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Live OCD Free App Now Available




New Options for OCD Sufferers, Therapists & My Daughter

Live OCD Free is a new, revolutionary mobile therapy application which brings Exposure and Response Prevention into your own hands or the hands of your patients in a new and highly effective way. Currently, the app is available for iPhones, iPod Touch and iTablets and will next be launched into the Android market. The Live OCD Free app makes homework easier, holds patients accountable, and enables therapists to track and analyze their patient’s progress. The app can be purchased at the iTunes store for a one-time investment and more can be learned on the website.

Live OCD Free is ideally suited to help both individuals (adults and children) and professionals alike be more efficient and achieve faster results. Live OCD Free helps individuals and therapists to be more efficient by assisting the OCD sufferer in designing a uniquely personalized Exposure and Response Prevention treatment program. If the OCD sufferer is working with a therapist, all the data stored in the app can be easily emailed to the therapist thus enabling an even more fine-tuned treatment plan.

Live OCD Free helps children and adults gradually face their fears by creating a series of exercises or challenges to practice on their iPhones, iPod Touch and iTablets. These exercises empower users to resist the urge to give in to compulsions, tackle excessive or intrusive thoughts in a manageable way, and reduce anxiety in just a short period of time.

The Live OCD Free app features:

  • An individualized ERP program
  • Assistance working through exercises
  • Reminders to practice
  • Goals and rewards
  • Prerecorded and customizable motivational messages
  • Relaxation and mediation techniques
  • A comprehensive user’s guide
  • Tutorial videos
  • Progress reports to share with therapists

For Children, there is the Live OCD Free Worry Wizard. It is a fun and empowering game with the goal of achieving victory over the “Worry Wizard.” It contains OCD specific music, graphics, and inspirational quotes from other children with OCD.

Live OCD Free is now available in the iTunes store for download on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad and has been developed by Dr. Kristen Mulcahy, Director of the Cognitive Behavioral Institute in Falmouth, Mass.

YouTube Preview Tutorials are also available:

*Promotional Code for Therapists: Interested in reviewing or previewing Live OCD Free? A limited number of applications are available for free download.

In closing, this is the most exciting new option for OCD sufferers and therapists alike.  The peer reviews from our most renowned OCD experts internationally are universally impressed with this app!  

My daughter is involved with this application and its developer Dr. Kristen Mulcahy and will  be speaking for and representing the app at the International OCD Foundations Annual Meeting in Chicago in July! Is this not amazing? My daughter’s suffering has been so severe for so long and now she will be dedicating her treatment to this application on her iPhone, serving as its official spokesperson, conducting interviews and will be video blogging on the website for others to follow her lead!



Thank You to the Global OCD Community!

I’m just going to get it out there, here and now. Parenting a child with OCD is exhausting. I, actually, still feel guilty to even write such a statement about my own child. We all knew, as we became parents that it would, at times, be an effort-filled endeavor for many years to come. I know I, personally, accepted this fact readily and even excitedly. Was I simply being naive or was it that I had no idea what was to come?

I ask myself, how I can possibly complain about how indescribably difficult it is, every day, 365 days, each year caring for and sharing a home with an OCD adolescent. I’d say to myself, isn’t she the one who’s really suffering? Isn’t she the one who must complete these seemingly endless rituals and contend with those ever-present, illogical thoughts? Isn’t she the one who must take the medications and cope with the side effects? Don’t I have it easy compared to her? So, how can I reasonably profess my exhaustion at days end without feeling a sense of guilt?

As the years of raising my daughter, Julia, alone have passed and her illness has contorted into it’s ever so many presentations, I’m only just beginning to understand that it’s not only alright to be exhausted its imperative to recognize how I’m feeling. I must admit, always, over these past ~9 years, I thought I was to forever be my little families rock, never allowing myself any attention. I reasoned, any strength I take to do for myself depletes the little I have left within to contend with Julia and her little sisters daily care. But by solely focusing on their needs, Julia’s doctors, schools and day-to-day living, the precious moments, days, weeks, months and years still continue to pass… indifferent to my plight.

I have recently “come-out” with my story through blogging and joining support groups for caregivers and sufferers, alike. I have learned so much from others on both sides of the OCD fence through these faceless interactions.

By actively involving myself in dialogs with OCD sufferers, I’ve managed to see a more well rounded view of this disease from both the young and old. They have been patient enough with me to carefully explain how life is perceived through their personally OCD clouded eyes. This insight and willingness to help me understand now allows me to better communicate with Julia and better be inside her head while she’s trapped within this ever-sticky spider web disease.

Having only spoken of such matters with medical specialist and a few close friends over these years, I have just realized I was severely lacking one crucial element. The element of compassion and understanding to only be derived through a community who knows these struggles first hand! Through my interactions with parents from around the world coping with raising an OCD child, I’ve gleaned yet another perspective all together. To my surprise, other parents so freely spoke of their confusion, frustration and exhaustion. Meanwhile, the others listened, asked questions and comforted them. They gave them, as well as myself, “permission” to be real to real feelings about their personal struggles. It’s been through these experiences that I now realize all I’ve been missing.

For all of you out here facing the day to day’s with your children, I implore you to reach out. Reach out to people who “get it.” You will gain a new rejuvenation. A new way of releasing yourselves from the ties that bind. A new way to comfort and console yourselves. We all have so much on our proverbial plates, let the strength of the many provide the support to those of us who really need it, whether we recognize it or not. You may be surprised to realize that you can, conversely, help others by way of your experiences, as well. It’s like a balancing of nature. It’s too much to bear alone. Remembering, OCD is a families disease. A disease where all involved need care and compassion. This is how we can each awaken to every new day and lay our heads down each night with the empowering knowledge that we are not alone.

Enabling, The Invisible Fence, Germaphobia

Caring for a child who has a severe mental illness is exceptionally difficult. Conducting daily life with a child suffering from OCD, who appears perfectly normal to the outside world but is plagued by behaviors which are illogical and debilitating, seen only by those closest, is nothing short of a seemingly hopeless task. The reality is, along with the child afflicted with OCD, it is the entire family, or the single parent, who gets mired up into the child’s irrational world. When it comes to different levels of enabling; where do you draw the line between maintaining any semblance of peace verses total chaos? What degree of enabling is acceptable?

My daughter of 12 has severe OCD with exceptionally debilitating germaphobia. Among other issues, as with many childhood OCD sufferers, she is morbidly germaphobic of her school. The rituals to rid herself of the germs supposedly obtained at school are simply horrid. She believes she and all related must be decontaminated after school every day. These rituals are seemingly endless, take hours to complete and cause her physical and emotional pain. However, any deviation from these rituals catapults her into a ostensibly eternal, stress induced frenzy. Having dealt with the myriad of her OCD symptoms since before the age of 4, I’ve learned the hard way that there are no simple answers to the “enabling” question. To add insult to injury she also has recovery avoidance which literally leaves me alone to fend for our lives. I am continuously seeking solutions for her recovery. The bottom line, however, is that I’m on my own, everyday, to make the “fence” decisions in an effort to grapple with her monstrous malady.

When is any level of enabling acceptable? Dealing with OCD is hard enough but doing so within the multifaceted phases involved with childhood and puberty can be an exceptionally discouraging endeavor. Childhood OCD is certainly unique in many ways from adult OCD. The invisible fence the adult must teeter, between whether to enable or not, is infinitesimally thin. However, my experience has proven, one side of this phantom fence allows for some modicum of enabling and the other side allows for none. I must say that I enable her the very least I feel possible at the particular time. However, my experience has proven if all enabling ceases, her grades plummet from A’s to F’s and inpatient psychiatric wards may well, again, be part of her immediate future. Conversely, while the other side of this illusive fence professes to not allow any accommodation to the OCD as it shall certainly propel the disease yet further into the deep chasm of the OCD inferno. The conundrum is simply that the middle of the fence seems to get more & more miniscule, and at times, appears non-existent.

Therefore, one must ask, is there a middle ground to enabling or is it simply an invisible fence I must teeter upon minute by minute?

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.

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