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OCD impacting on study for17 year old son

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OCD impacting on study for17 year old son


OCD impacting on study for17 year old son

I am a new member.


My 17 year old son has been struggling with Pure OCD / Pefectionism for quite a long time now - and was diagnosed in Year 9 (14 years old).


He is an academic child who loves to learn, and has always had perectionist tendancies.


He suffered wih panic attacks and tics since the age of 9 ... but seemed to deal with that and then when he reached 14 years of age, the OCD kicked in.


He felt he was a bad person abd that he was contaminating everyone. He washed his hands hundreds of times a day, showered for almost an hour at a time, we had to wash bags, clothes etc as soon as he returned from school, he had to exercise for a certain amount of time each week and was very restrictive with his food - only eating healthy things.


He has been attending CAMHS, on and off, for three and a half years now, and although day to day, he has made a huge amount of progress and managed to get through his GCSE's ..... the OCD has now affected his ability to study and make notes for his A Levels (which he is due to sit in Summer 2021).  He feels he has not read things thoroughly, that his notes are not good enough, that he has to research everything about a topic (even if it not in the syllabus)...... He does not want to do anything else with his life other than get good A level grades and go to University .... and yet, this seems impossible at the moment.


He has been on a low dose of medication for over two years now.


CAMHS are saying that he is probably not well enough to be studying for A Levels - but he says he does not want to put his life on hold .... so is trying to keep going and see if he can get an A in any of his three A levels. To be honest school is where he is his happiest as he likes beings with his close circle of friends ... and is destracted from his OCD more. Also with the pandemic in full force - there is not much else he could do at the moment anyway.


I feel so helpless and hopeless. Being a parent is the best thing I have done in my life and I would do anything to support my two children .... and yet I cannot do anything to help with this OCD.

His Grammar school are trying o be supportive ..... but I don't think they understand the full imact the OCD is having on my son's like (although they have spoken with CAMHS to try and understand).


I am just so desperate to find someone who has potentially been through this situation.

I feel exhausted and could cry at a drop of a hat .... My family and friends say they don't know how I am managing to cope and be so strong for my son. I do have a partner - but he just becomes frustrated when I try to talk to him about the OCD ... and asks why CAMHS have not managed to make our son better yet?


I would love to hear from any parents out there that have found themselves in a similar situation.



Super contributor

Re: OCD impacting on study for17 year old son

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Hi @parentoftwo, thank you so much for joining our community. We are so glad to have you on board. It sounds like your family has been on quite the journey. I can only imagine how difficult it has been to navigate all these challenges. I am sorry to hear that it has left you feeling hopeless and helpless at times Smiley Sad It is really great to hear that your son has made some progress and noticed improvement in areas of his life. Sometimes these things can take time and mental health journeys can be more like a rollercoaster rather than a gentle boat ride. For that reason, it can seem like there is a long way to go, however it is also important to recognise how far you have come. Is this something you have talked to your partner about? 


It sounds like there are positives and negatives to your son attending school, is that right? What do you think is the best decision in that situation? You sound like a really wonderful and loving parent who wants the best for their child. I can tell that you have really tried your best to get your son support and to be in tune with his needs. I am wondering if you have thought of seeking therapy for yourself? Parents can easily find themselves burnt out so it is important to have your own support network and things you can do to take care of yourself. What would this include for you?


If you do need some extra support, we always encourage parents to give Parent Line a ring. They have some helpful referrals and resources which may be relevant to you. 


Please feel most welcome to keep us updated Heart

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: OCD impacting on study for17 year old son

Dear Parent of Twha

Welcome to our Reach Out Parent Forum. I've been coming here regularly for a few months now, after losing much connection with my local friends and parents of teens due to covid. I have a medical condition and need to be very careful, so this forum has been very helpful. We have a 16 year old son who has just gone into Year 12 and a 14 year old daughter about to go into Year 10. 

My family experiences strong tendencies towards anxiety and my Great Grandfather had severe OCD and a phobia of germs and was into compulsive handwashing. The family hushed that up and it was only once my mother's cousin was diagnosed with OCD at a clinical level that I started to wake up and see the signs of something which is spread throughout the family to varying degrees. It seems that these people don't have a cut off switch and get into all sorts of extremes. Both my brother and second cousin got into exercise doing hundreds and maybe even a thousand reps. There's a lot of food fussiness and the perfectionism can be a curse. I only came to recognise this horrible perfectionism in myself a few years ago, because it didn't come across to me as perfectionism, but failure. Not being good enough. I only came to appreciate this after seeing my daughter in action. Not only did she have this striving for perfection in herself, she also expected it from me and in areas that weren't my strengths. 

When she was in year 5, she got into the opportunity class and they seemed to have an overall level of OCD and it was very interesting as a class trying to decorate their Christmas tree together. They were all so particularly it was like adjusting a slightly crooked painting on the wall. 

Witht he selective school tests coming up, he OCD flared up and she was counting to threes and taking forever to get ready. She arranged her books in rainbow order and her handwriting is small and meticulous, and yet her bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off in it. That might be the flip side of the OCD. 
I took her to a psychologist but it didn't go well. She curled up in a ball and went silent. It was painful. I have tried to help her since then, and she's mostly been much better, although she's studying to be a ballerina which is fraught with perfectionism. 

I personally feel that it would be a mistake for your son to pull out of areas in his life that are going well, as it would only increase his feelings of failure. Success builds on success and failure does the same. Rather, I would try to find areas of relaxation to juxtapose the stress. I've never been good at sitting still and meditating but I love photography and that also involves focusing on a point, which calms your system down. Photography also getting me walking, and exploring which is also relaxing but not in a clinical kind of way. 

I also do a lot of very detailed research, which I love, but it's also important to see the bigger picture both in terms of looking out to sea and seeing the horizon and expanding your physical outlook, but also to see the overall picture. Otherwise, you can get stuck with tunnel vision. 

I also encourage you to work on what is going well and nurture those areas. 

Your son would also be one who would benefit from knowing there are a number of different pathways into university and the course of their choice. Other kids, need the pressure and the the hard word to get them moving. It's not a case of one size fits all. 

I hope that's helpful. 

Best wishes,