Since his early teen years, Dan’s dream was to become an animator, and he pursued this dream full force. He read, sketched, researched, interned, attended summer programs, and animated. His hard work paid off when he was accepted into one of the best colleges in the world for computer animation.
And then, three weeks before the end of his freshman year, his OCD took total control, and Dan crashed. When I arrived at his dorm, he hadn’t eaten in a week. He could barely walk from here to there, and was not “allowed” to enter certain buildings on campus. He would often be “stuck” in one place for hours at a time. Dan was almost totally disabled by his OCD.
Still….more than anything, Dan wanted to complete the semester. He wasn’t going to give up on his dream without a fight.
As luck would have it, a close friend of ours is a wonderful clinical psychologist, and with daily phone calls to Mark, I was somehow, miraculously, able to work with Dan so that he could function enough to complete his work and successfully finish the semester.
Once home, Dan’s motivation to fight his OCD went out the window. He said he was emotionally drained and exhausted from fighting, and he just needed a break. It was so much easier to not fight. He regressed and just let his OCD take over for a month while he was waiting to enter a residential treatment program.
Fighting OCD is really tough. And it’s scary. As I have said before, those of us without OCD cannot understand the strength and courage it takes to fight this disorder. It is just not possible to comprehend. ERP Therapy, though very successful, is also very difficult. Jeff Bell talks in depth of his struggles with this therapy in Rewind, Replay, Repeat.
And so you have to really want to fight it. You have to really want help. You have to really be motivated. You have to really be brave. Dan was all of these things at school, because if he didn’t fight, the consequences were really high…….the end of his dream.
But what about those with OCD who are not fighting? I know of some parents who are heartbroken because their young adult children, for whatever reason, are not able to fight their OCD. Can we help them? How?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way……….usually.
But sometimes it is just too hard.