As I've learned all too well in my struggles with OCD, so many of the fears and worries we have are completely irrational. Because of our "magical thinking" however, we fear that if we don't perform a ritual in the right way, something completely unrelated will happen. For instance, if I don't touch something the right way, or a certain amount of times before I throw it away, somehow I will be cursing God.
When I was about junior high aged, one of my irrational fears was that I was pregnant. It was irrational because I was (and still am) a virgin. But I thought that if I did or didn't do certain things, that I would get pregnant. I remember at times being relieved when I started my period, because that meant I wasn't pregnant.
As with most parts of my OCD, my spiritual beliefs only exacerbated the stress. In the Old Testament of the Bible, there are verses relating to when a woman makes a vow. Here are some verses (Numbers 30:3-5, NIV):
3 "When a young woman still living in her father's house makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge 4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. 5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the LORD will release her because her father has forbidden her."
Of course, no one heard me make these 'vows', so there was no one to release me from them. Thus, the vow would stand. I would make 'vows' like, "I vow that I am pregnant if I don't touch this wall 10 times." Of course, then the doubt would enter...did I touch the wall 10 times?, etc. I had a mantra that I would repeat: "Not pregnant no matter what." Sometimes it would be attached to a condition, such as, "Not pregnant no matter what, if I touch the table 10 times." Or, "Not pregnant no matter what, if I do or do not touch my pen 3 times." You see, I'd make counter-vows to make sure I wasn't going to get pregnant.
The funny thing is that even now, I still repeat the "Not pregnant no matter what" phrase under my breath or when I'm alone, but I no longer think I'm going to get pregnant. It's more like a representative phrase--I may repeat the "Not pregnant no matter what" when what I really am trying to stave off is the fear of cursing God, not of getting pregnant.
On a side note, the fear of getting pregnant affected my writing. For example, when you draw the letter 'o', sometimes where you start the 'o' and where you end it cross, so you have some of the line inside the 'o', like this:
I would have to rewrite or erase the lines that were inside the 'o', or else that meant pregnancy (you could think of the 'o' as a womb, and the line inside was the baby).
Isn't it funny how even the most irrational fears can have such a complicated, 'logical' structure?