Please Help Me Understand OCD

Please help me understand OCD. I have a 12.5 yr. old daughter who spends every waking moment obsessing and compulsing. She is convinced her school is       contaminated. This is her whole life. For example, she takes showers that last hours and hours. Over & over; she scrubs herself raw, until her fingers bleed where there used to be nails and nail beds. She scrubs her eyes and up her nasal passages with soap to the point her vision is blurry all the time and her sinuses burn continuously. She violently brushes her teeth to the point of permanent enamel loss. She scrubs her tonsils and uvula until she gags or vomits. She scrubs her scalp and hair to the point it’s breaking at the roots and falling out. She eats toothpaste, which is toxic, to kill the germs in her stomach from eating at school. She dreads school because of all the horrible decontamination rituals afterwords.

She gets angry if I bring up the topic of OCD and cries that I don’t understand. She won’t take her medicine. She hates therapists. Most of all she is convinced there is nothing or no one to help her get better. She knows she’s doomed to a life of misery and expresses that the way she has to live is just too much to bare. She is angry that others can just be normal.

Please offer me some insight, advice, personal stories, suggestions or anything at all to assist me with her plight.

Thank you in advance,

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About LISA DOUGLAS

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 Facebook.com/ LiveOCDFree, Twitter: LiveOCDFree, YouTube.com/LiveOCDFree, OCDKids.wordpress.com and LiveOCDFree.com. Please, join and /or follow her journey so you can be aware of OCD, too. View all posts by LISA DOUGLAS

4 responses to “Please Help Me Understand OCD

  • Bess Burton

    I find your blog very interesting. I have OCD and have had it as long as I can remember. Now, my son has it as well and strangely enough I have a harder time dealing with his OCD than my own. If you would like for me to share more about our situations, I would be happy to email you, etc as I don’t want to post all our personal information online.

    • douglaslisa

      Thank you for reading my OCDKids blog. I’m so glad you find it interesting. Please feel free to make any suggestions as to information, content, subject matter, etc which you would benefit from on this site.
      Your comment, “strangely enough I have a harder time dealing with his OCD than my own” does not surprise me at all. I have a much less severe form of OCD than Julia but I find that mine is more in-check because it is MY OCD. I know how I respond and react to the OCD issues I face. I know what’s going on in MY head. However, the ball-game changes when one must contend with an OCD sufferer, particularly one which is a child. Childhood OCD is, in many ways, distinct from adult OCD. The rules change rapidly, we can’t read their minds, they are suffering through their OCD tinted glasses with a child’s intellect and perceptions and are often even more afraid and perplexed than adult sufferers. Additionally, as the child, they are looking to their mother/parents to solve their problem. Unfortunately, the problem is typically difficult to solve and the child may be left with feelings of additional stress, anxiety, confusion and misgivings. I believe, it’s crucial to have some means of dialogue with your child either through ones self, doctor, trusted friend or family member in order to keep the lines of communication open. From my experience, if at all possible, it’s imperative to know and understand to the best of your abilities what, exactly, is happening within your child’s mind. This, too, will help you better cope with your feelings, exasperation, frustration, exhaustion, etc, as well as. Further assisting your child’s battles with OCD.
      *Please feel free to communicate with me off-line. It is through our combined stories and experience which we can all better cope with the battlefield of OCD.

  • jillian

    i have extreame OCD just like your daughter.i do everything on a scheduel and wash my hands and body until they bleed.i count everything and have invase thoughts.i sanitize everything i own (and dont own) i rip at my skin and hair because of germs.i check everything and i wont take meds.i wont let the doctors take blood because of germ getting into my blood stream.i won’t step on cracks,i wont step on likes in the side walk.i can only step on the white of the cross walk.i won’t let anyone touch me especially my mother.I know it hurts her when she goes to touch me and i break down.I stare at my hands because they aren’t clen enough even if theyre bleeding and dry.I do so many ocd compulsions that i have a whole daily routine.I have “ocd/panick/anxiety attacks” where i turn red and sweat and cry and pass out and black out and physically harm myself and others.Ocd is a scary thing and it feels like when you wake up and feel lke your falling.Your stuck or lost in a way.I also explain that the attacks feel like you got dropped in someone elses body.My ocd affects everyone from teachers to my mother and brother.I am fourteen years old and i have lived with OCD for as long as i can remember.It became a snowball affect.ever since younger than age four,its ogtten worse.If you have any questions please contact me.

  • LISA DOUGLAS

    Dear Jillian,

    I am so, so sorry you have had to live this way. I really feel your pain and want to help you and your family in any ways I possibly can.

    I’m behind on my blog updates as we have been very busy, because Julia is doing MUCH better, now. I will be more than happy to share what is changing her life with OCD and our lives as a family. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it to be possible!

    You or your mom can contact me directly at Douglas.Lisa@hotmail.com and we can arrange to Skype or speak on the phone.

    Remember, you are NOT alone.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Most Sincerely, Lisa

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