Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Freeing Your Child From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by T. Chansky c. 2000

A very comprehensive read that takes you from learning about and diagnosing your child's OCD to  the different medications to ERP therapy and why they work and how fast to expect improvements.

Part 2 is called 'The Parent's Role'.  Chansky has parents sometimes being a co-therapist (for young children) to letting the child/teen be in charge of the OCD homework.

The parents section is really interesting and helpful when working with a therapist to help your child manage OCD.  It's also a good read if you are the one with OCD because there are lots of examples and anecdotes and reminders that are great to remember as adults too.

Section 3 goes into detail about the specific types of OCD:  Contamination fears, checking, counting, redoing obsessions, doubting your own senses , having to be 'just right'- ordering, counting, hoarding, symmetry; and intrusive thoughts and imagined impulses like: scrupulosity, sexual thoughts or thoughts of harming others.

Finally there's advice on how to deal with frustrated siblings, the school and society at large.

I've read many books now on OCD and expected this to be basically a review of what I knew.  I was pleasantly surprised with all the information, stories and help Dr. Chansky gives to parents and those struggling with OCD in their lives or families.

Some quotes from the book:

p8:  OCD is an intrusion, a brain hiccup.  It is different from your child's voluntary thoughts  but he doesn't know that.  All thoughts are created equal, so we all think, unless we are told otherwise.  While thoughts of the mind are welcome messages, OCD brain hiccups are junk mail, but because they happen in English, we think we need to listen to them, understand them.  The more we try to figure out wheat they are saying and why, the more we are being pulled into their trap.

 p.92:  It is very difficult to cope with a chronic  condition (OCD).  So how do we  live with this perpetual uncertainty?  We don't spend all of our time noticing it.  Let's say your child is afraid of dogs.  We work on his dog phobia and he is no longer afraid.  Is that because all the dogs in the world 'went away' and never came back?  No, the dogs are there, but your child learned to ignore them and live his life.  This is the change that happens in OD: The thoughts may reappear from time to time, but if you don't respond to them in the way OCD tells you to, they don't constrict your life.  Your child will not have to go through exactly the same things again because she will have won back territory for OCD. l Recognizing its signs and armed with strategies to fight back, she can't be tricked in the same way again.

p107:  Behavior therapy teaches your child that OCD is a false alarm, a bully in your brain bossing your around, and the way to get rid of OCD is by 'show and tell'.  Show it that your are in charge by doing what you want, not what it wants, then tell OCD to back off and leave you alone. Behavior therapy provides planned opportunities for your child to see that he can control his actions.

p.108:  There are 6 basic  components in behavior therapy to take control of OCD:
             1.  Re-label the problem as a bad guy bossing you around.
             2.  Do the opposite of the OCD warnings (show).
             3.  Boss back the OCD (tell.)
             4.  Refocus on what you want to b doing instead of having symptoms.
             5.  Define the motivation for treatment:  What I hate about OCD.
             6.  Determine the parents' role in treatment.

p.111:  ...when your child says to the OCD, 'You are junk mail, you're not real, so stop bossing me
             around!"..[it]  will help him feel empowered and mad, rather than scared and trapped.

p, 139:  Let the child set the pace of treatment.  If a child feels you are in charge of her recovery she
             may rebel or feel overwhelmed.

p.139:   a bad day doesn't negate the progress made, just like a bad move on the sports floor doesn't
             mean you're penalized for the rest of your life.

p.152:  Let their triumph's be THEIR triumph!  Say ' I'm proud of your had work' not 'Finally!, I
             couldn't have taken it another day!

p. 226:  OCD creates a crisis.  It's time consuming. It's added to a normal life.  [Parents] need to  
              conserve energy- take a 'just say no' policy to extra time commitments.

p. 226:  No shoulding like:  I should have a cleaner house, I should do PTA....  Parents should have
             hobbies and activities to be happy in.

p. 249:  'What I learned is that sometimes the way to fix the problem [a contaminated item] is to
              make it too big to fix'. -Tara

p. 264:  the 'incomplete' circuits continue to fire even after the job is done. The feeling of satisfaction
             that normally follows a competed action ( like the feeling you get when you finish that jigsaw
             puzzle) never comes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

My daughter has been diagnosed with OCD too.  She wants me to wash my hands after I touch fruit or vegetables. (An OCD obsession  I haven't read about, anywhere).  She will hold her breath to go into the kitchen on the chance there are fruits / veggies laying on the counter or table.  She usually takes her food plate and eats in her room.  At school she has a hard time eating her lunch if one of the other kids has fruit out on their desk, but she's managing ok.  A while ago she would not each lunch when this happened and then throw up out of hunger and be sent home.  I'd been to our local child counselling centre a few times but until Katrina started wanting me to wash my hands so she'd feel ok, everyone said she didn't have it.  Even I wondered (and hoped) that it was just her way of getting back at me for when I was in the throes of OCD and would make her wash a lot.   Now that I was better, maybe this was her way of getting rid of the pent-up anger??  No such luck. 

We've been going to a therapist with Katrina on a weekly basis now since last summer.  She was so shy and quiet that it's taken the therapist til now to be able to see her alone, to do play therapy.  We make her go to Brownies (girl scouts in Canada) to give her the exposure to new situations, hopefully giving her success and helping her speak up for herself.  The 'make' part means that she wanted to go, and went 3 times to try it, told us she liked it and then after I paid the ridiculously high fee that doesn't go to the leaders but to the Corporation ANDbought her her uniform, she told us she didn't like it anymore.  She can quit in Sept. if she wants (maybe- her counsellor says it's a good way to increase her social skills)- but will go for now.

I'm also reading books (again :P)  about OCD- this time about parents with children who have OCD.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to handle 'making' my child do ocd ERP as homework because I know how horrid it is to struggle with the OCD monster myself.  How could I do that to my daughter?  I wouldn't want my worst enemy to have OCD, never mind my own child!  So Katrina's counselor recommended I return to counselling to help me with this.  However,  the book we are working on with her, SHE is to take charge of OCD, not me 'making' her do it, like I make her do her math homework, so that helped reduce my stress level.

I still go to Toastmasters, but haven't given another speech yet; I have helped a lady  bring Toastmasters to a local homeschooling group, and given a short presentation or 2 to the teens there.

After having 2 weeks off at Christmas, getting back into my exercise routine, Toastmasters meetings, chauffeuring, taking the dogs out for their exercise all seemed overwhelming, so instead of getting frustrated and mad at myself for my lack of energy, I decided to take it slow, do the necessary things  and add in my other activities (ie Toastmaster meetings) a little at a time till I was back in the swing of things.  Our Christmas tree is still up as that hasn't been a priority- it's in a corner out of the way- better up like that, than half down with boxes all over the living room!