Through my blog, I connected with Marlene, whose son Oliver, at nineteen, was the same age as Dan when his OCD was at its worst. Like me at the time, Marlene learned everything she could about OCD, talked with every professional she could about her son’s situation, and researched and pursued every treatment option out there. Oli was on the waiting list at a world-renowned residential treatment program, far from their home.
I got an email from Marlene a couple of days ago. I eagerly opened it, hoping for some good news regarding her son’s upcoming treatment. Maybe they’d been given a date for his admission?
“Oliver committed suicide last night.”
I sat there, just staring at the words, my heart beating out of my chest. What?
And then I felt sick, and I cried, and I thought of Marlene.
I tried to piece the whole story together, but of course I couldn’t, because I don’t know the whole story. What I do know is that Oliver suffered relentlessly from severe OCD, and he was depressed. I also know that Marlene loved her son unconditionally and wanted nothing more than for him to be well. Oli wanted that too. At one point a doctor asked him, “If I could give you a pill that would kill you instantly, would you take it?”
Oliver’s response? “If you could give me a pill that would cure me, I would take that one.” Marlene had been hopeful, saying, “I just needed a little more time.”
Time doesn’t matter now. Oliver, a sensitive, caring young man who didn’t have a mean bone in his body, is gone. He loved to laugh, loved his friends, and loved his life, before OCD took all that away from him.
Where was the help? Why is there no intensive treatment program near Marlene? Why was she getting confusing and conflicting advice from all the professionals she spoke with?
This is all so wrong. Oliver should be here. Marlene should not be grieving the loss of her child. And I should be writing posts about how far we’ve come in the fight against OCD.