I'm worried that God will punish me and my family because of my wickedness

DEAR DEIDRE: EVERY day I make promises to God that I will carry out certain tasks, so he will forgive me for the bad things I’ve done.

If I forget to do what I’ve promised, I get scared that he will punish me.

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I’m a 20-year-old guy, and I’ve been doing this since I was a young teenager. It’s like a habit I can’t break.

For example, I might say: “I promise I’ll tidy my room before midnight,” or: “I promise I won’t look at my phone for an hour.”

Sometimes I get really angry and scream at my parents or mates and then I worry that God will make something terrible happen to me or the people I love.

I feel anxious all the time but I don’t know how to stop doing this. It makes me feel like running away – but I can’t run from my own brain.

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How do I stop feeling like this?

Is it something I’ll just have to live with for the rest of my life?

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DEIDRE SAYS: Your behaviour – saying mantras and repeating rituals in order to stave off bad events – sounds very much like a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Please believe you’re not a bad person and don’t deserve punishment.


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You can get help to deal with this. My support packs on Overcoming Obsessions and Living With Anxiety will help you.

I would also suggest that you contact Anxiety UK (anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774).

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