Friday, May 9, 2014

The Pendulum Swings

We have had such a great year.  Bren's OCD has been under control for the most part.  She is functioning well with things that used to cause her great pain and frustration.

But I began to notice something that bothered me.  A little girl that used to obsess about her grades, erasing page after page and rewriting it to make it perfect, was suddenly plagued with missing assignments and a less than mediocre GPA.  I couldn't put my finger on what was happening.  How can she go from an obsessing 4.0 student to a student needing to be chased down my teachers for missing and poorly done assignments?

The answer?  The pendulum swung way to far in the opposite direction.  You see, there was a time when Bren was scared to death of getting an answer wrong, much less failing a quiz or a paper.  Much of her therapy focused on her learned to control that fear and not obsess so much over grades.  In fact, we discussed over and over again that making a mistake was ok and totally acceptable.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of years Bren has developed a defense mechanism. She has felt so free from the stress of obsessing over academic perfection that she started to fear falling back into that obsession.  Her way to prevent going back "there" in her head was to avoid everything.  If an assignment was due and she didn't have enough time to finish it before bed, she would just put it off and the more she put off the further behind she fell.  Eventually she was just avoiding all pressure and stress through complete avoidance and apathy.  For the first time ever I came home from teachers' conferences being told that Bren was missing numerous assignments and they couldn't get her to respond.  This coming from a kid that would scream through tears that she had to stay up until 2am just to redo her math for the 4th time to get it right.

Obviously avoidance wasn't the answer.  And what her teachers and I mistook for apathy was actually a severe fear of those OCD demons that once plagued her.  When we confronted Bren and had a heart to heart she revealed all of this to us.

I don't have a end result yet, because just this last week Bren has decided that she wants to return to therapy for a while for a "tune up."  However just the fact that she has full understanding over her issues and recognizes her need to some help is a great beginning!  Hopefully we will have happy progress to report soon enough!

**Side note:  Bren didn't make varsity soccer this year and though she was sad and very disappointed, she has sense accepted it as a healthy challenge to improve where she lacks and prove that she deserves it next year.  Her acceptance of normal setbacks and disappointments, and not seeing them as huge failures on her part and a sign of her lack of worth, is HUGE!  So I guess we are still kicking OCD butt after all.  :)

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