What advice does scripture give about mental tics and OCD thoughts that loop and repeat, unbidden and unwanted?


Clarify Share Report Asked April 26 2017 Mini Anonymous

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Data Ursula S Monroe
Hi there! As one who suffers from the same issues for over 50 years I can say that for me they are rooted in deep seeded shame and fear of rejection. Through therapy with a Christian therapist using the Bible, EMDR and talk I have pretty much been able to release those thoughts. I repeat bible verses and pray psalm 23. Listening to Christian music helps a lot as that is how I praise God and how he often speaks to me. EMDR is used to process old traumatic incidences in my brain. 

Some verses I have used, given to me by a dear Christian friend, are; 1 Peter 5:6-7, Matt 6:25-34, Phil 4:6-7, Psalm 112 especially 7-8, Psalm 55:16-18, 22, Psalm 23, Psalm 56:3-4, Psalm 94:19, John 14:27, John 16:33, Col 3:15, and 2 Thess 3:16. These verses cover a lot of fears and anxiety. When I find myself in that do loop of thoughts I will look at the verses and the one that speaks to my heart is the one I will focus on by writing it down slowly and speaking the each word out loud at the same time. 

My thoughts are more controlled and I'm able to analyze what's bothering me and talk it out with a friend or giving it to Jesus through prayer. I have come to be thankful for this affliction because I stay closer with God and have come to trust Him! A victory for sure.

April 26 2017 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
Mental tics and repeating thoughts are incredibly difficult to live with, as they are not the type of thought one can easily 'take captive' (II Cor 10:5), but are closer in nature to a seizure or vocal tic. Just as a seizure sends the physical body into convulsions and repetitive motion, or coprolalia causes the mouth to launch a string of uncontrolled curse-words, 'mental tics' send the mind into unwanted looping thoughts.

I've suffered from a neurological disorder (something in the Tourette's family) most of my life. It has both physical (twitching, jerking, seizures, falling, etc.) and mental (repeating thoughts or 'mental tics') components. However, I did not understand that the repeating thoughts that often seemed to take over my mind were actually part of the disorder until a behavioral therapist explained what they were, how they worked, and some things I could do to help with it in my 20s.

[Some brief tips when mental tics start repeating: 

- find something nearby to read such as a book, as reading involves thinking about the words one is reading, so circumvents the mental pathways causing a tic

- Get up and do a specific task or creative endeavor that takes various steps, such as making tea or drawing a picture. Ideally, the task shouldn't be one you can 'zone out on,' such as folding laundry, since that allows the mind to wander back to the tics

- Do physical movement and focus on it, such as lifting imaginary weights or bycicling the leg. This might not work for everyone, but doing repetitive physical motion can 'transfer' to the tic from the mind to the movement.]

For me, it was very isolating (and still is, to a degree, although as my health has improved the frequency and severity of my mental tics has also lessened.) When my repeating thoughts were very dark, it was not something I was comfortable sharing with others. I tried seeking aid and accountability with other Christians - but quickly learned I was more apt to traumatize fellow believers than to receive any support or aid. 

It was a learning curve, but eventually, I found the sweet spot of being vague enough not to overwhelm a mentor or accountability partner while specific enough that underlying issues could start to be addressed. 

Scripture doesn't give specific advice on how to handle these 'mental tics' - but it does give a lot of advice that is beneficial and helpful:


James 5:13-15 shows the power of prayer, both for afflictions from without and sickness from within. Mental tics are basically a combination of both sickness and affliction, so prayer is doubly important.

Both personal prayer and petition to God, as well as seeking out prayer coverage within the body of believers, are important.

Cast your cares on God:

Along with prayer comes peace. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7

We can know that we are God's children, and as such, He wants to help us with our anxieties and burdens.

We are not condemned "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death." The whole chapter of Rom 8 is exceedingly powerful. We are not condemned under the law for our human failings. God views us through the righteousness of Christ! More than this, His Spirit lives in us - so that we can seek righteousness by the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh.

July 11 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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