She Tripped & Skinned Her Knee

Today’s newest dilemma: Doesn’t this happen to all children? Isn’t the solution fairly simple? Comfort them and put a band-aid upon the wound, right? Not necessarily if your child has OCD and a horrific fear of germs. Additionally, if this child “knows” her junior high school is the most contaminated place on earth, how will she handle this scraped up knee? One of the dilemmas of parenting a child with severe OCD is that your never quite certain what’s rattling around in their head at any given moment or how their going to react. Two days after the initial incident, I asked to see the scrape to assure healing was on schedule. I was expecting to view a naturally occurring scab formed, thereby assuring her immune system was taking care of issue. I was, yet again, taken aback by what I saw on my precious child’s knee. In front of my bewildered eyes a raw deep cavern of flesh. Where’s the scab I questioned? What happened honey, what has happened? “Momma, the germs from school get into the scab and I have to get them out! You just don’t get it!” Sweetheart I said, “the scab is your bodies way of protecting the wound to heal. It keeps any germs out so it won’t get infected.” Exasperated she exclaimed, “the germs get into the scab and I HAVE to get them out!”

What is a mother to do, it’s late at night and tomorrow it’s back to the innumerable rituals relating to this excessive “school germaphobia” we face five days a week. What about her knee? If she goes to school tomorrow, it is inevitable that she will dig further into her flesh to remove the invisible foes lurking in her mind. All night I lie awake, thinking about the real danger associated with such a gaping wound. What should I do? Keep her home to allow a new scab to form in the assumed safety away from school? Should I send her to school only to await the inevitable upon her return. As she will spend hours in the shower scouring every inch and orifice of her little body to rid it of the “school germs?” Yet, today in addition to her “normal” shower routine she will be removing flesh yet deeper and deeper into her knee! Can her pediatrician help, I doubt it. She doesn’t get it either. What about her psychiatrist at Duke? He won’t help, he says she’s not treatable, “her only hope is medication and time.”

Upon mornings coming what did I decide to do, you ask? I let her sleep in. I will not blame the OCD for her missing school when she awakens. But, later today I’m going to discuss how we can differently wrap the wound such that it will remain “clean” while in school, tomorrow. Some say this may be enabling, I agree. However, sometimes the irrational fear of germs can create a situation where a reality based infection can become a serious issue. I can only pray my plan works and tomorrow may be just a little different than yesterday.


Foremost, I am an OCD awareness, treatment and long-term recovery: advocate, spokesperson, consultant, supporter, and educator. I am the mother and sole provider of care for an amazingly smart, witty, charismatic, 13 year old daughter, Alexandra, who was severely debilitated by OCD. The apex of Alexandra’s journey to simply be like ‘normal’ people is marked by her recent, astonishing ascent from the subterranean bowels of OCD Hell she has inhabited for as long as she can remember, to becoming freed to, once again, walk alongside and among the “land of the living.” Over these past nine years and all the realizations I’ve made regarding the mental health system, its profession and providers, society’s stigmas, discrimination, accusations, insurance debacles and all else involved, I’ve been making belief, someone, someday will help my progressively declining child who’s Y-BOCS consistently remained between 34 and 40 for the past 6 whole years! Until this past April, she and I have been on an endless quest for proper treatment which would help to alleviate and, ultimately, release her from the incomprehensibly horrific, all-consuming, self-harming, isolated purgatory from which she was ever-increasingly, perpetually trapped by her obsessions and rituals. Earlier this year, our seemingly last hope for help was to be an extended stay at Rogers Memorial but after months of fighting with her 2 insurance companies over denying coverage for admittance, I was at my wits end, again! Having immersed myself into the global OCD community for many years seeking help, advice, guidance, etc., I came across a post seeking beta study participants using an app for ERP. Immediately, I applied for my daughter. The director/doctor was very hesitant as Alex’s OCD was so extreme. However, with a lot of persuasion, a remarkably wise and kind doctor, as well as, an enormous ‘leap of faith,’ we began using the app from LiveOCDFree. She has been diligently working with the Live OCD Free app for the past 3 months. During this short time, with much hard work and determination, she has achieved remarkable progress against her, previously omnipresent, OCD symptoms! Her OCD had forced her into seclusion, isolation, and painful 4+ hour ritualistic decontamination showers and had even left her unable to touch or breathe the air of those she loves. Remarkably, Alexandra can now walk anywhere and touch almost everything freely. She can hug and spend time with loved-ones and friends without decontaminating. Ali’s showers are now only 25-minutes and do not involve any painful rituals. She continues to work to conquer her remaining OCD issues and anticipates, in time, a full recovery from the OCD which has plagued her since the age of four. Alexandra, and I, want nothing more than to lead a revolution against this insidious, debilitating monster we call OCD! To help others see how much hope there is with proper treatment, she and I are documenting her OCD recovery process and history through LiveOCDFree, Twitter: LiveOCDFree,, and Please, join and /or follow her journey so you can be aware of OCD, too. View all posts by LISA DOUGLAS

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