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Old 10-16-2003, 07:18 PM   #1
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Question Do you think it's possible that I have OCD?

Hey! I'm only 13, and I don't know whether I have a disorder or whether nothing's unusual, and whether I should tell somebody or not. I'm not sure if I have OCD, or another disorder, and I would really appreciate some help. Thanks!

I'm kind of embarrassed about my behaviors, but I really want to know if I should talk to someone. I probably won't post all of them, but I'll post the majority of them.

My first behavior is that I'm always terrified of someone breaking into my house. If I'm downstairs putting my dog in her kennel at night or something, I always think that somebody's going to come out of nowhere and grab me when the lights aren't on.

The following symptoms are kind of related. Whenever I brush my hair, I always end off by brushing the right side once, then the left side twice, then the right side again. Whenever I brush my teeth, I always go left to right along the back of my bottom teeth, then the top of my bottom teeth, then the along the middle of my bottom teeth, then the middle of my top teeth, then the front of my bottom teeth, then the front of my top teeth, then the very very front teeth once, the very very bottom teeth twice, and the very very front teeth once again. Whenever I floss my teeth, I always end off by flossing the front middle once, the bottom middle twice, then the top middle once again. I always say the same thing to my dog and my parents before I go to bed, and if something doesn't feel "right" I always like stretch my fingers out and swallow...then I choke and cough. I always do my best to say bye to people in the same order, and I always wash my face the exactly same way. Like I go from my forehead counter-clockwise, then around my cheeks, then down my nose, on the right once, the left twice, then right once again. Then I go on my eyebrows (I don't know why I was wash like around my eyebrows...) by going on the right one once, the left one twice, then the right one once again.

When I was younger I would go to the washroom about 10-20 times at night (I wouldn't even wait two minutes) because it didn't "feel" right, and I would also always collect rocks because I knew that I would never find another one just like it and sometimes I keep useless tags and stuff.

These aren't all of my symptoms, but all of them are pretty similar. I know this is pretty long, but please read it. I would really appreciate any help. Thanks so much!

Daniela

This isn't all of my symptoms, but they're some, and all of them are pretty similar.

 
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Old 10-16-2003, 08:56 PM   #2
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Hi Daniela,

Without knowing your other symptoms, I would say that it sounds like you *could* be exhibiting some OCD-like tendencies. The examples in your post that seem most OCD-related to me were the continuous visits to the bathroom, and the sort of goodbye rituals that you discussed. The other things you mention, i.e. the way you brush your teeth and being terrified of the dark may or may not be OCD behaviors. The more important question is, how much time are these behaviors taking out of your day, and are you feeling anxiety as a result of these things? Are you having any obsessive thoughts? Do you feel a sense of relief when you perform these rituals?

You sound like a very intelligent person for your age, and it was smart to do a little research online. I hope you find some answers.

Good luck...

 
Old 10-17-2003, 06:41 PM   #3
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Daniela,
I have a 4 year old daughter with OCD and I have been told that younger people often do very well with cognitive behavioural therapy. If these rituals and fears are keeping you from carrying out the things that you want to do in life then you should tell your parents and ask to see an OCD specialist. The OCD specialist will be able to tell you for sure whether it is a form of OCD or something else.

We have several family members with OCD and some have done remarkably well and one is doing very poorly. It is not a death sentence but a challenge. One member used cognitive behavioural therapy before it was even used clinically. She is in her 70's now and went through a 5 year period of germ OCD. She basically got sick and tired of it and bossed it away until it didn't come back again. Changing clothe diapers for three kids also helped her to overcome this condition.

The family member who is doing very poorly has had OCD since childhood but it was never treated until she was in her 40's. The condition was never explained to her and she has had pretty bad psychological counseling. She also has several other health conditions that are very depressing and discouraging.

My advice again is that you get help if this is holding you back in any way. The earlier you start combating it the better.

Terry

 
Old 10-17-2003, 09:34 PM   #4
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Hey!

Thanks for responding, it helps a lot.

My other symptoms that I can remember (I'm pretty sure that this is all of them) are like re-reading something all of the time, even though I understand it perfectly the first time. I always do that swallow and stretch out my fingers thing though. I also often do that if I'm just sitting around, because it doesn't "feel right." Sometimes I'll re-read the previous sentence, then paragraph, and sometimes it'll take up to 5 minutes to read a line that I already understand.

For some reason, I don't know why, I'm still scared of going to the washroom if it's somewhere other than my house. I slowly stopped going to the washroom 10-20 times at night, it made me really anxious. Now I go through another ritual, as in telling myself when I'm going to be back, what I'm doing, etc.

I'm pretty sure I feel a sense of relief after I preform these rituals, actually I'm nearly certain I do. Only today when I tried to find out if I did, it only made it not feel "right," so I would stretch out my fingers and everything again.

Before I go to bed every night, I make sure that the computers are parallel to the edge of the desk, that the volume is turned down, that the mousepads are straight, and that the mouse is at the edge of the mousepad. I don't know why I do it, I just do.

Also, when I was younger, I would clean all of the time. I couldn't stand anything being "out of order." I would constantly tidy everything up in every room, and it drove me insane. I do that much less frequently now, and I don't know if it's just my personality or if it's somehow related. I still organize things now, but I'm definitely not a "neat freak" and sometimes my locker or room get kind of messy.

Also, sometimes things that I write have to be "perfect." For instance, when I would have to make dichotomous keys for Science class, it would take me forever because the rectangles weren't perfect. However, sometimes I just don't care at all either. When I ended up finishing the dichotomous key, I was in a rush and I didn't care if everything was straight. The same thing happens when I'm making a title page and I have to divide the page in 3. It drives me crazy if it's not straight. Of course, it never ends up being perfect, but it takes me forever. Also, if I always pop something if it even slightly resembles a black head or pimple, and most of the time it's not. I'm not obsessed about my image, I don't do my hair or wear make-up, and since I wear a uniform every day I don't have to worry about how I dress, but popping "zits" on my face has become so ordinary that I barely notice it anymore. I'm not sure if this is a symptom, but I thought I should include it just in case.

When I used to ask myself why I did this, or I tried to pass by a ritual, I would tell myself "Well, if a burgular comes or something, you wouldn't have done it right." Now when I ask myself, as I've started to research OCD, I tell myself that I have to do it if I think about not doing a ritual one time.

I think that my parents have a vague idea about what's going on with me. I know that they knew about what I was doing when I went to the washroom 10-20 times a night. When we went on vacation one time I was up for two hours past the time I had gone to bed going to the washroom about every two minutes, and since I was in the same room as them and I know that they couldn't have slept through me going past their bed and flushing the toilet every time, they heard me. I've also brought up the subject of OCD a few times and been more interested in what my dad does. My dad constantly (even when he's asleep) moves his toes, he can't stop. I keep on asking him why he does it, but he says that he doesn't know. I asked him if he could act the doctor because I was curious, and he said okay, but I doubt he ever will. I think that he may have a tic disorder, and I know that those can be associated with OCD (at least I read that somewhere, is that right?), but I'm not sure.

As for the time these behaviors are taking up each day, I don't have a very accurate answer. I tried timing one time, but the routines become so ordinary in my life, that I forget to time. They used to take up more time, but now maybe they take up about 30 minutes to one hour. It fluctuates from day to day though.

These rituals provide me with a fair bit of anxiety as result of these things, but like the time I spend on them, that also fluctuates a fair amount. Sometimes I can't stand it and I want to get help more than ever, and sometimes I think that I can deal with it for a while and I won't have to tell my parents. I really want help though, I think it will help. I've been showing symptoms for a while, but I didn't notice how unusual it really was until recently.

I've told two of my closest friends that I think I may have OCD, but they don't seem to care a lot. They're great friends, and they were concerned when I brought it up, but other than that they don't seem to care, and I don't talk to them a lot anymore because we're not in the same class this year. I haven't told my best friend, or my closest friend at my school about it, but my closest friend at my school just joke around, and I don't know what my best friend would think. I'm so scared about telling my parents though. I'm so worried that I might be wrong, and that they won't think of me as the same kid anymore, they've had their share of problems recently. I really want to get help though. Do you know of a way that I could approach my parents? I'm so confused.

I know that this is very long, but thank you so much for reading this. I'd really appreciate any other responses or additional advice. Thanks so much!

Daniela

 
Old 10-18-2003, 03:44 AM   #5
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Hi again Daniela,

First of all, you really are very articulate for a 13 year old, which is great. You seem to have a very good handle on your symptoms and what is bothering you, and that will always prove to be the most important thing going forward.

These things do seem to be causing you distress, and you are definitely exhibiting OCD-like symptoms in my opinion. Some of it seems pretty harmless though; i.e. your tidiness and exactness in some of you school assignments. Unless those particular things are causing you significant distress or impeding your studies, they may actually become assets in the long run as far as school is concerned.

It is good that you want to get help for this, and I think you should as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. The reason I say this is that you are young enough to quickly and effectively make appropriate changes; you can and will get better. I think sometimes it is easier to fix things in our psyche and personality when we are younger because we are still forming neural pathways and our brains are still very plastic in many ways.

The next step is to find a way to broach the subject with your parents. I think the best way is to be as forthcoming with them as possible and explain your concerns. Explain to them that your main concerns in coming to them about this is that you need their understanding and that this doesn't change who you are and have always been. This condition does not define your character or spirit, Daniela. This is something that is VERY treatable. Be open and honest with them, and explain that you would like to at least be evaluated by a physician because you want to get better. I really think they will be understanding and will help you take care of this -- there is no reason to live in fear or be ashamed.

Anyhow, I think I've said enough for now...keep us posted on what you decide to do. Take care, best of luck to you...

 
Old 10-18-2003, 05:53 AM   #6
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Parents like anyone else can go into denial when it comes to problems with their kids. I would think that it would be good to let them know that it is a good thing that you recognize that you have these issues so that you can get early intervention and therefore achieve your maximum potential in life. My main objective as a parent is to help my children grow up to be happpy and self-sufficient.

Your school psychologist and your pediatrician could probably give you references for a good OCD specialist. Finding the right psychologist was one of the hardest things for me as a parent. It took 4 tries but it was worth it. If you want cognititive behavioural therapy (and I would recommend it) you would see a psychologist. A psychiatrist mainly gives medications.

Your friends probably don't understand OCD. I hear people joking that they have OCD as if it is something trivial or even positive (like "I have OCD when it comes to keeping my house clean"). People who don't have it don't realize that the "real thing" can be very disturbing to an individual.

I too was the child that suffered in silence and now as a parent I wish that I had demanded more attention. My brother and sister always had more problems than me so I felt sorry for my parents. Also, keep in mind that a child that doesn't complain much is often taken very seriously when she does complain. A good way to start a tough conversation might be something like "Mom, Dad, you know that I'm not one to be needy so I really would like you to hear me out...."

Hope this helps, Terry

 
Old 10-23-2003, 06:52 PM   #7
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Hey!

Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I read them, but I didn't really know what to say. Thanks for replying again.

I don't know whether I should tell my parents or not. Actually, I know I should, I just don't know if I have enough courage or how to approach the subject if I work up enough courage. I don't know whether I should tell them that I think I have OCD, or just tell them that I have a concern because I do things that I don't think are normal. I doubt I even know what normal is though. Whenever I do something, I wonder whether it's normal or not, and I have no idea, although I doubt it is. Also, since I don't think my rituals take up over an hour a day, could I still be diagnosed with OCD? Is me popping anything that resembles a zit in the least a symptom, or is it normal? Is stopping in front of a door at night and doing my swallowing thing and saying the date and probably doing it at least 3 times because it doesn't feel right really abnormal? Also, could my dad constantly moving his toes be a tic-disorder, and are those associated with OCD?

I guess my greatest fear is being wrong. I don't know what my parents, or anyone who finds out, will think about me if I tell them that I think I have a disorder, then I don't. I don't know what my teachers will think if they somehow find out, and I don't know if my friends will think I'm insane. Actually, I think the two that I already told think I'm overreacting and it's nothing.

I usually have the most courage at night, once I've gone through a day and I want all of the rituals to stop. Once I wake up in the morning, however, I think I'm fine and I can live with it.

I don't know what to do. I know that I should tell them, but I don't know how to or what to do after I do tell them and everything, although I guess I should figure out how to tell them first. I would really appreciate any replies, thanks for all of the help.

Daniela

 
Old 10-24-2003, 07:03 PM   #8
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Hey!

I also forgot some other symptoms that I remembered. Sometimes when I read or hear a word (there's no pattern to when I do it) I'll "type" it out. Like I'll type where the keyboard would be. When I do this, I do it a lot of times, and sometimes I don't even notice I'm doing it, but when I decide to stop, I'll do it five more times, but if it doesn't feel right or if I make a mistake, I'll do it another five times, until I get it "perfect." This is fairly common, but it doesn't cause me a lot of anxiety.

Also, sometimes I really obsess over things. For instance, with my friend that I used to be really close to, but we're drifting apart despite our efforts to make our friendship stronger. At school, I notice that she's changed a lot and that I'm not sure I want her as a friend, but I'm still constantly thinking about it. Then at home I'm still constantly thinking about it, and I forget what she's like now. I'm always thinking of ways to strengthen our friendship again. I also always tell her how I feel, no matter how much I do, and I think that I should confess and maybe something will change. I also sometimes write e-mails, but the majority of the time I don't even send them because I don't want to make a mistake. I also sometimes really obsess over conversations that happened with various people throughout the day and think of ways that I could have reacted or how I shouldn't have said something, when in reality, it didn't make the slightest difference. In addition to that, I also sometimes obsess over people and I don't want them to hate me. This used to be worse and I've done my best to stop because this is labelled as "weird," but I still care a lot.

Also, I always think about things happening to people that I care about. I don't have visual pictures as I read some people with OCD do, I just think about what could happen and what I would do and what would happen from it, when the chances of some of the things happening are very slim.

Lastly, I hate things that can't be undone. For instance, taking a sticker off of a sheet of stickers, or taking the protective plastic off of a lens. This isn't huge, but it definitely bothers me.

If these are also possible symptoms of OCD, then my obsessions definitely take up over an hour a day. This is causing me a lot of anxiety and it's really bothering me only I'm too scared to tell my parents because I don't want to be "the girl with the disorder" or "the girl who thought she had a disorder," although I know I should.

Sorry for not including this in my last post and thank you so much for replying to my previous posts. I'm sorry if I'm getting annoying, this is really bothering me though and I don't know what to do. I think I'm getting closer to tell my parents though because I know I can't go on like this. After reading everything, do you think it's possible that I have OCD? Are the actions that I listed in this post possible symptoms of OCD?

Thanks,
Daniela


 
Old 10-24-2003, 09:29 PM   #9
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Could you just have your parents read this thread?

 
Old 10-26-2003, 08:07 AM   #10
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Hey!

I could show them this thread, but I'd prefer not to, so I think that will be my last resort. I think I'd be taken more seriously if I told them myself and I don't know what their reaction would be if I showed them a thread on a message board. I'm worried about their reaction, and their reaction would be less predictable if I did that. I'm just going to think about everything more. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Daniela

[This message has been edited by gogocrazy (edited 10-26-2003).]

 
Old 10-28-2003, 07:24 PM   #11
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Hey!

Okay, I know that all of you probably aren't very interested, but if you could please respond, I would really appreciate it, this is changing my life so much.

Well, I just came back from talking to my parents, only it didn't go very well. In my mind, I was trying to talk to them, but they didn't seem to care. My mom was looking at a city map, and my dad was reading one of his business books. I started off by asking my dad why he's constantly moving his toes, then when he said "I don't know," I asked him if it was heritable, because sometimes I find myself doing it too. Nobody answered to that, so I asked my parents if they remembered when I went to the bathroom around 10-20 times a night. My mom said "Yeah," but didn't show any interest in it. Then when I was about to continue, my dad started to say something, so I apologized for interupting and asked him to continue. He told my mom that he didn't get a fax that he was supposed to receive today. So, I continued and asked if they could ask my doctor why I used to do that, because I do a lot of strange things, and my mom said no (still not showing any interesting in the topic), and kept on looking a map. I stayed there for another minute or two, then just walked away. Neither of them cared.

Don't get me wrong, they don't ignore me, and they care about what happens at school and all of that, but them not caring really hurt. I'm on the verge of tears, my eyes are watering up. It took a lot of courage to say that to them, even though I didn't approach it in the best way, and they didn't show any interest. I'm so scared of being wrong that I don't want to tell them that I think I have OCD, just that I do weird things so that I can get checked out. I don't want them to think differently of me. I don't know what to do.

If anyone has any alternate ways of bringing this subject up with my parents, or who else I should go to, please tell me. I'm so confused. I know this doesn't seem like much, but I'm not very strong. Please help me.

Thanks,
Daniela

Sorry for the post directly after this, it's exactly the same. I accidently posted it again. Thanks.

[This message has been edited by gogocrazy (edited 10-28-2003).]

 
Old 10-28-2003, 07:25 PM   #12
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Hey!

Okay, I know that all of you probably aren't very interested, but if you could please respond, I would really appreciate it, this is changing my life so much.

Well, I just came back from talking to my parents, only it didn't go very well. In my mind, I was trying to talk to them, but they didn't seem to care. My mom was looking at a city map, and my dad was reading one of his business books. I started off by asking my dad why he's constantly moving his toes, then when he said "I don't know," I asked him if it was heritable, because sometimes I find myself doing it too. Nobody answered to that, so I asked my parents if they remembered when I went to the bathroom around 10-20 times a night. My mom said "Yeah," but didn't show any interest in it. Then when I was about to continue, my dad started to say something, so I apologized for interupting and asked him to continue. He told my mom that he didn't get a fax that he was supposed to receive today. So, I continued and asked if they could ask my doctor why I used to do that, because I do a lot of strange things, and my mom said no (still not showing any interesting in the topic), and kept on looking a map. I stayed there for another minute or two, then just walked away. Neither of them cared.

Don't get me wrong, they don't ignore me, and they care about what happens at school and all of that, but them not caring really hurt. I'm on the verge of tears, my eyes are watering up. It took a lot of courage to say that to them, even though I didn't approach it in the best way, and they didn't show any interest. I'm so scared of being wrong that I don't want to tell them that I think I have OCD, just that I do weird things so that I can get checked out. I don't want them to think differently of me. I don't know what to do.

If anyone has any alternate ways of bringing this subject up with my parents, or who else I should go to, please tell me. I'm so confused. I know this doesn't seem like much, but I'm not very strong. Please help me.

Thanks,
Daniela

 
Old 10-29-2003, 03:59 AM   #13
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I use to write my parents letters when I was afraid to talk. I'm not sure, but it seems like they just don't understand your concern. Some people think that OCD is just quirky and doesn't cause suffering. I doubt it is that they don't care, it's just that they don't understand.

This is kind of sad but we couldn't afford health care when I was little and by older sister had big mental health problems. One Christmas she asked for a gift certificate to see a psychologist!

 
Old 11-02-2003, 06:43 PM   #14
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Hey!

Hey!

Thanks for replying TerryB. I'm sorry about your sister, I know that I'm really lucky, and that I should be thankful. Thanks.

On Wednesday, I brought up the subject that I'm doing things that aren't normal, but he just dismissed it. I'm not losing hope yet, definitely not after what just happened.

About an hour ago, my sister and I were home alone, and we were making supper (by the way, my sister just turned 16). I brought up the subject of OCD, and she told me that she thought that she had OCD too. I told her all of my symptoms, and she told me her's. She said that she told my parents that she thought she had OCD about two years ago, but my parents said that it was just an influence from her friend (who has OCD), and they didn't listen. I asked her if she would tell them our concerns with me, since I think it would be a lot easier than doing it alone, but she said she wouldn't. She said that it's not too hard to live with. I don't know what to do now, but I definitely know that I can't live with this, because it's causing me a lot of distress. Even though I don't know what I'm going to do, it's comforting to know that my sister knows what I'm going through, and that I can talk to her anytime.

I've just finished telling my friend (one of my friends that already knew about it) about everything. The only reason I have enough courage to tell her is because we talked online, so I don't have to actually see her. Maybe if I really have to tell somebody and my parents aren't listening, I'll try sending my parents an e-mail or a letter like you recommended, TerryB.

Anyways, if you have any input or advice, I'd really appreciate if you could post it. If you want, I'll keep you posted. This board is really helping me a lot.

Thanks,
Daniela

 
Old 11-02-2003, 07:20 PM   #15
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Go to the Library

I'm having trouble with my computer tonight so I hope this goes through. If all else fails you can go to the public library and check out some books. The book that was most useful to me was: Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It gives you the basics of cognitive behavioral therapy. There are books geared for adults also. On one of the recent threads a book was recommended to someone. Some libraries can get a book that they might not have. Our public library has several books about OCD and our town is fairly small.

Your parents are correct to be suspicious about Psychologists, so am I. Once we got to the level of OCD specialists there were no more quacks. I know that sounds mean but some of the psychologists that we saw initially knew llittle about OCD and they were so ignorant that they didn't have a clue that psychotherapy does not work for OCD. It was really easy to tell who was ignorant after reading a lot of books from the library. You could probably team up with your sister and learn a lot. Seeing a psychologist still helped me as a parent because some behaviors I could not imediately tell were OCD and therefore I was not dealing with them appropriately. Not everything is in the books.

Your father might be in denial about some of his own issues and is not ready to be exposed to it now.

 
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