Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Summer camp

My Nora worked SO hard at selling cookies this year at booths in the FREEZING cold outside around our area. She loved it at first, then tried getting out of it (which her dad didn't catch on to and let her) and then had to FIGHT OCD big time in order to get back in the game and join the troop and sell more...ALL to GO TO CAMP - something I never did as a kid and sounds SO FUN - to me, the NON-OCD mama!

Here's the trouble. EVEN IF Nora were to pick camp, go with her troop that she loves and be excited about it. I'm not sure she'll be able to handle BEING at camp and actually enjoying it...So i'm afraid to bring it up. I don't want her to miss out (something I don't handle very well myself) on one hand but I don't want her to let OCD take over and allow the "avoidance" keep her from experience what could and should be a great time.

Flip side...if she goes and anxiety TAKES OVER, it is heart-wrenching and heart-breaking and I will want to rescue her immediately because she can't fight OCD in the middle of everything that freaks her out (camp toilets, weird bathrooms, feeling dirty, spreading dirty, showers, swimming, strange beds...oh my)...because she's only 10...and here's the part I just wonder and wonder about, what if not doing this makes it harder to go to college, have roomates, etc..

So, this blog is just a little about how a mom has anxiety about her kiddo's anxiety and has to fight her worries to help her kiddo beat her OCD...what a bully!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Prince AdamImage via Wikipedia
STOP IT!!!! Nora was IN HER ROOM READING by herself, no radio, no tv, no computer, alone, happy and NO ONE SENT HER THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROCK OUT!!!
AND...she played with her sisters all winter break! I think she laughed, pretended, played, had FUN, real, actual FUN! SAY IT ISN'T so!!! okay okay, so life isn't perfect she DID HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO stay up ungoldy hours to watch He-Man and She-Ra...yes, you can still watch those! She wouldn't play on "equipment" at play areas, she couldn't accidentally see a sister's cards while playing a game without desperately needing to be truthful about it, I was still called SARGE (my fave word esp. if you know how NOT A SARGE I AM!), she bathed well and then not, worried about well Nora stuff, verified past actions were in fact fine, she SWAM (woot woot), and even woke up without a terrible time this morning...So, though there were ups and downs, she managed to have a good time. And Managed it was! So a big hoo-rah for a big break!!!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nothing Doing

Silent symptoms scream loudly don't they?!!!! It is easier to notice things aren't quite right when kids are throwing fits and fighting. When they're quietly struggling they don't get attention as quickly because it is harder to notice. OCD can be like that sometimes...it masks as a mumble, an erase, a delay but it shows itself as a re-read passage that took hours to complete, an anxiety that stops fun activities paralyzing the next move without the compulsion to move on - we can stop compulsions sometimes but not the obsessions, a rephrased answer to a question without any firm commitments to opinions or preferences, a small shrug away from sometime normal - ex. picking up a nail on the floor was a big deal because we don't like touching sharp objects and were very anxious about it! okay, you and I don't want to get stabbed by a nail but the simple transportation of that nail from floor-to hand-to drawer even if it poked us accidentally on the way wouldn't phase us...silent, sneaky OCD builds unnecessary worry about touching that nail and a strong dislike for "sharp" objects - forget about the knife to cut dinner, the scissors to play or the paper cutter - include the razor in the bathroom a pointy nail - now there's danger - but not really right?!

Maintaining a right-idea about what OCD is and isn't is so important in properly addressing its bully behaviors. My Nora NEVER cleans dishes repeatedly, doesn't spend time locking and unlocking doors before she leaves the house but she did line up her stuffies on her bed (but that was to avoid the reading and essay work she DOES use OCD avoidance behaviors about) And at least at our house, these obsessions have themes but neither they or the compulsions follow a set pattern - unless avoidance is in the mix.

We recently started scaling up a medicine regimin and her reactions have been varied but improving - almost like we're peeling back the layers on the symptoms and will leave the core of her illness underneath, but we shall see!

This week's homework, showering for 20 minutes EVERY DAY - but here's the trickiest part, RECORDING it!!

Sometimes I think there isn't much to say, but maybe that is just as much part of her story! And other days there is SO much to say but for her sake I am trying to leave out the outbursts!

More soon!

Here's an article about common OCD myths...it helps clear up some of our common ideas about OCD - you know, from movies and our cultural notions!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"the OCD fit"

I have been racking my brain everytime I'm not around Nora to determine what her "OCD FIT" words are...now, I've got it down. Its the same every time - which is good because sometimes OCD is hard to keep up with...here goes:

M: Nora, how much homework do you have left?
N: Swear to god, swear to god, I'm going to hit you now (ad lib) (followed by a pencil throw, door slam, pinch or other physical sign of frustration) SWEAR TO GOD (said much louder this time)
M: standing still...watching...waiting...
N: mom, i'm sorry for throwing a fit (back to self)

that's classic, every time i hear "swear to god" i KNOW...i just don't know what to DO!!!
then, this morning it was so subtle (ocd's voice that is)...a sister told a story about something and Nora calmly explained how that would take 5 days instead of 3 or something so simple like that...Ken said, oh I've gottcha nora (or something similar) and I quickly shook my head and Ken said as I responded to her I realized what was happening...if you're involved with an Accuracy OCD person you know too...she had to "correct" her sister's statement in something very minor because OCD's accuracy demand requires not just accuracy in Nora's statements but what it filter's into her brain (hearing a story too).

Now, a non-OCD person would say their kids correct each other too and that IS true, but for us, it is another sign how nothing passes through the filter without need for attention...every statement must be accurate...every answer on homework can't be answered without OCD questioning if the answer is "really right" - which is how it can get overwhelming and then refer to the above OCD fit above!!!


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Small signs of OCDs presence

My OCD Kiddo had a morning this morning o yes she did!!! Thankfully I'm getting better at identifying her own personality moodiness and an OCD triggered frustration.

Here's where blogging is getting hard...Nora's OCD is so interwoven with her inner thought patterns it sometimes is only quirky repeated phrases I happen to notice when she's building anxiety about something, a look, how she holds herself - MANNERISMS - a strange grade on a test we studied for, unsubstantiated frustrations and tone followed by a characteristic sweetness - the HOW and WHO she is has a little lightswitch that tells me how much the bully is pestering her and i watch it flicker on and off. She's wrestling with this disease off and on all the time - just like her OCD puzzle tells her - OCD is a part of her - we just want to keep it a small one!

THEN a few minutes later it is an angry outburst, relentless and nearly unstoppable teasing of a sister, or frozen forward movement for a project, or an inability to cope that she doesn't know a spelling word she gets so worked up she can't even continue to study and she throws a pencil across the room...THEN she realizes her bully got the best of her and she makes ammends and moves about her day until the bully starts another round loud enough for me to hear it again...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why would you medicate and NOT get therapy?!

I know we can be medication phobic these days. no one wants to "label" their child or treat them too quickly for diseases they may or may not have but are we seriously THAT scared of seeking therapy that we'd medicate without actually trying to fix the OCD problem??

"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" you ask me. I just read a parent OCD kids group on facebook posting or five where people are giving advice about how to cope with OCD and discussing a child's troubles by saying that ther anxiety brought about from therapy was worse than the OCD but medication seemed to be working so they were NOT seeking therapy for their children. HELLO, BULLY, COME ON OVER TO PLAY AT OUR HOUSE!!!! that's what that says to me!!!

OF COURSE behaviors are worse to start, you're disturbing a bully's free reign over your child's brain..and bullies don't like to be told NO so of COURSE anxieties are worse for a while. As my daughter's therapist says to me when I feel overwhelmed by Nora's symptoms. The help for one anxiety generalizes the help for them all...it lowers her overall anxiety by fighting the battle. If we medicate - and one day we may - it will be at low enough dose where she still has to learn strategies and fight the disease. Reducing anxiety is IMPORTANT, having a life you can THRIVE in is CRITICAL. Medicating away a problem that needs to be taught its boundaries doesn't actually help fix the problem...the medication only helps ease symptoms but it doesn't fight the problem or teach strategies to relearn what isn't actually worry-worthy.

Oh parents, this one isn't easy. I'm so sorry. I wish it were. How I wish OCD wasn't a lifelong disease, but it is. Fill your child's armory with all the weapons he or she needs to squash this bully while enhancing his/her well being not just while the medication works. Arm yourself with the PROPER do's and don'ts of fighting this bully. Don't make them up...chances are what you think is helping (ex. making an issue seem like "no big deal") is feeding OCD's greedy nature. My best help for OCD is frequently the opposite of how I would cope myself.
Nora: "mom, i talked to my teacher today and i thought i was talking too loud but i don't really think i was, is that okay?"

Me before: "oh honey, you probably weren't loud or she would have said something, its okay, no big deal."

OCD: "ooh, you were too loud you should worry about how loud you're being...haha, you better keep asking! see, don't you feel better your mom said it was okay"

ME NOW: "definitely sounds too loud."

NORA's THINKING: "no, i wasn't too loud, that was OCD"

I can repeat examples like that over and over again let alone exposure therapies that have made her force herself back into habits that were second nature before (and we still have super far to go!)...I guess my stress is that we're responsible for teaching our kids how to be great adults and teaching them to ignore professional help because we're not comfortable with the immediate results and don't like "therapy" is SELFISH and a disservice...and I'm quite sure adults with the disease would agree! And who needs the guilt from feeding their kiddos OCD bully because they're doing the wrong thing since no one was there to tell them differently.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chilling out

OCD seems to be chilling out this week. Yay! Nora has therapy in the afternoon tomorrow and I'm so chill about it compared to last week. I think her tough exposure exercise has done wonders like her dr. said - it has generalized to help control other symptoms too - my non professional opinion for sure!

The school meeting went awesome because her teacher is awesome - she has a great balance of keeping nora in step with the class, being private and encouraging her right out of a new little habit or two! I was pretty nervous in there, ken said i touched ny face a bunch - annoying nervous habit of mine. its got to be hard on everyone there's no good manual on this...

Nora's school issue this week has to do with someone telling her that her jokes aren't funny and she's lame, just what you'd expect from a 5th grader so we'll work through it!