Tuesday, October 20, 2015

If it looks like OCD, and it sounds like OCD, it is probably OCD

I have seen this meme (and others like it) float around about M&Ms and OCD, and I sorta hate it.


I think I dislike it because it minimizes the disability and disarray that OCD can cause in a person's life.  OCD becomes something ridiculous and comical.  Something that just makes you rearrange your M&Ms. 

People use OCD now the way people used to use the word "retarded."  Off the cuff.  They like a certain brand of lipstick and say, "Oh, I'm so OCD about my cosmetics," in the same manner in which people would jokingly say, "Don't be so retarded!"

I don't get angry with them, but I wish they understood just how debilitating it can be.  How unfunny it is if you are living it every day or watching someone you love struggle with it.

Today I scheduled an appointment with a child psychiatrist for G.  Our family physician feels that, given G's behaviors, OCD sounds very likely and medication would be warranted.  An 8-year-old child probably shouldn't even notice when his mother moves a flower arrangement, and if he does notice, he certainly shouldn't scream, cry and briefly lose his mind because something was changed in the house.  An 8-year-old probably shouldn't have a repetitive string of things he says before bed every night, in the exact same way, for a year or more.  

I am not anti-medication.  My medication changed my life for the better, although I initially struggled with "having to take medication to make my brain work properly."  Why the brain is so darned different from kidneys or intestines or any other body part that is allowed to stop working properly of its own accord without any shame or guilt, I do not know.  

My fear at the idea of putting G on medication, or even considering it as a possibility, has to do with changing his brain in an unnatural way, but our family doctor said something today which, given my experience and what I know about OCD, I should have been able to say to myself:

It doesn't make much sense to think medication will keep G's brain from developing properly.  He is not medicated right now, but given his anxiety, his brain is not developing "properly."  He is likely developing all kinds of distorted patterns of thinking that will end up causing him more harm over the long run.  If medication dampens his anxiety and OCD behaviors, he will be more likely to learn affective, useful coping mechanisms.  

Heightened, consistent and chronic anxiety that interferes with a child's ability to feel secure and function, even within a household that is as flipping "secure and functional" as I can possibly make it, is not "normal" brain development.  

And so we look toward the evaluation and whatever answers it gives us.  

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