Well, I guess you get two whole posts in the year of 2012. Sorry. This was a super busy year.
Here is an update on our journey of obsession through 2012:
1. Thank goodness for soccer! Bren's favorite sport continuously kept her exposed to playing in grass fields where flocks of Canadian geese felt the need to fertilize. :) She loved the game so much and it kept her brain busy enough that she never even hesitated to pick up the ball and throw it in. And let's not even discuss the mess that was in her cleats after. But somehow she grew less and less concerned with it and that led to a more relaxed Bren in all outdoor settings.
2. As many of you know, we made the decision to put Bren in private school for high school, for many reasons. And quickly found out that this decision would NOT be popular with my public school teacher friends, but then I realized that if they truly cared for me and my daughter they would have supported me rather than berate me. So after having to clean out some of my friends, Bren started her private high school. The uniforms helped to alleviate the 7 clothing changes in the morning. And because it is an all-girls school the need for perfection is gone. Oh I know, girls shouldn't base their self worth on what boys think. Absolutely! But until you have a perfectionist child that over thinks EVERYTHING, you don't get to comment. And I say that as politely as I can. Once again, we saw Bren relax even more.
3. Overall, we saw Bren take HUGE steps forward. This last Thanksgiving we were at a friend's house and as I walked to the car I stepped in doggie doo. A year ago, this would have sent Bren running and screaming, and probably leaving me no other choice but to throw the infected shoes in the trash. But Bren was happy when I asked for a grocery bag and tied it around my shoe and drove home where The Hub then washed it for me. Thankfully I was allowed to keep my shoe because they are one of my faves!
4. As the year draws to a close, we have seen new stresses enter into Bren's life that have caused her a slight regression. As with all obsessive-compulsive-overthinkers, everything is a potential stress that leads to over-thinking which leads to compulsive behaviors which leads to obsessions. The stress of making new friends and playing on two brand new sports teams, all of which she knew no one, proved to be a bit much. For the first time ever, Bren is lacking confidence on the soccer field, is unsure of herself in all social settings, and is an emotional wreck. I know hormones are also wreaking havoc and adding to an already ugly stress storm, so we have decided to go back to Dr. Paula for a little tune-up until things settle down again. Bren doesn't quite recognize when she's obsessing on her own, but if we discuss it and she thinks about it, she will say "well that makes sense." We've also noticed that sometimes her brain won't shut down so that she can sleep at night, so we've had to help her by giving her small doses of medication to help her sleep. She is NO where near the dangerous behaviors she once had, but we don't want her to end up there either. It's precautionary. :)
All in all, we have been very blessed this year with great progress! Will this fight ever be over? Probably not. But it sure does have its easier moments! I'm very grateful for this journey and the insight into my little girl's brain. Sometimes it absolutely exhausts me, but then I think of how exhausting it must be to have a brain that never stops over-thinking things. I can't believe how strong my daughter is sometimes! How hard it must be, and yet how awesome her attitude is toward getting help and recognizing and understanding her illness.
She isn't quite ready to come out and speak openly about her OCD, but she wants to someday help other youth recognize and understand their disorder. When that happens, LOOK OUT! She's going to make a huge difference in a lot of people's lives!
Merry Christmas to everyone! And may 2013 bring you all the joy and happiness that you and your family deserve!