Archive | Special Needs children/Autism/OCD RSS feed for this section

Advocating for Joey . . .

10 Sep

There is something wonderful about finding a community for your disabled child. We have rejoiced as we have seen our son blossom at his three year college/horticulture program in Wisconsin. This is his second year.

Something really neat that happens is you start to realize how everyone in such a community plays a role in advocacy for the disabled. The disabled even learn to self-advocate.

In our advocacy, we are not all the same. I am Joey’s mom. That means that my natural bent is to advocate for Joey. It doesn’t mean I *can’t advocate for others, but just that my most natural stance is as Joey’s advocate. The more successful I am at helping him, the more I can generalize my skills to helping others.

Meanwhile, the staff are the ones who have to advocate for everyone, to keep things in balance, and to make sure that no one gets left behind, even if their parents are *not strong advocates for them.

That advocacy is to be expected and honored. It is a totally healthy part of Joey’s community.

So it is that our latest challenge is how to find time for Joey, who was left in the dorms with one other second year student, to be part of his second year class, which is living, mostly, in a group home situation on campus.

One of their classmates is actually in the third year apartments and that person turns out to be Joey’s best friend.

So you have best friends who are of vastly different abilities. Happens all the time in the real world.

And you have college, where best friends expect to eat together and spend time chatting every day of the schoolyear. That is how all of us have experienced college. That is how people with disabilities like to experience it, too.

The school is growing and that is a good thing. Having too many people in a class to fit them all in the group home is a good thing, too, showing that we need to be serious about fundraising and getting at least one more group home built on campus.

But we have our individual children with disabilities living in this situation. We need to have the wisdom of Solomon so their college experiences will be as normative as possible.

I am glad I am working with a valiant group of advocates for the disabled. This wonderful group of staff finds solutions to help our wonderful group of students. Every time.

With God’s help we do this . . .

No, You Can’t . . .

17 Aug

Psalm 101:5, 6: “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.”

While I am not a king, like David who penned the above, and therefore I don’t have anyone “serving me,” I can resonate with this passage.

Anonymous denunciations and private slander are wicked. Any Bible believers need to be convinced of that?

Exactly one week ago yesterday I sat in my son’s academic advisor’s office at his special needs college and talked to the two of them about what they term “self advocacy.” Joey will be given more and more opportunities to self advocate this year.

While the college, like everyone everywhere else, does not tolerate bullying, the people there also realize that bullies operate in the darkness, in anonymity, and in one-on-one situations where it is just your word against theirs. Therefore, we all need to learn self advocacy skills. How to say “You need to stop that now.”

I have learned a host of life lessons from this special needs college. They have been faithfully working with the special needs population for almost 60 years. They have quite a few things to teach all of us about interpersonal relationships. We are all the same, at heart, whether special needs exist or not.

Thus it was that over the last 48 hours I told a cyberbully to stop it . . . and got the expected response that bullies usually make. More threats.

This man pastors in another state and had intruded on the affairs of our local independent church by writing a private note to another member telling him to “mark and avoid Mary” due to an accusation that I “teach men and usurp authority over them.”

False accusation and, even if it were true, it would be up to the pastor of our local church and the dean of our local church’s seminary to sort that out. Not a pastor three states away who has never laid eyes on me.

Talk about presumptuous!

Hopefully we can let this die down now. A bunch of threats were made but none that we think he can make stick.

It was telling that he was livid with my friend for telling me the contents of the private note. There is a simple rule for that: If you tell me something private about yourself, I will keep your confidence. If you make a private accusation against another, I don’t owe you confidence.

Private, written accusations used to be called poison pen letters. They have been a bane of our existence in Baptist churches (and probably in all other churches, too) for at least 100 years.

If you get a poison pen letter, expose it. Tell someone. Preferably your pastor.

Don’t let bullies operate in secrecy and impunity.

Link

When Families Facing Autism Also Face Isolation . . .

16 Mar

When Families Facing Autism Also Face Isolation . . .

I remember one of the sweetest compliments I ever received came from a female admiral in my Navy community who, seeing Joey walking on the beach with Noel and me during a Navy “wetting down” celebration, told me how much she admired us for bringing him to as many events as we did.  

She said there had been children with autism in her extended family and they were kept hidden, out of the public eye. 

We couldn’t do it any other way.  I am a fairly social animal!!!

Even when Joey had a hard time handling gatherings like this wetting down, we would just take a half hour off and go walking down the beach, hand in hand with him.  

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Link

Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

11 Mar

Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

Link

Reaching a Child with Autism through Disney!

10 Mar

Reaching a Child with Autism through Disney!

Amazing first person story by a journalist who raised his profoundly autistic son using dialogue from Disney films!

Link

A Severely Autistic Man Has Private Worship Services at Home

10 Feb

A Severely Autistic Man Has Private Worship Services at Home

I was prepared to disagree with the decision to have home worship for this man with autism . . . until I saw how big he is and how aggressive he gets.

God bless the team of autism caregivers who have tailored their church services in the home for this brother in Christ.

Link

The Restaurant Manager Approaches the Family at Table 9 . . .

6 Feb

The Restaurant Manager Approaches the Family at Table 9 . . .

Awesome story of humans having compassion for each other . . .

When Someone with OCD is Most Precious to You! (OCD #7)

8 Jan

If my first six posts on OCD were to be taken out of balance, it would seem as though life with our son who has autism and OCD has been very sad indeed.  And nothing would be further from the truth.  

Truly, if I had a choice to rid him of the OCD, I would do that.  Not so much the autism.  That is part of Joey’s quirky charm.  But the OCD seems to just separate him from other people, due to its nature of suggesting grudges to his mind and getting him spinning (literally) on them forever. It is like his brain just cannot stop and just cannot let go of certain things.  

Nonetheless, the choice I made to homeschool Joey for over ten years of his fifteen years of primary schooling should say a lot.  Mostly that was a pleasurable experience.  When it was not, it was still worthwhile.  I am not made of the kind of stuff that would have soldiered on indefinitely if I thought I were fighting a losing cause . . . 

Joey has made incredible progress over the years.  Many people with autism who have better abilities at math and English than he does have fallen behind him in overall progress because he keeps on plugging (and we keep on working with him and encouraging him).  

Some mysteries remain.  Even very big ones.  But we have a very big God.  

I have only to look at the pictures or the objects we still have from his childhood to remember the joy of raising this special boy.  

His baby blanket and his longtime stuffed animals still bring floods of joy when I pick them up.  

My joy is the joy of any mother anywhere.  

As I noted when the movie “Children of a Lesser God” won an Academy Award for Marlee Matlin, an actress who is deaf, there is not a separate “God of the deaf” or “God of those with autism” or “God of the mentally retarded.”  There is one God and there is one race of people He has created.  Those with disabilities don’t fall out of the mainstream of humanity.  

And all mothers cherish moments of joy from raising their babies.  Difficulties are present in all lives.  Some have more difficulties than others, but they don’t negate life.  They don’t negate joy. They don’t negate love.

When People with OCD Won’t Let Grudges Go . . . (OCD #6)

7 Jan

People with OCD can be drama queens . . . but so can the rest of us.

People with OCD can have trouble letting grudges go . . . but so can the rest of us.

This is where OCD starts to cross into “normal” behavior and make us a smidge uncomfortable.  

Do lots of us have a smattering of OCD?  I think so.

From watching my son with new eyes this Christmas vacation as he is home after four and a half months at college, I am pretty sure that he finds it difficult to exist with a low adrenaline level.  So he “thrill seeks” as they say.

This would make him a “drama queen” in the parlance.

I am actually pretty fortunate that he does that, not by way of alcohol, drugs, or sex addiction, but by way of living in his own head.  Only that is painful in another way . . .

Far as I can tell, he comes up with his grudges against people out of thin air.  He will describe something that someone at the college or associated with the college has done that he feels is an affront to his dignity and . . . I just won’t see it.  

Or it will seem as though it comes from a parallel universe he has set up, with different rules for behavior.  People will have no idea that they have offended him because they won’t know the rules in his parallel universe.  It is as though he wrote a script for a play and treats other people as actors in his play who got their lines wrong . . .

He has a thing for honorifics.  Whom he should call “Mr.” “Ms.” or “Miss,” as opposed to those whom he addresses by first name.  And this part of his parallel universe has driven several powerful grudges he has developed at the college.  

If I thought that addressing the honorifics issue and defining it specifically for everyone in his world would actually help him cease being a drama queen, I would speak with his school’s administration about it.  But I am fairly certain that, even if they got the honorifics sorted out with Joey, he would have a new “drama queen issue du jour” by tomorrow.  It’s what he does.  

I don’t know how to get him to stop holding on to an “issue du jour” any more than I know how to get him to “reconcile” with people against whom he holds a grudge for reasons totally invisible to them.  

I pray that our brainstorming will help us with this part of OCD, too.

And . . . maybe in the process we will find some relief for supposedly normal Christians who develop grudges against others and say that they cannot find a way to let them go.  

It’s worth a try.  I have known many people stuck in hatred they said they didn’t even wish to carry.  I know it is not pleasant to carry bitterness and vitriol, even for a little while.

Maybe we can find help for us all.  

 

When People With OCD Feel Compelled to Interrupt (OCD #5)

6 Jan

A couple of days ago I wrote about when people with OCD overshare.  I threw the issue open on my Facebook page and discovered that many parents deal with not knowing what to do in the situation.  Not too many of us have found coping mechanisms that work (other than waiting till our child is old enough and responsible enough to be at home alone, then just leaving when they start that behavior . . . and not answering when they dial the cellphone!!!).  

This is never meant to be an “us vs. them” forum.  No one asks to be born with OCD.  They are not the enemy.  I am coming out of the closet on this issue in order that we might encourage and be encouraged.  Our children with OCD also need to be encouraged . . . We will work together to help them!

I am also convinced that people with autism/OCD will ultimately solve the riddles of autism/OCD, so we must continue to involve them in the conversations.  

Notice that I mentioned that the people who have thus far dialogued about OCD and oversharing have all been parents.  To me, that is telling because, especially when children with OCD/autism are young, parents may find themselves isolated, as the only people who interact with their child on a regular basis (except for teachers and others forced by the law to interact with them).  There is a reason for that.  Well, more than one reason, but let me throw this one right out there because it is another elephant in the room . . .

Many people will not voluntarily interact with a person with OCD.  Because of the fact that they get going on a session of sharing and don’t stop till they have overshared, many people find them odd and off-putting.  And sometimes people with OCD can actually cross a line into criminal oversharing (sharing sexual fantasies that have no part in normal human interaction and may actually be illegal, depending on the age of the person who is being forced to listen).    

It is totally understandable that people who want to keep their head straight would flee at the sight of someone who overshares like that.  The idea is not to build a world where oversharing is tolerated.  It is to help our children with OCD learn how to not do this.  The goal is to teach them where the line is drawn, then create in them a strong desire to not go over that line, regardless of what their OCD is telling them to do.  

A related issue that has come up a lot in our chats on Facebook is the actual topic of this post (sorry for the long sidebar discussion!).

What do we do when our child with OCD constantly interrupts our every conversation or activity?  I throw this one out there as one on which we have made some progress in my son’s 21 years but not as much as I need us to have made.  

I have actually lost some friends over this one, or had friends remain close to me after we “agreed to disagree” about how much control I had in the situation.  I can remember being told to “get a grip and make him stop interrupting you every time you are on the phone.”  I can also remember hearing, “Okay, now we have just had the usual interruption of our phone conversation.  I knew it was coming–I just did not know when it would happen.”  And, sadly, I agreed with that friend.  I also knew the interruption was coming at some point . . .

With a “normal” child, consistent consequences would eventually stop this from happening, right?  So I must not have been imposing consistent consequences, right?  So the thinking goes . . .

And in a world that had consistent rules that always governed human behavior, that would be true.  Only this is not that world.

I tried two things.  I tried ignoring my child as he interrupted.  That did not work.  He would only ratchet up his volume, higher and higher, until I could not hear my conversation. Remember Glenn Close saying in “Fatal Attraction” the words “I will not be ignored”? Any ideas why I call that film “Fatal Obsession”? She was only an outlaw version of a person with OCD, believing that people around her should be paying attention to her.  For some reason that I can’t explain, to ignore my son for even ten minutes when he was young seemed to totally negate his personhood.  

The other thing I tried was consequences after the fact.  Of course, these were invisible to the friends on the phone or in a social setting with me, who saw me regularly stop my conversation with them to listen to my son’s litany of non-emergency observations.  And, no matter how many hours my son spent in his room as a consequence of his interruptions (oddly, we would mostly have silence in the house then, as he totally understood the need to “do his penance” for his earlier actions), he would not outgrow his interruptions, as one normally expects young children to do.    

What is working better now that he has the fine muscle control to write is to tell him to journal his observations and save them for later. This is not a foolproof method, but both his college instructors and I have noticed it does help his behavior to improve somewhat.  He can spill his compulsions onto paper, confident that a parent or teacher will go over them with him later. Note: Make sure you do make time to communicate with your child with OCD later. The idea of this post is not to teach any of us how to totally ignore our child and the things he finds important. If you are seeking to do that, I encourage you that you need to change, too.

I also have learned to signal to him that I am involved in something like writing by wearing my headset, sometimes even if the music is not on!!!  Yes, I sometimes have to remove it to listen to something he just has to say right this minute, but he has vastly improved in understanding that the headset means I am trying to follow one of my own thoughts to a logical conclusion without interruption.  There were years I could never do that at all!!!

There is much I do not know and, as always, I stand ready to heed instruction from those who have found other things that work or that work better than my own coping mechanisms.  

We need to have this conversation.

When People With OCD Insist on Saying Everything that Comes to their Mind! (OCD #4)

5 Jan

This is my fourth post this week on life with our son’s OCD (hey, maybe I have OCD, too!).  

Something he just said to me tonight astonished me.  I have often wondered why he will not self-censor, even when he knows he will have consequences for some of the mean, hurtful things he says.  Turns out he . . . thinks it is lying if he does not say everything that comes to his mind!  

Wow, that is enlightening about OCD, isn’t it?  Not particularly helpful in coping, but enlightening. 

I can think of numerous times I have seen supposedly normal adults say similar things.

For example, just yesterday a veterinarian friend of mine posted a picture of herself on Facebook, taken while she was stroking a dolphin.  This was a bucket list item for my friend, an almost holy moment for which she had waited her entire life.  Yet one of her “friends” was unable to refrain from posting her disgust that the dolphin was kept in captivity.  

Really?  We can justify timing it so that we share our convictions which differ with those of a friend at the moment in that friend’s life when we can most deflate her and/or publicly humiliate her with our pronouncements?  And we feel very self-righteous as we do this?

Yet, I am almost certain there was OCD involved there, a compulsion to speak that this woman could seemingly not overrule.  

Another friend had just dropped her daughter at college almost a two-day drive from here.  As she posted about it on Facebook, obviously missing her daughter and needing comfort, another “friend” went on a rant about her own time at that particular college, stating that the only thing she ever found positive there was meeting her husband.

Really?  You have to say that now?

If that is OCD, no wonder it is hard for people with OCD to make and keep friends.  It seems as though they constantly choose the OCD over the friends.  There is no contest between them, apparently.  

Yet, of course, there is more at play here than meets the eye.  It is just a question of how we can show compassion without letting someone run us over constantly with a verbal steamroller.  That would not help anyone.

A practical example is a cashier at my local grocery store.  She visibly turned her nose up at a package of shrimp steamed in Old Bay seasoning that I brought to her line one day.  She then actually double-bagged her hands in order to not touch the package as she rang it up.  At first, I thought she had sneered at me and began to wonder what I might have done.  When she put the bags on her hands, I recognized the OCD in play and asked about her reaction.  She readily admitted to having a gag reflex with shrimp.  

Now . . . how do you have a career in a grocery store if you visibly turn up your nose every time a customer buys shrimp?  But more importantly, how do you have any career anywhere if your OCD is so disabling that you have big red flags all around you as people see you trying to do your job and stalling out while you double bag your hands? 

I have no answers, but only questions.  Questions worthy of lots of research and reading.

My son’s social worker/counselor once told me that Sigmund Freud had done a great disservice to mankind by telling us that things get better for us psychologically if we talk about them. He introduced “talk therapy” and the human race has not shut up since, saying some vastly inappropriate things that should better be left unsaid.  

It does help to talk about many things, but the social worker was referring to some of her clients who had broken the law, crossing lines sexually.  And they seemed to believe that their obsessions and compulsions would get better if they talked about them, if they described them to her.  Not wanting to take a mental mudbath, she told them that no human being needed to be on the receiving end of such dreadful confidences.  She said it was unfortunate that they felt they needed to talk through them because no amount of money would compel her, nor any other counselor, to be on the listening end of what they wished to say . . . 

She made a stand that families dealing with OCD need to make.  Even when the topic is milder than sexuality, OCD pushes people to “overshare” and drives other people away.  

I remind my son of that regularly–that I don’t need to know every thought that comes to his mind and that, in fact, it is cruel to inflict many of his negative thoughts on me as I try to stay motivated to help him go the distance in life.  

There is balance to be found somewhere . . . and I will find it one day, with God’s help.   

Link

A Perennial Favorite on Special Needs . . .

4 Jan

A Perennial Favorite on Special Needs . . .

I have reblogged this before and probably will again. Everyone wants to feel included. Here is how to help families who have special needs to feel included in your community, wherever it may be.

When People With OCD Don’t Learn From Experience . . . (OCD #3)

3 Jan

This is my third post on OCD this week.  Having our son with OCD home from college is teaching me many things about myself, some of them pretty ugly. 

I get really, really nervous having him home, now that I have grown used to a more peaceful, more organized, less erratic homefront.  Noel and I have our oddities, but there are far, far fewer difficult moments to navigate when our son is at college, mainly because two quirky people are less labor intensive than three, on a purely mathematical basis.  

But also, out-of-control OCD is its own entity, almost like having a fourth person in the home.  

OCD navigates a path that is predictable in its unpredictability.  This path almost never consists in going in a straight line towards an objective.  It almost never even provides any assurance at all that you ever will reach that objective, regardless of path taken toward it.

I am a far, far less relaxed person when our son is home and I believe my husband is, too.  I don’t like that about us and I certainly don’t like admitting it, but there it is.  

We live almost holding our breath, waiting for the next moment of difficulty, never knowing when it will come or what it will involve, but always certain that it will arrive.  

We almost live in a constant stage of siege, or at least a state of shellshock or PTSD.  

But OCD is like that.  It is cruel and relentless to the people in its path.  I am sure our son would choose to be rid of it if he could.  It is not something he requested and it does not change our love for him nor our determination to help him.  

And my respect for the people who help him navigate his world at college has increased exponentially this vacation, as I have been reminded of what they have been up against these past four and a half months.  Our son has made progress!  And I know it has been earned at great expense to all involved! 

That said, and knowing that I homeschooled more than ten years of our son’s primary education, you can probably see why it is very important to me to stay in touch with other people whom I teach, both in Sunday school and informally at church, Bible study, and online. 

If I don’t get feedback from others, I despair of ever being a successful teacher, after spending most of my life doing just that (even my 27 years in the Navy).  It is easy to forget past results and to begin to feel that I have never successfully taught anyone anything.   

You see, the fact that you can repeat the same piece of information about hygiene, or about a chore around the house, or about an English sentence, or about a math problem to a person with autism/OCD only to go back later and see in his eyes that he doesn’t remember ever receiving any instruction in that area can destroy one’s confidence and determination as a teacher.  Especially when you have taught that same fact/process dozens of times in the past and the instruction still seems to have been for nought.  

That is one reason I am so excited about the hardwon progress our son is making at college. Some things I have taught him many, many times in the past are finally kicking in, under the instruction of others.  Some are not.

But the fact is that we are not going to give up, even if some lessons are never learned.  

Right now we are battling a perceptual issue in which our son believes his dignity and the dignity of the disabled world was slighted.  Whether this actually happened or not is irrelevant–our son perceives that it did and he can’t let go of his perception, no matter how much I try to logic him into a different way of looking at things.  He will agree with me intellectually, then, thirty minutes later, he is back to perseverating on the issue as though we had never talked.  And we have talked, fifty or seventy-five times at a minimum this vacation . . . 

We aren’t giving up.  But I am going to write about this, too, for others are in the same place and there is a richness in pooled resources.  If I speak out, we can all start to speak out.  We can learn techniques that work.  We can encourage each others in areas where we just can’t seem to find relief from the OCD of our loved ones.

We owe it to all of us, especially to those loved ones with OCD! 

Is OCD the Elephant in the Room? (OCD #2)

1 Jan

A friend jokingly messaged me that, by posting on my son’s OCD journey yesterday, I had turned and pointed out the elephant in the room of evangelical Christianity.  

Fair enough.  After all, I called my blog “Iconobaptist”.  That should call up historical thoughts of iconoclasts breaking treasured images in the churches during the middle ages.  Not everything that we hold close as sacred actually is . . .

I am going to say that we can’t help people with disabilities/mental illness/disability of the mind (or whatever else we may term it) if we can’t accurately label what they are undergoing.  

It was easy enough for me to speak out emphatically against the first counselor who recommended to me that I could probably rid my son of autism if I just spanked him more.  I took the point that our son had to be held accountable for his behavior, like anyone else, but the implication that autism could be caused by bad discipline and cured by good discipline was staggeringly ignorant and I said so at the time!

Since then, however, I have noted the tendency in certain quarters to just treat my son as invisible and to not acknowledge our struggles with autism/OCD at all, much less trivialize them. I think this comes from somebody not being able to square his theology with the existence of mental disabilities.  Or at least some folks can’t find simplistic answers in their theology to paste over my son and others who are like him.  And thank God for that.  

Even though the Bible’s theology is simple enough for a mentally retarded person to understand it and be converted, God does not boil down to a simple formula! His answer for life’s trials is not simplistic explanations of them, but rather a promise to always be with us, till the end of the earth and till the end of time.

That is my very great comfort and my only hope.  

If we give people anything less than that, we give them less than the gospel and send them into potential despair.  

If our gospel only gives hope to people who are pretty good that God can help them become a little bit better, then it is no gospel at all.

If our gospel is anything, it is everything. It is hope for the parent whose child faces OCD or autism or both, or compulsive shoplifting or habitual lying or drug addiction or sexual compulsions or . . . 

We are in a fallen world.  The only people who have the luxury of holding a simplistic theology that denies God’s power over all sin and all brokenness all of the time are people who either have not faced life-dominating struggles yet or who have faced them and decided that God could not help them with them, then buried them deep underground.  These folks, sadly, spend their lives denying their own brokenness, lest it break through and remind them of the inadequacy they perceive in God.  

No, God is not inadequate.  If you have perceived Him as such, you have not gotten deep enough into Him to see that He is infinite and never runs out of resources, even in the midst of seemingly endless troubles and sorrow.  

I don’t know many answers in regards to my son’s OCD right now.  But I do know that God does. And I know God and know I can hold on.  Even if I can’t . . . He can hold on to me.  

My son, my husband and I are eternally secure in Him.  And that is worth all the wealth of the world, right there.  

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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