When you think of OCD, what do you think of? I would wager that most people think of someone obsessively cleaning their house, washing their hands, or flipping switches. If you are familiar with OCD, catastrophic thinking may have come to mind. Catastrophic thinking is just what it sounds like, thinking of the absolute worst case scenario. It is often the root of why a person with OCD keeps washing their hands…because what if they touched something with a virus, and then they get sick and have to miss work, and then they might get fired! It may sound silly, but I’m willing to bet that most people do that to some degree.
Catastrophic thinking is thinking of the absolute worst case scenario.
I’ve struggled with anxiety and catastrophic thinking since I was little. I remember occasions where my mom would be only a few minutes late, and I would be in tears. I was certain that she had been in a car accident and was injured, if not dead. This happened every time she was late, and she had never once been in a car accident.
Fast-forward, and I’ve somehow managed to marry a man who I am convinced is God’s gift, if not to the world, at least to the region we live in. Finding myself blissfully married came with a downside, my brain began running innumerable scenarios by me in which my husband could die and I would be left bereft. I had learned to out-logic catastrophic thinking, because usually the scenarios were outlandish, but here was a scenario that was statistically likely. It is probable that I will outlive my husband.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. Ecc7:2
I was consumed by the thought that “God will some day take my husband from me,” when God reminded me of something. While I was busy worrying about how “God” would “take” this away from me, God had given it to me. That very day, he gave me the gift of my husband and I was so worried about losing it, that I wasn’t enjoying the gift while I had it. I was struck by the truth of it. I had been so sick with worry, that I was losing the moment.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” I used to think of that verse as depressing, but I began to see the beauty of it. It became my weapon against the catastrophic thinking. When my brain went to, “What if he dies?!”, I was reminded that yes, death is the destiny of everyone, and so it is better to enjoy every moment I have with him, to soak up our love, his face, his scent- because there is no guarantee how long I will have it, but I have it now.