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Vicky

14 year old Daughter - worried - looking for support

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Hi all, this is my first post so not really sure where to begin. My daughter is 14, almost 15 years old and her mental health has progressively been deteriorating over some time. She has always been a worrier, all her days - she has a phobia of sickness (vomiting terrifies her) so that was perhaps the first symptom I would say she had of OCD.

However more recently we have discovered that she has to perform rituals every night before bed, she has to write repeated phrases in a diary, predominantly apologies for things that have happened throughout each day (even if they are not bad things) over and over - so much so she has books where she has written so much in it's completely illegible.  Just words/phrases on top of each other over and over and over. She has to tuck her curtain into the corner of her window, her bed needs to be organised a specific way with so many blankets placed on top of it in a specific order, she has to finish her drink at a certain time and the very last thing she must do is brush her teeth. If something happens after that she has to brush her teeth again. She says she has to do all these things every night (it can take almost two hours) before she can sleep because if she doesn't she thinks someone she loves will get hurt or die.

She washes her hands compulsively at school as she is worried about germs (she now has broken skin all over her hands due to over washing), over analyses everything she eats, best before dates etc which makes eating out very difficult.

And she needs reassurance from me about everything, constantly - every relationship she has, every lump or bump that appears, change in weight, feeling poorly etc.....it's so hard to reassure her. 

I took her to the Dr recently in the hope we could get some help for her - she has been referred to a counsellor urgently - however the waiting list is long and the likelihood of her getting seen anytime soon is slim. She has confided in me recently that she is finding this all very overwhelming and wants it to stop but I am struggling to know how to help her - if there is anything anyone can suggest, support tools, books, methods I would really appreciate it as I know the mental health teams are stretched hugely where we live and I am not sure we will get any opportunity to see a counsellor anytime soon.

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Hi Vicky :)

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. My OCD started at about the age of 14 and involved rituals before bed, so I understand how hard that is. It's great that she is open with you about her worries and that you've reached out for help. 

You say she's been referred for counselling, but usually you would be looking for a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It may be that you've been referred for that and the term counsellor is being used loosely, might be worth checking. There is information on accessing therapy in Scotland here, 

https://www.ocduk.org/overcoming-ocd/accessing-ocd-treatment/accessing-ocd-treatment-through-the-nhs/scotland/

In the mean time there are things you can do. OCD-UK have young ambassadors who have helped create a guide to OCD booklet that you can request for free from the charity here, 

http://www.ocduk.org/teens/

There is also the OCD-UK conference that's happening on the 16th November in Northampton which has 7 presentations for parents of children and there are talks by world leading specialists. You can get reduced ticket prices too if you're on a low income. Information about that is here, 

https://www.ocduk.org/conference/

If you can't attend, the charity is hoping to make the presentations available online in early 2020.

There are also some brilliant self-help books out there for parents and children to work through together like Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People & Families and Pulling the Trigger: Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks – Family Edition. 

Hope some of this helps :)

 

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As Gemma mentions, if you would like to attend the conference (I realise it's a long way from your location), but if we can help by slightly reduced tickets then please email myself at ashley@ocduk.org

 

 

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Thank you so much for your responses Gemma and Ashley - I did notice the information about the conference on the website (it is actually on my daughters Birthday!!) unfortunately we just can't afford to consider coming to it as we live on a remote Scottish island 😕 so the cost of even travelling off island is considerable. The mental health team here is very stretched, all I know is she has been referred to the local CAMHS service, I am not sure there is even anyone who specialises in CBT here but will certainly look into it.

I really appreciate the book recommendations and the leaflet - I have downloaded the leaflet and ordered one of the books. 

This all feels very overwhelming - my daughter has had lots of issues with bullying and friendships breaking down over the years and I wonder just how much of that is linked to what she is experiencing now. She is beautiful, talented and kind and I just want the best for her - I want her to stop hurting. I feel so grateful that she feels she can talk to me about what she is going through but I hate that I can't fix it for her 😕 

 

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2 hours ago, Vicky said:

This all feels very overwhelming - my daughter has had lots of issues with bullying and friendships breaking down over the years and I wonder just how much of that is linked to what she is experiencing now. She is beautiful, talented and kind and I just want the best for her - I want her to stop hurting. I feel so grateful that she feels she can talk to me about what she is going through but I hate that I can't fix it for her 😕 

I think what you're feeling is what lots of parents feel, particularly at this moment when things aren't so good. But your daughter absolutely can get better, she is not alone and neither are you. OCD is such an awful condition, but you can make steps towards recovery on your own, well before therapy starts. Hopefully she finds the booklet helpful and if either of you have questions about therapy then come back to the forums and we can try and help :)

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12 hours ago, Gemma7 said:

I think what you're feeling is what lots of parents feel, particularly at this moment when things aren't so good. But your daughter absolutely can get better, she is not alone and neither are you. OCD is such an awful condition, but you can make steps towards recovery on your own, well before therapy starts. Hopefully she finds the booklet helpful and if either of you have questions about therapy then come back to the forums and we can try and help :)

Thank you so much Gemma, though I would never wish this on anyone else it's good to know we are not alone in this battle. I really appreciate your words :) x

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