A book review for inourhands.com
How do you ‘Parent OCD’? Surely that concept is counter – intuitive? Or so I thought until I read Claire Sanders poignant account of how she parented a son with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
OCD is like a toddler, attention seeking, prone to tantrums and frequently illogical:
“Don’t let OCD get too comfy, or… it’ll scream and scream for more, because you’ve shown it that you will give in.”
It is also dominant and controlling:
“In your child’s head lives a bully. It puts horrible thoughts in their heads, horrible images, and makes them do things they don’t really want to do.”
If your child has OCD, you really do need some ‘Down to Earth’ advice on how to cope. Claire’s book is more than practical, it is from the heart and from the perspective of a mother who has had to accept that her son’s, “OCD is stronger than her bond”, with him. We also learn that she would, “have to fight like a tiger to get him back.”
No one is given a parenting manual when we have a child, fortunately Claire has written a book that will guide you, not just through the warning signs of OCD and how to get a diagnosis, but also through the types of therapy and medication that are available. She will advise you on how to approach your child’s education and what to do to ensure that your family life is not compromised by the condition. In an unflinchingly honest way, she will also explain how it feels when the initial treatments don’t work, what OCD can twist and mutate into and how it can cause explosive panic attacks and outbursts; not just in the sufferer, but family members as well. Claire is always there to hold your hand and like any good friend, she tells you the absolute truth about, ‘Parenting OCD.’
What I also like about Claire’s book is her use of humour, often self deprecating, frequently mischievous and clearly a survival mechanism that has worked for her. For example when faced with feelings of trepidation about their visit to the OCD unit at the Maudsley hospital, she writes:
“Nerves and embarrassment had turned me into my headmistress.”
During that same visit she also noted that:
“The people at the Maudsley know Jedi mind tricks. It gets me through the day.”
Not just parents will benefit from the advice set out in ‘Parenting OCD’. If you are a teacher, health care professional or just an interested spectator, then you too will gain invaluable knowledge of this brutal condition from a first hand perspective. I wanted to review this book because I have OCD and the book has echoed my own thoughts:
“OCD rips your heart out, doesn’t it?”
Looking after a child with OCD is at its best difficult and at its worst destructive. It can affect your marriage, friendships and family life, but still Claire shows empathy and understanding for her son’s phlight:
“It never fails to amaze me that OCD sufferers are able to do as much as they do, given what they are putting up with. I couldn’t do it.”
To echo her own words at the end of the book: Claire you are strong, you keep laughing and you are doing a great job.
Read her book folks, it might just teach you a Jedi mind trick or two.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
73 Collier Street