When OCD is Not a Joke! (OCD #1)

31 Dec

Many, many of us with OCD tendencies joke about that!  Our name appears to be legion.

But what happens when OCD crosses a line and is not a joke?  What about when you cross the line from sometimes going back into the kitchen to make sure, one last time, that you turned off the oven and wind up in a place where OCD immobilizes you for hours?  What then?

What happens to those whose OCD becomes life-dominating, keeping them from much productive activity?  

I am still new enough at this journey to say “I don’t know what happens then . . .”

Our beloved son has OCD, along with autism.  The autism is manageable, even endearing.  The OCD . . . well, I wish I could jerk it out by the roots. 

The OCD has only recently become unmanageable.  Our son will get on a perseveration (obsessive thought sequence) that will spin him into an emotionally volatile state.  He doesn’t seem to be able to move from that state, regardless of consequences imposed.  

He gets to a place where he believes some injustice has occurred, with him being one of its victims, and he can’t let it go.  He becomes angry about events that are real enough, but on which he has placed an interpretation that would not occur to most of us.  

So it is not schizophrenia, as schizophrenia operates in a fictional world.  Our son’s world is real enough–it is just that his interpretation of it makes it unbearable to him.  I believe his autism contributes to the OCD interpretations.  That is probably why it is hard to “logic” him out of them.

His autism already makes it difficult for him to perceive the world the way most others perceive it. And his autism makes it hard for him to trust anyone, even his mother, who tells him his perceptions are not accurate and should be set aside.  

I am working with his special needs college and his psychiatrist to help him.  There doesn’t seem to be a standard protocol for this yet.  As a Christian, I just have to term it “life in a fallen world” and stay in prayer about it.  There is definitely not a “one size fits all” solution for this, much less a magical solution that can occur without a lot of hard work and effort.  

I guess, with each successive generation, we are just one step further removed from Eden and the perfection God created.  The genetic mutations seem to become more and more pronounced.

I know some things that will not change.  I will not stop imposing consequences for sinful statements our son makes, even when OCD-driven.  I can’t.  I have seen the fruit that grows in far too many families that “cave” and allow their special needs members to drive the family agenda because it is “easier than fighting the tendencies.”  Sure it is easier.  But, ultimately, deadlier, too.  

We had a family friend who died a couple of years ago after a lifetime of letting her OCD daughter control her by way of threats to cut herself or commit suicide.  Now that fifty-ish daughter, who has never worked any job for long, is all alone in this world.  Her brother and her father (the parents were divorced) are, quite understandably, not able to help her in her world, in which she thinks saying, “I will cut myself if you don’t do things my way” is a legitimate option. Her story has always been heartbreaking but is totally so now.  

I will not allow my son to take our family into such territory.  Something I say to him every day is “I do not live in OCD-land and I am not going there with you.”  Sometimes I add that it would be a waste of my time.  It would.  But it would also be unkind to him, ultimately, to let him dominate me in such a sinful way.  Whether it seems sinful to him or not, it is sinful to cave in to such impulses.  Man was not created to live immobilized by perseverations.

No, there is a better way.

And we will find it.  So help me, God!

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One Response to “When OCD is Not a Joke! (OCD #1)”

  1. mrshate March 28, 2014 at 7:40 PM #

    I am so glad I was led to find your blog. Not sure how I came across it or, indeed, what caught my attention about the link “Joey stories”…I guess just normal curiosity about who is Joey and what are his stories?
    Just from skimming these OCD posts, I see so, so many similarities between your son and my son, now 25. I look forward SO MUCH to having the time over the next few days to read these posts word for word and in prayerful reflection.
    I am sure I will be making many comments along the lines of “that’s just like my son! That was a really hard day that day, or that was a really hard year, or it was hard to make him understand why such-and-such wasn’t the “right” way to look at the situation”
    And the autism spectrum has been diagnosed for him also…this has been going on for 20 years, so I’m very, very familiar with life with a child whom you love DEARLY, but yet has such daily, constant struggles and depends so much on his mother to help him interpret how to deal with life.
    He asked me a question one day when age 12 or 13 (very long, very touching story) and I answered him and said “God gave me exactly the little boy I needed.” I’ll always, always know and believe that…he is a blessing!!!
    Following your blog now!! 🙂

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