Another updated post from 2011…
My son Dan dealt with mostly mental compulsions, so his OCD was not obvious to me and my husband. In fact, we didn’t even know he had the disorder until he told us. Yet even when we knew he had obsessive-compulsive disorder and could see he was spiraling downward, he would always say, “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
To this day those two words, “I’m fine,” make me cringe and stop in my tracks. Dan has been doing great for many years now, so you would think I would have moved on, because really, he is fine. For the longest time, however, I would focus intently on his every move, action, and expression, looking for the reassurance I needed to confirm that he indeed was fine. If I had any doubts, then I would ask him how he was doing just so I could hear those two words that caused me so much anxiety.
In a wonderful post about well-meaners (her friends and OCD support system), “Bobs” gives us insight as to what it is like to be worried about constantly, and then gives us some advice of her own. If you or a loved one has OCD, it is a post well worth reading. What rings true to me more than anything is this advice: Trust the person with OCD – especially if they’ve been working hard toward recovery.
I need to remember this, because although Dan used to say he was fine when he was not fine, that was a long time ago. He has changed a lot since those dark days. He has been through treatment, and has matured. Most importantly, he knows himself and his OCD, better than anyone. If at any point he is not fine, he might not tell me, but I am confident he will do what it takes to get well.
As more time passes, I’m getting better. I no longer analyze every move, expression, or comment that Dan makes. I’ve always tried to see him as separate from his OCD, but now that takes little effort, and I often forget he even has the disorder. I can almost hear the words “I’m fine” without cringing, because deep down I know. He is just as fine as the rest of us.