The guilt in displeasing Hashem and the feeling that one can never “do it right” often contribute to an associated depressive quality in this OCD subtype.
Some women suffer from extreme anxiety when performing Bedikot – constantly worried that they did not perform the Bedikot properly.CBT therapists encourage their patients to see that their behaviors can vary and that one’s sense of self is better off being accepted rather than always being constantly critically evaluated.Given our religious culture that is constantly encouraging us to become or “be” better persons, it is easy to see how patients find it hard to navigate these new ideas.However, instead of feeling a sense of wholeness and fulfillment at a job well done, Sarah dreads her mikvah experience.For as soon as she completes her preparations, she begins them anew, worried that she might have missed something, rendering her Mikvah trip “useless” and she, “unclean”. Many look to her and admire her Frumkeit and sense of devotion.But to the person with this condition Scrupulosity OCD takes Ahavas Hashem out of Mitzva observance, leaving the individual anxious, depressed and often fearful about doing Mitzvos.
These Gedolim recognized the difference between healthy religious Shmiras Ha Mitzvos and Scrupulosity and were able to advise those writing to them appropriately.
However, those close to her know that her monthly inner-torture with the Mikvah is not a result of her personal scruples.
What they do not know is that Sarah, like many other Jewish women, suffers from Scrupulosity.
Scrupulosity is a type of OCD, which is a psychological disorder.
In these cases, a person’s religious convictions are merely one aspect of his or her being that OCD uses to cultivate doubt and create anxiety.
It is not connected to Torah observance or religious life at all.