To Julianne, Ligeia, Maddmaxx

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Posted by John 16's Mom on May 21, 2002:
Hi Everyone,

Sorry that I haven't had time to post much. It is the end of the school year and we have many projects going on at home, as well.

I hope that you can all hang in there. OCD is so hard. You think that it is going away, but then it comes back. It is a chemical imbalance that keeps the fears cropping up again and again. Medicine is very effective to control the thoughts, but that doesn't mean that they will never come back at all. Plus, when you are new to treating OCD, it takes time to find just the right combination of medication to be the most effective for your chemical makeup.

That is why the behavior therapy is so important to learn. It teaches you what to do when you get the OCD thought spikes. When you get a big flare of fear from the OCD, you can learn to say, "OK, this is OCD and I am not going to start with the what-ifs. I will calm myself down and live with the uncertainty." Sometimes it helps to prepare a mantra of words to repeat when the spikes happen. Be sure to include phrases that will challenge the OCD and show that you have a fighting spirit and confidence to overcome whatever fear spike OCD is sending you at that particular moment.

Yes, you will have thoughts that maybe you don't even have OCD. Isn't that a typical fear spike that OCD would try to give you? Of course. Following that little thought will be the next one....maybe I really am gay, maybe I really am a pedophile, and so on. This is OCD and how it works. Read the books by the experts and it all makes sense. The symptoms of obsessions and compulsions are listed in every book written about OCD. They are there for you to read about, understand, and compare to your own situation. If the OCD shoe fits, wear it. Be confident of the medical disorder that you have. Believe that it is a valid condition of which anyone is capable of having. That is probably the first step to weakening OCD. OCD doesn't want you to believe that you have OCD. That way, it knows you will keep being AFRAID. That is exactly what it is trying to do. Think it out logically and understand the disease for what it is.

I know, I am on the outside looking in and it's a lot easier for me because I don't have the tormented thoughts that you have. But I have fears and can understand how they have the possibility of getting out of control. I have always believed that all people are at the borderline of OCD. Maybe it's just my understanding of what my son has been through. I see how easily that I could slip into OCD if my fears were to escalate. Add to that possibility a medical condition which prevents you from being able to control the escalation of fear. That's what OCD is. It's not some mysteriously devised plot to cover up the real you that's wanting to come out. It's a valid, documented medical disorder. It's just hard to tell when you are in the middle of the OCD fear spikes.

Please trust me on this one. I see it so clearly in all your messages. I pray every day for all of you. Keep fighting this battle. It can be won. Get angry at OCD and refuse to be sucked in by it. We are all stronger than we think, especially with God's help.

John 16's Mom

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