38 years old, I have been totally and absolutely free from OCD for over a decade. As one of my mentors Dr. Dan Finley always says, “God takes a long time to do something suddenly.” Overcoming OCD with God was, for some reason unbeknownst to me, a long and arduous journey. But God was faithful.
So what happened between that prayer and my total freedom? Overcoming OCD with God began with Him providentially orchestrating one very significant event in particular. One of the areas that my OCD manifested itself the worst was in my prayer life. One night, I was lying on my bed trying to pray. As a symptom of my OCD, I never felt that my prayer was good enough. I kept repeating the prayer over and over not realizing that each time, I was getting louder and louder. My mother, who was on the other end of the hallway, heard me. She immediately walked to my room and asked if I was okay. I decided to be honest and take one of the biggest risks of my life up to that point—tell someone of this seemingly pathetic struggle. Little did I know that two days before this moment, my mom had “randomly” watched a television special about OCD. She reported later not even knowing why she was so interested. We know now. God had gone before me (Psalms 16:8; this is one of my favorite prayers to pray). He cared more about my freedom than I did. He truly is a good Daddy.
With that television special, God had prepared her heart to step into my illness, validate my struggle, and initiate His act of gradual healing. Few experiences are more liberating than to have someone validate your pain.
Overcoming OCD with God began with that event. From there, it actually got worse before it got better. I do not pretend to know why. Time does not permit me to tell the rest of the story here. However, I leave no rock unturned in my book. Over the course of the next ten years, there would be two more significant events that God would ultimately use to lead me into his glorious freedom. God did not teach me how to cope. Rather, he set me free. He raised me from the “dead.” He gave me life. Overcoming OCD (or any type of related anxiety disorder) with God is possible!
Mr. Condrey’s autobiography “Heal Me or Kill Me” can be found on Amazon.