Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: The Great Time Stealer

“Brian, want to come check out the big slide with me,” I yelled from the bench up to my high-swinging son.

“Yeah,” he shouted with a smile.

He quickly slowed down the swing and jumped off.  He began to run forward enthusiastically.

And then he stopped about 5 feet from the swings. He burrowed his eyebrows and his smile turned into a straight line as he thought and tried to fight the urge.

He turned back to the swings and quickly tapped the front of his right shoulder to the left chain and then his left shoulder to the right chain.  And then again.

He turned, smiling again, and began running towards me one more time. He made it about 5 feet again.  He stopped.  His smile was a frown this time.  He flapped his hands a little in protest.

He turned around and went back and tapped the back of his right hand to the left chain and then his left hand to the right chain.  And again.  And again.

He turned around, no longer looking so enthusiastic, but determined to make it to the slide. He runs towards me and stops once again, about 7 feet from the swings this time.

He looks over his shoulder to the swing.  He concentrates so hard seen by the scrunching of his eyes. And he breaks free that time. He finishes running to me and we head over to the slide.

In all, the tapping routine lasted about thirty seconds.  Other people around us, probably didn’t even really notice.  I’m on high alert at all times for OCD.  OCD is making Brian’s life really hard right now, harder than his Autism is.  We are living our lives around making sure he is able to finish routines, so we don’t see him get to the point where he’s shaking uncontrollably from head to toe in tears.  Not knowing what routine it is that he wasn’t able to carry through because he can’t tell us, but knowing full well there was one that is causing this meltdown.

I just want to shout at the OCD and tell it to leave my child alone.

It was just thirty seconds.    It was just one of the thirty seconds of many during our hours at the playground.  It was thirty seconds that was robbed of my child just being carefree at the playground.

Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.