Editor’s note: Dr. Debra Theobald McClendon is a clinical psychologist who specializes in scrupulosity, a religiously themed subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In this new series, McClendon discusses her thoughts on how anxiety impacts a personal faith crisis and how individuals can navigate their anxiety with faith. McClendon was recently a guest on LDS Living’s All In podcast. Listen to the podcast and see the articles in the series below. You can also find more resources on the topic here.
Anxiety and Belief
“Through my professional experiences, I am intimately involved with the many types of anxiety that plague some stalwart, dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ. I have found that when someone uses the term ‘faith crisis,’ two things are generally true. First, someone is questioning their religious belief. Second, they are experiencing intense emotional distress and anxiety over their questioning. By discussing anxiety’s role in a ‘faith crisis,’ my hope is that readers may gain insight to help themselves and their loved ones on their journey through faith.”
“Concerns about faith can be very painful, at times rocking the core of one’s belief system. Anxiety can further complicate one’s emotional landscape and add panic and desperation to the faith journey, creating a ‘faith crisis.’ In this article, I will explain how anxiety may play a role in an individual’s faith journey. I’ll also discuss how to recognize anxiety when questions of faith arise.”
“This is the final article in my series discussing anxiety’s role in faith crisis. In the previous articles I discussed principles of faith and shared how anxiety creates the crisis in a faith journey, creating a ‘faith crisis.’ In this article, I will share specific interventions you can use to begin building a healthier relationship with anxiety.”