Summary: OCD is often joked about but this mental health issue can severely impact people's lives. Saul's obsession over David ultimately impacted his ability to rule Israel.

In 1884 he moved to the United States with nothing but a letter of introduction to Thomas Edison. The letter was written by his former employer, Charles Batchelor, and it simply read, “I know two great men, one is you and the other is this young man.”

Today, when we think of Tesla, we think of the electric car, but the electric car owes its name to Nikola Tesla, one of the smartest men to ever live. A man who had a photographic memory and spoke eight languages fluently

Tesla has been called by some “the man who invented the 20th Century”. And while we often give credit for electric lighting to Thomas Edison, it was Tesla who made electric lighting practical.

When we think of radio we think of Marconi, but the reality is that it was Tesla who came up with the idea, and he would have perfected it if his workshop hadn’t burned down with all of his plans and notes.

Otis Pond, an engineer working for Tesla at the time, said, “Looks as if Marconi got the jump on you.” Tesla replied, “Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents.”

And while Marconi was able to patent the radio in 1904, the US Patent office overturned that patent in 1943 and awarded the patent to Tesla. Of course, Tesla had died earlier that year.

The man who invented the 20th century died penniless and alone in a New York Hotel room on January 7, 1943.

While Tesla was a genius, his genius was hindered by mental illness. During his life, he struggled with issues that back then led him to be called an eccentric. Now, we would say he struggled with OCD or Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some have even speculated that Tesla may have been a high-functioning autistic.

We are told that he became obsessed with cleanliness and germs. All his food had to be boiled to make sure it was germ free, and he avoided shaking hands with people and if he couldn’t avoid shaking hands, he’d try to wear gloves. In the TV show Young Sheldon, Sheldon wears mittens to hold hands at the table while saying grace.

There are those who have speculated this fear of physical contact is why Tesla never married and remained celibate throughout his life, after all if you are unable to shake hands. . .

He became fixated on the number three. If he did shake your hand it was done in a set of three. When he washed his hands, it had to be done three times. He had to have 18 napkins on his table during meals, because that was six sets of three. When he stayed in a hotel it had to be in a room and on a floor that was divisible by three. And when he died, at the Hotel New Yorker of coronary thrombosis, it was in room 3327. You should read up on Tesla. He was fascinating.

This is week seven of our mental health series at Cornerstone, and over the past seven weeks we’ve looked at depression, narcissism, renewing your mind, anxiety, worry and fear. This morning I’d like to look at dealing with OCD.

The International OCD Foundation makes this statement on their website: “For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic may be specifically impacting your OCD symptoms, including your obsessions and/or your compulsions.”

And the Mayo Clinic defines OCD this way, OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted thoughts urges or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety.

The clinic goes on to state that some of the common themes of OCD are:

Fear of contamination or dirt.

Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty.

Needing things orderly and symmetrical.

Aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control and harming yourself or others.

Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects.

Often when we think of OCD behaviour, we are thinking of number 1 and 3, fear of contamination or dirt, and needing things orderly and symmetrical. And you might be able to picture specific people, if not in your own circle of acquaintances, then Sheldon from Big Bang or Howie Mandel.

But obsessive or intrusive thoughts are also symptomatic of OCD.

In reference to his OCD Howie Mandel, said, “There isn’t anybody out there who doesn’t have a mental health issue, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or how to cope with relationships. Having OCD is not an embarrassment anymore - for me. Just know that there is help and your life could be better if you go out and seek the help.”

The scripture that was read for us earlier tells us about a turning point in the life of King Saul. You might recall, Saul, he was anointed as the first King of Israel, and he did a good job at the beginning. He was the king in charge when the giant Goliath challenged the armies of Israel, and when the shepherd boy David defeated Goliath with his sling and five smooth stones.

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