Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Obsessive thoughts about niddah

17 September, 2020

Question:

I’m curious if you have any advice regarding obsessive tendencies surrounding the halachot of Niddah. I am still in my first few years of marriage and I feel that I have become much more obsessive about my Niddah experience and practice.

I’ll often doubt whether or not I waited long enough if I happened to look at the toilet paper or I’ll stare at a bedikah for a long period of time, even though I know it is okay. Sometimes I even worry about old stains on my white underwear, even though I know they are totally fine. Often, I’ll find myself suddenly worrying about something and I won’t be able to stop being concerned about it until I ask a question, even though I’m pretty sure it is fine. Sometimes I also suddenly worry after immersing that I missed something or did something wrong in my preparation.

Do you have any advice as to how to deal with this or any suggestions about someone with whom I could speak? I’ve spoken to my kallah teacher who is a yoetzet Halacha, but I’m still looking for more guidance.


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question and are sorry to hear of the obsessive thoughts and feelings you’ve developed around hilchot niddah. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common problem. Fortunately it can be treated.

We commend you for reaching out to your kallah teacher and for taking the step of writing to us. Although it sounds as though you are managing the situation well, it is important that it not deteriorate and that you get the help that you seek. We suspect that you might benefit most from a few sessions of professional counseling. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has a proven track record in helping with obsessive thinking and can teach you techniques that will help you change your train of thought. Referrals to religiously observant counsellors can be found via nefesh.org.

Moving forward, it’s important to remember that a good amount of stringency is built into the halachot here, so that a woman making a sincere effort to observe them generally will not violate halacha, certainly not wittingly. God did not create halacha for angels, but for human beings. There is always room for error, for growth and for forgiveness.

We wish you a ketivah v’chatimah tovah! Please don’t hesitate to write back to us with any halachic questions.


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