“What if it returned?…I didn’t think I should be running from that possibility anymore than an OCD sufferer should be running from an intrusive thought.”
I was having a nice, relaxing evening until my young adult daughter walked into the living room and said this: “Dr. Yong thinks I can discontinue therapy now.”
If this were a cartoon, this would have been the point where steam shot out of my ears or my head exploded, but here in the real world I quietly panicked inside while trying to work out a non-confrontational answer that conveyed gentle concern without being a total nag and certainly without giving away the fact that I flat-out disagreed.
“So not even once a month?” I asked.
“Nope. I have it under control. We just don’t have that much to talk about anymore.”
But should I disagree? I trust her therapist. The woman is amazing! Also, I’m the mom, but this isn’t my therapy. My daughter isn’t even a minor anymore. I’ve also suffered with Harm OCD, and I know firsthand that it absolutely can reach a point where it no longer rules one’s life. So why was I so scared?
Stay with it. Breathe. What are you really feeling?
The path to finding a good therapist was so long and fraught with false starts. For years, I felt alone as a parent struggling to help my child. I was barely hanging on, hoping she could just hang on one more day, one more week until the appointment with the next therapist. We went through a couple before finally finding one with the expertise to deal with Harm OCD. When we finally found this godsend, this ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention)-certified, OCD-confronting angel from heaven with decades of experience in dragging that Harm OCD beast out into the light like a vampire screeching under the sun, I didn’t want to let go. I wanted to hang on like the grim death that tormented the worst of my intrusive thoughts!
What if it returned?
What if she started melting down again and asking me if she deserved to live? As I thought back on those days, nausea hit me in waves.
The kneejerk answer to my questions might be, “You can’t be pessimistic like that.” But I didn’t think I should be running from that possibility anymore than an OCD sufferer should be running from an intrusive thought. What if it does recur?
Well, we know what feeds the beast. We know what starves it. And most of all, we know where to find good help.
I took a deep breath and said to her, “This is great! And if you ever need Dr. Yong in the future, you know where to find her.”
Yeah. We’ll be okay.
And the great news is…you can be, too.