For many of you, this week's book will not interest or help you. You are among the crowd that does not suffer from intrusive thoughts. You are not convinced by your own brain to do ridiculous things. When you worry, your fears are rational and short-lived. You are essentially... free. But some of you are familiar with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). You live with it yourself or someone close to you deals with it. My heart goes out to those whose thoughts are rigid, assaultive and sometimes absurd, but who don't know why. You worry whether you are "normal" and you spend a heap of time trying to cover up your nervous habits. If you or someone you love is in that last category, I have an answer for you.
You are normal.
There is one difference though. You likely suffer from a disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Although it's a psychological diagnosis, it really has nothing to do with emotion. It is a physical problem-a brain hiccup in the thought process. There is nothing you did or your parents did to create this problem. Researchers believe it to be simply a genetic glitch, just like type 1 diabetes, a heart condition, or asthma. No fault is given to someone born with a medical condition and OCD is no different. Free yourself from that guilt!
Many people who suffer from OCD do not know they have it. They spend so much time trying to hide from its shame. They isolate themselves from reaching out for help. Often they fear they are schizophrenic or possessed by the devil. Children are no different. Children hide intrusive, aggressive and even suicidal thoughts from their parents. Parents watch as their once playful children turn into lonely, stressed, worry-warts. It can truly be heartbreaking. But there is hope.
This is a treatable condition. The best method to date for treatment is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with a professional therapist. Often anti-anxiety medication can help in addition to therapy but is not always necessary. You, your child or loved one can learn how to "talk back" to their OCD thoughts, gain control and eliminate its effect. The transformation is remarkable.
If your score indicates you may have the condition, seek a professional's guidance for a diagnosis and treatment.
Don't suffer needlessly. If you get those "brain hiccups," seek treatment so you can move on with your life and move on with being the real you.
Stephanie Patterson, M.S. LMFT