Riding a Roller Coaster…

Living with mental illness truly feels like riding a roller coaster.


roller coaster

Ups, downs, highs, lows, twists and turns…

That about sums up our life for the past few years.  There are moments of feeling like you are on top of the world followed by heart pounding, stomach clenching, nauseating moments of fear.

As a kid I loved riding roller coasters. I no longer enjoy them like I once did.  Most of them give me a headache.  But I ride them anyway because my kids enjoy them.

Today I’m loving the roller coaster ride and feel like I’m on top of the world.  One of the things my son has suffered from is OCD.  His particular form of OCD is called Scrupulosity. Scrupulosity is characterized by pathological guilt about moral or religious issues.  It’s brutal for someone raised in an LDS culture. Any unclean thought he has must be because he is unworthy, wicked, a sinner who is going to outer darkness…. It’s truly heartbreaking to see someone take a gospel of “good news” and turn it into something that torments them.

For example, my son is very literal and takes everything he reads in scripture literally.

So take a scripture like this one…

3 Nephi 18:28-29

And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

Taking the sacrament each week is something that is hard for him because he thinks he is unworthy.  If he takes it then he is bringing damnation to his soul.

Temple attendance is another thing he struggles with because no unclean thing should enter the temple.

It has been about 7 months since he last went to the temple.  He used to go every week.  The last time he went he had a panic attack while there because he felt he had entered the temple unworthily.  He has not been back since… until yesterday. Yesterday he came to me and said “I think I should trust bishop that I am worthy and go to the temple”. Hallelujah!  We changed into Sunday clothes and I went with him.  All went well.  He woke up this morning and wanted to back again so we did.

Once again I’m thankful for a tender mercy.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  It may be another low.  But for today I’m grateful for the highs.  We’ve had two good days in a row. We had 3 good days last week.  My fingers are crossed that a season of peace is headed our way!



  1. Thank you for sharing. This is not easy to share , especially when it comes to our children. It also sounds like he may have a touch of Aspbergers, as children/adults are guilt ridden, very literal- can’t process interpretation, and often feel unworthy and confused for their feelings. I share this because my son experienced the same thing and talking about it,helping him too see the other side of things, and not letting him stew in his anger/depression is important. While I am not LDS, I am Christian. We go to church, or in your case , Temple, for fellowship(being around like minded believers) and to grow closer in our relationship with God. It is by His grace that we are saved, not our works. It is wonderful that he is starting to see an opening into his thinking and seeing the other side of things. Great post!