The true testimony of dramatic release from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) a story of cruel and debilitating spiritual oppression but also the wonder of receiving release and redemption through God’s love and grace into the situation, leading to newness of life. A powerful presentation in contemporary dance choreographed and performed by Vivienne Tsouris, which has ministered to many afflicted sufferers “A sermon in dance”.
For most of my life I have struggled with unreasonable compulsions. As a child I was compelled to do things in certain numbers. For example, if I blinked I was obliged to blink four times, or if I knocked my ankle I would have to make sure that the correct number of subsequent knocks was administered. All this without anybody noticing of course! Thoughts also needed to be brought into line, so that even after performing particular strange actions the required amount of times I invariably had to repeat the whole sequence until I was able to simultaneously think the correct thoughts. Ballet training almost certainly compounded the problem as most exercises, enchainments and even dances are set to counts, and each move carefully numbered.
By the time I was married with a young family constant hand washing had become a major part of my routine. The rules were endless, but dead secret. If I awoke in the night I would creep around the children’s bedrooms, touching each one on the forehead feeling like a ghost gliding about on its habitual nocturnal haunts. But always the hardest part was getting through the bedroom door afterwards, stepping backwards and forwards through the opening as I endeavored to control my erratic thoughts. Of course there were long periods of time when the compulsions grew less, and my habits became so much a part of everyday life that I scarcely noticed them. But during times of anxiety or insecurity my obsessions became unbearable. Prayer brought no real relief, and I was convinced that this was just an unavoidable part of my make-up. After the death of my parents I found my mind being taken over to an alarming degree. There were constant voices in my head which often felt like a battle-ground.
Ever since experiencing a major deliverance from night horrors and visions in 1990 I have had a great desire to help others suffering from spiritual oppression and demonic interference. When a friend recommended a certain book to me, “Set Free” by Neil Anderson, I bought a copy and began studying it.
As I read the case histories of people who had been delivered from mental and spiritual strongholds far worse than anything I had ever experienced, I couldn’t help wondering if there might possibly be a way out of my obsessive behavior, if only I could find it.
One night as I lay in bed I was intrigued by a persistent mental picture which seemed to impress itself upon me. The image was a part of the inside of my brain, and there, attaching itself to the intricate convolutions, was a cancer. As I focused in on the vision I sensed God communicating some fascinating truths.
As cancer cells tend to imitate and take on the form of the normal cells of whichever organ they are invading, so the obsessive compulsive disorder which I had been host to for so long had developed alongside of me. It had so successfully integrated itself within my personality and life-style that I had come to accept that this was simply “the way I was”. What God revealed to me in that instant however, was that the disorder was a foreign entity and did not belong there, I prayed, not very hopefully, for further help, and eventually fell asleep.
I awoke next morning wallowing in the sunshine of a truly wonderful dream; a dream in which I was reunited with my parents and every unresolved problem, every trace of guilt, every regret was dealt with. I believe that Jesus Himself had somehow spanned the distance between our worlds and had communicated with us on each other’s behalf.
Because of the deep sense of peace instilled within me by this experience I decided that, instead of engaging in my usual morning prayer time, I would just sit quietly and meditate for a while, listening to the Holy Spirit. Two scriptures came strongly to mind. Firstly, John 16:13. “When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” And secondly, John 8:32. “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I remembered reading in Neil Anderson’s book that if we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to the truth and root cause of a problem, He will do so. I could believe this happened to other people – but to me?!……… Well, I would try.
A few minutes later I was reaching for a pen and paper in order to list the many memories, picture and words which came flooding into my consciousness. It occurred to me that as far back as I could remember I had had a sense of being surrounded by a number of long, white spiritual beings who had a desire to participate in my life. I slipped back to a day when at six years old I had decided to co-operate and allow these apparitions to interact with me.
I was in the exact spot, the sun was shining and my brother, Graham, was standing nearby. I could feel exactly what it was like to be six, and to have the gentle protectiveness of this unusually caring big brother. I had recently come to understand the concept of odd and even numbers, and the pact was that I must do everything in twos and fours. If I submitted myself in total obedience to their rules the spirits would in turn offer me protection from all the dangers of life.
As time went on the chief “long thing” would sometimes change my number (it was always even) and I lived in terror for a while in case it had neglected to instruct all of its companions about the alteration in the rules. I was not at all sure that might happen to me in the event of a slip up like this, and I purposed never to find out!
Before relating any more of my experiences under the Holy Spirit’s guidance it is necessary for me to give some background information about my family. Two years before I was born my mother gave birth prematurely to a baby boy who lived for just four hours. This experience had left her with deep traumatic scars and an unutterable sense of regret that she had never been able to hold the child in her arms, for she had been denied any physical contact with him. As I sat listening to God that morning I heard my sister’s voice telling me as she had done shortly after our mother’s death, “The reason you were so special to Mum was because she thought you had the baby’s spirit.” I recalled too the fact that my birthday, March 28th, was the date of the baby’s burial two years earlier. A fact which would undoubtedly seem significant to a grieving mother.
The night before the child made its premature entrance into the world my mother had had a strange dream, full of premonitions. She gave birth to the baby but her father, who had died several years earlier, appeared and taking the infant from her, promised to keep him in his care. They disappeared together up a winding staircase which led upwards into the heavens. I began to see that while on the one hand my mother considered the baby’s spirit to be consigned to the care of her deceased father, she also had a vague belief that two years later I had become the reincarnation of the child.
The list of dream-memories and associations which continued to flood my mind is seemingly endless, and although most relevant to the final piecing together the jig-saw it would necessitate my writing a book rather than a leaflet to incorporate them all! However, I eventually found myself puzzling over a vivid mental picture which for a while I couldn’t quite make out.
“What is it, Lord?” I asked intrigued. The answer came in a flash of revelation. The image was a picture of a birth – my birth! Now the fragmented thoughts, images and memories began to merge together to form a picture. I had always sensed that in my mother’s eyes I had been a replacement, and to some extent, a measure of healing for the unresolved trauma. After losing the baby she had suffered several miscarriages and only succeeded in conceiving me with medical help. Obviously I was a much wanted child.
The picture suggested that even in the womb I had been affected by my mother’s anxious concern. She was understandably prone to be over-protective, and so much so that she unwittingly invoked the intervention of spirit guides to take care of me, all the while thinking that she was asking for the loving care of the spirit of my grandfather! To complicate matters further, by the time I reached the age of thirteen and left home to attend ballet school in London, my maternal grandmother had also recently died. I was well aware that my mother in her concern for my well-being used to ask for her protection over me. I also prayed to my grandmother whenever I was homesick or in trouble, quite oblivious to the fact that this was a forbidden and spiritist practice. As a result my compulsions intensified, but I had no idea why.
At this time the Holy Spirit also illuminated the reason for my very special relationship with my brother Graham. At the time of the baby’s death he was just two years old; too young perhaps to have any real grasp of what was happening. He was, however, totally caught up in the sense of tragedy and grief which engulfed his mother, in a way which largely escaped our older brother and sister with their more developed understanding. Since he felt the loss so acutely, it followed that he would also enter into the role of my guardian and protector.
“The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.” “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” How can this be?
When we discover a promise in the Bible, we claim it. When we find a commandment, we obey it. But when a truth is revealed to us we must simply believe it. Salvation, for example, is nothing to do with good works or behavior but everything to do with believing. If the Scriptures say we have passed from death to life (John 5:24) we can only believe that it is so and stop trying to ‘feel’ saved. Feelings don’t enter into the equation, it is how we believe that matters.
Col. 2:15 speaks of Christ, ‘having disarmed principalities and powers He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.’ Obviously Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the ultimate triumph over evil. Those who have received the gift of His life are legally placed in this position of authority.
So, in response to this amazing revelation, I thanked God for my sure salvation through Christ. I asked forgiveness for having participated in a relationship with demonic powers, albeit unwittingly. I renounced that relationship and all communication with wrong spiritual influences, and in the name of Jesus Christ commanded those spirits to get out of my life. “Strongholds are mental habit patterns that have been burned into our minds over time, or by the intensity of traumatic experiences.” Neil Anderson.
In my case those habit patterns had been established over a period of many years but initially through the intensity of my mother’s trauma as it affected me in the womb. Only the Holy Spirit could expose and unravel such a tangle of relational cause and effect. And only the Lord Jesus could offer the solution.
The power of Satan is in the lie, and in his ability to deceive. Once the lie is exposed our minds become free. I knew instantly that I had been released from mental bondage but of course the habits took longer to break. Every time I habitually touched something I would think, “I don’t have to do that any more.” The sense of freedom was exhilarating.
A few days after my wonderful release I went on a short tour, dancing in the East Midlands. Traveling was normally a somewhat ritualistic matter, so I enjoyed my new found freedom immensely. When I returned home I embarked on a study of renewing the mind, as by Paul in Eph. 4:23, especially in relation to the voices and the breaking of habits. Naturally speaking this seemed an impossible task, but within a very short time I was getting in control of the situation.
Satan hates being beaten of course and on a couple of occasions attempted to disrupt our peace. Returning home late at night after the Midlands tour I was concerned to find a strong smell of burned wood in the kitchen but could find no evidence of a fire. Next morning I discovered the charred remains of a wooden kitchen chair outside the back door. When I questioned our son Daniel about it, he replied that he had simply come home one evening to find the chair on fire! There had been no naked flame anywhere in the kitchen.
A day or two later as I was doing my daily barre exercises, a tremendous crashing and banging made me leap up and rush into the kitchen, expecting to find all my shelves of pots and pans collapsed onto the floor. But nothing was out of place! I returned to my barre only to have the whole rowdy episode repeat itself a few minutes later. I concluded that someone was very angry and once again used the authority of the name of Jesus to drive out any Satanic forces.
All this happened about a year ago at the time of writing this testimony. I still occasionally find myself doing things out of habit, but not through compulsion. During times of stress or anxiety I have to exert extra resolve to keep my mind free, but the unalterable fact is that God’s Holy Spirit led me to the truth which exposed Satan’s deception. “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”
It goes without saying that as a dancer I had a strong desire to share this liberating experience through my art form, hence the series of three dances entitled Breaking Point. I wanted to engage my audience in the drama, giving an insight into that world of spiritual solicitation, inducement and finally control of the mind, but culminating in the amazing power of the truth to liberate and heal.
For the first act I have used music from Vangelis’ Beaubourg. My props are a chair wrapped in white cloth that represents the long white beings of my childhood. Throughout the dance my combined fascination yet dread of the white ones intensifies until I am eventually drawn into their power. As I pluck up courage to unwind the cloth I uncover a long black veil which becomes my covering and protection. The movements are often angular and repetitive. I endeavor to conceal my compulsive touching by making a pretence at brushing my hair aside or scratching my knee – as you do if you’re an OCD sufferer.
I begin the next scene completely shrouded in the black cloth and flaunt myself around in my new attire like a model on the cat walk. I take on new identity moves. The music, JDJ Journey’s, is perfect for the piece. There are allusions to a combination of personalities, identities and bitter, vengeful references to past grievances. As is usual with spiritual aggravation I slip back and forth from the oppressor to the oppressed.
The key theme to the final dance is of course redemption through revelation of truth. As referenced in my testimony it was in a dream that God set the scene for my healing. Using Vangelis’ music from Antarctica I have tried to capture the feeling of serenity and deep tranquility which often lingers on after our Heavenly Father’s direct intervention through our dreams. The same props are used but their compelling power is diminished. Deep in the folds of the white cloth I discover a long red ribbon which signifies the blood of Christ through Whom we receive the revelation of grace and truth. The spell of deception is broken. The power of truth prevails.
This testimony came from ASSIST COMMUNICATIONS, PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126, USA. They can be reach by E-mail: email@example.com.
The true story of dramatic release from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) a story