DEAR DEIDRE: EVERY day I make promises to God that I will carry out certain tasks, so he will forgive me for the bad things I’ve done.
If I forget to do what I’ve promised, I get scared that he will punish me.
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I’m a 20-year-old guy, and I’ve been doing this since I was a young teenager. It’s like a habit I can’t break.
For example, I might say: “I promise I’ll tidy my room before midnight,” or: “I promise I won’t look at my phone for an hour.”
Sometimes I get really angry and scream at my parents or mates and then I worry that God will make something terrible happen to me or the people I love.
I feel anxious all the time but I don’t know how to stop doing this. It makes me feel like running away – but I can’t run from my own brain.
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How do I stop feeling like this?
Is it something I’ll just have to live with for the rest of my life?
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DEIDRE SAYS: Your behaviour – saying mantras and repeating rituals in order to stave off bad events – sounds very much like a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Please believe you’re not a bad person and don’t deserve punishment.
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You can get help to deal with this. My support packs on Overcoming Obsessions and Living With Anxiety will help you.
I would also suggest that you contact Anxiety UK (anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774).
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