Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meeting New Friends Dealing with OCD

Today we had a really unexpectedly special experience. My girl and I made some new friends that we have a lot in common with - they are dealing with OCD, too.

My 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with OCD a few years ago, and I don't mention it all the time on here because most of the time when things are going smoothly we hardly remember that she has it. And when it pops up and reminds us again, it's usually pretty draining to all of us. It's something that she (and we) may always deal with, but the bright side is that we are DEALING with it. We were fortunate enough to catch it early and find a great therapist who has helped our girl (and our family) learn how to manage it. We are also fortunate that it does not affect our daughter in school -- most people don't even know that she has it. She's a smart, funny, beautiful, totally normal kid and she happens to have OCD, or "stuck thinking" as we refer to it.

When she was first diagnosed, she went to see the doctor quite often, but after a year she was managing well enough that the doctor felt she no longer needed to see her. She told us that we could call if something came up. A year or so ago (after about 6 months had passed from her last appointment), my girl started having some nightmares. Her cousins were coming to visit and she didn't want to have nightmares while they were visiting, so she asked me if she could go and see the doctor again. We called, she went maybe 2 or 3 times, remembered what she needed to do to manage her worries, and then she was fine for a while. After we got home from spending Christmas with my husband's family, my girl seemed to have the flu and from there she began having stomach issues. We went to the regular doctor once, after hours care once, she was on medication for possible acid reflux, stayed home sick from school on 3 different occasions, and finally I thought to call the therapist. Turns out, it was her OCD again. The doctor said that stress "sits in the stomach." She was having physical symptoms of the worries in her head. So, back in February, she began to see the therapist again and quickly got back to feeling her old self again. At the last session she had a few weeks ago, we anticipated that that would be it until the next time something came up. But, her doctor asked if she would come in to meet another little girl who is a couple of years younger and also diagnosed with OCD. So, on my day off today, we went to the doctor's. I have a million things going on right now and had my to-do list in hand along with a notepad and some catalogs that I need to go through to prepare for the preschool carnival. All of that sat untouched as I sat in the waiting room watching my little one play and talking to the little girl's mom. We went to this appointment today thinking that we were (sort of) doing this little girl a favor, that maybe she could get some insight from my daughter. Instead, I think we all benefited tremendously. I met someone that I could relate to more than anyone I've talked to in a long time. Some of the details of our daughters' experiences with OCD are a little different but the emotions are very much the same. The hour went by so quickly and I found myself feeling like I wanted to exchange phone numbers or set up a play date or something. I didn't at that moment, but the girls had a similar experience in the doctor's office and we talked about getting together for another "group" session again in the future.

It turns out that the whole thing was organized because the little girl had expressed interest in meeting someone "like her." She, like my daughter, feels slightly isolated because they don't know anyone that has OCD like they do. The doctor told them today that it is extremely unlikely that they are each the only ones in their school who have OCD, but there is a stigma to it and no one seems to talk about it. My girl was quite nervous on the way to the appointment today, but when she came out at the end she was very happy and felt like she had made a new friend, and I think also felt like she isn't alone in what she goes through. It was a really positive experience for both of us and I talked my husband's ear off when he got home from work tonight, telling him all about my conversation with the other mother and all about what my daughter and I spoke about on the way home.

There are so many things that we all deal with -- no one has a perfect life, everyone is dealing with something. Imagine if we could all just open up a little bit and talk to others about what we are going through. What a difference that would make in the world.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Best Thing I Heard All Day!

The best thing I heard all day was my little 4-year-old telling me, "Mommy, you make my heart feel super comfortable!"

I just love that little girl!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Child's First Pair of Glasses!

It was a big day in our house today! My sweet baby got her first pair of glasses! She's very excited (thankfully!) and there's lots more to tell, but it's been a long day so more to come soon.