Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear son, I'm the OCD're the nut

Imagine you get a new picture and hang it on your wall.  You like the picture.  You wanted a change.
But every time you walk in the room, your picture is no longer a picture.  It is a giant, hot pink elephant that is engulfed in flames.  It isn't dangerous;  it will not harm you or burn your house down. You just cannot ignore it, no matter how hard you try.  Everyone else sees your new picture and enjoys it.  You cannot enjoy your picture because it refuses to just be a picture.  It is now a disturbance and may feel that way for weeks.  Or forever.

Imagine you are doing your work.  Out of your head pops the "Waiting for someone to call me back" blob.  It sits on a stool near your desk and throws tiny spit balls at your forehead.  They don't hurt.  The blob doesn't speak or make mean faces or feel threatening, really.  But your concentration sucks because of the spit balls.  You can't ignore the spit balls.  They won't stop pinging your forehead.

When I was a child, around age 10 although I could have been a little older or a little younger, I remember doing the following:

*staying up every night until after my parents went to bed and checking all the locks on the doors. I didn't disturb my folks.  They probably didn't know I was still awake, but I was.  When I heard them breathing deeply and/or snoring, I'd come out of my room.

*I had to have one ear covered in order to sleep (after checking the locks).  It was even better if I could put a cotton ball in my ear and then cover it with the sheet.

*If I called a friend, (in the days before answering machines), and no one was home,  I let the phone ring a hundred times.  (It occurred to me that I might be elaborating.  Maybe it wasn't a hundred.  It was probably only 50.  But then I decided that allowing the phone to ring even 25 is probably excessive.)

*As a teenager, if I went out and used hairspray or styling products on my hair, I could come home and go to sleep.  But the next night, if I didn't change my sheets, I could feel the hairspray and styling products on my face when I put my head on the pillow.  I could not sleep on those sheets.

Over time, my symptoms, my oddities, changed.

What I can only assume is happening to G is that he is confronted with inflamed elephants and hairspray sensations and pinging spit balls, and he can't cope, so he cries and shrieks and throws tantrums.

The added issue is that he is egosyntonic---he doesn't see this as a problem, even though it is a problem for our family.  This is why CBT doesn't work for him.  CBT only works if the person sees a concern/problem and is motivated to address and change it.

The psychiatrist is hopeful that because I have had a good run with Lexapro, G will have good results with Celexa.

I very rarely have "Please, God" thoughts, but I am very much hoping that however G can be helped, healed and supported, he will be.  

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