What to tackle first??

Forums Home Need help on where to get started? What to tackle first??

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    • #13557
      Meagan R


        New here! I have a daughter who is 12. She started having worries at an early age. Always sensitive to “scary” things but also able to push through the things that bothered her. Thankfully, she has been thriving most of the time. About two years ago she started seeing a counselor. I was noticing more worries and she was transitioning to a new school. Thought it would give her extra support. She saw her counselor though the school year once or twice a month. Her counselor was satisfied with her progress and she was doing great so we stopped.

        Fast forward to now and she has taken a huge turn. A couple of weeks ago she had a panic attack fearing she was depressed and could become suicidal(after a video and talk at school about mental health). After that episode it seems everything is triggering her. Things she hears and sees. For example: What if I am gay, What if I am depressed, What if I don’t go to heaven, What if I hurt myself…. She has had instructive thoughts in the past, I did not have to knowledge to label them for what they are then. Those are back like :what if I run out in front of a car, what if I jump into dangerous water. Hopefully, you get the idea of what is going on. Obviously there is always more to the story but not looking to right a book.

        She is very frustrated(as I am) on how to help. As I mentioned above, she is usually able to recover and move on. She wants to feel “normal” again and finds the anxious feelings the most annoying part. She hates the uneasy stomach, on the verge of tears, short tempered…etc. I am recognizing more OCD tendencies from researching on how to help. She is coming to me for reassurance but has also started to confess many random “bad” things she thinks she has done dating back to preschool.

        My biggest questions are.

        Where is the best place to start?
        I contacted her old counselor but she is completely booked as with most offices in my area. My daughter did not love therapy and is definitely not excited to do it again. She is a naturally quiet reserved person and talking to people about feeling is NOT her idea of fun. I found an online kids therapy service through Brightline which has open appointments. I have read ERP is great for OCD but these therapist are trained in CBT. Is it still worth trying?

        Should we focus on the anxiety symptoms first since that seems to be what is bothering her most?

        Could she benefit from CBT and I try the ERP with her?
        Thankfully she is talking to me and feels comfortable but I am not a trained professional. I don’t want to make it worse!

        Which of your programs do you think I can start?

        Thanks so much for reading and hope to here from you soon!

      • #13559

          Hi Meagan,
          I’m sorry to hear about her struggles. From what you described it sounds like it could be moral and harm OCD thoughts. Many people fixate on the fear they will harm themselves, that they are depressed, that they might be a “bad” person. Unfortunately when you take them to someone who is not educated on these OCD themes it can make it worse, as one of the core fears is their mental health.

          CBT is a general form of therapy and most therapists who do CBT are not trained in how to assess and treat OCD. You want to find an ERP therapist. ERP is a type of CBT, but those that practice ERP will know how to spot those themes for what they are and the effective ways to treat it.

          The anxious feelings are often the focus because the OCD makes the person think that it means they are mentally not well and that there is potential for harm.

          It sounds like focusing on the OCD is key and getting into the right treatment is important. Have you tried to look for a provider here http://www.IOCDF.org/find-help or with NOCD http://www.treatmyocd.com? I would start there if possible.

          Also, here are some resources for you and some for her on those topics:

          For you:
          Harm OCD: What it is and How to Help Kids Who Have it https://www.anxioustoddlers.com/child-harm-ocd/
          Helping Kids with Moral OCD: https://www.anxioustoddlers.com/kids-with-moral-ocd/

          For her:
          Do You have OCD and Worry About Harming Yourself or Others? https://youtu.be/XR0anBw_NIY
          Does OCD Give You Bad Thoughts: https://youtu.be/ghvLO8gcMm8
          Does OCD Make You Worry You are Going to Turn into a Bad Person? https://youtu.be/4DvIh2q1N84

        • #13562
          Meagan R

            Thank you! We will get started with all your advice.

            • #13563

                I’m always here for ongoing support when you need it Meagan.

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