What Dr. Luke has to say about Depression Due to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

(3.10.fam.depression.OCD.Dx)

Today Dr. Luke wants to talk about a disorder which causes depression. Unfortunately most people with this disorder keep it hidden. It is common all over the world. However, people hide this disorder because they think the symptoms are strange, weird and even embarrassing to the individual. Here is a story of one individual who had this problem.

Wang Zhi was a 48 year old man who had a decent job in a rural part of one of Chinaís industrial provinces and had been with the same company for the past 15 years. He had been involved in his current position at this company for the past five years and was becoming bored with what he thought was the same old boring work.  He wished he could change jobs and find new work but he knew finding new work would be hard. However, he noticed that he was having less and less interest in many things he was doing. His wife told Wang Zhi that she thought he was depressed and he wondered if she was right.

However, there was something else which was going on in Wang Zhiís life. He noticed at home and at work he was increasingly without patience in dealing with people and things which got out of order.  For example, he noticed that if someone moved his water bottle or anything of his and did not put it exactly back in the same place he got upset. Not at the moving only but if it was not put back in exactly the right place. At home if he put a cup or book down and his wife or son did not put it back in exactly the same place he got upset. He wondered why.  What bothered him more was that he was also being worried that people would move things of his or change the order of things and he would not know what to do.  Wang Zhi did not know what to do.

He did not want to tell his wife as he thought the whole thing was strange and even weird. Plus he was even embarrassed about the whole thing.  Increasingly Wang Zhi became more worried and then depressed. What was he to do?

One day at work a workmate came to him and suggested they eat supper one day after work. This work mate was a good friend and a very kind man. Wang Zhi had gotten to know him over the years at work and respected him.  While they were eating supper Wang Zhi took the opportunity to tell his friend what was going on in his life. His friend listened and was very understanding and supportive. His friends told him they both should first go and see a doctor at the local hospital to see what was going on. His friend was sure there was a solution.

They went to the hospital the next week and saw the doctor.  The doctor examined Wang Zhi and did some blood tests. When all the tests were back Wang Zhi and his friend returned to see the doctor. The doctor told Wang Zhi that he did not have any medical problems which would cause him harm. Wang Zhi was greatly reassured by this.  However the doctor told Wang Zhi that he had a disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The doctor explained that obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by two types of symptoms.  The first symptom is the obsession.  An obsession is defined as a type of thinking, or a particular thought, which is introduced into the individual's consciousness on a repeated or frequent basis.  One type of obsessive thinking is worry.  This is what Wang Zhi had developed over the past several months. Some individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder worry almost constantly.  They worry about bad things happening to themselves or others, future negative events, the opinions of others and possible failures.  Most individuals with obsessive worrying will worry about many different things at once.  They don't isolate their worries on one or two concerns.  In fact, when one topic of worry proves to be unfounded, they seem to simply replace that with another worry which is equally distressing to them.  Of course, these worries create a great deal of anxiety for the individual.  Their lives become fearful and very unpleasant.  They seem to constantly anticipate catastrophe at any time. Wang Zhi was amazed at this. This sounded exactly like him.

A second form of obsession is called the intrusive obsession.  In this symptom, the individual will have a thought or an image which is extremely distressing to them.  The thought or image is usually something which disturbs the person because it is very foreign to their personality.  For example, the doctor said, one young man had an intrusive image of hitting his boss. Now this young man probably would never do anything to his boss.  When the image came into his mind, he began to have fears that he might, somehow, lose control and actually do something that would harm his boss.  The more that he attempted to push the thought of his mind, the more the thought occurred.  Because this disturbing image was now occurring repeatedly, his fears heightened significantly that he might lose control and actually do something to his boss.  Now is important to remember that intrusive thoughts are disturbing to the individual because the actions are something that they would never do in reality. 

Wang Zhi was amazed as this described him almost exactly. He had not told his friend but he was angry at his boss. He also had thoughts of hurting his boss going through his mind but he could not control them.  What was he to do, Wang Zhi asked the doctor?

The doctor told him to first go home and list out on a piece of paper all of the things he was concerned about from not important to very important. Examples the doctor gave were from moving a cup of water to hitting his boss. Then return with the list in a week or so and they would discuss the list and how to resolve this obsessive compulsive disorder.  This sounded good to Wang Zhi and his friend.

On the way out of the hospital Wang Zhiís friend mentioned to him that he had another solution to his friendís problem. Wang Zhi was interested as he wanted any help with this he could get. This solution was the person of Jesus Christ. Wang Zhiís friend went onto tell him that Jesus Christ had helped with many problems. Who was this Jesus Christ, asked Wang Zhi?  How could they meet him?  Did he live in their city? 

Wang Zhiís friend told him that Jesus Christ was the God of the Universe and the Savior of the world. He opened his Bible and showed him a place which read, ĎIn the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1.1).í The Word mentioned here is Jesus Christ Wang Zhiís friend told him. Also he told him Jesus is not only God but he came to bring us truth. Another place in the Bible said, Ďyou are right in saying I am a king. In fact for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (John 18.37).í

Wang Zhi was interested in what this truth was.  His friend showed him another place in the Bible which read, ĎI tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5.24).í  What was this life the Bible was talking about?  Wang Zhiís friend said that this life now would give us purpose, meaning, peace and joy now in life and after we died eternal life with God in heaven. Wang Zhi was certainly interested in this as his life certainly lacked meaning and purpose now. How could he get this new life he asked his friend?

Before they could get to this answer they both had to part company and go home. However, later they would get back and finish this discussion. Several days later they returned to the hospital with Wang Zhiís list to discuss with the doctor the list of concerns in his life. After looking at the list the doctor told Wang Zhi and his friend the following.

Intrusive obsessions or thoughts tend to focus in one of three areas.  Some intrusive obsessions are images or thoughts of violence or harming someone, such as the example he had described the last time they had met.  A second type of intrusive obsession involves thoughts which are against the person's ethical or religious beliefs.  The individual may have thoughts of doing things which they perceive as being evil or thoughts which are disrespectful of God.  When the individual has this type of thought, they will frequently feel very guilty and anxious that they will be punished.  A third type of intrusive obsession involves thoughts of losing control and doing something embarrassing in front of other people.  The individual may imagine themselves losing control and running through a crowd screaming.  This type of obsession is very disturbing for some people because they question whether they might actually lose control and do such an embarrassing behavior.  The content of intrusive obsessions can be something other than these three areas but the majority of obsessions will, in some way, fall into one of these. Again Wang Zhi was amazed at the doctorís insights. It was like the doctor was describing Wang Zhi. The doctor told him to go home and focus on understanding what were the three most important thoughts or areas to work on and then they would focus on these. This sounded fine to Wang Zhi. He felt they were making progress.

As they were leaving the hospital Wang Zhi asked his friend again about this person of Jesus Christ.  He wanted the peace his friend described and he had heard about.

Wang Zhiís friend told him that first we must admit our sins. Again, he turned to a place in the Bible which read, ĎRepent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38).í We must repent as our sins have separated from God. Godís death on the cross resulted in us being forgiven of our sins. They read in the Bible, ĎJesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.  This man was handed over to you by Godís set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him (Acts 2.22-24).í

Wang Zhiís friend explained that God sacrificed Jesus Christ on the cross, his only son; in our place to we would not have to bear the penalty of our sins or death.  However, by God overcame death by raising Jesus Christ from the dead.  It is believing in this which gives us new life. They turned to another place in the Bible which said, Ďif you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10.9).í Wang Zhi told his friend that he believed this. What should he do now? Wang Zhi asked him to pray the following prayer after him.

ĎDear Lord, I know that I have done wrong and have sinned before you. I also know that I need you to save me from my sins. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins. I also believe that after you died on the cross you rose from the dead to show your power over death and victory over sin. I ask you to come into my life and save me from my sin. Thank you for doing this.í

After praying this prayer Wang Zhi had peace and joy in his life. He also had new purpose and meaning. All of this was given as a free gift from Jesus Christ to Wang Zhi. Over the coming days and weeks Wang Zhiís purpose, meaning, peace and joy through Jesus Christ began to replace his fears, worries and hurts. You too can have the same peace and purpose in life through Jesus Christ if you will only ask Jesus into your life as your personal savior.