Thursday, May 19, 2011

fighting a monster

it's become more than a normal worry.  i had a feeling it would.  i can see an obsessive compulsion a mile away.  even if it is coming from a 5 year old.

it all began with a question that she asked chad. 

"are strangers real?"

he couldn't lie to her and tell her no.  so he answered like any other parent would.  and that's when it started.

i noticed that she was always checking to make sure the doors were locked.  i raised a red flag in my heart and began watching closely.  maybe...just would not grab ahold of her and grip her like the ones that had made friends with me a long time ago.  before i knew what they were.

over the last several months, she has gone from checking every now and then to having a full-fledge compulsive behavior.  it's no longer enough to be told that the doors are locked.  she has to see it for herself.  she can be upstairs...playing on the opposite side of the house with a friend and hear the door close behind her brother...who is just headed out to shoot hoops.  i can't count to 5 before she comes flying down the stairs...runs past me...flips the lock...and shoots back upstairs to whatever it was she was doing.  i just stand there watching.  she's not scared.  she is just doing what she has been told.  by her own mind.

i keep gently reassuring her that she is secure.  that daddy and i are careful and that we are here to protect her.  and furthermore...that she has Jesus, who is watching over her too.  but she just nods, and says, "i know."  and she does know.  just like i knew that no matter how many times i switched the light on and would not control whether or not i would get sick.  but i did it anyway.  and she checks the locks.  anyway.

last night, after everyone was in bed and asleep, chad went outside to get something out of the car.  as he approached the car, he heard the lock quickly flip.  he ran to the back door window in time to see her bolting up the stairs.  she had heard the door and didn't trust that we would lock it when we came back in.  this has gone too far.

i know what i have to do.  there is not a question in my mind.  i know what is making her have to do it.  and i also know how uncomfortable she is if she doesn't.

tonight, i sat down with her and i told her that i undersood.  i told her that it was going to be ok.  i told her that she didn't have to check the lock when her brain told her she had to...but that i undersood why she wanted to.  i also told her that it was a tricky thing sometimes...because afterall, sometimes you tell yourself that you are just being careful.  and smart.  like when i wash my hands all the time to protect myself from germs.  it's just smart.  even the media says so.  but deep know that it's not just you being smart.  it is something that has control of you.  it is something more.

i asked her if she would agree to come and tell me everytime she felt like she needed to check the doors.  i asked her to tell me before she did it, so that we could talk about it together.  she said that she would.

about 15 minutes later, chad and chase left for cubscouts.  i waited.  she came to me and asked, "can i check the door?"  i said, "i heard daddy lock it."  she said, "ok."  and then a minute later...she said, "can i check it just to make sure?"  it was not a surprise.  i know this monster well.  i am familiar with it.  and i refuse to let it take my daughter.  i said, "we are going to wait 10 minutes before we check it.  is that ok?"  she said, "yes."  i distracted her with dinner and conversation...hoping she could last the 10 minutes.  she did.  she lasted 15 before she asked if she could check it again.  i let her.  she did really good with her first go-round with cognitive behavioral therapy.  and fighting the monster.

i can honestly say that i am thankful for my battle with OCD.  see...i'm much more aware of the enemy and how to fight it.  i will continue to fight it for myself.  and i will stand in front of my daughter and fight it for her when she can't do it on her own.  and i will train her to fight for herself.
it won't win.

i can promise you that.


meredith said...

beautifully written. thank you for sharing this with us...i will be praying for strength and wisdom for you & chad through this. She is so blessed to have you as her mama!!

allyaggie said...

You have once again touched me deeply...deeply.
It reminds me of my struggle with obsessive thought, showing itself so strong over these past two days. My QT this morning reminded me of the sovereignty of God and had me pray this prayer...
"Yours, O, Sovereign LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Sovereign LORD, and You are exalted as head above all. Blessing, abundance and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now I thank You, my God and praise Your glorious Name." (1 Chron 29:11-13)
Love and blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

Ok, so the tears in my eyes are for all of us who struggle and see the struggle in our children. Thank you for showing us how to deal with it appropriately. I will continue to pray for you and Aiden as I know you do for my family. Love you!