"A little bit OCD"
When I knew my boy was haunted by
this demon in his ear
Not knowing how to help him,
My knowledge turned to fear.
I'll keep this to myself I thought,
He didn't want to be
the boy that was a weirdo,
Just 'That kid with OCD .'
But people came to notice
little signs that served to tell.
They all became an expert
"I've got OCD as well!"
"I always put my books in line
so neatly on the shelf.
My husband says that I'm
a little bit OCD myself!"
"Take away his Xbox
if he keeps on being late.
Ground him for a week and he'll soon
Realise his mistake."
"Tell him to snap out of it.
You have to make him see.
Nip it in the bud,
we're all a wee bit OCD."My boy can not eat or sleep
or concentrate at school.
A little bit OCD maybe
But at least he's not a fool!
In John’s early teens when he and I suspected OCD and the rest of the world were either oblivious or in denial, John tried to combat the condition himself (without the stigma of having a label slapped on him by the medical profession)
For my part I hoped that if we ignored it, it would go away. Perhaps he would grow out of it? I wondered if acknowledging it’s existence might somehow justify the rituals and discourage John from trying to suppress them. I wonder still if time alone with OCD allows the sufferer to indulge what should be resisted. We were both naive, however, and underestimated the OCD grip!
The rituals and compulsions multiplied and became more severe with time. The realisation that this was not going to go away hung like a black cloud.
Now, years on in the midst of the battle I am still regularly fooled into thinking that all is well. Each time John has a few ‘good’ days (not to say that he is ever OCD free, but sometimes in good spirits, functioning well, sleeping, eating with only moderate compulsions), I am euphoric and find myself acting as if he is well. Perhaps he is cured? Perhaps it was all a dream and he never had it at all?! I fall for it every time!
When the meltdown comes it devastates me anew.
I relive the heartbreaking realisation that my son is not perfect. That life will probably always be hard for him, but you know what?….
…….I am proud of him, at 16 he is already his own man despite his difficulties, he is perfect !
Charles Walker MP gave a brave and moving speech in the commons last month about his struggle with OCD. As he is chairman of the all party mental health group I am hopeful that his intent is to champion the cause. At least this might make the whole thing a bit more topical and raise awareness. In an ideal world perhaps more money could be thrown at CAMHS so that children like John are not cast adrift.
I will never forget that walk back from the doctor’s surgery with him. I was in shock after what I had just heard. John had hidden the extent of his problems for years and although he was quiet I could sense his relief. Despite this humiliation, it was out in the open.
“At least I’ll get some help now”, was his consolation. He was looking for justification. Reassurance he had done the right thing. I gave it.
Eight months on I felt like a liar because the help I promised still hadn’t come. Despite endless letters to the health authority from ourselves and the school, the early intervention we were promised in time for his GCSEs never came. We wrote to our MP and tried to fight his corner.
This morning John had his first assessment with CAMHS and we are hopeful for the future. His ERP therapy will start soon and the battle is over.
With the momentum of Mr. Walker’s speech and that of Kevan Jones MP re. mental health, in conjunction with Channel 4’s recent ‘4 goes mad’ season, I think we should do what we can to keep the ball rolling and raise public awareness so that pressure is put on the government to inject more resources into mental health.Children like John feeling desperate and alone should not have to wait eight months to be seen.
Historically people with mental health issues don’t make a fuss.