Help with OCD

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Founding member

Help with OCD

Hi, Last year my son was diagnosed with severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and what a tough road it has been.  My son is 17 years old.


It started with panic attacks for no apparent reason and then moved on to him not being able to touch things as they were contaminated. He couldn't even touch a knife and fork so I had to feed him. 


The waiting time to see a specialist or anybody that might be able to help was weeks. I needed someone now! I even surfed the net looking for help but as he is a teenager it is hard to find help.


Good news, it has been just over a year now since he was diagnosed with severe OCD and is he is seeing a psychologist and slowly getting better.


If anyone has cared for someone with OCD I really like to know how they got through it or are managing it.








Frequent scribe

Re: Help with OCD

Pleased to hear that a year on things are improving.  

I don't have any advice to offer on this topic - I just wanted to say thanks for sharing and good luck  

All the best Smiley Happy

Super frequent scribe

Re: Help with OCD

Hi there @Ollie-Finches and thanks for sharing your story Smiley Happy


It seems like you are definitely heading in the right direction if things are improving. I would like to know how YOU got through it and are managing it!? Is there an inspirational story hiding in there that could inspire others who aren't as far along on their journey with caring for someone with an anxiety disorder? Like you said it's a "tough road" and obviously you have what it takes to see it through. Bravo!


I don't have any personal experience with OCD but my son (16) has suffered from anxiety attacks. He also suffers from depression and is now on medication which has helped. And like you it took a long time before he got the type of help he needed! Before the medication I could see when the anxiety was starting to kick in, he would become fidgety and would tap away with his foot. He's also seeing a psychologist who is using mindfulness techniques to treat his depression and things are improving. I remind him all the time that we'll get through this together and that I love him.


I did have a read of the OCD Fact Sheet from the ReachOut site for under 25. The most common treatment is cognitive behaviour therapy CBT. Is this your son's treatment? If so how do you think he's going with it? 


 Once again thank you for sharing and hang in there, you are doing a great job! Smiley Happy

Founding member

Re: Help with OCD

Thank you for your support. No one wants to talk about mental illness so it can be very lonely. Thank you for your suggestion re the OCD Fact Sheet it very explained my son's condition perfectly. I will show this to our relatives.


It was hard to find the right help as you need someone who specialises in OCD treatment. We found a psychologist at The Emotional Health Clinic at Macquarie University.  The psychologist is using a combination of CBT therapy and exposure therapy. My son has now been seeing them for a year. Up until Christmas 2015 my son couldn't leave the house as everything outside was 'contaminated' in his mind. The psychologist did sessions over the speaker phone and then when they built up my sons trust asked if they could do a home visit. These home visits have made a huge difference. The psychologist gets to see my son in his own environment. They see what he can & can't touch and the anxiety attacks happen in front of them.


The psychologist is also teaching me and my husband on what to do when an anxiety attack happens, how to deal with the OCD 'monster' inside in our son.


Our son is also on a very low dose medication. This was another hurdle we had to overcome as he couldn't leave the house. Our problem now is our son wants to fight the OCD by himself, without medication, so we have compromised and he is staying on the low dose.


Our son is also doing Yr 11 via distance education and needs full time care. As tough and lonely as this journey is it is also very rewarding. Thank you for all your kind words, it has given me a lift. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: Help with OCD

"No one wants to talk about mental illness so it can be very lonely."  I know exactly what you mean @Ollie-Finches!  Who cares for the carers!?


Being a typical bloke I learned the hard way what can happen if you don't put yourself first (a nervous breakdown Smiley Surprised).  When things go into crisis mode the typical response of most parents is to put their own needs to the side so that can be there for their kids. A good analogy I learned recently is what you are told to do during a pre-flight announcement: put YOUR mask on first BEFORE your child. Initially it just seems selfish but in an emergency you are no good to anyone if your unconscious or dead.


The analogy to mental health and parenting is that the best parent you can be to your child is a mentally healthy one! Put yourself first! If you are feeling lonely talk to friends, family, counsellors, or even ReachOut! It does not have to be about your son, be selfish, tell the people that care how you're feeling! Honestly, it sounds like your son is on the journey to recovery and you are doing everything you can to help him. But i know that journey is like the proverbial "3 steps forward 1 step back"; good days/bad days... so tiring!!


My guess is that you have been asked by the "professionals" more than once "...and how are you going?" It is ok to say you're not ok. If I am wrong, my apologies. If I am right I hope that you maybe take stock and maybe take some time for yourself. You definitely deserve me time (or we time with hubby!)


Once again thank you so much for sharing your story, it takes bravery to be so open and honest about family mental illness. Smiley Happy Whether you know it or not sharing your story helps others! Smiley Happy



Active scribe

Re: Help with OCD

Hi Ollie-Finches

i personally have not had to deal with what you have over the past year and looking from the outside you have made really good decision in getting the right professionals to help out, good on you and thank you for sharing your story.


All the best


Founding member

Re: Help with OCD

Wow! Thank you so much for understanding. You "get it"! Thanks for tips of encouragement too. Sometimes as a carer we need what I call the 'der' (simple/obvious) things pointed out us and you did in a very nice and kind way. Thank you.


Re: Help with OCD

Hey @Ollie-Finches thanks so much for sharing your story here. Sounds like you have been really flexible and responsive to your son's needs. You are doing a great job. How do you look after yourself in all ot this, do you have any self-care tips for other parents supporting their teens?

Anxiety issues and OCD are really tough -glad to hear you got a lift out of opening up here. Your story will help others know they are not alone - thank you!
Frequent scribe

Re: Help with OCD

Great to see @Ollie_Finches...

You mentioned panic attacks, what do you do while your son is having a panic attack? Have you found anything you say or do can help him in that moment?

Would love to hear your ideas, thanks.

Re: Help with OCD

Hi I know this is a really old piece,I was wondering how your son is now,I have a 17 year old with the same issues as your son,we have been seeing a professor for maybe 3 visits now and prescribed Zoloft,but he won’t take them and he’s getting worse,is it too personal to ask what road you took.kind regards Wendy