10-22-2019 06:31 AM - last edited on 10-22-2019 03:52 PM by Bre-RO
My son was diagnosed w OCD and Anxiety at 12. He has panic attacks where he says that he "can't breath" and has negative repetitive thoughts. After about 4 months in CBT he felt fine and refused to continue with therapy. He had a set back before his freshman year of HS that caused anxiety attacks again with his fears being going away to camp and starting a new school. He started school and was great! LAUGHED at the things he was afraid of before, hadn't had an anxiety attack all year. Now, this summer, out of NOW WHERE he has almost reverted back to being a baby. He is scared of everything. His negative repetitive thoughts are that he is "not breathing" and that if he leaves the house, he will stop breathing and die alone.. He is terrified of death. Stopped playing sports (was a varsity football player as a sophomore- his whole life's dream) refused to go to school and STOPPED EATING which is a big thing because my kid loves to eat! Its ridiculous to me. Its like he has lost all common sense and can't recognize reality. I feel so helpless I am also so mad at him!! he has lost everything he worked so hard for so he can sit home... he invites his friends over and I allow it bc I see he is not stressed when they are over and it distracts him. But I feel like I am rewarding someone who does NOTHING. Its making me sick. He is seeing a therapist and Psychiatrist. They prescribed him a medication with horrible side effects (that's when he stopped eating) Now he's been on another medication for 4 weeks - they just upp'ed his dosage 5 days ago. He is still anxious - not as bad. But he still refuses to accept he is feeling better and clings to this "I can't do this" attitude. This is a kid who worked out 3 hrs a day, 4 days a week.. someone who lived and breathed sports and weight lifting... Its like he is a different person. Has anyone else experienced this with OCD and Anxiety? How do you parent a child like this I don't even know how to speak to him anymore, it's like he is not my kid anymore. Its heart breaking
10-22-2019 04:08 PM
Thank you for coming here to seek help with this situation. It is so heart-breaking to see the ones we love the most struggle with their mental health. I'm just wondering if you have any support as you go through this, from friends/family or even a counsellor? It's really important to get as much support as possible when caring for a teen with OCD and Anxiety. On that note, I'm really glad you were able to get the frustrating parts of this situation off your chest here so that you can support your son.
It sounds like you have coordinated all the right professionals for your son (therapist and psychiatrist) and it's really positive that the CBT worked for your son when he tried it. The difficult part of recovering from a mental health challenge, is that it can take a long time find the right therapist and medication. It takes time to rewire anxious/obsessive thought pathways and there can be many set backs along the way. This is hard to watch and hard to experience - especially when it comes with a loss of ability to do things that were previously a positive.
It's a cruel aspect of OCD/Anxiety that it does tend to rob you of your "common sense" and grip on reality. What is happening in your internal world paints a lot of how we perceive our environment so over time the confusion of it all can take hold. In saying this symptoms can be managed and recovery is possible
Also just wanted to let you know that I did need to edit your post as some of it went against our community guidelines which you can read here when you have some time.
10-24-2019 01:40 AM
Hi! I am so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this. In truth, you are going through the anxiety attacks as much as he is. That being said...
What seems ridiculous to you, ir very real and perilous to him. Picture yourself in an ocean, with a rock tied to your ankle. The weight keeps pulling you down. People are watching you, wondering why you aren't swimming, because they can't see the weight below the surface that is keeping you trapped. The more you fight, the more exhausted you get, until you finally submerge. It is the fear that is driving your son right now, so the first thing you need to do is validate that it is very real to him.
Does he like music? It can be very calming to many people - depending on what they listen to.
Have a LONG talk with him. Try to find out if something has happened that has caused this fear to emerge. It is a scary time for kids these days.... school can be deadly, and they face that fear every day. Add that to the raging hormones, and brain chemistry constantly changing, and it is a recipe for chaos. If he doesn't open up to you, perhaps there is an adult in his life he can open up to. You need to know if there is something he is keeping from you, with the belief you will get angry or he is protecting you from worry.
What calms your son, aside from the medication? Do you let him see you are exasperated? If so, that will make it worse. The best thing you can do is reassure him without making him think his fear is real.
And seek a support group for parents with anxious kids. They can be a lot of help!
10-24-2019 02:05 AM
10-24-2019 09:47 AM
You sound like an amazing mother. The fact that your son opens up and talks to you about everything that is going on at school says a lot about your relationship. You are doing everything you can do for your boy - as someone who has struggled with anxiety I can say that even through the worst panic attacks having your mothers love is invaluable.
I think joining a support group is a really great idea. I'd love to hear how you go with finding one - know that we are here to listen to you. This is a safe space to air out your frustration and find the strength to keep pushing on. You got this!
10-24-2019 10:48 AM
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06-08-2023 11:05 AM - last edited on 06-08-2023 04:39 PM by Bre-RO
Hi. It’s amazing but I’ve had a very similar experience with my son. He is currently doing very well and dealing with stress and anxiety and getting on with life at 17. Please feel encouraged by this. It can happen for your family too. I’ll tell u what I know to be true, in the hope it might help u. 1. The OCD is not your fault. It’s also not your sons fault.
2. OCD won’t go away on its own.
3. He can recover from OCD and get his life back.
4. Exposure response therapy is key. So important he gets this treatment and u continue the work at home. There are explicit things he and u need to do. Important to learn what these strategies are.
5. Medication for 2 years, same time everyday.
Be strong. You need to guide your child in this journey. You will get there. And so will he. And don’t forget Recovery from OCD is very possible.
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