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Girlie1

Helping 17 Year Old With New Diagnosis

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Hi my daughter, a very hard working 6th former has been suffering from intrusive thoughts for a few years. I had them myself when young and well into adulthood but managed them by talking to my mum, a close friend and was mercifully able to have a happy and normal life. Our daughter has become socially isolated and so quiet, like all parents on this forum I guess, we feel desperately sad about it. And guilty for not having her properly assessed sooner when a diagnosis would have been taken into account when they grade her cancelled A levels.  Instead as it didn't seem too bad we saw our Gp, tried talking therapy and then hypnotherapy which helped to a degree before realising it was more serious.  Getting NHS help would have taken too long during the pandemic so we have now had her privately assessed and she has started weekly CBT sessions online for now. The diagnosis was of mild OCD, no outward compulsions but the complication is that one of her obsessions is thinking she smells bad (which she absolutely doesn't). This means she could have Olfactory Reference Syndrome which seems quite rare.  Obviously the lockdown and cancellation of A levels has brought such uncertainty and put a stop to what little social life she had. She is our only child and we are doing everything we can to support her, learn about OCD etc. We encourage her to have a routine, exercise etc

Being a hard worker she has managed to do fairly well with her A level courses and has had good offers for uni. She had already deferred her place to 2021 and had hoped to try to get a job/do a bit of travelling with her close friend before all this got worse.  I am now worried that she won't be able to do any of it. Her confidence is at an all time low, she gets anxious just going to the local shops.  We have so many questions, how will she cope at uni, will she have to tell prospective employers about the diagnosis? Should she try medication (as she does have spells of being fine she has resisted that so far and had wanted to try the CBT first). And has anyone else experience of Olfactory Reference Syndrome..if that's what she has.  

We feel fortunate that her symptoms are pretty mild so far but seeing the distress they cause her, my heart really goes out to everyone facing this condition. My late Dad was an alcoholic and the best thing for me was meeting people in the same boat through Al A Teen ( via AA ), so I wanted to explore support groups for her sake and ours. Any feedback welcome, many thanks in advance.

 

 

 

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Hi Girlie1 and welcome to the forum. :welcome:

That's great news that your daughter is getting CBT. Online sessions are just as good as face to face in my opinion. (I had CBT over the phone in the days before video calls were invented and that worked too.) Having your support, keeping to a routine and getting regular exercise will all help as well.

13 hours ago, Girlie1 said:

We have so many questions, how will she cope at uni, will she have to tell prospective employers about the diagnosis? Should she try medication (as she does have spells of being fine she has resisted that so far and had wanted to try the CBT first). And has anyone else experience of Olfactory Reference Syndrome..if that's what she has.  

I'll try to address the questions you've raised. 

As far as Uni goes, there's no reason she shouldn't do well, especially as she'll have some CBT skills under her belt by then. Telling a future employer shouldn't be necessary unless she still has OCD at that time which is severe enough to affect her ability to do her job. Otherwise there's no need to mention it to anybody except when applying for life insurance (unless she wants to.) 

Personally I think medication has a very limited role in OCD and is not needed for the vast majority of people. I agree with your daughter that trying CBT first is the way to go. :yes:

Labels, labels, sheeesh! Psychologists love a label. :rolleyes: Thinking you smell bad when you don't is really just another intrusive thought and can be treated in exactly the same way as other worrying thoughts - with CBT. I see no reason to separate it out and label it as something different. OCD is the same whatever the topic. Thinking of it under the one umbrella makes it easier to apply the same CBT skills to the problem whatever the theme and avoids landing the person with a lot of unhelpful labels which make them feel there's twice as much wrong as there is. 

There are a lot of people feeling anxious over going to the local shops thanks to the pandemic and my advice on that issue is the same as for somebody without OCD; as soon as the lockdown eases get back out there and try to get back to normal. If she has low confidence you might find it helps her to have company at first, but essentially it's about pushing through the anxiety. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' as the famous book says!

Perhaps she could join the forum herself? Doing CBT can be hard and it can help to chat about it with people who understand. She might also be interested in our Young Ambassadors section on the main website which you can access here.

I hope that helps and if you have further questions this is the place to ask! :) 

 

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Dear Snowbear thanks so much for your helpful reply and kind comments. I will encourage my daughter to check out the forums, and I'm really hopeful she will reach out to others when she needs advice. I have shown her the young ambassadors already..that looks like a great initiative.

Best wishes. 

 

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