There's been lots of reading at our house lately. Much more than usual. Seems like a new box of books arrives at least once a week and I'm pretty sure that at this point, we are some of Amazon's favorite customers. Most of the books we've been ordering have been books to help us learn about some pretty big things that our son has been going through. At least they are big to us. I'm sure some of you saw my post this morning but luckily there weren't too many. Really, it was a post that taken out of context, won't make a lot of sense to anyone anyway. More of a journal entry type of post. One that means way more to me than I could explain or express in writing right now. I spoke of a random but not random dream I had about my dad (even though I didn't say what the dream was) and some of the thoughts it brought up for me. That alone would be something that would take knowing me, my heart, my life, and my dream details to understand anyway. I also shared a pretty painful motherhood moment from last night in regards to my son and his recently diagnosed OCD. A topic I haven't spoken of on here yet but one that has been perhaps the biggest part of my life over the last year. I've avoided talking about it for several reasons:
- I haven't been so sure what exactly is going on with him and I wasn't ready to slap a label on him like the therapists I've talked to have done.
- Fear. I didn't feel like I knew enough about OCD to even understand what it was and what implications it held for my child.
- My son's fears and behavior issues have been so all over the place...so inconsistent...I've been in a state of exasperation most days. Just stressed to the max....wanting to escape. Almost hide from it. Writing about it? Well, I just wasn't ready.
- Painful. It's so so painful to watch our children struggle with things. Some days are so much harder than others. We have good days and bad days. On and off. Steps forward and steps back. But at this point, I'm certain we are dealing with OCD and I'm ready to talk about it because I know that I'm not the only one. There are others in this world dealing with the same thing and by telling my story, I know that I'll connect with others. Community is always better than standing alone.
An excerpt from my previous post about last night:
.....Maybe because of how difficult last night was for me as a mother. A night of seeing how deeply my son is struggling right now with some issues I feel so inadequate in helping him with at times. It is so painful for me to see my child in fear. His mouth raw from rubbing it for fear of germs. His fear of being near his parents when we have coffee in our hands because of the smell. His freak out about the bite we took from his popsicle. The phrases he repeats over and over to make things feel right. His OCD. Irrational fears. This is all so new to me. I know he is young and I know that we will get through this. I know that I'm his mother for a reason and I'm willing to give him all the love, time, attention and patience that I have. I know all will be okay and that others have much bigger things to face. But it is NEVER easy to see our children hurt. I can't think of anything more painful for me than to see my child in pain...in fear. It is easily the hardest thing I've experienced. But at the same time, I can think of nothing more rewarding and beautiful and amazing and inspiring than to see my brave brave little boy fight back and face his fears. Not a day goes by lately that I don't go to bed a stronger person. Wiser. Braver. And in awe of the lessons that my son is teaching me along this journey. There are many more steps forward than there are steps back.
Last night was a big step back for my little guy. He was struggling more than usual. This was a moment where I didn't care that he was the kid in the restaurant making the scene. I didn't care if others were judging or assuming that he was just being a bad kid. I didn't care about or see anything else around me except my son. And thank God my husband was there to take over because all I could do was put my head down on the table and cry. In pain. It was a night that I had no answers. It was one of those moments that I just wanted to be a child and lean on someone bigger and wiser than me. Someone who wasn't feeling the same pain over this issue. Someone that loved me fully and that was there to just wrap me up and tell me that things were going to be okay. Because they will.
Here are some things from right now that I do know:
- Things are going to be okay.
- We will have good days and bad days.
- Sometimes it is hard to tell if my son is just having some major mood swings, anger issues and behavior problems or if he is dealing with something related to OCD. Probably both.
- There are so many resources out there! Books to read, cognitive behavioral therapy, and people to talk to.
- OCD is one of the MOST common disorders that people deal with and it is very treatable. Yay!
- My son has always been a fearful little guy. Even as a baby he was scared of things that most of our kids thought to be funny.
- OCD isn't caused by something I did as a mother. It is so hard not to blame ourselves for things our kids are struggling with. I've had thoughts over and over about how hard this move has been for him, on whether or not my parenting style has been too much for him...so many things!
- It is interesting to see how my son fights back against his fears. His compulsions are different every couple of weeks...this isn't always typical. The therapist thinks this could be a sign that he is fighting back quickly.
- I've learned more from this brave and wise little boy than most people in my life. I learn from him daily and I'm in constant awe of him.
- It is a relief in a sense to know more of what is going on with him instead of just thinking my kid is a HANDFUL and not knowing what to do as a parent.
- I can tell that it is a relief to him too. To know that we are here to listen and help. When we talk about his fears and try to separate the OCD fears from HIM, he is so open to working with us and working through his irrational fears. Even though he knows that it doesn't make sense to be scared or worried about something, it is still so hard for him to push through that. He's been terrified of the shower FOREVER but recently we faced that together and by going all the way through with it and not backing down, he not only saw the power of facing a fear (a very REAL fear to him even though most of you probably wouldn't see the shower as a scary thing) but he realized HIS POWER in being able to do so. Now he loves the shower.
- This week has been harder than most. My son's mouth is red and raw from licking and rubbing in attempt to keep germs out. He's been afraid of being near me or my husband when we are drinking coffee or beer because of the smell and kissing me on the lips is on hold for now. Who knows what it will be next week. Maybe nothing...that's just it, sometimes we have perfect weeks where nothing happens at all...where he is a happy, easy going kid and we think it is all better.
- So far, school is easy. He loves school and the teachers have never noticed anything out of the ordinary. He's social and follows rules. Bright. Enthusiastic. No problem. But from what I read, this can be common...and then they come home and practically explode from keeping it all in. This explains a lot in regards to the fits I sometimes get to experience later on in the day.
- I'm thankful for one friend in particular who encouraged me to get help after a rather rough week in July where we were visiting him in Charleston. During this week, my son was so compulsive with his constant need to say sorry and tell on himself for every little thing (apologizing and confessing are two common compulsions related to OCD). This was maddening for me and now that I think of it, it was probably how he feels in his head almost every day. Poor little guy.
Well, there's a little bit of my world lately. Not all running. Not all happy motherhood moments. But certainly all WORTH IT. I'm learning so much and I'll continue to do so. I'm so so blessed to have a husband that is beyond supportive and loving as a father and best friend/partner to me. Together, we can do anything! Especially for one brave beautiful little boy that we love beyond words.