Photo courtesy of Ed Gregory at: stokpic.com
When my Dad heard that I had OCD, he said very little at the time. I left his house wondering if telling him had been the right thing to do, or just a foolish act of conscience. I guess what I wanted him to know was that some of my bizarre behaviours were not just quirks, but the results of a debilitating condition.
I love my Dad, I really love him. He is funny at irreverent times and serious in comical moments. He has an answer for any question that I might ask and delivers a punchline with perfect rhythm and timing. He has a funny walk that he only shares with me and my sister and sings like a nightingale when the whiskey has loosened his vocal chords.
However, when I told him about OCD he did not have an answer for me or a solution. I felt a little lost.
Some days later, I accidentally read some notes that my Dad had left next to his i-pad. They were about OCD. The notes were detailed and were clearly well researched. There were columns on obsessions and compulsions, facts and statistics about incidence rates, help line numbers and website addresses. At the bottom of the page were two words written in bold. One of which was underlined and etched over several times for emphasis. That word was:
My Dad knew me, but he still felt the need to write that word, because OCD was a condition that he did not understand or have all the answers to. However, not having the answer did not flaw him, he just reminded himself that to show empathy was a powerful, compassionate and necessary action.
The other word that he wrote in large letters on the crisp, white page was:
However, after the mitral valve diagnosis, he might have to have a decaf tea instead!
For my Dad: